If you’re reading this and you’ve not yet played the beta, then yes, either by robbing a bank or bribing Naughty Dog you somehow need to get into the Uncharted 2 multiplayer beta right now. It’s that good. For those who have pre-order Uncharted 2 or managed to snag a beta key, access is granted from September 15th. I’m led to believe that general availability of the beta is September 29th.
My initial thoughts: graphics are dripping with quality, gameplay is solid and spot-on, and overall it’s serious fun!
I dn’t know where to start with this initial hands-on look. I suppose I’d like to mention first that I was very, very sceptical of the prospect of multiplayer within the Uncharted franchise. After all, the original Uncharted remains my favourite game so far, and going through the single player adventure was enjoyable, but it was my experience, and so Uncharted felt like my personal, special game and I didn’t really want to share it with anyone.
Now that my disclosure is out of the way, I’d like to tell you right now that everything I thought before was wrong. Naughty Dog have treated the Uncharted franchise with continuity, fluidity, and respect. So much so that the multiplayer experience behaves and feels like the authentic Uncharted experience you remembered from the first game: perfect. Added game mechanics, such as grabbing riot shields for cover, and lugging around heavy relics, feel like natural extensions to existing abilities.
Admittedly, even though I scored quite a few kills, I died just as often! I’ll admit that when I started out for the very first time in ‘Chain Reaction’ I had no idea what I was doing! However, already knowing most of the controls (but getting used to the new grenade controls), it was a case of reading the on-screen icons and hints, and everything fit together. If you want to take a look at my stats, they’re available at Naughty Dog’s newly revamped (and absolutely awesome) site: http://naughtydog.com/stats/index/LosHavros
The other multiplayer mode I went on was ‘Plunder’. I’ll let Wikipedia explain the rest:
Plunder is similar to the traditional capture the flag game mode, and sees each team attempt to capture the treasure from a central point in the map and return it to their base; the player carrying the treasure is slowed down a great deal, and may also choose to hurl the treasure away at any point, in order to keep it out of reach of the enemy, or to pass it to a teammate.
Whilst I could never quite ‘score’ with returning the treasure (due to getting killed, or failing to figure out how to throw the treasure to safety) I think I achieved most of my kills in this game mode. Scoring headshots with the pistol, or simply pumping the enemy full of lead with an AK-47 served me well, but also I managed a nice number of hand-to-hand kills by either beating enemies down or sneaking up behind them and snapping their necks. Sweet.
The levelling system for your profile adds a nice RPG element, and the medals you’re awarded for doing certain things like killing a number of enemies, or with a certain type of weapon etc get you in-game ‘cash’ which you can spend on attribute slots. There’s a couple of slots where you can add certain attributes or skills like greater accuracy when shooting from the hip, and the ability to carry more ammo.