Uncharted 3 Multiplayer: That Sinking Feeling

8 11 2011

As per every other review you’ve read about Uncharted 3, it delivers one heck of a storytelling experience that makes it well worth the purchase. However, what exactly came of Naughty Dog’s vow to step up their efforts with multiplayer and deliver an equally awesome game mode? Our own IncreaseBlue delved into the multiplayer mode of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and breaks down the differences, improvements, and problems.


IncreaseBlue-

If you like FPS games or despised the multiplayer in Uncharted 2, then just avoid the multiplayer in Uncharted 3 altogether. It basically poses more of the same thing with few changes. Players can still play deathmatch, plunder, team objective, free-for-all, and co-op modes like in Uncharted 2, with several tweaks and shortcomings.

Kickbacks and Power Plays-
One change is the use of ‘kickbacks’ where if a player accrues enough in-game medals (bonuses for kills, actions in matches) they can activate a power, whether it be instantaneously exploding grenades or turning into a swarm of deadly spiders is up to the player’s choice and level. This has been adjusted so it’s far less spammable than it was in the beta. Lower level kickbacks like sniper rifles and RPGs utilize fewer medals, while the most damaging kickbacks (I.e. Creepy Crawler) require upwards of 14+ medals before being activated.

The higher level kickbacks are harder to fulfill medals for during a match, but can have some nice rewards like the Creepy Crawler one does.

Another neat feature is the ‘power plays’ which give temporary bonuses to the losing team mid-match to spice things up. Some examples include opposing teams doing double damage, getting double points for killing a single marked enemy, or being able to see all enemy locations on the map for a time. This actually works well in the multiplayer and keeps matches fairly interesting.

Maps-

The London Undergound map quickly gets cramped with player respawns and limited room for movement. Screen courtesy of GameRant.

There are several new maps reflecting in-game locations such as Syria, Chateau, and Airstrip, as well as four returning maps from Uncharted 2 including Highrise and the Museum. Some maps use dynamic features like Airstrip where they begin in a moving location and then transport players to a “steadier” spot for the rest of the match. With Airstrip it works well enough but with another called London Underground where you begin on moving subway trains, it becomes a jumbled mess of players accidentally falling off cars or getting caught in spawn loops.

Of course, weapons are still difficult to get used to, some maps like London Underground and City of Brass become cramped and respawn enemies on top of enemies, and the doling out of gun/explosive/melee damage to enemy players is a mystery on its own. The co-op modes tend to be easier on the player, as headshots actually don’t require more than three bullets and generally yield more cash for bonuses.

Modes and Customizations-
Co-op modes make a return and players have the option of playing through missions, arena, or team v. team modes with two other partners. The missions seem a lot shorter than they were in Uncharted 2 and instead of being separate experiences, there are five “episodes” revolving around a single storyline. Unfortunately the auto-selector only drums up two to vote on, and you’re not always guaranteed a vote on the next sequential mission. For example, a buddy of mine hopped into the co-op mission mode and were forced to play starting with mission four, then one, three, and the finale at five (we never got to mission two).

Co-op missions are shorter this time around, but still yield good money if you have a strong team.

Customization was another hyped factor in the beta and commercials for the game but it doesn’t add much to the experience. Gun changes are limited to larger clips or improved accuracy, taking away the need to burn a booster in order to do it, but you can only select one or two changes to your given gun loadout.

Character customization just makes things more confusing than they were in Uncharted 2 MP. Players can unlock items to deck out their heroes and villains, but the both defaults tend to look the same (bald guys with shabby clothes). Some customizations are so bizarre they’re downright out of place (like one player I saw running around in a skull mask and ghillie suit) and overall make it tremendously more difficult discerning enemy from friend.

The multiplayer does have the option to be played on a LAN, but the game modes are fairly frustrating and too uneven to support anything except casual tournaments.

Final Verdict: 8/10
Uncharted 3 is still a very strong storytelling experience, but having a more intense focus on multiplayer might have shorted the quality on the backend of the main campaign. It would have been more satisfying to keep a single player experience with multiple pieces of story DLC instead of a somewhat frustrating multiplayer mode.

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