|Dev: Naughty Dog|
|Release: November 1, 2011|
|Players: 1, 2 offline, 3 online co-op, 12 online versus|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Josh Wirtanen
Uncharted 3 is one of the most anticipated games of this year. In fact, it's probably the most anticipated PS3 exclusive. I finally got to spend some time with it at E3, and I must say it's shaping up quite well.
I got to play two maps in team deathmatch mode. Airfield begins with a convoy of jeeps chasing a plane in a scene very similar to the chase scene toward the end of the single-player campaign in Uncharted 2. You'll either fight in the beds of the trucks or inside the plane. After a bit of time, the plane takes off, and players still inside get to keep fighting as it takes flight. This eventually transitions into a cutscene—yes, there are cutscenes right in the middle of multiplayer matches—and players will then fight in a warehouse area.
The other map I got to play looked a lot like a cross between the Lost City and the Temple maps from Uncharted 2. It was a jungle setting with scattered climbable ruins. One major difference, however, is the burning cabin in the middle of the map. I never got the chance to get into it before it burned down, but apparently as it burns it opens up new rooms that hide weapons and things.
Uncharted 3's team deathmatch definitely keeps what worked in Uncharted 2—which is pretty much everything—and ads some new features into the mix. One of the things that is most exciting is the kickback system. By increasing your score—cash in the Uncharted world—you will earn kickbacks. These are sort of like the boosters you earn in Uncharted 2—which are also back, by the way—except they can be applied in-game. One of the kickbacks you can earn is the cluster bomb, a grenade that explodes and scatters three more grenades that will explode shortly after the first one. There are definitely some interesting strategic uses for this, like forcing opponents out of cover when you just can't quite angle a grenade toss that will reach them.
Another great new multiplayer feature is character customization. As some of the villains, you can even change skin color. The major heroes, like Nate and Elena, don't have various skin tones, but you can change their clothing. For example, Nathan Drake has a "French sweater" he can wear, and he can even sport aviator shades.
Since this game relies more heavily on co-op play than its predecessors, some of the co-op features have transferred to the deathmatch mode. For example, when you die in co-op mode, you get the option to simply respawn as you normally would or to respawn near your partner. Respawns in team deathmatch function similarly, only the player you can respawn near is the player your camera is following as your spawn counter ticks down. If the player gets into combat, however, you can no longer respawn near them.
The only thing I'm a little worried about is that some of the maps might be a little too large. The Airfield map often will have players running around searching for opponents for what seems like far too long. If Uncharted 3 follows its predecessor and limits multiplayer to 12 players, this might make the map a little dull. Uncharted 2 did very well at limiting map size to keep the action fairly intense most of the time, and larger maps could slow the pace of the matches.
I didn't get to try any of the single-player, but Sony showed off some gameplay footage and a brand new trailer. One thing that is clear is that Naughty Dog has not run out of ideas for this series. The gameplay footage showed Nate on a sinking ship. During one part of his adventure, there was a bit of combat while the water was slowly rising, meaning he had to finish off the baddies quick to keep ahead of the flood. Another scene showed a power box of some sort fall from the wall and pin Nate underwater. This triggered a "rapidly press triangle" quick time event as Nate struggled to escape.
The trailer confirmed we'll be seeing some familiar faces: Sully, Chloe, and Elena are all back. Of course, this leaves us wondering what will come of the Nate-Chloe-Elena love triangle that was never truly resolved at the end of Uncharted 2.
Most surprising of all, however, was that Nathan Drake rides a horse in Uncharted 3. That's right, a horse. This probably won't be any sort of major gameplay mechanic, but it definitely makes Nate that much more of a badass.
My time with Uncharted 3 was way too short. This is a title I look forward to sinking dozens and dozens of hours into once it launches in November.
CCC Editor/Contributing Writer