Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Multiplayer & Co-Op Hands-On

Naughty Dog takes everyone by surprise by adding a social element to Uncharted 2.

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If you had to read the title of this article twice, we certainly can't blame you. Few would have expected Naughty Dog to deliver co-op in Uncharted 2, let alone co-op and multiplayer. After all, the first game used its charming characters and lighthearted adventure story to such success that most would have assumed the Santa Monica-based developer would settle for sticking with what works in the next game. And while the single-player portion of Uncharted 2 looks every bit as fun as the original--as our most recent impressions can attest--Naughty Dog has elected to take a turn for the unexpected, a decision revealed at last week's PlayStation event in West Hollywood. We were at the scene to talk to Naughty Dog and get some hands-on time with both gameplay modes.

After Naughty Dog made its announcement in the form of a video trailer, it immediately set the press loose onto a bevy of demo stations to get hands-on time with the game. We started by jumping onto one of the stations with co-op mode on it. In a nutshell, Uncharted 2 co-op is designed for two to three players to take part in a number of environments from the game's single-player campaign. You won't be able to play the entirety of the game's single-player portion, but rather a select number of levels that Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells says work best with the increased number of players. Basically, the levels are handpicked and slightly reworked to provide a good balance between the cover-based gun combat and slick platforming that make up the yin and yang of Uncharted 2's gameplay.

But that's over the duration of all the co-op levels, because the one we had the chance to try focused very much on combat. It was set in the same Nepalese warzone Naughty Dog previously showed off in our last look at the game, but this time Drake was joined by his old pal Sully and the new female protagonist, Chloe Frazier (we played as Drake, while our co-op partners played as the other two). The action plays very much like Uncharted: you take cover, pop up to shoot your enemies, and proceed forward until a new swarm of bad guys comes your way. What differs, though, are your ability to revive fallen teammates and the new co-op goals that require the full group to convene at a single point to, say, lift a heavy bookshelf blocking the path or give one another boosts to get to a higher location.

Multiplayer maps are designed for climbing into all sorts of hidden spots.

Another key difference is that the narrative has been scaled back quite a bit for co-op. A quick smattering of dialogue at the beginning of a level sets the table for your goal, but from there you won't see many exchanges between characters. You might think of co-op as a distilled, arcade form of the single-player gameplay right on down to the points you can collect and put toward the game's overarching economy of unlockables. An example game designer Justin Richmond provided for us were the boosters used to add to your multiplayer abilities (think Call of Duty-like perks that boost your aiming and damage), though he also hinted at the possibility of using them toward comedic single-player cheats like the first game had.

Multiplayer is quite a bit more straightforward than co-op. The stations running at the event alternated between cut-and-dried deathmatch games and another mode called Plunder, which is a variation on capture the flag. Multiplayer maps are inspired by locales from the single-player game, though they've been significantly reworked to account for balance between competing sides. They're arranged in such a way that climbing around plays to your advantage just as much as hiding behind cover. With a bit of leaping and shimmying, you can make it up to a rooftop perch to pick off enemies from afar, or just leap from building to building to avoid the deadly foot traffic down below.

Nepal just doesn't get any safer.

All the weapons in multiplayer are those included in the single-player game. That means you'll have the option to use a number of guns such as pistols, AK-47s, shotguns, and even a minigun (which, naturally, makes you slow as a snail). The playable teams are described by Naughty Dog as heroes vs. villains, which means one squad is made up of good guys you'll recognize from the story, and the other side is composed of bad guys. It looks like that roster includes people from the first game, too, as one of the hero characters in our matches was Elena. We're told there's no functional difference between any of these characters, a decision Naughty Dog made to keep things balanced. It makes sense, though seeing grizzled-old-man Sully dashing up buildings with the same athleticism as Drake takes a bit of getting used to.

Altogether, though, it looks like Uncharted 2 multiplayer incorporates a lot of what makes the single player gameplay so appealing--that combination of measured firefights and freewheeling acrobatics--in a competitive setting. The unlockable boosters should add some longevity, too, though it would be a stretch to say you'll see as much staying power as games such as Killzone 2 or Resistance 2 have. Still, Uncharted 2's multiplayer seems like a worthwhile option for PS3 owners looking for a different form of online shooter. You can expect plenty more coverage on Uncharted 2 leading up to its late-2009 release. In the meantime, you can snag yourself a code to access the upcoming public multiplayer beta by picking up a copy of fellow first-party Sony game Infamous.

Discussion

212 comments
neobita
neobita

haish... hope to play in the multiplayer beta.. but gamestop does not ship to my country.... anybody got a code to spare?

scepterone
scepterone

My question about Uncharted 2 is, will it have offline Co-op mode? Does anyone know?

scepterone
scepterone

I already reserved my copy of this game! I am going to go broke this year with so many games coming for the ps3! Way to go Sony, keep up the great work!

Cillerboy
Cillerboy

wheres that damn beta code lol

PPC422
PPC422

I'm only worried about 2 things. 1. I hope the single player mode doesn't completely blow like every other multiplayer game out there. 2. This game better have split screen multiplayer. I'm sick and tired of always having to get online to play, and friends that are over not being able to join in.

BrazilianBud
BrazilianBud

I simply can't wait for it! I LOVE UNCHARTED! I just got the platinum trophy today after, like, more than one year, lol.

Zippedychick
Zippedychick

I saw Sully! So at least he'll be in this one. I'm hoping for Elena too. She's a great character, not the typical female love interest. Can't wait for Fall 2009 for this!

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

Online is added revenue and naughty dog has a game that could rake in a bundle.

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

and people still think ps3 has no games, why?

GatsuBlackSword
GatsuBlackSword

It seems that these days it's necessary to add online multiplayer to Keep the longevity to game. When the first outing was just a solo campaign and was more than enough to get me to purchase the first title and I would without question go for Uncharted 2. The online looks stellar and the graphics look awesome! Naughty Dog still shows they are a fantastic developer!

scepterone
scepterone

No wonder, this game will be the first to use 100% of the PS3 power! Way to go Naughty Dog!

blaby3
blaby3

im really not hype about the multi player in this game but i really want to see the single player and whos the girl with the red??? i thought elaner fisher was in uncharted 2 :(

Zero_Beat
Zero_Beat

Very good preview until "it would be a stretch to say you'll see as much staying power as games such as Killzone 2 or Resistance 2 have." which is a rather premature judgment considering not all of the multiplayer content has been shown yet. If it's plain better fun then it also has more staying power by default. MGSsniper_wolf: play.com is offering the Uncharted 2 MP beta with infamous in the UK.

Kratos_Josh
Kratos_Josh

the multiplayer looks good, but illd much rather they just focused on the campaign and only work on the multiplayer after they've done all they possibly can for the campaign.

BC20FLY
BC20FLY

Im not normally a fan of single player games becoming multiplayer or coop due to a lot of them felling "tacked on" so hopefully this game wont fall victim to that as far as multiplayer and coop goes. Though its a welcomed edition as long as the single player experience isnt hurt in the process

DarkFadi
DarkFadi

Don't really care about the multiplayer.

MGSsniper_wolf
MGSsniper_wolf

does the beta apply for the UK? I looked it up and the only place i can see with the offer is gamestop witch is american

flyingteddy
flyingteddy

loved the first game, co-op could be interesting.

brettak81
brettak81

Uncharted was incredible up to the point when the stupid monster things came into play. that just ruined the whole storyline and game for me. and by the way...the Gamespot interviewer looks like he's literally 16 years old. what a little wuss!

NarcMonkey
NarcMonkey

Disappointed the whole story mode can't be played 2 player, and even more disappointed there is no split-screen MP. This was already a must-buy for me because Drake's Fortune was so fantastic, but they smashed some of my hopes for the multiplayer. We'll see if my 300 hours of experience with MGO helps me at all in this game's competitive online. Also, loving how far they deviated from the original's color palette, the environments look more varied and chaotic. Things you grab onto will seem less like they were PUT THERE for you to grab onto. Good show Naughty Dog.

Burning_Sun
Burning_Sun

Loved the first Uncharted regardless of multiplayer. I hope that it doesn't take away from the single player. 2009 GOTY right here....in Naughty Dog i trust.

CVM_123
CVM_123

no matter what this game is gonna be awesome

tywall
tywall

Not every game needs multiplayer. It doesn't even make sense here. I loved the first game, but let's be honest: it wasn't exactly well know for its gunplay. Well, as long as this in no way detracts from the single player experience, I guess I don't mind too much.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

honestly if this game as good as the last one, i won't care about online play cause the game is so damned great, no reason to play the online deathmatch stuff, there's no story added, just more carnage, i don't like carnage anyways thanks for the preview guys

tonitorsi
tonitorsi

Man...the PS3 just rocks THIS HARD baby.

Steel_Rain777
Steel_Rain777

This looks very promising, it doesnt seem like a total tack-on, I like how they made the multiplayer modes and Co-op near identical with the single-player...I really hope the single-player game is longer than the last one. Still going to be a great game regardless

MaNiKore
MaNiKore

I just hope that the game is what longer then the previous one. I finished that game in a couple of hours....

king_bobo
king_bobo

Sounds fantastic!!! One point though - I thought that co-operative was a form of multiplayer. In this preview, the term 'multiplayer' is used to describe competitive multiplayer, which may be misleading to some.

claykenobi
claykenobi

It sure is a nice change of pace to play as Drake instead of another war mongering, meat head. THANKS, SONY!

claykenobi
claykenobi

I believe split screen is available but only for the online, co-op designed levels, not the campaign story mode.

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

@Shlomiki dont forget metal gear solid 4 and new games coming soon like heavy rain, MAG and infamous. FFXIII wont be mult disk on ps3

Hell3ent
Hell3ent

Anyone know if the co-op is online-only, or will they allow for split-screen?

msharki
msharki

It doesn't get any better than this. I thought nothing could ever come close to God of War, but Uncharted is slowly becoming my favorite franchise.

D4NZEL-709
D4NZEL-709

To all of you who say MP will make Uncharted 2 suck and make the Singleplayer story suck and refuse to buy the game. YOU all will all loose out of all the fun

Shlomiki
Shlomiki

@bennae66 What about LittleBIGPlanet - the founding of a new genre? Resistance I & II (with 60-players MP)? Killzone II (best graphics ever seen in a videogame)? Those are all top-notch exclusives, aren't they reasons to buy a Playstation 3?

yichun4
yichun4

Yes!! Now we get multiplayer!

The_unKnwn
The_unKnwn

This is def. a game to get! Im sure I'll enjoy the multiplayer looks good

PenguinGlen
PenguinGlen

Sounds fun! I still think that the game will play best as single play, hopefully I'm proven wrong though. Either way, I still can't wait for the sequel! :D

wendt360
wendt360

i think this one will be a lot better than the first game i'll definitely pick this game up!!!!

Doddie
Doddie

I prefer single player.. If I won't be able to play certain levels, does this mean I will get a discount when I buy the game????? Totally unfair to the single player.

Kratos_Josh
Kratos_Josh

whats happening with this new chick replacing elana? i think elena is still in but i sence trouble...

grand17
grand17

adding mp to uncharted is very lame.

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

Enjoyed the first game and hoped that the sequel would refine the game even more. Single player mode is my greatest concern. Do it RIGHT.

roshansequeira
roshansequeira

Lol who cares about multiplayer. Strong Storyline, good charecters and good gameplay is all we need.

Jhraxlin
Jhraxlin

Don't have a PS3, unless I sell my 360 and Wii I won't get a PS3, but sometimes I want one because of games like this.