Deceptive Practices

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is a far, far more fitting title than I would have thought. Something has gone terribly wrong in Naughty Dog's pulpy cinematic series.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: November 6, 2011
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More interestingly, the story-driven cooperative levels borrow environments from U2's single-player, connecting them to familiar environs from U3's single player in a kind of alternate storyline that works fairly well, though it can sometimes ignore the third player in some of the cutscenes. Still, it's quite a bit of fun, riddled with the same "specialized" enemies from the other co-op modes that sport the ability to throw multiple grenades, have unlimited ammo and so on. At best, these are addictive little distractions that sort of bridge the gap between the single-player experience and the pure competitive modes without suffering from the... peculiarities of the single-player's aiming controls.

Likewise, those controls extend to the competitive multiplayer, which offers many of the same objective-based options as the co-op, adding in pure deathmatch (no perks, no kickbacks for getting medals, and so on), team-based deathmatch and of course the CTF-style mode Plunder where you can throw the "flag" in an attempt to get it back to your base.

At its core, Uncharted 3's multiplayer offers the same medley of different tweaked takes on the familiar gameplay of the offline game that was seen in Uncharted 2, but adds a few wrinkles. The kickbacks, in particular, are different enough from the kill/death streaks seen in other competitive multiplayer games out there, instead rewarding specific actions like taking cover, killing an enemy with melee and a whopping 64 other criteria. These kickbacks can be unlocked with cash earned during matches and pre-selected before matches, so there's always another carrot at the end of a stick to chase without just adding a bunch of XP levels.

Of course, there are XP levels too, which gate off unlockable upgrades like weapons, and weapon-specific goodies like bigger ammo clips, faster reloading and so on, though these must be assigned to a specific loadout. It's a careful, measured bit of game design, and it's obvious Naughty Dog spent plenty of time figuring it out. It's no exaggeration to say that dozens if not hundreds of hours will be needed to completely buy and unlock everything.

All these opportunities do come at a fairly heavy cost, however: it'll likely take many, many hours of practice before the game's particular mechanics "click" -- and it'll definitely take many to level up enough to get some of the better weapons in the game. Though there were efforts made to try to keep things fair for newcomers, there's simply a raw amount of time that must be put in learning the levels and understanding the mechanics before things really start to gel, and for some that may be too much to ask.

Without question, though, the worst part of the multiplayer experience is simply that there are a lot of people that are inching close to maxing out their level, and the game hasn't even been on shelves for everyone for a week. The Subway promotion that opened up nearly all of the game's multiplayer allowed players that had spent dozens of hours practicing. Not only have they had plenty of time to scavenge for the ultra-rare treasures that unlock extra customization or special weapons, but they have the experience to back up all those unlockables.
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