Throughout the build up to release, Naughty Dog has been keen to stress that The Lost Legacy is not DLC for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, and quite rightly too, because this brand new action-adventure very much stands on its own two feet. Set some months after the events of the studio's final outing with Nathan Drake, it's a standalone adventure that builds on the core themes the series is known for while also trying out a couple of new things.
The biggest change is, of course, the absence of Nathan Drake, who is (spoiler) still off somewhere enjoying his retirement. Instead, The Lost Legacy has you taking control of returning character Chloe Frazer, who along with her AI-controlled partner Nadine Ross is off to India in search of long-lost treasure. This is a story-driven affair so we'll not delve into the narrative too deeply, but we will say that it's an enjoyable action-filled romp, and for the nine or so hours it took us to complete it, we were enthralled.
That's not to say that the story is perfect; it doesn't quite match its predecessor in terms of narrative flair, and you'll see some of the twists and turns coming well in advance of them actually happening. It also feels a little by the book, and the studio doesn't stray too far from the formula laid down in A Thief's End. The old saying tells us that you shouldn't fix something that isn't broken, and while that's certainly true, a couple more new and surprising elements wouldn't have hurt either.
As you might expect given the impressive turnaround between the release of the last game and this one, much is pulled directly from Uncharted 4, but they've done a good job of reworking their assets and decorating the scenery with appropriate relics and architecture, and the result is a small open-world area for players to explore, bookended by a fresh and politically-charged scene set in a city, and an explosive sequence at the end that will undoubtedly get the blood pumping.
Sometimes, while you're dragging your jeep up a wet and muddy hill, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you're still in Madagascar, but then Nadine or Chloe will start chatting again and you'll be pulled back into the moment. Indeed, these leading ladies do a great job of carrying the story forward, and you won't really miss Drake thanks to the wit and charm this pair of complicated but ultimately plausible characters manage to bring to the adventure.
The performances of the cast are, as per usual, of a very high quality, and Claudia Black (Chloe) and Laura Bailey (Nadine) both do a fine job. The transition between cutscenes and gameplay is usually seamless, and once again Naughty Dog has proved itself among the very best when it comes to this brand of big budget storytelling. This might be a fairly tightly controlled experience in many ways, but the view is always stunning and there are enough ups and downs to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.