It seems my enjoyment of inFAMOUS
rewarded me with, well, pretty much what everyone else who preordered the game was rewarded, namely a code for the multiplayer beta of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
. And, like a proper fanboy, I briefly abandoned one exclusive to toy with another, and of course rave about it over the 'tubes.
's been described as Indiana Jones
mated to Tomb Raider
, in practice it worked out more like Gears of War
, but with climbing and half-tucked shirts. That said, the singleplayer game was awesome, and the trailers for the sequel look just as good if not better. But anyway, multiplayer!
There are three modes available, mainly team deathmatch, plunder, and a co-op mode for (at least in this beta) up to three. Plunder's basically capture the flag, and team deathmatch pits "Heroes" versus "Villains", in which the player models of the heroes team are that of the cast, against a bunch of generic soldier-looking dudes on the villains side. In both of the maps featured for TDM, Plaza and Village, the villains tend to be favored, as their dark outfits blend in more readily than Elena Fisher's blond hair or Chloe Frazer's bright red shirt (reminds me of the original Far Cry
, heh). This has to be one of the first times a game's beauty has made it more difficult to play. As an aside, there was another player model for "Tietzo" (sp?), a previously unseen character who will presumably pop up sometime in the game. Tietzo has a big-ass machete on his back, in the same place that Chris Redfield keeps his in Resident Evil 5
. To date I have not found a way to make him use it, but by God I will keep trying.
Overall the impressions of the competitive modes are positive, though hardly overwhelming. Characters can select two "boosters" (aka perks) before the match which usually convey benefits like increased accuracy with long guns, more accurate blind-fire, more ammo, and all that. "Earnings" (aka XP points) are kept on your profile and presumably will add up to something as you level up. The maps are reasonably well designed, with a lot of places to climb to and a good amount of weapons scattered about. I guess my big problem with the TDM and CTF here is that, as with Gears of War
(assuming the stories I read are true), no one seems to use the cover system the game emphasizes so much. Everyone's just running around shooting each other, and the only reason to use cover is that there isn't a "crouch" button.
By far the most interesting part of Uncharted 2
's multiplayer is the co-op mode. In the map available, "Nepal Warzone", three players (as Nate, Sully, and Chloe) move from section to section, fighting waves of enemies and taking on co-op objectives, with miniboss enemies in each section. It's fun because it feels like you're playing the campaign, and as such the game's natural mechanics of cover and climbing are encouraged much more than generic 3rd-person shootery. One section had me (as Nate) boosting another player (as Chloe) up to climb a wall and get to a bookcase that she could knock down so that we could all get to the next section. I and the third player (as Sully) had to hold off the enemies that spawned in to shoot her. It was fun and it worked out.
There was some weirdness, though. You can play the co-op map with less than three, but if you do that, you risk losing the whole game, because during a certain portion of the map two commando enemies grab characters in chokeholds which can only be broken with help. If both players get held, there will be no third player to help out, and it's over. Games like Left 4 Dead
avoid that by having the AI take over for absent players. That sort of thing will need to be addressed, but I guess that's what betas are for.
In conclusion, Uncharted 2
's multiplayer is viable, but definitely not spectacular, best noted as a nominal extra feature to extend the game's life beyond the campaign, which I have no doubt will be awesome and worth the purchase price in and of itself.
Seriously. Just look at the trailer!