Final Impressions: Uncharted 3 Beta

Now that the beta is over and I’ve gotten a solid 3 weeks with the game, I’m here to let you know exactly what I thought of the experience.  Is it as good or better than what we have now in Uncharted 2?  I’m also listing everything out into sections of things I really enjoyed and what I felt needs improvements.  I just want you to know though before I start, overall I had a blast.  It’s going to be extremely fun and addicting and I can’t wait.  On to the list!

Things I Really Enjoyed

Maps – Quality is the name of the game here.  Naughty Dog said they were looking to add a more cinematic element to the multiplayer side and boy have they.  The Airstrip level begins with both sides fighting over a plane that is rolling down a runway.  Trucks surround it jockeying for position as players can jump around on them.  Eventually, the plane takes off and the players are placed on the main part of the map to do the normal event type.  The Airstrip map proper is really well designed with multiple places for players to run and climb into and also features a plane strafing the hangars every now and then.  Chateau has the enemy team setting fire to the building at the beginning of the match and as it progresses, the Chateau starts falling apart as the fire spreads.  The map features a front and back yard with ruined structures and the inside of the building itself supports numerous levels and places of interest.  There’s even a zip-line you can use to get off the top floor quickly.  Finally, the map Yemen was unlocked for general play in the last week of the beta and it was one of the craziest maps available.  Players are dropped off via helicopter at the beginning of the match and are thrown into a place with tight hallways, multiple levels for climbing or taking people by surprise, and a massive courtyard for big time gun fights.  Imagine a middle eastern market town and you have the map Yemen pretty much.  This level is extremely vertical and it will always keep you on your toes for where an enemy may be lurking.  It’s because of this tense and fun atmosphere that it was my favorite map.

Treasures – Just like in the single player game, players can collect treasures during a multiplayer match either by picking them up randomly around the map when they spawn or off of a enemy player you just took down.  They’ll appear every now and then and sometimes not at all making searching for these things all the more compelling.  Completing a set of these treasures will give you even more options to deck out your characters like new clothing options for example.  Again, it’s just a really small thing that adds nothing to the gameplay, yet for me, it’s one of the best parts of the game.  Collecting a new treasure for a set your working on gives you a great feeling.  It’s the little things people.

Customization – I was really surprised by this aspect of the game.  Weapons now have mods that can be added like increating the rate of fire or clip size, characters can be given completely new looks with different clothing options and colors to select, and you can now create your own emblem that can be displayed around the maps in multiplayer.  It’s pretty cool seeing your logo plastered around the map for doing well.  While this aspect was pretty limited in the beta, the full offering when it releases in November will be much larger and provide players with countless ways to make their stuff unique.  Still, I couldn’t get enough of seeing three Sullys wearing a red shirt all looking at each other during the end cinematic for a match.  Too funny.

Medal Kickbacks – Another new element to multiplayer, these are special rewards that you earn for collecting various medals during a match.  Think of kickbacks as a reward for doing well.  Medal Kickbacks are set in the same way as you would a booster (i.e. perk).  You select it from a list of unlocked ones you’ve earned and each one has a medal requirement to use.  So for example, ‘Militia Man’ will let you fire without relaoding for 30 seconds and the cost to use this ability is five medals.  As you play through a multiplayer match, you’ll get medals from doing just about everything including going on a streak, assisting teammates, or collecting treasures for example.  When you gain 5, you can activate and use the Kickback.  Naughty Dog also prevented stacking medals during the beta so once you have the required amount, you can’t preload more medals to use the ability again right after.

Power Plays – We’ve all been there.  A match that is unfairly leaning towards one team and quickly becoming laughable.  Power Plays make it so the losing team has a fighting chance to come back or at least make it close.  They’re activated at random by the game and start off simple and if the team is not able to catch up or get close, the ones following will increase in benefit.  So the first Power Play will mark someone on the opposing team as a ‘VIP’.  If the losing team manages to take him out,  they’ll gain 3 points for the kill instead of the normal 1.  The nice thing is, the winning team gets double the cash for any kills they earn, so there is incentive for the winners as well.  The final and most severe power play will turn friendly fire on for the winning team and turned everyone into a skeleton preventing them from picking out who was who.  Also, any friendly kills added to the losing team’s score.  I personally never saw this one in effect before it was patched out. 

Needs Improvement

Melee – When it worked, it was great.  More often than not though, your character would lose his momentum and just swing his arms wildly.  The weird part is that you’d be running after a guy and you’d expect that when you hit the melee button you’d lunge at the enemy.  Not the case, as your character would perform the move described above. Stand in place and start elbowing the air.  I saw other players perform this arm swinging bonanza as well at times.  This never happened in Uncharted 2 so I’m confident that this will get ironed out before release.

Climbing – Again, not something I expected to list here, but it seems the system wants you to be extremely precise because trying to vault over a small wall or something else that is easily climbed over would result in your character performing a kick jump backwards off the wall.  Only when you straightened yourself out or hit a “sweet spot”, would your character finally vault over the wall.  In a team deathmatch for example, this can be the difference between life and death.  Again, I haven’t experienced this in Uncharted 2 so I’m not worried.

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