“It’s nice to work with a woman for a change”.
That’s one of the lines in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy that stuck with me and carried more weight than I could have ever expected from a clichéd treasure-hunting adventure game. Initially proposed as a DLC to sit alongside Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, the game is a strong standalone expansion and if not for its shorter length, could easily have been its very own game.
The Lost Legacy follows Chloe Frazer, the fan favourite protagonist introduced in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves who returned for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Despite this, Frazer vanished entirely once Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End came along, and Naughty Dog have remedied her absence from Nathan Drake’s finale, by creating a story just for her. She is accompanied by none other than Nadine Ross, the leader of super-big super-awesome Mercenary company Shoreline, and antagonist to the Drake brothers in A Thief’s End. Even in that game her character stood out, but most importantly, she was a her.
This is something that feels so great about The Lost Legacy. For four games released over ten years we have followed the story of Nate, whose story was flavoured and decorated by women. Why have we never been able to see their stories? Why has Nathan Drake been given the limelight and not these wonderfully written female characters? Naughty Dog seem to have acknowledged this. Throughout the hunt for Ganesh’s Tusk within ruins of the Hoysala empire of India, the basic premise of The Lost Legacy, we get to learn more about these two strong women.
Chloe Frazer struggles with pursuing the same relic her father chased years ago and met his untimely demise whilst doing so. Meanwhile, after the events of A Thief’s End, Nadine is battling her fall from grace and having to deal with losing control over Shoreline. Together, they form a dynamic I wasn’t expecting, and although a lot of Chloe’s character points remind me of another globetrotting treasure-hunting female that we all know and love, Naughty Dog still makes it feel fresh, unique, and due to the wonderful voice acting and performances from Laura Bailey (Nadine), and Claudia Black (Chloe), it can become very tear-jerking.
A Thief’s End seemed to forget its roots, becoming less about the treasure hunting, wondrous ruins and beautiful temples and more about Drake’s own turmoil, his friends and his loved ones. Yet The Lost Legacy seems to juggle the emotion and the exhilarating sense of adventure far better, being able to balance both and impressively blend them together at points. Naughty Dog have brought their trademark puzzles to this game too, and yet these puzzles still feel refreshing and far more challenging than any we’ve had previously; maybe due to the lack of Nathan Drake’s notebook that provided him with hints. The Lost Legacy decides to leave all of the solution to the player.
Though A Thief’s End was a strong conclusion to the Drake era of Uncharted, The Lost Legacy encompasses far more of what the series has always been about: adventure. Relationships, friendships, and emotion do play their part, but they should never take the wheel of the narrative. The Lost Legacy has made me hunger for more, even when Naughty Dog were generous with the game’s length; even though it was a DLC, the game lasted far longer than I was expecting. I want more of Nadine’s pessimistic, tactically thinking brain and dry sense of humour and Frazer’s witty irreverence. I do hope that Naughty Dog recognises the potential for these two wonderful women as great protagonists, and realise that a standalone DLC is surely only the beginning of this tale.