If there’s one thing that’s always bugged me about Uncharted 4’s online multiplayer, it’s the lack of modes. Before the most recent update there were only three – Team Deathmatch, Command, and Plunder. Although incredibly fun, longtime fans of the series will remember a much wider selection. Modes like Turf War, Chain Reaction, and the superb Team Objective helped to generate an endless supply of intense combat scenarios.
Several years down the line, with a completely revised approach to gameplay, Naughty Dog couldn’t simply port these match types over. Having recently gone back to Uncharted 2’s multiplayer, the difference is fairly substantial. Instead of being instantly KO’d, for example, players can now be revived after being gunned down. Character movement is also way more fluid than it was thanks to the grappling hook and clever map designs. These fundamental changes, as well as the inclusion of sidekicks, mysticals, and other loadout options, have created a paradigm in which previous Uncharted game modes wouldn’t work as well as fans might remember.
With Bounty Hunter, Naughty Dog seems to have found a winner. In short, Uncharted 4’s newest mode mimics the ‘Kill Confirmed’ archetype popularised by Call of Duty and other first person shooters. Two teams of five go head-to-head in what feels like a regular Deathmatch, though there’s an important twist. When KO’d players will drop bounty tokens which, when retrieved by the opposing side, will bag them points. Players can also scoop up the tokens from fallen allies, effectively denying the other team.
On paper it sounds incredibly simple though has a marked impact on the ways in which both sides approach each combat scenario. For example, while sniping is still a great way of picking off targets, unless you can quicktime your way over to the dropped token, you’ve effectively wasted a kill. Meanwhile, chasing bounties like a madman can backfire. Teams will often set an ambush around them, gunning down enemies before sending in a teammate or two to collect a huge pile of tokens.
As with Command, Naughty Dog has taken a familiar game mode, then added its own twist through the inclusion of Captains. In each match, both sides will take turns in hunting the enemy captain and retrieving their bounty. Instead of simply walking over it, players will need to hunker down and wait for a meter to fill, temporarily exposing themselves. When these premium bounties appear, they effectively create self-contained bubbles of all-out mayhem.
Bounty Hunter hardly breaks the mould but is easily the best addition to Uncharted 4’s multiplayer so far. It’s an intense, fun mode that doesn’t overly complicate the existing formula. What’s more is that all maps have been retrofitted to accommodate this new game type, from Madagascar City to returning fan favourite, The Village,