And we're back into the thick of the action with Naughty Dog pumping out v1.01 of the Uncharted 3 beta client at midnight earlier this morning. Joined by a slew of the usual Gaming Union clansman, including Laguz, Aaron, Kiwiified and our very own Community Manager, the ever manry Astharis "“ Eskimo Keith and Sean joined in a bit later, we took to the Airstrip and Chateau with total and complete assurance that a lot of mishaps were about to take place.
Things kicked off once again on The Airstrip, except this time we were the villains, the leap-frogging pirates charged with hijacking the runaway cargo plane. Jumping across these moving platforms were a lot of fun and, needless to say, there were plenty of missed jumps and bouncing bodies that thudded against the hard tarmac. The best part of it all is when we finally take the plane, but that's not without a good amount of friendly fire and miss-thrown grenades. I shake my fist at Aaron for tossing a grenade when I asked for cover fire.
As most know by now, the leading team gets dibs on the main battleground where the rest of the fight plays out. The action cuts from the cargo plane taking off to a truck deploying our whole gang into the rear-end of the map where amusement was at a all-time high after being awarded the hilariously, but aptly, named Drakes on a Plane Medal.
But enough of our easily earned giggles. Day 2 of the multiplayer beta brought much more focus on some of the new gameplay mechanics that Naughty Dog have introduced. Medals, Kickbacks, Power Plays and the new Buddy System became all the more apparent as more matches went on. As mentioned in yesterday's blog, you obtain Medals by accomplishing a variety of actions, from headshots, double kills, streaks, et cetera, and these are then used to trigger your Kickbacks, little buffs that may aid you in times of desperation. Power Plays are self-explanatory, they buff up the losing team if they're, well, losing.
In the lead and jumping off our truck, we spread out and wait for the other team to jump in. I'm already on the turret. A Power Play's already in play. Aaron is the Marked Man. Bring it on ladies! Killing the Marked Man will earn the losing team extra points in the hopes that they can make a comeback, but by the same token if the Marked Man survives, the winning team gets the bonus points. They flank us hard on either side, even from the hangar's rooftop, but we're dug in and our flanks are covered. All of us are spotting through our headsets and I'm mowing down enemies with the turret as everyone else lures them out into the open airstrip. Teamwork at it's best.
But wait, what's that I spot flying at me from the corner of the screen? A grenade! No time to dodge roll. I have enough Medals. Poof! I'm gone. Spawned in another area of the map, conveniently behind the poor fool that just tossed that grenade. That's a Kickback, specifically the Smoke Bomb Kickback. The action is really quite non-stop and these additions certainly do add to the overall experience, even if they do require some balancing here and there.
Then comes the next match where the tables have turned and we're the losing team. The other team's already spread out across the airstrip and one of them's even on the turret mowing us down. "Keep the turret occupied!" I yelled, moving in for the kill from his blindspot to the right. "Almost there, almost there," I keep updating the team. I'm climbing the ledge. I'm right behind him. "Oh snap! That's your neck!" I cheered, coincidentally at the same time I obtain the Oh Snap Medal. This game really is designed to please the ego.
The team of Unionites is an awesome one. Where else have we engaged in banter and coordination at the same time outside of Uncharted 2, win or lose? UC3's new Buddy System compliments that all the more, with fist pumps and high fives to be had when buddies take out an enemy together. Buddies are indicated with their emblems atop their heads, making it easy for you to coordinate. You can also spawn on your buddy so long as they aren't engaged in combat.
We've yelled out plenty of spots and warnings at each other, even to the point where Laguz started screaming at Astharis, "There's a guy above you! There's a guy above you!" Only to have said guy drop down from the rafters, which was aptly followed by, "There's a guy below you! There's a guy below you!" Needless to say, this quickly became the standard by which we coordinated our team-play.
Naughty Dog definitely have a jewel in their hands with Uncharted 3. While many mechanics do need adjusting, the overall experience is like no other. Not only is the game accessible to just about anyone, the teamwork and coordination and, more importantly, the fun to be had through voice chat with the rest of the Unionites has been some of the most fun I've had this Summer. Look out for more blog entries as we continue to test out what Naughty Dog has in store for us this Fall.
Feel free to join us in the action as well. We'll be on throughout the coming weeks and definitely over the weekend. My PSN ID is as follows: tanHardedge, while our Community Manager's is AstharisKuro. (Do send us a message telling us who you are though.)