The Uncharted 3 multiplayer beta has been available since June 28, 2011 for PlayStation Plus subscribers and owners of InFamous 2 (it's now open to everyone). That means I’ve been playing the beta for just shy of two weeks. It should come as no surprise that Uncharted 3’s multiplayer is a hell of a good time. So instead of doing a laundry list of items to explain why that is, I’ve decided to highlight five of the best additions that make Uncharted 3’s multiplayer (even in this early stage) better than what you played in Uncharted 2.
Sprinting isn’t anything new to the world of shooters. But it is new to the world of Uncharted, and how handy it is. Not only does the ability to sprint allow you to get into the middle of firefights faster, but it’s also a vital skill to have when your trying to escape certain death. There have been many a times when the new sprinting ability has gotten me out of some hairy situations. Sprinting might not seem like a huge addition, but try going back to Uncharted 2’s multiplayer without it and you’ll soon understand how game changing it really is.
The new buddy system is Naughty Dog’s ingenious way of encouraging team-play in Uncharted 3. If you stick to your buddy like a fly then you’ll both benefit from more medals earned and have a longer life expectancy. The fact that Naughty Dog so clearly labels your designated buddy just makes it infinitely easier to know where your partner-in-crime is at all times. Naughty Dog’s buddy system may be simple in design, but it goes a long way in removing that lone wolf mentality that plagues a lot of shooters.
The Uncharted 3 multiplayer beta has given us just a taste of the overall roster of medal kickbacks available. But even with just this small primer, kickbacks are proving themselves invaluable. Whether you choose to spawn an RPG on the fly or turn into a swarm of deadly spiders, medal kickbacks have proven themselves to be fun wrenches thrown into the mix. Naughty Dog also deserves extra credit for the way you go about unlocking them, which promotes team work just as much as individual skill on the battlefield.
It was inevitable that customization would finally factor into Uncharted multiplayer. Being able to mold your online avatar around your individual play-style is a must for online shooters these days. Luckily, Uncharted 3 does a pretty bang-up job of customization, offering up plenty of weapons, attachments, boosters, kickbacks and appearance-changing items. Loadouts are also new to the world of Uncharted, which ensure that you’re not scurrying around the map looking for better equipment immediately after spawning, but are instead getting right into the thick of the action to help your team come away with a “W’.
Out of the three levels available in the beta, only one of them is a showcase of the multi-tiered level design that Naughty Dog has been championing. But if “Airstrip” is indicative of the quality of future multi-tiered maps in the retail release, then we’re in for one hell of a treat come November. The map begins with the forces of good and evil competing over a cargo plane while it makes its way down a runway for take-off. The good guys begin the map defending the inside of the plane, while the bad guys spawn on moving trucks outside with the goal of getting onto the plane and taking it over. This type of push-and-pull gameplay lasts for a few minutes before the plane takes off and the action moves to a new, more-traditional multiplayer map for the remainder of the match. Because of its multi-tier design, “Airstrip” never gets old. Naughty Dog would be wise to include a lot of maps like this in the retail release of Uncharted 3, which will help elevate the game above the rest of the online shooter pack.