Jul 8, 2011

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Uncharted 3 Multiplayer Beta Week 2 Impressions

Uncharted 3 Multiplayer Beta Week 2 Impressions

Naughty Dog has changed the game types up just a little for the second week of the Uncharted 3 beta. In replacing Co-op Arena for Co-op Hunted, and Three-Team Deathmatch for Team Objective, just how well do these modes stack up?

Before I talk about the biggest change, Co-op Hunted, let’s take a short look at Team Objective. In Objective you will be given up to five objectives to complete and the first team to get three wins the game. Unlike Co-op Arena, there are new games like King of the Hill, Linked Siege (where you need to capture/hold areas in an order opposite of your enemies, then push theirs back), Marked Man, and Team Deathmatch, which is s a fun mode if you’re looking for a good change of pace with rapid progression.

The biggest addition, as mentioned earlier, is Co-op Hunter. Hunter Arena is a 2v2 match, and is basically like a capture-the-flag mode but with a twist.  On defense you’ll have AI that will fight with you. Think of it as a horde mode where you play on the side of the horde as you try to stop the other players from capturing the treasure. This is not the first time such a mode was created, though. Earlier this year, MindJack came out with similar concepts, and ironically shares similar problems within the mode.

Co-Op Hunter Arena on Chateau

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While on defense, you’ll play as villains and will have a longer respawn time and will only spawn with a pistol; you also can’t pick up any weapons on the map. The general concept here is to work together to kill the two enemies on offense for medals. These medals, which are similar to kickbacks, can be redeemed for better weapons, up to, and including, the “juggernaut,” or simply a machine gun plus a grenade. This can become incredibly frustrating, as I have put a full clip into an enemy without a death using the pistol, and once you’re down they can make serious progress getting the treasure closer to the capture point. A prime example of how bad this became was one game we got scored on twice within a minute, but when we got even a simple machine gun they rarely even touched an idol. The AI isn’t that smart, so they aren’t too much of a help to your team. It’s also frustrating that you can only cash in medals for power weapons once you are dead.

On the flip side, playing offense can be fun, but also frustrating. Since it’s only you and a partner, you really have to work together to score the idol. Grabbing one of the three idols will direct you to a unique deposit point. Unfortunately, they remain constant, so if you know where to go, it’s just that much easier to score. As you start with M9’s and can use kickbacks like healing, winning will always go to the better team. There needs to be a little bit more balance, as offense can have the upper hand if the players use a little bit of real tactics. While it’s good to reward players with more skill, most games come down to how many idols you can score, because it’s incredibly difficult preventing one team from not scoring at all. Also, the game can end in a tie, which is unlike some of the other modes.

Co-op Hunter Arena on Airstrip

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Ideally, this mode, or at least the new levels, will offer some better break downs, but I don’t see it happening. Oddly enough, out of everyone I have met, no one seems to enjoy this mode. Unless Naughty Dog does a lot of fixing and balancing, I wouldn’t be surprised if no one plays this mode after the beta.