Uncharted Multiplayer Beta Impressions – Week 2

It was probably the plan all along, but after a week of the Uncharted 3 multiplayer beta and its somewhat lackluster, run-of-the-mill multiplayer modes, Naughty Dog rolled out a few new modes to take the places of some of the older ones, adding some much needed variety to the package.

Even though there were only a couple of new modes — primarily Team Objective and Hunters — we’re already seeing that Naughty Dog is bringing a lot of different capabilities into Uncharted 3′s multiplayer offerings. Having full access to everything will be nice when the game finally hits shelves, but for now, just knowing there’s more than the deathmatch game types on offer.


Uncharted 3 (PS3 [Reviewed], XBox360)
Developer: Naughty Dog Software
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: November 1, 2011
MSRP: $59.99

The new modes aren’t too different from things fans of the third-person shooter genre are used to, but they do go a long way to mixing things up. Team Objective, for example, is basically Team Deathmatch with additional goals thrown in — like a capture-the-flag scenario in which each team tries to grab a golden idol and drag it back to their base. Again, this isn’t much out of the ordinary, but it works well with Uncharted’s vertical gameplay. Objectives make for more to do than just blasting enemies, and the way the maps are laid out means players can cover them quickly to address issues, like an opponent making off with the golden idol-flag thing. The mode is competitive and fast-paced, and it works out to be a lot of fun.

Probably the best mode in Uncharted 3 so far, in terms of both originality and engaging players’ brains rather than just their trigger fingers, is Hunters. It replaces the previous Survival co-op mode and actually pits two teams against one another — one, a pair of heroes charged with taking any of a series of golden idols to a goal location; the other, players taking the parts of Uncharted 3′s henchmen enemies and all the weaknesses that includes.

In Hunters, the Hero team has only a short distance to go and a simple goal: grab idol, take it to crate. Meanwhile, they’re on guard against enemies from all directions, which come in waves. Most of these enemies are the NPC henchmen we saw in the Survival mode, but a few are controlled by actual players. The goal is to swarm the heroes, put them down and stop them from scoring points by returning the idols to the crates. In each successive wave, the villain team becomes better equipped and stronger, starting with pistols and moving on to automatics and the like. Heroes, on the other hand, just get their Boosters and load-outs as if Hunters was any other game mode.

The mode makes for some interesting, quality challenges. Playing Heroes is vastly different from Villains, because like all good henchmen, the Villain team is highly expendable. It’ll respawn until the wave ends (with either the Heroes being killed or scoring a point) and they can mass around the goal make an effective stopgap. Heroes, on the other hand, have to really use their advantages. They can revive each other, which is handy, and they have things like grenades and better weapons, but they’re handicapped by the need to carry an idol, which causes one player to lose the ability to fire weapons. Most players seem tempted to grab the idol and charge headlong toward the crate, but Hunters requires quite a bit more strategy and teamwork than that, from both sides. And since the Villains switch to the Hero team and vice versa after a few rounds, teams will be challenged to be good at what they do on both sides of the field.

Uncharted 3 is still hampered by its lack of maps. That airstrip level is getting old, despite how well-designed and cinematic it is, because the damn airplane part has become kind of tedious. Players know the levels exceedingly well by now, and with cool new game modes, it makes one wish there were new spaces to explore on which to play them. We’re only going for another few days, so the map consideration isn’t that big of a deal, but it’d still be nice to see a little more of the depth of Uncharted 3.

But all in all, Week 2 has been a pretty big step forward in the beta, with even better stuff now available for the final week. The beta wraps up on Thursday, July 14, so if you haven’t fired up your Playstation 3 to give it a go, time is almost up to do so. We’ll bring you our final impressions as the beta draws to a close.

Pros:

  • New modes add much-needed variety to the beta
  • Uncharted well-suited for objective-based gameplay, and Naughty Dog seems to have recognized that
  • Hunters mode really tests players
  • Hunters is probably the best thing we’ve seen from Uncharted 3 so far
    • Cons:

      • It’d be nice to have a new map or two
      • Many of the game modes are still standard first- and third-person shooter fare

      Check out our impressions from Week 1 of the Uncharted 3 Multiplayer Beta.

      Heard the rumors about the Nolan North book? We report from Comic-Con 2011.

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