Previews PS4

Uncharted 4 Beta Impressions – Unbetaed

Uncharted-4 beta

This past weekend (04/03 – 06/03), Naughty Dog offered eager fans a chance to sample the multiplayer for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. This arrived in the form of a public Beta, giving players access to the Team Deathmatch mode on a small sample of maps. While Naughty Dog has estimated that the Beta only offers around 20% of the multiplayer content that the full game will contain, it was enough to give us a peek at what to expect.

Hats. Expect lots and lots of hats.
Hats. Expect lots and lots of hats.

Given that this was a stress test, the matchmaking components of the game generally performed  very well, if a little slow at times. There were instances on Friday night (GMT) where the matchmaking would hang before the map loaded, but this issue seemed to smooth out over the course of the weekend, meaning that there were plenty of games to be played. Performance in-game was noticeably smooth with no discernible lag or connection issues.

It’s clear from the Beta that there will be a large amount of unlockable content in the final game. Alternate outfits for characters, taunts, and of course, hats were available for unlock through various forms of in game currency. The cosmetics that you would expect were all there, as were a number of weapon loadouts. These were categorised into particular roles such as Assault, Tactical, Support, each offering different pre-sets depending on your preferred style of play. Assault seemed to be the most commonly used in our experience, coming with a standard assault rifle, grenade, and certain in game upgrades. Each loadout has a set of perks that can be unlocked per game through in-game currency. For example, the assault loadout offers an RPG, an AI controlled buddy who patrols the area nearby with a chaingun, and a relic which summons spirits to kill enemies. With this last perk, the multiplayer seems to lean into the same goofy paranormal aspects that the previous games have in the singleplayer.

Otherwise, with only Team Deathmatch available, Uncharted 4’s multiplayer seems to be fairly typical if you’ve played any of the other installments. Climbing, rolling, swinging from ropes and snapping to cover all feel familiar and as responsive as they ever have. Aiming at a rushing opponent can occasionally be difficult (especially if your opponent tends to roll a lot), resulting in melee fights at close and medium ranges. Given that it typically takes three melee hits to down your opponent, some skirmishes will turn into roll-about slap fights, which is something of an unintentional quirk of the game.

Uncharted is supposed to be about treasure hunters, yet the multiplayer sees you getting paid for killing people and throwing relics away as deadly weapons.
Uncharted is supposed to be about treasure hunters, yet the multiplayer sees you getting paid for killing people and throwing relics away as deadly weapons.

There were a handful of maps available in the Beta, including Island, Rooftops and Madagascar. These maps were drawn at random, with Island popping up the most often during our sessions. Island features some lush forest settings with cavernous ravines sectioning off certain parts of the map. To cross these you’ll need to swing across via a rope, but you risk being exposed and vulnerable while doing so. The Rooftops map had a lot more verticality to it, meaning that players were often raining down on our heads, giving you an incentive to reach higher ground and get a vantage point. The Madagascar map was particularly interesting, adding a tightly-packed shanty town to the proceedings. This meant that finding tight angles between crumbled walls and blown-out windows was an option in what was otherwise a fairly small map. The number of maps we sampled have a large degree of variety to them, requiring an adjustment in play each time.

Overall, Uncharted 4’s multiplayer seems to be a fairly fleshed out mode that iterates on what has come before. Although we’re yet to see what further gameplay modes the full version will offer, the Beta offers a glimpse at a fun, responsive multiplayer shooter that we’re looking forward to come the game’s release in May.

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