Uncharted 3 Multiplayer Hands-On Preview

We defend a flight and punch out some bad guys in our first hands-on look at the multiplayer mode in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.

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We've seen him avoid the flames of a burning French chateau and take on a shadowy group fronted by a woman brandishing an umbrella knife, but how well does Nathan Drake play with others? Naughty Dog has just taken the wraps off the multiplayer mode in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, and we were there to put the intrepid explorer and some of his friends through their paces.

According to the game's developer, more than 2.7 million players have taken up arms to shoot friends and strangers online since multiplayer shipped with the second game in the series. Two elements are key to its continued success: bringing the spectacle of cinematic gameplay from the single-player campaign into the online mode and giving players the chance to customize the look and feel of their experience. To do this, gameplay is moving beyond simple team deathmatch (though that's getting plenty of love too) and its variants as it will focus more on objective-based matches. The studio hopes that by bringing the monkeylike climbing and scale of scripted campaign moments to multiplayer, Uncharted 3 will become the destination for PlayStation 3 owners online.

Two new modes--the often fan-requested Free for All mode and Three-Team Deathmatch--were announced at the event. The former gives everybody in the game a gun and birthright to blow away the competition; the latter offers a new buddy-based game type where you’re paired up with a friend or stranger and need to stick together to complete goals as a pair. Uncharted 3 represents a step toward more cooperative multiplayer, which we’ll get into in a moment.

Adding new modes doesn’t mean the old ones are getting the flick, and Deathmatch is set to receive a raft of improvements through the Power Play system. Essentially, it’s a battlefield event system designed to work like rubber banding in racing games; giving teams on the losing side a better chance to catch up. That’s not to say that whitewashes are out of the question, and good players will still be able to dominate their more skills-challenged counterparts. Matches with close score margins will now receive overtime at the end of a game, which means an additional minute of play has been added to stamp out deadlocks. Sudden Death goes even further and is tacked on after an overtime extension to regulation play; it limits players to a single respawn per team member, with the last man standing taking the prize. Late Join has also been added, and as the name suggests, it will now allow players to join matches already in progress. It’s a simple change and one that Naughty Dog hopes will keep games fuller and flowing better.

Taking a handful of pages out of the customization book, Uncharted 3 will let you tinker with your weapon loadout, as well as customize the look of your avatar by selecting and coloring individual items of clothing. It also includes a multilayered decal system that displays your logo on you and the environment. It sounds a bit like the custom sprays from Counter-Strike, but with fewer pictures of genitals. It’s not all purely cosmetic changes, though, with individual weapon mods able to be bought and applied that have tangible effects on your play by altering the munitions rate of fire and accuracy.

Boosters and kickbacks have been tweaked both for individual performances and co-op play, which can be bought in game using the cash earned during matches. Using them in play in turn levels them up, increasing their potency and unlocking additional functions like the ability to respawn instantly.

Killing enemies triggers a chance for them to drop treasure, which comes in the form of glowing items on the playfield that need to be collected for a reward. These disappear randomly, and it becomes a risk-versus-reward decision as to whether you stick out your neck to dash in and loot the item. Inside, there will be item sets to unlock and collect, as well as some treasures rewarding players with short- and longer-form objectives, such as making 30 kills in 15 minutes. Some begin instantly, while others will be triggered at your discretion. Completing these contracts earns you cash that you can then spend on pimping out your Drake.

Yellow sand or lush and green, take your pick.

Because Uncharted 3’s multiplayer modes are heavily geared around playing with friends, we’re impressed to see that some serious development time appears to have gone into the way it will integrate with social services and allow people to play together. Split-screen play will be supported and will also allow two different PlayStation Network IDs to be signed in on the same console at once to track each player's kills, deaths, and leveling progression. While UC2 put its eggs in the Twitter basket, UC3 is all about Facebook, allowing players to invite companions to their matches even if they’re not friends on the PlayStation Network.

Cinema mode has been expanded and now offers rewind functionality, as well as event marking for deaths and kills. This allows for simple upload of user-edited video clips and screenshots to either Facebook or YouTube while the Uncharted TV system will play clips from the community inside match lobbies. This is a little more exciting than twiddling your thumbs while you’re waiting for your next match.

We could go on for a while about the new features, but we’re guessing you probably want to know what it felt like to play. The demo included two levels: Chateau and Airstrip. Chateau was a rundown outdoor stone environment that was overgrown with vines, with nooks and crannies to crouch behind to return gunfire. Airstrip was where we spent the vast majority of our time, and we had a chance to play both sides of the faction coin. Set to a 20-minute timer, Airstrip opened with a sandy vista and a thick, black path that a cargo plane was running along. The good guys (multiple versions of Drake and Sully) began on board and needed to defend against waves of militia attempting to hijack the vehicle as the rear door slowly lowered. Though it initially seemed that the raised position and cover provided an advantage to holding their position, on subsequent plays as the other team, we found side doors that could be accessed and put us directly behind our opposition for quick executions.

As the plane became airborne, everybody jumped aboard the trucks in pursuit and the fight moved on to an airbase. Shipping containers provided excellent cover to peer out from behind, while climbing stairs or shimmying up onto raised platforms provided an elevated vantage (and shooting) point. A poorly armored machine-gun nest on one platform gave us the tools to mow down our opponents, but we found it easy to sit back and take pot shots with our assault rifles from a distance with good effect. Because you’re matched with a second player, you can either stick together or, less in the spirit of cooperative play, you can go it alone. Communication will be essential to success, but if you do manage to get separated during the barrage of gunfire and die, you can quickly spawn to your mate’s location by tapping the triangle button.

As matches continued, different Power Play modes were randomly introduced and helped give the gunplay some much needed variety. Marked Man was a VIP protection mode and rewarded players additional points and cash for either defending or killing the marked target. No Respawn meant that anybody who was killed in combat while active would stay dead until the end of the timer.

Melee combat felt like it might still be going through tuning, and almost every time we went toe-to-toe with someone on the opposing team, we would both knock each other out on the second melee strike.

From our first hands-on taste of Uncharted 3’s multiplayer mode, it’s already looking great and playing nicely. A move away from boring old vanilla team deathmatch is a welcome change, and we’re eager to see the developers deliver on sharing the set piece moments from the single-player campaign online with friends. PlayStation 3 Plus subscribers and those who pick up Infamous 2 will get early beta access from the end of June, whereas everyone else will be able to jump and swing with Drake from July 5. There's still plenty more to find out about Uncharted 3 ahead of its November release date, so stay tuned for more info on this exciting game.

Discussion

66 comments
luneth77
luneth77

One of the best things they could to to UC3's multiplayer is Speed Up The Fal's bullets! Does anyone else think the Fal was too slow in UC2?

bhyesilnil
bhyesilnil

@Contra75 New age gamers only care about the multiplayer and there are a lot of new age gamers around there so dont expect 30+ hours campaign. it will probably something between 5-10 hours

johnaras002
johnaras002

Uncharted 3 is going to be awesome and at single player and at multiplayer

Contra75
Contra75

Could they please stick to single player...Not a big online player or multi-player.Yeah I'm old fashioned. I just would like single player game that lasts about 30+ hours.

studfly
studfly

Clearly one of the best series ever made.. This third one will be freakin sweet. No doubt about it... CANT FREAKIN WAIT..

MGS_fan_2015
MGS_fan_2015

This, ladies and gentlemen, is further affirmation of Naughty Dog's rise to apotheosis. Makes me want to get KRUNK.

armandoisgreat
armandoisgreat

Really like the splitscreen feature. It's too scarce today. I was disappointed when i picked up burnout paradise and saw no splitscreen. Oh, and since when are alvin and the chipmunks so violent?

CassadyH
CassadyH

Having two psn accounts signed in at the same time is awesome and I would really love to see sony implement that in on the base xmb level. and of course having split screen at all is also greatly appreciated :)

master_foam
master_foam

i want to kill every body in the world...good message

ClobyBob28
ClobyBob28

"Split-screen play will be supported and will also allow two different PlayStation Network IDs to be signed in on the same console at once..." This is the best news so far! I wish more games would stop cutting split-screen out in favor of graphics--playing with people in the same room is quickly disappearing. Great choice Naughty Dog!

mafiaso1
mafiaso1

Listening to the fan feedback and getting it done !! These guys r doin a great job !!! Epic game ....cnt wait for beta !!!

Taasi23
Taasi23

'Fewer pictures of genitals"? Are they a Naughty Dog or a Beverly Hills Chihuahua? :P Everything looks amazing. Can't wait to get Beta-ing. :D

DarthVeng_basic
DarthVeng_basic

Trying to play Uncharted 2 Deathmatch or Team based Multiplayer is pretty much impossible now. I died 20 times in 5 min. I couldn't even spawn without dying half the time. Everytime I would even move or try something I would get killed without ever even seeing an enemy, It was ridiculous. I only play the objective or co-op.

xXYEEEWXx
xXYEEEWXx

shall be one crazy ass game :D

ruyc
ruyc

hah awesome music indeed!

athenian29
athenian29

SPLIT SCREEN OMG YES OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NickDrakePink72
NickDrakePink72

Uncharted 2 had some of the best designed maps in a game in the last few years. I am definitely looking forward to this game.

Ciphas
Ciphas

I really like what I'm seeing so far. Never really got into Uncharted 2's multiplayer...which I regret...

TWO1FIVE
TWO1FIVE

They need to keep the sound it makes when you kill someone I love that cha ching noise small thing I love about the UC 2 multi. Hope there is a bonus for any lvl 60 players and above like avatars clothes or something just a small nod to the loyal UC2 multi players would be nice.

advocacy
advocacy

I'm very impressed with the takedowns while platforming. It seems that Naughty Dog has been listening to a lot of fan feedback regarding this matter. And the best thing of all is that there will no longer be any Situational Analysis in Uncharted 3.

Dark_December
Dark_December

Oh man, this is another great title I'm looking forward. I think this year will be the year I will buy the most games since I can hold a gamepad. My girlfriend will dump me, but hey, at least I'll be a happy gamer.

ThroughTheGlass
ThroughTheGlass

for anyone interested in the song in the video, its called Kill Everybody by Skrillex. Skrillex is becoming very popular in the electronic music scene ever since the explosion of the dubstep genre.

dlafere
dlafere

"I want to kill everybody in the world!" o.O

ThroughTheGlass
ThroughTheGlass

the multiplayer is shaping up to be as awesome as Uncharted 2. i hope they expand on the arena mode selection. i plugged in countless hours playing survival with a few buddies. they also need an overhaul on the booster system since many of them were useless.

FAMILYGUYFAN11
FAMILYGUYFAN11

looks great. also, that music sounds like it would be perfect for portal 2.

BADPHL
BADPHL

Great game great story great graphics Cant wait for that!

taino1128
taino1128

Proof that PS3 exclusives are the best.

TonnFool23
TonnFool23

i hope those crappy special powers are not included in the multi player, that ruined the game for me seeing people through the walls and crap.

Mcortijo01
Mcortijo01

The mp in U2 was a nice suprise for me because it was better than I thought it was going to be but this looks sick.

Chewin3
Chewin3

Uncharted 3 Game of the Year? No. Game of the Decade? No. Game of the Century? Getting closer to yes...

Chewin3
Chewin3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

sul6an-g
sul6an-g

its AMAZING ! i am sure that gonna be the GOTY!!!

KorialFox
KorialFox

I've spent last six months healing myself out of uncharted daily addiction, and now you are giving me THIS?! Poor poor me T.T

Kratos_Kills
Kratos_Kills

it looks better than I expected. though I dont care much multiplayer compared to single-player campaign, this looks like a blast and i hope it will be.

mrcanfwhoopass
mrcanfwhoopass

I will get this for sure since UC2 was so good. but screw rubberbanding.

TomBergman909
TomBergman909

UC3 MP could be a hit. That is if SA doesnt make a return. Thats all I want for UC3 MP is no SA. I can see alot of people abusing the Teleport Booster/Kickback. I hope its not a problem. All I want is the MP to be fair and not have BS Boosters ''SA users im talkin to you".

kuruppath
kuruppath

always setting new heights the uncharted team

kyzee_zul
kyzee_zul

it will be great..+SPLIT SCREEN!!!!