After eight years of telling everyone who works on the Uncharted games that they should make one about Chloe Frazer — the feisty treasure hunter who was the highlight of both Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception — the lady is finally taking center with Uncharted The Lost Legacy (PlayStation 4), an epic third-person action/adventure game that finally gives this series the smart and sassy hero it’s always deserved.
Set after the events of the previous game, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Uncharted The Lost Legacy has Chloe on the hunt for an ancient Indian artifact called The Golden Tusk Of Ganesh. But she’s not alone. Joining her on this archeological adventure is Nadine Ross, who was the enemy in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, but is the Sully to Chloe in this game. Which is good because while Chloe may be as capable as this series’ usual hero, Nathan Drake, she’s still going to need all the help she can get.
In many ways, Uncharted The Lost Legacy plays like a refined version of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. As always, the climbing and combat is solid, the controls are intuitive, the bad guys are attentive and good shots, the situational puzzles are clever, and the construction standards of the ancient buildings is, well, somewhat lacking. It even carries over grappling hook and stealth combat that was added in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
But Uncharted The Lost Legacy also expands upon the exploring of open areas that was first introduced in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Where before you spent one part driving a jeep around a valley, but still ultimately going from point A to point B, now you spent some time cruising around a much larger area that has three main locations to explore in whatever order you prefer. You can even, if you want, visit another ten places that have both puzzles or combat encounters, where you’ll find some rather valuable artifacts. Which is another new addition; finding these optional treasures won’t just make Chloe’s home more, uh, homier, gathering them all actually pays off, gameplay-wise.
Now, as far as the gameplay mechanics in Uncharted The Lost Legacy are concerned, Chloe is every bit Drake’s equal. She’s just as good at shooting, just as good at climbing, and just as good at figuring out the kind of traps normally reserved for Indiana Jones movies. But she’s not just Drake with longer hair. Instead of carrying a journal that has clues to solving puzzles, Chloe makes detailed maps that can help you find points of interest. She also knows how to pick locks, which is handy since someone keeps leaving secure weapon lockers lying around.
But the biggest change that Uncharted The Lost Legacy makes to the Uncharted formula, though it’s a somewhat superficial one, is that instead of playing as some dude who’s kind of a putz, you’re a funny, feisty, and whip-smart lady who’s basically like an older version of Lara Croft from Rise Of The Tomb Raider if that game’s dialog was penned by the same person who wrote Emma Stone’s quips in Easy A. Though it also helps that her voice, as always, is provided by actress Claudia Black (Farscape, Stargate SG-1), whose work on such games as Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age Inquisition, and Gears Of War 4 show that she’s has the voiceover chops to rival, well, the much-ballyhooed guy who provides Drake’s dulcet tones.
Where this change has a practical application is that it makes Uncharted The Lost Legacy a more effortless game to play. While Drake sometimes got annoying for being such a smug jerk, and his main lady friend Elena was rather bland, Chloe’s snappy dialog makes this more fun to listen to, especially during the cutscenes when she’s bantering with Nadine. Who, by the way, is also expertly voiced, in this case by Laura Bailey, who you may know as The President from Saints Row IV or as Supergirl in Injustice 2.
Of course, even with Chloe taking over for Drake, Uncharted The Lost Legacy still has some problems. For starters, like every other game in this series, you still don’t automatically grab ammo when you’re low and it’s just lying there on the ground, you have to tell her to stop and pick it up.
As for new problems you’ll only find in Uncharted The Lost Legacy, while the map is handy, it’s irritating, and also kind of odd, that you can’t mark points on Chloe’s map, and then have a waypoint appear on screen to guide you. Also, while Chloe can now pick locks, this mechanic is about as much fun as it is in such games as Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim…which is to say it’s not, it’s not fun at all.
In the end, having Chloe as the main character of Uncharted The Lost Legacy makes this game everything I expected it to be since I first saw her in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and thought she should have her own. And while I may not be able to take credit for this finally being made, it is satisfying to know that I was right all along.