Now it always comes to pass that the summer time is a drought for gamers. With few brand new titles released and the fact that it's actually nice to be outside for any amount of time, it's no wonder people put down their controllers to go enjoy the sunshine, either on a holiday or even in their own backyard. Now all of this has had a clear affect on our GU Clan Nights, combined with the fact that people have slowly been getting tired of playing the same game, moving on to Minecraft than any of the mainstream shooter titles.
But there has been a resurgence. Many people have been seen clutching a Subway code in their grubby mitts, which grants them full access to the multiplayer mode for the soon to be released Uncharted 3 (out November 1). The promotion is great, although restricted to only the US chains of Subways, in that this isn't access to an incomplete version or another beta. This is what we'll be getting come November 1st. Now I don't know whether you've noticed this before, but Uncharted is kinda our thing here in the Gaming Union community. Joined by Commander Colon, Roxas21691 and Kid, who graciously got codes for a fair few UK fans. Thus, we took our first dive into what's in store for us for clan nights of the foreseeable future.
First things first, you can clearly see from the moment that you sign in, that Naughty Dog have poured tonnes of time into improving the lobby and look of the user interface. Masses of new features and customizations have been added, helping to make the game a little more personal to you; especially when it comes to making sure your buddies know that it was you that murdered them from just a glance. Safe to say, that although Drake is still the main skin that people pick, it was nice to see a slight variety amongst them. Of course, I unlocked Elena as soon as I possibly could. It should be said that although this is the "full version" of the MP, there are features, maps and game modes that Naughty Dog have yet to rotate into use, and your level is capped at 35. They might not be calling it a beta, but in many ways, it still feels like it.
Although jumping into matches seems a lot faster than it was in Uncharted 2, the drop-in-drop-out method of joining matches makes it very easy to lose your party of friends, especially when dealing with connection issues. There's still that prevalent glitch from the beta on the Airstrip map when the main map is loading after the speeding chase part, some players never make it in and get pushed out of the game (such as myself towards the end of our gaming session), which is particularly frustrating to those players who aren't fond of dropping so many deaths on the tarmac after mistiming jumps all for nothing. But Naughty Dog are working on rolling out updates consistently in the lead up to release, and will no doubt continue long after, so hopefully the experience will be less hit and miss when the bulk of players start hitting the lobby.
So what were our first impressions getting into the MP? Mostly excitement of getting to play long before we initially thought we were going to, but after that we were just excited to explore and get a feel for the new maps. The Yemen map especially brings in a new type of gameplay which you never really got a feel for in the previous Uncharted, due to the sheer vertical nature of it. Of course, there are still maps that will feel very familiar to veteran gamers, but the variety of maps, and of course the dynamics within them, will be welcome to those that got bored with UC2. Yemen was the first map that Colin, Kid & I played together, and mostly involved us running around exploring the map (and my exclaiming how awesome it was every few minutes). Kid quickly found himself a tower to snipe from, providing much needed cover to Colin's ass. Unfortunately, he was our weakest link in that match, which is saying a lot when he scores less than even myself.
We were disappointed every time the London Underground map appeared for selection, but were thrown into Chateau or Desert Ruins maps. As a native to Britland, I'm seriously disappointed to still have not played that map. We continued playing, mostly failing to make much of a stand against the other players that already racked up enough experience to gain themselves above level 20. Things aren't quite balanced fairly yet, and it's safe to say that there are some hardcore Uncharted 3 MP fans out there. I wonder how that'll fair once the game is released and the masses join, considering the levels will carry over and no longer be capped. However, when Roxas21691 joined us a few games later, things were a little more balanced in our favour. We shall call him our secret 'dead-eye' weapon. The four of us carried our [GUn] tag across the different maps, to varying levels of success. Mostly failing. It's the GU way.
Although we didn't play very long and there weren't all of the regular suspects of our clan nights joined, I'm looking forward to next weekend when all the others from the community can join us with their newly claimed promotion codes. One thing is for certain: It felt damn good to be spending a Saturday night on Uncharted again.