Hands On: Uncharted 3 Beta

Around three and a half years ago, when I first played through Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune I never at one point thought that it was a game that could really benefit from multiplayer. Uncharted, to me, was always about the adventure. It’s the wonderful story and the action-packed sections above all make it. So, when Uncharted 2 came along and brought an online mode with it, I didn’t think much of it. I played some games and enjoyed them, but I never stuck around.

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The third game in the series arrives in November, and brings with it a revamped multiplayer mode. Over the past few days, I’ve been exploring the beta. How does it hold up, and has it changed my mind about multiplayer Uncharted? To a certain extent, yes it has. One main reason: the maps. They’re more than just maps that you’re dropped into for a match – more like short, action-packed scenes. It’s this that puts the Uncharted 3 online mode, even in beta form, above many other multiplayer games.

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Airstrip in Team Deathmatch, then, starts with an explosive fight involving an airplane taking off and the trucks on its tail. It’s a dynamic scene that lasts for two minutes of the twenty minute time limit; just the right amount of time so that on playing again it doesn’t get boring. The plane takes off, leaving both teams to fight it out at an abandoned airfield. This map is quite well balanced: two flanks, littered with cover and great for both long range shooting or close quarters fighting, on either side of a warehouse, which you’re able to climb on top of for a useful vantage point, or go inside for more close quarters action.

The other playable map, Chateau, is undeniably Uncharted. It’s a massive, ruinous building with a walled garden surrounding it. This allows for combat inside the building, out in the garden or down the side that connects them together. Whilst it has nothing to match the runaway plane section of Airstrip, it does have a small cutscene at the start showing one team attacking the chateau whilst the other team enters from the other side, and the interior of the building will eventually catch fire and burn down, making the roof fall through; it’s obvious that Naughty Dog are aiming to bring what made the story mode so good into the multiplayer, and it’s done well.

There’s one big problem with these two maps, however. As with many other multiplayer games, the turrets are unbalanced and often taken advantage of. There’s a few other little bugs too, but that’s to be expected from a beta. The gameplay is solid, with third-person shooter controls near identical to previous Uncharted games. Shooting and cover mechanics are as fluid as ever, it’s great to see a control scheme such as this that just works.

The beta brings its own form of perks with Boosters. You can unlock these by ranking up and buy them with the cash you’ve earned. Boosters give you a slight advantage, such as being able to see the enemy that killed you when they’re near you so you can get revenge, or having respawn time reduced. Then there’s the Paid Boosters, unlockable by spending your earnings, that appear before a game starts. These only last one game, however, so you have to be careful with your money.

Kickbacks are effectively super Boosters, although the catch here is that they don’t last throughout an entire game. These include getting an RPG, a speed boost or having no reloading for some time. You activate these by achieving the quota of medals in a game. Medals add to your cash when received and are awarded for doing things such as getting a kill streak or getting so many assists.

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37 Comments

  1. Brilliant read.

    I’m not particularly fond of the runway section on Airstrip, it seems really gimmicky – and that section of the map, for me, really isn’t fun at all. I know others enjoy this section though, so I guess it may just be my taste.

    The lighting on the Hangar section of Airstrip is awful to play in, and in my opinion, doesn’t look that great either – this has been quite a debate on the Naughty Dog forums, too.

    One thing I really liked about Uncharted 2 Multiplayer is that it was very simple, which is, for me, why it was so fun – Uncharted 3 has complicated things a lot, though I guess that can be seen as wording it negatively, as “added a tonne of features” seems to describe the same change in a positive light.

    Either way, I’m sure I’ll be sinking a few hours into the multiplayer when it launches.

    • Oh, and if that bitch tells me to use my kickback one more time… :|

      • I suggest you use your kickback…

      • Ugh, she says it in such a patronising tone.

      • I agree she pisses me off good and proper.

    • i agree the lighting in the air strip is incredibly annoying, ive also nticed that the camera wanders slightly when im running.

      the customisation wont remember my loadout options either, and they have to sort out melee in both competetive and co-op quickly.

      but at its core very enjoyable, its all i’ve played since it got released.

  2. Turrets – nothing a well thrown grenade wont handle, or a simple flanking manoeuvre.
    Weapons – The G-MAL is a FAL by another name and look, whilst the M9 is an M4.

    I think that the UC3 beta basically just polishes up the already solid foundations of UC2. Which is exactly what people would have wanted. Leave the revolution of the gameplay for another time.

    The only thing I’m a little wary of is the kickbacks, some of which seem to be totally wacky and out of place, and the one match boosters, for which I will never, ever, bother using, since I think they’ll unbalance things with the stupid use of radar no doubt being most popular.

    Only a handful of things I miss from UC2, though, including manual ammo pick-ups. I thought they added skill to proceedings, as you could roll and grab at the same time to preserve momentum. Here it’s just automatic…

    Still 90% chuffed with the changes, and can’t wait for the 3rd map to unlock.

    • Another aspect that will unbalance things, is the people who get, the limited collectors super exclusive edition, enabling a higher value of money/credits earned, compared to the mere mortal edition. This won’t really effect me as i wont touch mp, until campaign is completed, so i’d be getting owned anyhow. (i never play mp before campaign, i like to experience the loactions in 1P first.)

      • they did the same on U2, but having joined the multiplayer only a year after launch I can say it was still ok for “noobs” to drop in. More so if Aquar/Aquastyle is on your team :P

  3. “/

  4. I love pretty much everything about the beta apart from the lighting. When walking from an exterior area to interior, there is a sudden blind spot in between that can be really annoying. I’ve notice a ton of players who camped in these transition zones just so they can pick off momentarily confused players. Turning the brightness up seems to remedy this problem to a certain degree though I would like to see some sort of resolution before the retail launch.

    • I thought the lighting was great, especially on the Chateau map… just the way it bounces off you.

    • I loved that. Thought it added another layer or realism to the play.

  5. I loaded up the beta and while watching Uncharted tv i got a hankering to return to my second Uncharted 2 playthrough so i didn’t actually play the beta yet… found a few more treasures in UC2 though. :)
    Good article, i can see it has plenty to offer mp gamers even if it’s not for me and i’m sure any imbalances can be ironed out during the beta.

  6. I don’t like drake’s new jaw. There! I said it.

    It might seem nitpicky but after the other uncharted games I almost feel angry at ND for it. That thought scares me, what have you done to me you sick, sick franchise?

    • Me either, reminds me of Bruce Forsyths’ jaw. No disrespect to you Mr. Forsyth, if your reading.

      • I am, and I’m offended. But it’s nice to see you, to see you nice.

  7. Has Sully lost his moustache, there’s something about UC3 that feels/looks different to UC1 and UC2 :(

    Also it takes a bit too long to kill someone, sure ain’t as quick as COD.

    • It took a lot of ammo to kill someone in uncharted 2 as well. I like it, it really helps with campers and dirty tactics and makes people come and face you properly.

    • I think he has had plastic surgery also. Characters, colours & textures, looked better in 1&2 imo, but game not finished yet, so to early to make my final decision.

      • – although I had uc2 mp beta & not much changed in the final version. (not that it needed to.)

      • Eh? I just assumed Nate and Sully were younger versions of themselves.. Sully looks much younger so I assumed there are flashback sections in UC3.

      • The characters being being younger was my initial thought, but drakes jaw, before he had surgery perhaps?

  8. So far I like the U3 beta, with two thing that I think need to be fixed:

    1 – Melee attacks – I just can’t figure out from what distance it takes action. I think right now it is just too far, I’ve only been able to use it when I’m pretty much on top of the guy :P

    2 – AK47 power – Isn’t it a bit too underpowered?

    • It nearly took me a full clip WITH extended mags to kill someone!!

  9. Downloaded the Beta, Saw the first couple of screens, Deleted the Beta..

    Gonna save it, something to look forward to in November :-)

  10. Good review. The whole kickbacks & powerplays were probably implemented to appeal to the masses; although I still can’t see why if a team is getting beat by 10+ kills, how that warrants double damage. I am really enjoying the 2v2v2 mode & am mainly playing hardcore which seems to give me a better uncharted experience. Should be better once the objectives playlist come out tomorrow? Overall I would say UC2 MP is better as Parker said; because it was simple. But this is growing on me & obviously its a beta so can expect some feedback to be taken for the final product.

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