|Dev: Naughty Dog|
|Release: November 1, 2011|
|Players: 1, 2 offline, 3 online co-op, 12 online versus|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Josh Wirtanen
Maybe I'm just anxious, but it feels as if news about Uncharted 3 is just barely trickling in. We finally got our hands on the game at E3, but we were only able to play Team Deathmatch. Now, the open beta has arrived, and the curtain has been lifted on a few of the other multiplayer game types. Of course, we here at Cheat Code Central were anxious to dive right in.
Co-op Arena is definitely the fastest way to earn cash to help you level up and purchase those upgrades. It has up to three players work together to accomplish specific goals. Once a goal is accomplished, you will move on to the next round. There are three different types of goals. Survival has you battle against large amounts of A.I. foes. The Survival round ends when all the enemies have been defeated, and this sometimes means you'll have to hunt down a soldier that has wandered off somewhere. The Siege round has players defend a specific area. There is a glowing square on the ground, and all the players on a team must be inside this square in order for kills to count. Standing inside the square also causes a timer to count down, and the round ends once the counter expires. Lastly, there is Gold Rush, which requires one player to carry a treasure across the map and deposit it in a box while the other two hold back the enemy troops. Once the treasure is deposited, the round ends and all enemies still roaming around will instantly drop dead.
These three round types are randomized to keep things interesting, and the more rounds you survive, the more difficult the A.I. enemies become. Eventually, you will face off against riot gear-toting soldiers and soldiers with RPG launchers.
The slowest game mode for earning cash is Three Team Deathmatch. This mode separates players into three teams of two, and the first team that can rack up 20 kills wins. I was surprised at how much this actually changes the way you need to play the game. In standard Team Deathmatch, you are focused primarily on your own kill/death ratio. If you run off and abandon your team, you can score a bunch of kills. However, in Three Team Deathmatch, sticking with your partner is essential for survival. The lonely solo player will often get double-teamed by a duo that is actually working cooperatively.
However, Three Team Deathmatch has a few problems. The worst offender is the matchup system. Unless you decide to team up with someone on your friends list, you will be paired with someone completely random. And the game won't necessarily take into consideration the skill level of players. For example, I was at level 12. I was paired with a level 2 player against a team of two level 24 players. In fact, at one point in the match, my partner had a "Eureka!" moment upon discovering he could use the L1 button to aim. Now, I don't have a problem helping a newbie learn the ropes, but pitting one against players almost at level cap is just silly. (The beta level cap is 25.) It's pretty obvious who's going to win in that situation.
Another time, I was teamed up with a player who promptly bailed on me as soon as the match started. That left me going solo against two other teams of two. I was eventually joined by another player, but as soon as he saw how few kills I had scored while playing alone, he bailed as well.
Three Team Deathmatch is something you'll want to do with someone you actually know, preferably via splitscreen or with a headset. If the matchup system isn't made a bit more balanced, I'm afraid this one may not get the active community required to keep it afloat.
The other modes are less remarkable. Free For All was a much-requested addition to the game, and it's nice to see that our cries did not go unnoticed. It's an every-man-for-himself frag fest, and provides a great way to blow off steam after being stuck with a jerk of a partner in Three Team Deathmatch.
Hardcore Team Deathmatch allows you to play the standard Team Deathmatch mode, only without any kickbacks or boosters.
One feature I found incredibly useful was the addition of splitscreen co-op. Playing Uncharted 2 was always a lot of fun with a friend, but that meant there would be a lot of taking turns and handing the controller back and forth. We were always inventing strategies that would have been a lot of fun to pull off if we could both play at the same time, yet these went largely unfulfilled. With Uncharted 3, two players will be able to play at once, and that's awesome. The one drawback, however, is that the maps in Uncharted 3 emphasize verticality. When playing on a screen that is squished vertically, it makes noticing things above you a lot more difficult. I suppose this comes as a double-edged sword, as you are able to better work together with your partner, yet have a slightly disadvantageous field of vision.
My time with Uncharted 3's beta was definitely enjoyable, and the full game remains on my "must-have" list for November.
CCC Editor/Contributing Writer