Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Multiplayer
Story/Creativity - 5
Gameplay - 10
Freeness - 6
Presentation - 9
Life Span - 7
Fans of action/adventure and third person shooter (TPS) games will get a good few hours of enjoyment out of Uncharted 3's multiplayer and a bonus is that it is free - so everyone gets to experience the fantastic Uncharted gameplay!
Many fans of the Uncharted series were pleased to see that the multiplayer element of the latest game in the series, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, became free-to-play. As a Playstation exclusive game, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Multiplayer is only on the Playstation Network and is Naughty Dog’s first attempt at a free-to-play console game. The question is do you get the same feel and exploration in multiplayer as you do in the story side of Uncharted 3? Lets find out how well Naughty Dog did in terms of free-to-play and keeping true to the Uncharted exploration and discovery elements.
As a multiplayer game, there is no story to it, but real-time events do occur at different times during an online match. As soon as you start playing the game, you are given the ability to customize your characters, every player will get one hero character and one villain character; there is not a lot of clothing items when you first start playing, but all of the items that you would otherwise have to unlock you can buy through the PSN Store. Once you have set up your two characters you can now customize your five loadsouts. You start with two primary guns, one assault rifle – AK47 and one long gun – G-MAL. You can then add mods to improve your chosen weapon, the mods included are:
- Call Out
- Rate of Fire
- Max Ammo
- Clip Size
- Reload Speed
- Blindfire Accuracy
All have their own special attributes but you can only have two mods on one gun at any one time; in addition to that, no one weapon can be modded with both accuracy and rate of fire. Once you have selected and modded your primary weapon, you have to select your secondary weapon – which will be a pistol. After you have selected your two weapons you then need to choose a ‘medal kickback’, which is where you collect a number of medals, after getting so many kills, in one game and you are then rewarded. At the first levels of the multiplayer, you can only use the RPG as a medal kickback, this provides you with an RPG that you can use to help you get to the top of the leaderboard. As well as medal kickbacks, you can choose one player ability to improve your character. The three player abilities you can choose from are:
- Sprinting (temporary running speed boost)
- Improved melee
- Return grenades to the player that threw it.
Before finishing with customization, you have the option to create your own emblem – the top player’s emblem during an online match will be displayed in various places around the map. Your emblem can have lots of decals, but you are limited to having three layers. Naughty Dog, creators of Uncharted 3, had this to say on their emblem editor,
“If you’ve worked with emblem editors in other games, you’ll be pretty familiar with the one we’ve implemented in Uncharted 3. Our emblem editor extends the level of customization of your online profile with hundreds of decals, three layers, rotate and scale functions – you’ll see your final emblem on your character and even possibly in the environment during matches”
Once you have finished customizing your characters, weapon loadouts and your emblem you can get started playing online! You can choose to play one of seven game modes, all with different characteristics, the game modes included in Uncharted 3 multiplayer are:
- Team Deathmatch: Two teams of five square off in head-to-head combat.
- Three Team Deathmatch: Three teams of two competing in deathmatch.
- Free For All: deathmatch won by the last man standing from a field of eight players.
- Team Objective: Complete the assigned goals.
- Plunder: Capture the treasure.
- Classic: Two teams of five compete in deathmatch, except every player starts with an AK-47 and a Para 9. There are boosters but there are no medal kickbacks. This gamemode is supposed to be a throwback to the Uncharted 2 Multiplayer.
- Elimination: The first team to eliminate all the other teams players wins. No respawning. There are several rounds in one match.
- The Lab: A special playlist devoted to testing experimental game mode variations and gametypes.
The gameplay is very promising as Naughty Dog, the developers of the Uncharted series, have kept true to the exploration and discovery elements that we all know and love from the Uncharted 3 story. As you play your first game online you are not given an instructions screen, instead reminders in the game tell you how to play – for example, when you are walking around a hint will appear on the screen to tell you that L3 is to sprint. Even without the on-screen hints, the controls are easy to pick up on as you progress through a match – by the end of your first online match you will have picked up on all of the controls that you will need to play. Whilst you are playing through a match, different in-game events occur, such as in the map ‘Château’, the inside of the Château begins to burn down, parts of the building fall apart which stops players from accessing parts of the building that they could have before. Similarly, in the map ‘Desert Village’ a sand storm whirls up and vision becomes very limited and you are only able to see dark shadows and things that are in close proximity of your character, these sand storms and very realistic! The in-game events are very unique and we have never seen anything like it before, but the events only occur in two of the four available maps. Having only four maps available makes gameplay a little repetitive after a while, but on the other hand, you can learn the best places of the map by playing the same maps and become a professional at every map! In the maps you will also find riot shields that you can swap out for your primary weapon. In addition to riot shields, there are gun turrets placed around some of the maps, at high vantage points, so you could get a great deal of kills in a short space of time.
One of the best features of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Multiplayer is how much of the content and equipment is free. There are two types of in-game currency: cash, which is gained by collecting money out of one of the treasure boxes in a map, completing achievements, ranking up and a bonus at the end of each game. The other currency is your own money, where you can use real-world currency to buy items and weapons. However, there is no real need to buy anything with your own, real-life money, because you can unlock weapons as you progress through the games but you cannot unlock that many clothing items, which means if you want to customize your character a lot then you will need to spend a bit of your own money to do so. There is also a mode that allows you to take part in tournaments, but you are required to have ‘Tournament Tickets’ to enter. You are given two free tournament tickets, but if you want to continue playing in tournaments then you will have to buy more tickets. Keeping everything free will only allow you to progress to level 15, once you reach level 15 you cannot go any further unless you get out the wallet. You can buy cooperative maps to play split-screen or online with a friend, you can also buy map packs to get more maps to play.
The graphics of the game are the same as those that you will find in the full Uncharted 3 game. Whilst playing in a match, your character will look exactly like they did back at the customization screen, before the game started! The buildings, weapons and terrain all have superb high-quality graphics, which are not affected during gameplay. Whilst jumping from building to building the transition is seamless and makes you feel as if you might drop, when jumping from one ledge to another with a gap in the middle. The feel you get when jumping from buildings and scaling buildings is like no other, when you start to scale up a tower in Yemen, your heart will be pounding and the tension will increase dramatically as you get closer and closer to the enemy at the top of the tower! The graphics are top-notch for a free-to-play game and offers a great atmosphere to play in.
Whilst playing in a game, you can taunt another player after you have killed them, and the sound that your character emits is very clear. You can unlock and change different taunts but the one you start with, which is to laugh at your fallen enemy, is probably one of the best taunts in the game anyway.
The presentation of the game is also very good and the layout of the maps are very clear and concise allowing you to learn the maps and navigate them quickly. In each map there are several vantage points, where you will have the upper-hand on enemies, and there is also a lot of covering positions to experiment with in the game. The covering system in the game is great. As this is a third person game, you can look around corners and easily see enemies coming towards you without them seeing you.
The lifespan of the game is a bit limited as once you reach level 15 you cannot progress any further. However reaching level 15 and completing all of the achievements will take you a little over ten hours. The gameplay can become repetitive if you have decided not to buy anything. Also, players who have the full version of the game can progress past level 15 and therefore get to have better weapons that those who are playing the free-to-play version. If you also want to progress past level 15, then you will have the option to upgrade – allowing you to reach level 25 or you can spend a little extra to progress to the highest level, level 75 and then being able to enter legacy mode (removing all of your accumulated cash, boosters, medal kickbacks, weapons, and weapon modifications), which players of the full Uncharted game can reach. The game is still balanced and the lobbies fairly decide which players to go on which teams and this balances out the gameplay and increases the lifespan of the game because it stops players from giving up because of losing every match.
Overall, I think that multiplayer for Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception is really good because the game has been polished and there is a very minimal number of bugs and glitches, you probably will not even notice a single one whilst playing! The gameplay as a whole is good, but can become repetitive after a while. The sound, graphics and presentation are all fantastic, and does not drop short of what we have seen in the full Uncharted games. The only downfall of the game is that every time you finish a match, you have to watch a video or advert from the Uncharted TV Youtube channel, this can annoy some players but also offer news and addition entertainment to other players.
Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception Multiplayer is available on the Playstation Network at no cost to you!