Alright guys the Uncharted 3 Beta is one of the biggest things to happen in PlayStation this summer. With such a large beta for one of the biggest upcoming games this year it’s important to see how one of its biggest components (the multiplayer) fares in the beta! This Uncharted 3 Multiplayer Preview will be split into 3 parts with my impressions of the game from the start of the beta, middle of the beta, and end of the beta. So without further adieu here is the PlayStation Euphoria Preview of Uncharted 3 Multiplayer.
Uncharted 3 starts out like most betas’ do. Laggy servers, no matchmaking, inability to connect, you are basically stuck and unable to play for a good 7-8 hours before the beta starts to get organized enough to be playable. After this long wait you are finally able to get in and from the get go you have a video explaining all the new features. (the same video released by Naughty Dog and the PS.Blog the day the beta started) After the quick introduction you are greeted to a relatively large menu screen, a view of your character, Uncharted TV, and some matchmaking info.
Let’s get Uncharted TV out of the way right and quick. Uncharted TV will show up at the menu at all times when you’re not in-game. Showing you the latest gameplay and videos related to Uncharted 3. This is a cool feature because it allows people to be constantly up-to-date in a more interactive and engaging way. The possibilities with this device are seemingly endless and look like it has a lot to offer.
Now from this point on I will say this beginning part of the beta goes downhill. And you know what they say: “When you get over the hill you start picking up speed.” I would like to reiterate that this is my impression from the beginning of the beta at the time of writing this.
As I was saying things begin to get worse. Let’s start off with the graphics. I know this is just a beta and Naughty Dog is known for having massive graphical updates right before the game releases but at where the graphics stand now, they look horrible. With little to no updating from uncharted one and possibly some signs of having gotten worse I wonder whether Naughty Dog will be able to pull off a graphical overhaul they will desperately need to keep up with pressure from the fans. Environments have low res textures, characters don’t look detailed, and the levels just look bland.
Let me move onto the gameplay now. Uncharted 3 plays VERY different from Uncharted 2. Every single weapon and every characters health and almost all weapon accuracy have been nerfed. Why would Naughty Dog do this? Why would any developer do this? This is usually because the environment is smaller to keep the action intense. Having that style of gameplay makes Uncharted 3 more and more similar to a game like Call of Duty. Call of Duty has small environments for the most part and that’s why it works. Unfortunately these gameplay changes don’t have any chemistry with the large maps. The airfield map is so large I usually spend 70% of my time looking for an enemy.
Another thing I didn’t like about the large maps is that you can’t instinctively know at all where the enemy is like in Uncharted 2. Uncharted 2 had smaller maps that we’re just the right size because depending on your teammate’s positions you could single out the likely locations of your enemies. It was instinctive and fluid and kept the action alive and fast. Uncharted 3’s large map structure destroys this concept that made Uncharted 2 so polished with its multiplayer.
That’s my issue with the maps but there are some other core design changes that just don’t work. Sprinting would be one. The walking speed of all the characters is slower than in Uncharted 2 so sprinting would be more of an option. This unfortunately does not work because of the goofy way the sprint camera works and the greater lack of control of your character. This would not be bad at all though if the maps weren’t so 3 dimensional. Now before everyone screams at me I will say that vertical emphasis on multiplayer maps is a great thing and I love it but it also does not have chemistry with the sprinting.
Power Plays bring my next issue to mind. Where Power Plays was something I thought would be used to make things more intense at the end of a match in fact they really don’t do much unless Double Damage is activated. In many of the games I played Power Plays didn’t do much to change the score of a game and acted like such a crutch for the losing team that it prolonged something we didn’t want and when Double damage came into play the winning team would back off. When the winning team backed off the losing team could not get the range (due to the inaccuracy of the AK-47 or the inability to find people). This just ruined the flow of the game and made the power plays a more of a pain for both teams than a great feature.
Medal Kickbacks we’re one of the only things I thought we’re well balanced in Uncharted 3 having them be just the right difficulty to get without ever being too overpowered on top of the balance you get with your ability to lose some of your kickbacks. I like this part of the beta but again it was one good thing surrounded by bad things.Bad things suchs as teh boosters the boosters.
The Boosters in Uncharted 3, (while more balanced than Uncharted 2.) became useless. You don’t balance boosters or perks by making them useless. Boosters like showing the power weapon locations can only be useful until you know where the spawn locations are for them. And other Boosters like the one that allows you to see the person who killed you for 15 meters we’re also useless because with large maps like this 15 meters is not much.
Also, the Airfield map, when you start out on the moving trucks can be severely unbalanced yet be the most exciting part of the game due to its smaller size.
Co-op in the Uncharted 3 Beta could be one of the strongest factors this beta has going for it. While the gameplay and survival as well as gold rush is all fun it seems like they are better suited for the bigger maps. I will say the co-op difficulty has definitely been increased due to the smaller amounts of health you now have making it even more of a challenge and this allows the co-op to do well. Unfortunately co-op games in general don’t usually last in interest like the competitive multiplayer does.
At this point it will be difficult for Naughty Dog to fix some of the problems I have stated as most of them seem to be core design flaws or decisions I flat out do not agree with. That is not to say this is not beyond fixable and I am rating this now as before 1.01 update! I’ll come back and tell you some updated impressions after the first week of the beta!
Now before you guys all start screaming at me for looking at the very unpolished part of the Beta let me just say that it is important to look at where a Beta goes from its worst point to its high point. With that being said let me move on to how the multiplayer Beta has changed. In the second part of the beta we are now able to play team objective and plunder entered the mix as well as Co-op Hunter. Before I talk about all of these gametypes let me say that many on the lag and gameplay issues we’re ALL fixed after their first few updates by now. Well, not exactly everything but at this point the AK-47 feels useful again and characters have a lot more health than before.
The health is relatively high at this point but kills aren’t exactly hard to achieve now. This is where the health balance was about at during the early times of Uncharted 2. Weapon damage is pretty well balanced and the gametypes played at this point in the beta make the maps play and feel a lot smaller by focusing people around objective points. The only thing that feels slightly overpowered would be the Grenade. The “nades” in my opinion should do less damage but keep the blast area. This will cause more people to get the lucky medal but it’s worth it.
This was even more important during plunder! Plunder had a lot more competitive awareness than it ever had before. What I mean by this is that Playing Plunder in Uncharted 3 felt like more of a competition than it did in uncharted 2. Not because the matches we’re a little more balanced but because there was so much more action going on at every step of the match that there was a genuine feel of higher competition. This is great news for Uncharted because it overall just amps up the multiplayer in ways that may not be immediately seen but have long term effects.
So far Uncharted 3 feels really good. A lot like uncharted 2 in many ways but also making each game now feel a lot faster and more intense. What felt off at this point was just the new Co-op mode named Co-Op Hunter.
Co-Op Hunter was more of a competitive co-op that allowed to teams of two to compete with each other. What happens is one team of buddies will have the objective of taking one of three treasures to their corresponding capture point while the other team of buddies and the AI stopped them. The more the AI team would play the more Co-Op load-outs they would earn.
This was a tad bit confusing at first but, the more you play the more you see that it’s just plain not that fun and was unbalanced towards the team with the AI. The way the Gametype should have worked was to have three treasures all go the same capture point. This would allow for a little more balance and more intense action in my opinion. Either way this co-op mode was not up to the standard of quality the rest of the Co-Op is.
Overall the 2nd part of the beta has me changing my tone. Really ever since the first update things started to look up. Right now I still have issues with the competitive perks not being entirely useful yet, but beyond that I don’t really see many issues in terms of game design. The medal kickbacks are way awesome because they aren’t overpowered or very powerful at all yet they are stackable and balanced in the amount of medals it takes to get to them. Let’s move on to the final part of the Uncharted 3 Beta.
In The End
Uncharted 3 is looking like It will be able to outdo itself yet again. The graphics don’t look that good at the moment but then again considering the graphical leap uncharted 2 made right before release I am not too worried about it. What I am worried about is the power of the grenades, more useful perks, and Co-Op Hunter. What was introduced in the last section of the Uncharted 3 beta was Co-Op Adventure and Yemen. Don’t forget though that at the end of the beta all previous gametypes we’re now available to play!
At this point I will say that the Power Plays since they are only in Team Deathmatch are actually making me happy and I am very interested in trying out team death match on new maps because with small maps Team Deathmatch power plays as well as overtime moments will be quite intense. Maps like Airfield and Yemen are too big to feel the full intensity of the power plays but at places like the chateau you are definitely in for some fun especially if you are using the buddy system.
The Adventure Co-op mode which was the last Co-op to try out in the Beta was really fun if really short. Starting off with a some use of stealth moving into a whole objective placed story with cut-scenes in all showed that Naughty Dog will really be bringing the Cinematic Uncharted feel to Co-op more so than they did in Uncharted 2. What was really nice to see in the adventure co-op though was that it did not seem very linear at all despite the fact that it was set on a list of objectives. The map layout kept the game feeling different each time played. Adventure mode is definitely going to be the shining star of the co-op if they can make it last a lot longer than the beta’s of course it may have been short on the beta for reasons of not spoiling story details ahead and what not.
After all is said and done Uncharted 3’s Multiplayer Beta kept everything I loved about Uncharted 2 multiplayer and focused on getting more intense action into the players hands as fast as possible. Despite the massive speculation I had before their first update I will say that the more I played the Beta the more things seemed to fit into place making Uncharted 3 a big game to watch out for this year. Everything is not butterflies and rainbows for Uncharted though as it does have some balancing issues here and there and the gameplay does get stale after playing it for a long period of time. Naughty Dog is going to need to make the collectible treasures and whatnot a little more desirable to get more of a pull in the multiplayer field but all will be revealed on November first when Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Releases worldwide.