If you haven’t downloaded the Uncharted 3 Multiplayer Beta you’ve got a couple days left. All the content has been unlocked for the final week of the beta, so there’s plenty of modes and customization options to explore. I played a good bit of it so far and it’s got me even more excited for the full game release in November, here’s why:
As you enter into most modes you’re assigned a random buddy. At first I thought this might be awkward with someone you don’t know, but your level of buddy participation is up to you. Your buddy acts as a mobile spawn point. As long as they are not getting shot at, you can spawn right next to them when you die. There are also other perks, like earning extra money for high fiving over the corpse of someone you both took down, or having the ability to collect treasure for each other. It’s a neat system that encourages team work, even with strangers. Also, if you’re in a party of two, as I was this weekend with my brother, you’ll always be buddies, which is cool.
The treasure system is a little odd, but I like it. There are several chests in each map that will randomly light up. If you get to it quick enough you can grab some treasure. Sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s a medal and sometimes it’s a random artifact. The chests are open to anyone, but the treasure dropped from shooting dudes is just yours. That means no one can grief you and pick up your loot drops. The only other person that can see your treasure is your buddy, and if your buddy picks it up, it goes straight to you.
This is Uncharted’s take on the kill streaks in Call of Duty. The difference is that medal kickbacks aren’t always attached to kills. You’ll get awarded medals for all kinds of things—running a long distance, picking up treasure, defending a buddy, dodging a grenade, etc. Medals accumulate throughout the match and aren’t tied to player death. So if your RPG kickback costs 14 medals and you die with 12, you don’t lose those medals. To me that’s great because it means everyone gets to see the cool content kickbacks award you with, even if you die a lot (there’s a medal for that too). I hated kill streaks in Call of Duty because if I managed to get a good one I’d almost always botch the execution because I didn’t get it often enough to know how to use it properly.
Just the act of moving around in Uncharted 3 mulitplayer is fun. You can quickly scale most walls and pop in and out of cover anywhere. The animation is smooth and detailed, but never hinders the gunplay, like some games in the genre do (Lost Planet for example). I would love to see the roll and take cover actions split across two buttons though. I’ve had a few times where I mashed O to roll away and instead flattened against a wall, where I was promptly filled with lead.
So far there’s only one example of this in the beta, but it’s very cool. If you play Team Deathmatch on the Airstrip map one team will start in a speeding cargo plane and the other team will start in the beds of trucks chasing after the plane. The trucks shift position as they attempt to keep up with the plane. If you’re in the plane you have to defend the two side doors and the open cargo hatch. If you’re outside the plane, you have to leap between moving trucks to get into the plane. After a few minutes the plane takes off and the players move on to the full Airstrip map. I’m not sure if defending or taking over the plane does anything for you, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s an intense and exciting opening to a multiplayer match—I can’t wait to see what else they have in store.
I believe the beta is open till the 14th. It’s free for all PlayStation owners, so jump on and have some fun before it ends. Uncharted 3 was already a must-buy for me based on the strength of the single player in Uncharted 2. I’m not a huge competitive multiplayer guy, but this one is going to have me glued to the couch come November.