Uncharted 3 Beta - So far so good...

Since the release of the Uncharted 3 beta, I've been playing it none stop. Tried out all the game modes currently available for testing and reached the level cap of 25 for the beta. It's a solid beta, the changes done for Uncharted 3 is easily noticeable, showing a broader multiplayer compared to Uncharted 2. Some are great changes while some needs adjustments. Since they have a schedule of rotating other game modes and another map for testing, it's not over yet, but so far so good.

Broader Customization and new interface

When you connect to the beta, you see a better interface compared to uncharted 2's. Customization is bigger now with the option of changing your loadout, changing your character's appearance, creating emblems and which boosters or medal kickbacks to use. The customization may seem bigger, but the weapons, perks and medal kickbacks provided in the beta is currently limited. It's beta, and revealing everything could ruin the surprise on game release i guess.

Aside from the customization, at the bottom, you are given "Uncharted TV". Uncharted TV shows all the Uncharted 3 trailers and gameplay demos currently revealed and an introduction explaining the new stuff in multiplayer. It's a good touch, giving players something to look at while they wait for matchmaking get them into a game. Curious to what will be shown when the full game is released, but I hope its actual multiplayer gameplay from players showing cool kills, just to keep things interesting.

Buddy System

This is one of the best parts of Uncharted 3's multiplayer. If you have a friend in your group, you get paired up with him with the buddy system. The buddy system pretty much gives you the option to spawn right beside your buddy if you die. It's a great feature since it provides a sense of teamwork. you can also see where you buddy is located so that you can regroup with him.

When you kill an enemy with your buddy, a blue icon will appear and if both you and your buddy go beside the dead body and press down on the direction pad, you both do a high-five or a fist bump and earn a medal. it's pretty trippy, and it's a fun way to taunt your enemies.

Paid Boosters

These are an option at the beginning of a match. These are boosters that are supposed to give you an edge on your next match like an extra grenade slot or more bullet penetration, but for a price. These are really expensive and i only bought a paid booster once. The boost only lasts one match so if ever you want the same boost, it will have to cost you again and money isn't easy to come by. It's either the prices are too damn high, or they need to increase how much money we earn after a match. So far, it's a waste to get them.

Power Plays

These are what makes matches interesting. So far it's only seen in Team Deathmatch, but it gives the currently losing team an edge to catch up in kills. The first power play makes one player from the leading team a VIP, if the other team kills him, he is considered 2 kills. Even when he has died, he stays as the VIP until it runs out. If the team is still at the losing end, another Power Play will happen. This time the leading team will be revealed for the losing team which can be a pain. They can see the leading team's names through walls giving their position. And if the team just plain sucks and still doesn't take the lead in kills, you are given one last Power Play.  The last Power Play gives the losing team double damage. If you don't catch up with that, then you really deserve the lose.

The Power Plays keep things interesting and keep the winning team in their toes making sure we keep the lead.  I don't feel it as overpowered since my team was still able to win a lot regardless of them earning power plays. Plus the double damage power play usually happens towards the end, so it get's intense if the other team uses it properly. There is one more Power Play called "Cursed" but they currently took it out for unknown reasons.

Medal Kickbacks

They finally gave a reason to earn those damn medals in Uncharted. Whatever you accomplish, if  it's a double kill, a stealth kill, killing someone on a turret etc. you are awarded a medal for it. If any of you have played Uncharted 2(if you haven't, you should), you'll know what I'm talking about. Well now there's this feature called Medal Kickbacks. earn x amount of medals during the match and your awarded with a kickback reward. The reward can either be 2 RPGs, a cluster grenade which make your one grenade split into multiple grenades or have the ability to disappear out of thin air.

It's a reward to give you an edge in the match. You can only pick one, and this can be changed when customizing your loadout. It's easy to obtain with all the different medals you can earn in a match. The RPG kickback requires 14 medals and while that seems a lot, it's actually easy. The kickbacks can also stack. Meaning, if you already have a kickback ready for use, you can still earn medals for another kickback. If you hold the RPG kickback and earned another 14 medals, you'll have 4 RPGs to wreak havoc.

Dynamic maps

There are only two maps at the moment in Beta, the third one will be introduced in  a few days, but for now were stuck with Airstrip and Chateau.  What's great about Uncharted 3's maps is that during a match, something changes in the map that opens up an area in the map or opens different covers. For example, Airstrip is the perfect example. Midway during the match in this map, an explosion happens bringing down this tower. Th debris of the tower let's us player use it to climb in this area with a turret placement. A place that we didn't have access yet in the start. There's also a wooden hut in the roof that can be used as cover but eventually gets blown up. There's also a plane than goes down and tries to shoot players, but so far I'm still waiting for a player to get killed by it. Because of the crazy life of players in the Beta, it takes a lot to kill one player.

The Airstrip also starts with a chase scene in a cargo plane. It was shown in the multiplayer trailer, with heroes on board the plane  trying to fend off enemies attempting to board the plane before it takes off. it's great, but really short. I'm loving the idea but the length of it is too short for players to fully enjoy that experience. Just adding an extra minute or so will fix this and hopefully they make it longer and add more of that kind of gameplay in the final game.

The Chateau isn't as dynamic as the Airstrip though. There is only one part of the map that changes and that's the inside of the Chateau. Halfway into the match, the second floor walls start burning taking out the walls and floors giving a clear view at players coming from the opposite site. That's about it really. Aside from that, there's also a zip-line that players can use on the second floor to get out of the Chateau fast. Chateau i believe, needs a lot of work still. They need to give something more that just burning walls. Maybe make the whole place burning forcing people outside since most of the fights happen inside.

Game Modes

Game modes are as follows:

Team Deathmatch - This is pretty much your typical TD seen in almost all games with multiplayer. Heroes vs villains, and the first team to reach 50 kills wins the match.

Three Team Deathmatch - This is just like TD but with only 6 players running around. It's 3 teams of two and works well because of the Buddy System. All you need is 15 kills for you team in order to win. Love to taunt dead players with a buddy.

Free For All - I never liked this mode in any game but i guess this is self-explanatory. All you need is 20 kills to be the victor and is a real tester on how well the spawns are, so far the spawning in this game seems decent.

Hardcore - It's exactly like Team Deathmatch. Only difference is, you don't have Medal Kickbacks, powerplays and paid boosters. Just plain old TD.

Cooperative Arena - This is just like Uncharted 2's Co-op Arena. Three players against a wave of enemy NPCs with objectives in each wave. Each round has certain objectives; Survival - tasks you to kill all the enemies, Siege -tasks you have all players in this small position and hold it until captured, and plunder - which tasks players to grab a treasure and put it on a chest while fighting enemies.

These are the current modes available so far but their schedule says that they will be rotation new modes soon.

Known Issues

It's beta, and issues will present itself. Don't hate Naughty Dog just yet, they still have months to fix them. One major issue i hope they address though is the life of each player. It takes too damn much to take one person down. They need to either increase bullet damage or reduce life because Head shots are rare. Like, it needs 2 three burst shots in the head to kill a player.

Because of the ability to sprint, movement doesn't feel that smooth compared to Uncharted 2. It feels clunky for some reason and I'm not the only one to think so too. One of the best part of Uncharted 2 is the fact that everything felt right and smooth. It might be just for beta, but hopefully this isn't the case in the campaign.

Weapons currently available are limited in your loadout, but one weapon is too accurate to the point that all other guns are obsolete. The G-MAL for me is too accurate and overpowered. The AK-47 seems to be nerfed for this game giving it bigger recoil but because of the G-MAL's 3 burst shot, it's becomes easy-mode. What makes the G-MAL even stronger is the accuracy mode that makes it even MORE accurate. There's currently only 4 guns that you can pick for your loadout and so far G-MAL is all i need. balancing is needed.

on July 4, they will introduce Plunder and Co-op Hunter, and Team Objective, so will update this post to what I think about those modes. With that they have shown so far though, I'm more hyped for Uncharted 3. The multiplayer is a lot of fun and i can't wait to experience the final product. Connection seems very solid too, I live in Asia and for some reason connection has been playable. Any other beta players out there? let us know what you think for beta too by leaving a comment.