Jun 30, 2011

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Hands On: Uncharted 3′s Multiplayer Beta

Hands On: Uncharted 3′s Multiplayer Beta

Tuesday saw the release of the Uncharted 3‘s multiplayer beta. After getting off to a rocky start, Naughty Dog has patched the beta and while there are still a few issues, the multi-player component of Uncharted 3 is a promising venture.

The first thing gamers familiar with the series will want to know is how well the game looks and for a good reason.  The Uncharted franchise has been nominated for and won numerous awards for being a graphic powerhouse. From what I have seen, the beta demonstrates that while most of the game looks beautiful, there are still some areas that could use a little work.  Luckily, Naughty Dog still has plenty of time to make slight changes because the game is set to be released in November.

Naughty Dog has placed 5 different game types within the beta; Team Deathmatch, Three Team Deathmatch, Hardcore, Free-For-All and Co-Op Arena.  Perhaps this beta’s biggest disappointment is the matchmaking.  Naughty Dog has experienced issues with it since the beta first began and although they have patched it, players will still find that it takes much longer than it should to find a match.  All of these game types are well done though and Co-Op Arena really has a lot of promise for those looking to play with their friends and fight off hoards of zombie people.  In the Arena however, the enemy A.I. is lacking and they are almost always quick to run to their death.  Team Deathmatch is also done nicely, with teams fighting to 50 kills.  If the match is really close, the game will enter a one-minute “power play” so a team will have the opportunity to either distance itself or lose their lead.  If the match is still tight, “Sudden Death” occurs.  Three Team Deathmatch is played in two-man teams and to 20 kills.  While not offering an enormous amount of game types, what it does offer is well done and fits the game nicely.  Once the A.I. is fixed, the multi-player for Uncharted might make some forget that this is a single-player first series.

Team Death Match on Chateau

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Something that is interesting in the beta is the buddy system. In every mode you will have a buddy that you will always be partnered with. As you can see in the game play video, there is a special icon above them to show you where your partner is at all times. There is also the ability to spawn on your partner rather than having to spawn in a random location. You can also fist bump or high five over an enemies corpse if you and your partner work together to take him out. The buddy system works pretty well, but just know you can’t spawn if your partner is in mid battle, so you don’t have those Battlefield moments of shooting someone only to have his partner spawn and instantly kill you.

In the way of maps, Uncharted offers beta players the choice of two, “Airstrip,” and “Chateau.”  While “Chateau” is absolutely gorgeous, the “Airstrip could use a little lighting.  Drake’s Deception appears to carry a lot of brown, even when not in one of the multi-player’s desert sequences and while the map “Airstrip” suffers from it, it still looks good.  The character models look great and make it difficult to find something to complain about.

Co-Op Arena on Airstrip

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Naughty Dog has placed a fairly deep level of character customization in Uncharted‘s multiplayer. While player models are slim pickings, the number of different ways you can change your character’s uniform makes up for that. The character customization is set up to imply that you will be able to change almost anything about your in-game character, all the way down to his pants.

Most players will find that the controls are in need of a little tweaking. The default sensitivity is at halfway, but the rotations still feels pretty sluggish. This is in no way hinders the game play since it is so easy to fix. Thankfully, the development team decided not to fix something that was not broken, so the core climbing mechanics behind the franchise have not been changed and judging from the maps in the beta, there will be plenty of monkeying around.  Otherwise, the controls as a whole will take some adjusting to get use to, especially for those who have spent the past few months toiling away in online shooters like Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and not on the Uncharted 2 servers.  The good news is, once you get it, you got it and you will quit throwing grenades when you are actually trying to sprint.  There are also some pretty crazy stunts and climbing elements are fun and add to the gameplay nicely.

Co-Op Arena on Chateau

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The weapons are fairly standard, so Uncharted veterans will find no surprises in this particular realm.  At this point in the beta, most people seem to be using the AK-47, although my preference was the G-MAL.  As players gain more experience and cash, they will be able to purchase and unlock weapon upgrades as well as perks. During the match, you will get medals for completing specific tasks like getting a double kill or getting a kill streak of 3 or getting a kill while climbing. These medals accumulate and can unlock what is called “kick backs.” A kick back can range from unlocking a RPG to allowing you to fire for 30 seconds without having to reload. As you level up you will unlock more and more and they seem to be pretty useful.

While there is still a fairly lengthy amount of time before Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception release, Naughty Dog has given fans a reason to rest assured that the game will be of at least the same quality they are use to with Uncharted. The beta is available now for PlayStation Plus members and those who have a redeemable code. The beta opens to everyone July 5, 2011 and the full game releases November 1, 2011 exclusively on PlayStation 3.