It doesn’t take a treasure hunter to figure out that an Uncharted without Nathan Drake would be a narratively different experience. With the finality of Drake’s story in Uncharted 4, a new adventure would mean a different protagonist. As the series has grown during its 10-year run, so too has its cast. And given Naughty Dog’s penchant for AI-assisted cooperative experiences, it’s easy to come up with intriguing and unexplored pairings. Cutter and Sully? Sam and Elena? In the end, the studio picked Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross as the pair who kick off the franchise’s first post-Drake tale, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.
Anyone who has spent a fair amount of time with both of these gals knows of their boldness, but they’re hardly alike. Yes, they know how to take initiative, but their self-serving natures are not quite aligned, partly due to their differing backgrounds. Chloe, ever the resourceful and independent treasure seeker meets ex-paramilitary leader Nadine after the events of Uncharted 4 and the fall of Shoreline. We haven’t seen Chloe since Uncharted 3, and Nadine has no army to lead, so we’re eager to learn what these two have been up to since.
From what we’ve seen at E3 2017, the pair’s quest adheres to many familiar Uncharted designs. A jungle is one of the settings, Chloe and Nadine have a homicidal rival on their tail, and of course, they’re motivated by treasure. In The Lost Legacy, the prize is the Tusk of Ganesh, located somewhere in India.
If this latest demo is any indication, it won’t take long for any fan to see how this duo display their qualifications as Uncharted co-protagonists (although Chloe is the only playable character). They even stand out during the familiar routine of stealthy dual takedowns. While Chloe utters the classic line, “I’ll take the one of the left, you take the one on the right,” her partner puts her own spin on the situation (spoiler: Nadine takes them both down in the interest of time). In a consistently riveting 10-minute demo packed with shootouts, explosions, and plot twists, this 10-second sequence was all it took to convince us that this is not going to be a typical Uncharted.
At least, The Lost Legacy promises to be a departure from a narrative standpoint. The bulk of the demo comprised of combat sequences that were pure Uncharted. Surviving is never as simple as hunkering down at the closest point of cover at the start of a gun battle. It’s about staying mobile and seizing opportunities as they present themselves, whether that means rushing toward an exposed foe for a quick melee kill or luring out an enemy with a carefully thrown grenade. And to ensure you’re constantly on the move, you’re also pursued by a well-armed military transport, reminiscent of the fortified vehicles that chased Nathan Drake a couple of times in Uncharted 4. It wouldn’t be a proper Naughty Dog game if there wasn’t an escape sequence of some kind.
What was particularly striking about this level was how well-framed Nadine was as a collaborator. Whether it was by design or deliberate camera positioning by game director Kurt Margenau manning the controller (or both), it was often easy to see and admire Nadine’s self-sufficiency as she disposed of rebels in the background while Chloe was holding her own in the foreground. Nadine’s display of skill feels like the next evolution in the studio’s long tradition of highlighting the prowess of AI-controlled partners.
Given how utterly gorgeous and well-designed Uncharted 4 was, it would’ve been a shame had that been the lone chapter on PS4. Naturally, a new installment warrants anticipation, especially given The Lost Legacy’s evolution from a mere Uncharted 4 add-on mission to its own standalone game with an estimated play time of 10 hours. With any luck, that will be enough time for this mutually ambitious duo to click, maybe even with the same level of chemistry as Nathan and Sully.