PlayStation’s flagship franchise is back and it’s ready to kick ass. If you bought Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection this past October than you got access to the Uncharted 4 Multiplayer Beta this past week on the PS4. Hopefully you got a chance to check it out, I did and here are my humble impressions.
I sat down to play the beta this week and I’m pleased to report I was thoroughly surprised. Uncharted 4‘s multiplayer feels as natural to what the essence of Uncharted gameplay is as The Last Of Us‘ multiplayer was to its campaign. Scurrying around firing blindly behind me or hurriedly scaling a wall to pull an enemy off feels so right and this is a marked improvement from previous multiplayer from the Uncharted franchise. I never really enjoyed the sparatic jumping around, grenade tossing silliness of Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception‘s multiplayer. It didn’t feel as tight or as polished as the campaign and I was never motivated to play it. The same cannot be said of Uncharted 4‘s multiplayer. I played about six hours of the beta but I can already tell that I will be spending a LOT of time with this multiplayer.
The first thing that struck me when I began playing was that this game is gorgeous. Seeing Nathan Drake for the first time on the PlayStation 4 is awesome. He looks so real and so much better than he ever did on the PlayStation 3. The same can be said for all of the characters. Victor “goddamn” Sullivan is visibly older. His age is captured so well in this game and it’s something that once I noticed I couldn’t stop looking at. All of these characters look amazing and add to the immersive world that Uncharted 4 is going to build in the campaign and break in the multiplayer.
Now down to the multiplayer. The mode available in the beta was basic team death match, first to 35 kills wins. Two teams of five, heroes and villains, run around the map ganging up on straggling foes or facing off as a team in various parts of the map. There were two maps available in the beta. One a deserted town in Madagascar and another the typical jungle ruins we’ve seen in what feels like every single Uncharted game before. The two maps are very well designed and never did it feel like one team had an advantage spawning in one area over another. There were three main pathways on each map which is pretty basic shooter multiplayer level design. One on each side and one straight down the middle. This copy and paste of map layout was pretty noticeable as I played and hopefully the other maps in the full game are more creative.
The combat is fluid and feels great. All the guns are intuitive and I found it quite easy to learn what works for your play style and what doesn’t. I tended to favour semi-automatic weapons with mid to high damage as that best allowed me to stay back and take out enemies without becoming surrounded. I encountered players who quite effectively used each of the guns so there appears to be no balance issue there which is good to see.
It became quite clear to me that the team designing Uncharted 4‘s multiplayer learned a lot from The Last of Us‘ multiplayer. There is a set number of loadout points, perks have varying levels that are more powerful for more loadout points and there are purchasables that the player assign to a loadout and buy throughout a match. These are all adopted right out of The Last of Us‘ multiplayer, except replace parts with money. This is in no way a bad thing, however. The Last of Us‘ had incredible multiplayer so taking what worked so well before and adapting it to Uncharted is a great idea, if a little lacking in innovation.
There is a great deal of customization available in the loadouts, more so than any other Uncharted game. There are more than a dozen of the aforementioned perks available and all of these perks can become meaningful additions to a load out. The player also has the choice of about two dozen main weapons and small weapons. Some new guns are making their debut as well as some classics like the Para, everyone’s favourite pistol. Each gun feels unique and there is definitely one for whichever way you want to play.
After having a blast playing this beta over the past week I am all the more ready for Uncharted 4 to come out so I can dive into this brilliant multiplayer. Uncharted 4 mixes up the old, familiar multiplayer and brings something fresh and exciting to the table. Be sure to check it out when Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End launches on the PlayStation 4 on March 18th early next year.