The Lost Legacy Is A Worthy Spin-Off That Explores Uncharted Territory

Nathan Drake’s story is done. Finito. That might be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s just the way it is. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean game developer Naughty Dog is done with Uncharted. In fact, The Lost Legacy is a testament to their commitment to keeping the franchise alive, and in some ways, better than ever.

Originally conceived as DLC for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, this standalone story eventually grew into its own full-length adventure. You don’t need to own Uncharted 4 to take part in this action romp, although this does contain some amusing twists those familiar with the 2015 game and its predecessors will appreciate.

Wisely keeping things in the same universe, The Lost Legacy’s central character isn’t new. Indian-Australian treasure hunter Chloe Frazer played a major role in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, as a love interest to Nathan Drake, and also popped up in the front half of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. While she didn’t physically show up in Uncharted 4, her name was brought up. Like Nathan, Chloe is equal parts spry and sass, which are two of the key ingredients to this series.

Where there’s sass, there’s usually banter, and for that you need good partner chemistry. Early in the game, Chloe teams up with Nadine Ross—the same villainous Shoreline mercenary from Uncharted 4. Together, this dynamic duo is off to find the lost tusk of Ganesh, an ancient artifact located somewhere in India’s Western Ghats mountain range. Naturally, they’ve got some stiff competition from a new rebel organization, led by a former Indian government official-turned-warlord named Asav.

While much of what was so great about Uncharted has remained intact here, there is one particularly novel addition. Around one-third into the game, there’s a chapter set in the Western Ghats that encourages players to freely roam with a 4×4 jeep, exploring the area to scour for treasures, solve puzzles, and dodge bullets. The idea of an open-world Uncharted is something I’ve always hoped the series would eventually consider.

Uncharted has always thrived as a fairly on-the-rails action-adventure, so being able to really take in the scenery and discover secrets at my own pace felt liberating. While this isn’t explored to its fullest potential (its single chapter isn’t quite as dense as I would’ve hoped), it feels like a step in the right direction for future instalments. The level is fairly large and at one point I even thought this was it for the game, which turned out to be longer than I anticipated, clocking in at around seven hours to casually complete—with plenty of hidden treasures missed (there are over 100 collectibles in total). While you have the option to blaze through this standout chapter, there’s a reward for collecting all the hidden goodies scattered throughout.

On top of a traditional solo campaign, the game comes with Competitive Multiplayer (14 maps, 6 game types), co-op Survival Mode (1-3 players, 50 waves, warlord boss battles), Survival Arena Mode (1-3 player co-op, 10 waves, warlord bosses, modifiers), new playable multiplayer characters, characters skins, and cinema replay tools.

As for gameplay, not much has changed from the tried-and-true formula. Stealthy kills, tactical gunfights, ancient puzzles, and a lot of jumping and grappling are still the core mechanics of Lost Legacy. If it ain’t broke, right? Still, I would argue that this game features the most balanced mix of all these elements.

In terms of set pieces and over-the-top action, The Lost Legacy is on-par with Uncharted 4, which was easily the most visually dazzling and high-concept of the series (mostly owing to the PlayStation 4’s graphical capabilities). Coming across a gigantic ancient structure and knowing you’re going to have to find some very crafty ways of getting to the top never gets old when the production is this polished.

Packed with great personalities and even greater sights, this is a must-play for fans of Uncharted, and a very nice taste of what the series could be like if it fully embraced a more open-world concept–which I hope it will. Alright, Naughty Dog, finish up The Last of Us 2 and then please consider giving us another Uncharted sequel with these protagonists.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is out August 22 exclusively on PlayStation 4. Check out the Gameplay Trailer below: