It was just half-past-one on a gloomy Vancouver afternoon when a little something went live on PlayStation Network for all PS Plus members and users with special codes. Things worked, then things broke, then it worked again only to give a kick to players every now and then. You get my point. The Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception multiplayer beta hit the PlayStation Store and, unsurprisingly, just about everyone with a PSN account Zerg Rushed the online service.
Getting connected was an adventure in and of itself, let alone actually finding a game. Just ask Damian, Aaron and even Churro. The lot of us were first in on the beta when it finally went live earlier yesterday afternoon. Needless to say, hilarities ensued as we struggled to keep everyone in the party as we searched for games to join. Even then, the game suffered severe lag and choppy framerates. I'll admit, the motion blur looked awesome at five frames per second and clipping into the ground made me wonder why quicksand has yet to be included in the Uncharted franchise.
All joking aside, the online experience is brilliant "“ when it works. Naughty Dog managed to fix most of the pressing issues so I won't keep harping on that. Let's get to the action.
Kicking off Team Deathmatch on The Airstrip is like watching an action movie take place. Rounds whizz past the hull as a convoy of trucks pull up alongside the moving aircraft. Nothing is stationary. Everything is moving at breakneck speeds. The other team's constantly trying to hijack the plane as my own team dig in to fend them off. Leap-frogging across the moving trucks is a mini-game in and of itself as cover is scarce and hostile rounds plenty. Miss your jump and it's lights out buddy!
Then the action cuts as the plane takes off and the leading team takes to the airstrip first, gaining the high ground before the losing team catches up. Even here, the battleground is interactive. Enemies can be cut off or funnelled into certain areas by closing the warehouse's sliding shutters.
Naughty Dog's included a ton of mechanics to compliment all of that action. First off, the most basic of things: presentation. Uncharted 3 looks, without a doubt, incredibly gorgeous. There's a noticeable difference in visuals compared to the single player portion, but nevertheless, it's still a sight for sore eyes and definitely a notch up Uncharted 2. Secondly, the sound is amazing. Where Uncharted 2's weapons sound like BB guns, Uncharted 3's pack a whole lot of UMPH! Especially the M9, giving the experience a very weight feel.
Beyond that, we've got Medal Kickbacks, a very useful feature and one that gives Medals a more practical reason for being in the game aside from cash. Stack up on enough Medals and you can trigger a Kickback which range from a myriad of things including instantly spawning an RPG or pulling a ninja smoke cloud vanish "“ my personal favourite.
Customization is a far deeper experience as well. There may not be a whole lot of characters available in the beta, but seeing the many variations in just one day just goes to show the possibilities with the new system. The more you use one weapon, the more goodies you can unlock for it as well. It's pretty sweet and allows for a more personal play-experience. While it has its perks, I miss picking up weapons scattered across the map "“ on that note, ammo and grenades are automatically picked up when you run over them, making the game all the more noob-friendly. Then again, that's presumably what Hardcore mode is for! Naughty Dog sure knows how to please everyone.
In any case, Uncharted 3's multiplayer is a much deeper game than its predecessor. It's like Inception! So many layers! So many kicks! We'll be back with more on the Uncharted 3 beta experience when I wake this dawn. Feel free to join us, the more the merrier. In fact, our usual clan mishaps are happening on Friday and Saturday, 10PM Britland time. You can definitely catch all of us on then. In the meantime, we'll be playing this thoroughly throughout the weeks to come.