Uncharted 3 may be a while away but developer Naughty Dog have been kind enough to let us sample a taste of things to come via a Multiplayer only beta. This Beta was initially available to PlayStation Plus members as well as people who purchased inFamous 2 (which by the way is totally worth picking up) but now is open to all PSN members.

This being a MP only beta is all about competitive play and in case you missed out on the mayhem in 2009 (which is when Uncharted 2 was released), here’s the ultra quick version. Picture a more balanced Call of Duty with all its perks and Killstreak rewards enhanced by gorgeous visuals and third person action and you’ll begin to understand what multiplayer in an Uncharted game is like.

Get to the cho... err plane now?

Get to the cho… err plane now?

It’s been a while since I’ve played UC2’s MP so I was extremely rusty at first. Kept meleeing people when I wanted to reload, forgot how to take cover and died – A LOT! Since this was a beta, the game didn’t bother with any sort of tutorial so I had to check out the control scheme in the main menu itself. After a few rounds of being slaughtered mercilessly, however, it did sort of come back to me but even then, I never got frustrated as the game has a new mechanic called Powerplay that actually gives the losing team a chance to catch up. This could result in double damage being dealt out or the ability to see enemy markers all over the map. It’s a very helpful mechanic that tends to balance gameplay giving the losing team a fighting chance.

In the beta you have a bunch of modes to choose from such as Team Deathmatch, Team Objective, Free For All, Hardcore, and Co-Op Arena. Unlike the Hardcore mode found in games like CoD or Battlefield, the one in this game is a bit lenient so you’ll still see your crosshair but stuff like Boosters and Kickbacks will be turned off.

Drake brings the pain

Drake brings the pain

Boosters are the game’s equivalent of perks, small tweaks that can improve your game so you can sprint more, respawn faster and so on. I personally wasn’t too impressed with the Boosters available in the beta and I felt I could get by without them just fine. Instead I spent my hard earned money on Kickbacks, the game’s equivalent of a Killstreak reward but only instead of tracking your kills, it tracks the medals you earn. Some of these medals are of the simple ‘shoot three guys in a row’ variety while the others require situational kills like killing a dude scaling a wall or extracting revenge on the player that killed you. And once you rack up the required amount of medals, you can immediately activate your Kickback turning the tides of war in your favor. Think about it; you’re going up against multiple opponents and BAM!, you trigger your rocket launcher kickback that bestows upon you – you got it – a freaking rocket launcher. Or how about transforming into a swarm of spiders capable of engulfing your enemies. Gross but incredibly cool.

There are two maps present in the beta; Chateau and Airfield. While Chateau is a solid map on its own, Airfield is without a doubt the star of the show here. The map’s divided into two parts with the first bit taking place on a runway as players struggle to either board or defend a cargo plane depending on which faction they get assigned to. As the bad guys, you spawn in a bunch of speeding trucks and then must slowly make your way to the plane by leaping from truck to truck to plane. As the heroes, your aim is to make sure this does not happen. After a certain amount of time on the runway, the plane takes off and the action shifts to an air field of sorts that offers a ton of horizontal and vertical movement. The transition between these two instances takes place seamlessly through cut-scenes that make this game feel a lot different than your conventional deathmatch. And yes, this is the coolest freaking premise for TDM till date.

Should have taken the train

Should have taken the train

Players who’ve spent some time with UC2’s MP will immediately figure out how different UC3 feels. Characters movements feel a lot more realistic as a result of which movement is a tad slower. Weapons too have received a bit of an overhaul and everyone’s favorite weapon, the AK now features a truck load of recoil. These gameplay mechanics did feel a bit weird at first but after a while you get used to the game’s pace.

While the second game was content with letting players just buy new skins, UC3 allows players to deck the crap out of their characters. Besides a plethora of skins for both the heroes and the bad dudes, you can swap out clothes, accessories and lots more to project your persona on-screen. New to the game is a Loadout system where players can choose to upgrade their guns making not only cosmetic but functional changes as well such as adding in additional scopes to zoom in or extend mags for more ammo. These obviously aren’t revolutionary changes for a multiplayer game but it’s nice to have them in UC3.

The coolest TDM level ever

The coolest TDM level ever

This being an Uncharted game obviously gets top marks in the visual department. And keep in mind, this is just the beta so I’m sure Naughty Dog will add in a ton of spit and polish by the time the game hits stores this November. So far I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen in UC3. Sure the game feels a bit slower than before and newcomers will probably get their ass handed to them but Naughty Dog have taken great pains to ensure this game feels as balanced and enjoyable as humanly possible.

Update: It seems a ton of people are having connection issues especially after yesterday's patch. This obviously is a bummer but considering this a beta, we anticipated such issues to begin with. Still we hope Naughty Dog fix this problem ASAP.

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