Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a different affair from prior titles: protagonist Chloe is not a female Nathan Drake, nor is she your all guns blazing type of heroine, like Lara Croft. She is a hunter, a spy, and more of a rogue agent than an adventurer. The Lost Legacy is a true reboot of the Uncharted franchise for multiple, very interesting reasons.
When I met with Naughty Dog to see the very first demo of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, it was clear that this game aimed at a new blend of genres: action and stealth. Uncharted always had its quiet moments, but it was never that depressive. Chloe is half-Indian, and it’s tough for her to see her own country suffer. When rebels take over the city, burn houses, kill soldiers and beat civilians on the streets, she wants to act but needs to hold herself back. She needs to merge with the shadows, and be disciplined like a younger Sam Fisher. Her mission is to reach a special place called the Pink Lotus where she is going to meet up with her contact, Nadine – you know that woman, she once almost broke Nathan’s nose. She has the cash, and finances this whole operation to track down the Tusk of Ganesha. Ganesha is the Indian god of happiness but was unlucky enough to lose his tusk in days past.
But, enough of Indian elephant gods and back to our attractive lady here: Chloe seems to be much more of an analytical person, the complete opposite of Nathan Drake. Nathan is basically a playable Indiana Jones and always stumbles into situations with very little preparation. For instance, let’s just take this scene in front of us, where rebel forces break into a house, catch a civilian, drop him on the street, and threaten him with an AK-47. Nathan would probably rush in, take down that guy, but well, there are two more. There is also a militia soldier behind a machine gun on a jeep. Sure, you could sneak around the corner, potentially trying to get behind the jeep, kill the gunner silently, take over the gattling gun and mow down all the enemies present. Unfortunately, that would alert all these militias in the surrounding area and all hell would break loose. Well, that’s not we want for this particular mission.
A militia guy grabs her inappropriately, gets his lesson later
So far, we’ve just seen Chloe as this attractive lady and femme fatale that doesn’t need more than a couple minutes alone with Nathan to seduce him. In our demo though, she behaves very differently, at least for now. When a soldier with a super-realistic looking face touches her for body inspection, the scene tells us two things: even after Horizon: Zero Dawn, Naughty Dog remains the best in the animation department, especially with regard to their facial animation and full-performance motion capturing. The character on the screen could very well be a real actor. You can see the lines drawn with precision, where he shaves his beard with some little spots on the side. His retina also reflects his surroundings, a bit like in Rise of the Tomb Raider and even an upgrade to Uncharted 4. Yes, we didn’t know either that it was possible to top Nathan and his buddies from a technical perspective. He is not a particularly nice guy, though, and certainly not a gentleman. “How do I know you are not smuggling something inside here?“ he asks in a somewhat weird, potentially flirty way. “It’s dangerous for a woman to be out so late,“ – he takes his time grabbing her rear and touches her in a not-TSA approved way. Chloe would certainly like to kick his ass, but decides to stay focused and on-target. She just uses her beautifully crafted hijab to hide her face even more, and pretends to be scared. A call from the militia’s commander gets her out of trouble; the men are supposed to return to their command post. All good, let’s move on.
Dark nights, a martial arts queen and stealthy like Sam Fisher
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy definitely has a little bit of The Last of Us flavored into it. Never as heavy, nor as bloody, but the atmosphere remains tense. Chloe is against an army, especially when she slips into a building, that the militia uses as an outpost.
“When are we going for the diamonds,“ a soldier asks. “Not yet, we are not yet ready,“ his commander answers. Apparently, there is a bigger coup underway, but for now Chloe is just gathering intel. The movement and gameplay reminds us of the good old Splinter Cell. Like Sam Fisher, we can just hop out of a window, balance a bit, and wait until the enemy passes by. But Chloe is still Chloe; she is not a trained agent, so her heart beats pretty loud. She is nervous, almost falls of the porch when a guard approaches her, and looks out of the window. I like that because it feels like Uncharted. Nathan, Elena, Chloe – none of them are trained soldiers or elite agents; they always had to improvise over the years. They are not cold killers without a heartbeat, they get nervous from time to time. But no worries.
“Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is all about contrast. We are excited to play around with a tighter, urban setting and more open, rural areas,“
explains Creative Director Shaun Escayg. And of course, there will be guns and the good old fist fight, just presented a bit differently: Nathan is an effective brawler, muscular, and has a good punch. Chloe is a woman; she needs to fight in a more tactical manner and make full use of her body: When a guy tries to punch her, she twists his arm and uses her elbow to hit him very hard on the head. The elbow is the strongest bone in our upper body, a tactic female FBI agents and police officers learn at school. And you can use your legs more: kick his knee and he won’t be able to stand any longer. From this position, an elbow punch knocks him out and a karate kick sends him flying. Martial arts, Chloe-style, meets a more mysterious story with two very different protagonists. I can’t wait to play more.