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For those of you that bought inFamous 2, the multiplayer beta for Uncharted 3 is available now for you jump in and enjoy. Everyone else will gain access from July 5th and last until the 13th, and first impressions are simply great. Uncharted 3 is easily the Playstation 3’s biggest exclusive this year and, as such, it has incredible expectations to live up to. I haven’t played a great deal of the multiplayer in Uncharted 2, but what I’ve seen so far from this beta is certainly impressive.
The beta contains the usual suspects for a modern multiplayer game; you’ve got customizable load outs and perks for your character, a persistent levelling system, and a boat-load of unlockables, all of which is tied to the ranking system. You can also earn money from matches that can be used to purchase all kinds of goodies. This certainly isn’t anything new, but it seems to be implemented well.
The biggest improvement is immediately found in the climbing. It is far more responsive and fluid and it dramatically increases the pace of the matches. So far there are two maps to play on. The airstrip map has a unique setup as the match begins with one team aboard a plane travelling down a runway and the opposing team on perusing trucks that must jump onto the plane. Once this section is done you are put onto an airstrip map for the rest of the match. It’s a really interesting approach to the tried and tested game types and hopefully it will be present in more maps for the final game.
The beta contains both competitive and cooperative matchmaking and they can both be customized. Both are incredibly fun to play, but the two map limit makes long sessions seem quite monotonous at times. The variety of weapons does offset this a little, as does the speed at which you’re going from match to match. Initial matchmaking can be very slow though - it’s taken upwards of five minutes to find a game but this is very rare. The competitive multiplayer really seems to lack any kind of impact; nothing really jumps out at you or is particularly gratifying. The gameplay is perfectly competent and the controls are really smooth but there just isn’t anything satisfying about the core shooting. The weapons feel hollow and don’t sound like they pack a hard punch.
The coop mode is what steels the spotlight for me. You’re put into a team of three and must survive wave after wave of enemy onslaughts. The later waves can get pretty hectic and the enemies have some new tricks up their sleeve that force you to mix up your approaches. As a team you will share a pool of lives and when you run out you start over, so be sure to revive your team mates if they go down. The only downside to this mode is the enemy spawns can be very unfair at times: having 2 guys with riot shields spawn in front of you while you’re gathering ammo is seriously not cool.
Going by what this beta shows so far for Uncharted 3, the game is shaping up very nicely. While the competitive multiplayer might not have the punch you might expect, it’s still fun to play. The coop survival mode is also a ton of fun, even with strangers. Below is a list of the changes that will take course over the duration of the beta.
June 28th – July 4th
Games: Team Death Match, Plunder, Three Team TDM, Coop Arena
Maps: Airstrip, Chateau
July 4th – July 8th
Games: Team Death Match, Free For All, Team Objective, Coop Hunter
Maps: Airstrip, Chateau
July 9th – July 13th
Games: TDM, Three Team TDM, Coop Adventure
Maps: Airstrip, Yemen