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Published on July 4th, 2011 | by Tim Nguyen, Video Editor

Uncharted 3 Beta Hands-on Impressions

Developer: Naughty Dog
Release: 11/1/11
Platform: PlayStation 3

PlayStation 3 fans are still waiting patiently for the third installment of the Uncharted series. While the wait wages on, developer Naughty Dog has offered a beta to test and improve their online experience by using feedback from gamers, but most importantly, “WE GET TO PLAY THE GAME!” before the initial release of November 1, 2011. Now, I’ll try not to bore you with repetitive information regarding the beta, but for those of you who are lost, here’s a quick rundown of what the Uncharted 3 Beta has to offer.

Maps

The beta offers two multiplayer maps, Airstrip and Chateau. Airstrip sounds exactly how it should represent. It starts off with the heroes on a cargo plane and the villains on trucks chasing after a giant plane. If you start out as a hero, you are basically defending the plane itself. If you start out as a villain, you have to make your way on to the plane as the trucks are moving back and forth. You do have to watch your jump or you’ll fall straight to your death. After the cargo plane takes off, a cinematic sequence comes up displaying each team riding on trucks heading to an air base. My favorite aspect of this map is the live airfield sequence which includes a giant plane and multiple trucks in motion while you are fully engaged in gun battles. This is a map full of cargo, metal scraps, air bases and other plane-related entities.

Chateau is a beautifully-crafted map with French architecture. At the start of the match, there is a cut scene for the heroes and villains. Heroes are supposedly sneaking into the Chateau and as for the villains they toss a torch on the roof of the chateau. While you are playing this map you notice that the chateau starts to slowly burn. The roof burns and falls on to the first floor causing the first floor to collapse to the ground. They also added a zip line on this map if you need to make a great escape from all the gunfire. While French architecture is a brilliant idea, Naughty Dog has gone the extra mile by lighting the French mansion on fire while you and your buddies enter the building guns-blazing like badasses should.

Customization

Upon entering the beta, players will be introduced to a new system of customization for a more unique experience. Players will be controlling a hero or a villain which is randomly chosen each match. The game now features a character customization from top to bottom with color changes. You can customize skin variant, torso, head, arms, legs, feet and voice. Villains only have one character to choose from which is the Pirate. He too is similar to the Treasure Hunter with many customizations. The way you earn these items for character customization is by picking up treasure from killing your enemy. You have to collect a certain amount of the treasure to earn this item. It is quite tedious, but has its rewards.

You now have weapon customization for competitive or co-op action. You have four presets that you can customize. The presets offer a primary weapon, secondary weapon, two boosters and a new kick back feature. Weapons can now be customized as well. Each weapon has different mods you can apply. You can add a bigger clip size, faster rate of fire, faster reload speed, or call out. Those are just a some of the numerous mods that Uncharted 3 has introduced. Boosters are different this time around. Some of the Boosters include endurance, cloaked, daredevil, bargain, and power hunter. The beta also featured Medal Kickbacks which are like kill streaks, but instead of killing to earn the kickback you need to earn medals. If you get a certain amount of medals you get to use a special ability for a short amount of time. For example, you get the option to use an RPG if you obtain fourteen medals. Another new “popular” feature that Naughty Dog has implemented is the ability to customize emblems with numerous layers and styles to work with. This leaves a lot of room for online character expression. I’m very happy with the customizable features because now players will have a chance to standout online. Your emblem will appear around various places of the map played if you are the current MVP while the match is in session.

Gameplay

The gameplay is what defines the Uncharted series. This time around the gameplay is feels very familiar to the previous game, but has been polished in many different ways. Character movement has been vamped to a degree where the players should feel a great sense of speed. Naughty Dog has added a sprint feature, unlike the last game, you could only run at a certain pace and often, at times, it felt slow. Sprinting does have a weird feeling to it. Recoil has more of an impact now for each gun. The gun play is definitely more intense this time around. The melee system is similar.Naughty Dog has added new fancy take downs. A “superman punch” is one of those take downs. You can can engage in melee combat while climbing. You can now return a live grenade via the triangle button. Naughty Dog has added something called the buddy system. When a match starts you will be appointed a partner on your team. If you both assist each other getting the kill you’ll be able to high-five each your buddy to receive a medal and bonus cash. You have the ability to spawn beside your partner if he is alive. So you must choose wisely when to spawn.

Gamemodes

The Uncharted 3 Beta offers six game modes. They include team death match, plunder and co-op arena. The other three game modes are new and they include three team death match, free for all and hardcore.

Team Death Match

Team death match (TDM) is the same , but includes a new feature called power play. Power play is a perk for the losing team with five less kills than the opposing team. The first power play is called marked man. Marked man is when one member of the opposing team is chosen as a VIP and your team is directed to kill him to gain extra points. Killing the VIP will give you three points instead of one.

Plunder

Plunder is basically a similar version to a capture the flag game type , but instead capture the treasure.

Co-op Arena

Co-op arena includes wave after waves of enemies come after you as you and your two other team members try to survive the tough enemies after each wave.

Free for All

Self explanatory. Every man for himself.

Three Team Death Match

Three team death match includes three teams of twos going up against each other (2v2v2).

Hardcore

Hardcore is identical to team death match , but without the boosters, medal kickbacks, and power play.

Final Truth

Overall, the beta is impressive and shows a lot of potential in the realms of what the game has to offer. There are plenty of bugs/glitches to complain about, but this is why they call it a beta. The graphics are outstanding as always.The new customization features gives players something to appreciate about their online experience. The multiplayer this time around has been vamped up in many aspects of the game. The Uncharted 2 feel has definitely left the stage. We will see what the final product has in store for us when Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception hits shelves on November 11, 2011.

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