Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Multiplayer Beta ImpressionsBy G4 Staff - Posted Jul 04, 2011
At this very moment, hundreds upon hundreds of prospective treasure hunters are squaring off in round after round of explosive and acrobatic combat in the multiplayer beta for Naughty Dog’s absurdly anticipated follow up to last year’s game of the year, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. The beta kicked off early last week, and, like any self-respecting Drake-head, some of the G4 staffers have spent some time with the new and improved multiplayer portion of Drake and Sully’s latest adventure, and here’s some of our initial impressions on the two maps and five modes included in the beta’s first round. (There will be two more rounds over the coming weeks that will introduce four more modes and a new map, so expect updated impressions when that content becomes available.)
Leah Jackson: I was extremely and pleasantly surprised at the Airstrip multiplayer level’s opening. I’d describe it as next-gen Frogger, and man was that awesome. You had to either defend a plane from being boarded or try to jump on top of the plane while riding on a speeding jeep. It’s fun to see innovative mechanics used in games, especially in the multiplayer where you’re going to be spending a good chunk of your time. The second half of the airplane level was standard multiplayer fare, as was the Chateau level. Climbing up the sides of buildings using bricks was fun, but nothing that I’d say was very memorable. I wish that the first half of the airship part was the entire level. If those are just two maps, I’m excited for what else is in store if Naughty Dog continues to innovate via the Airship level and doesn't go down the Chateau level’s path.
Stephen Johnson: How come I shot that guy in the head like 75 times and he didn’t die, then he turned around and fired a single bullet into my skull and I died? Answer that one, Jake Gaskill.
Also: I liked climbing around like a damn monkey. Also: if you were wondering who it was who just stayed camped behind the turret the entire match, firing a machine gun wildly, that was me. And I don’t appreciate your attempts to unseat me from my perch.
In summation, Uncharted 3’s multiplayer beta is fun.
Jake Gaskill: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was the game that convinced me to get a PS3, and while I loved the hell out of the single-player, I never got around to investing any time in the multiplayer, so I can’t really speak to how Uncharted 3’s MP compares to Uncharted 2’s, but what I can tell you is that I’m thoroughly enjoying myself thus far. As a lot of people have said, the airplane chase at the beginning of the Airstrip map is spectacular, and I would have been happy having that be the entire map. There are just so many moving parts, and engaging in shootouts while leaping between trucks and blasting dudes out of the cargo hold with a perfectly placed grenade never ceases to bring a smile to my face.
(This map also got me thinking that I would kill to have a map set on a speeding train, with one team defending the engine and the other team trying to blow it up. Would have been more appropriate in Uncharted 2, but I wouldn’t complain.)
While the rest of Airstrip and Chateau aren’t as thrilling as the plane chase, they still offer plenty of opportunities for all manner of mayhem. The climbing has some quirks when it comes to certain ledges and certain angles, but for the most part, it’s just as fast and fluid as ever. In fact, there was a moment where I popped a dude, leapt through a nearby hole in the wall, dodged incoming fire, hopped up to a roof, jumped to an adjoining ledge, tossed a grenade behind me at pursuing enemies, and bolted from the scene of the crime in a matter of seconds and without a hiccup. As I was catching my breath, all I could think was, “Umm...Is this Uncharted or Brink?” And I mean that in the best way possible.
There are some issues that still need to be ironed out, like hit damage. There have been countless occasions where the only part of an enemy that was exposed was their head, and I would unload half of a clip into them, only to be killed by a single shot to the head. It also regularly takes almost an entire clip from pointblank range to bring people down, which is just absurd, especially given that no one has body armor of any kind. Grenades also vacillate between being way too powerful or not powerful enough. Sometimes an enemy would be right next to one and only stumble, while I’d be blown to hell from several feet away. But that’s the kind of tuning that betas are designed for, so I’m not terrible concerned about it being an issue at this point, especially since, overall, I’m having an absolute blast with multiplayer, and I can’t wait to see the other modes and maps in action.
Eric Eckstein: I made a special effort to finish Uncharted 2 before taking a peek at the Uncharted 3 multiplayer beta. I knew it wasn't a story-based demo, but I'm a completionist and needed to pay my dues. Unfortunately, despite my best attempts at playing UC2 multiplayer, I was thwarted by updates barring entry so I could compare the UC3 beta to the previous game. Either way, the current beta more than makes up for those difficulties...when it's working.
This is a true beta, and far from a final product, so make sure you're up for technical as well as game balance issues. Otherwise, you're bound to be frustrated by the game. If you can get over that hump, a very fun game waits for you that plays differently than the current crop of shooters.
While only two basic game types (Deathmatch and its variants, and Co-Op) exists on two different maps, there still is a lot of value inside. In Deathmatch, there's a new buddy system which partners you with another player, rewarding you both if you take down an enemy together and make the time to High Five each other over the corpse. This needs a bit of tuning, as way too many times my partner and I struggled to find the right hotspot to high-five instead of getting mowed down by enemies. Rewards come in cash for leveling your rank and medals, which deliver "Kickbacks" that trigger special abilities like vanishing in a smoke cloud or spawning with a RPG. My favorite is the Creepy Crawlie kickback, which transforms you into a horde of insects that devour anything in their path. You have to be really good or get extremely lucky though to trigger that one, as it requires 17 medals before you can even trigger it.
That's one of the problems with the current beta, as the kill counts are set too low for the competitive multiplayer game. The efforts you need to go through to find a suitable playable game are rough, so to get dumped so quickly is a bit of an annoyance. However, the maps are really a blast between the assault on the cargo plane on the backs of trucks in Airplane or the zipline takedowns on the Chateau. It definitely makes me hungry for more maps when the full game comes out if this is the bar set for multiplayer.
I'll leave off my impressions with one tip: Level up through Co-Op Arena, and when you get to Gold Rush, don't return the chest. Yes, you'll end up "failing" the mission, but Gold Rush produces endless soldiers for you to kill, and you can acquire a ton of cash and medals. I was averaging a minimum of 2 ranks per mission just from this, which was far less than what I could earn in Deathmatch. Happy Hunting!