The multiplayer only gets better in Uncharted 3.

Sony brought a multiplayer demo of Uncharted 3 to its E3 press conference this year, giving two teams of four on each side of kiosk a run at each other. I was a big fan of multiplayer in Uncharted 2, and from my short playtime, it only gets better and deeper in the franchise’s third entry.

What I noticed right away is that everyone in multiplayer looks different. Instead of just choosing different characters to play as, which varied from Nathan Drake to a glowing skeleton in Uncharted 2, you’ll now be able to customize those avatars to your liking with all sorts of clothing and item variations. My version of Victor “Sully” Sullivan had on a green polo and a white bowler hat. Though I encountered multiple Nathan Drakes as my opponents, each looked different. It’ll probably lead to a lot of DLC, but hopefully some of it will be free.

I played deathmatch in a jungle environment with a ruined stone building. It was nicely designed compared to the levels found in Uncharted 2, featuring tons of climbing spots, different platforms on multiple levels, lots of cover, and unique environmental features such as a turret (which left you very vulnerable, so don’t hang out there). The weapon selection felt well balanced, putting explosive weapons out in the open and keeping the sniper rifle hidden in a dark room. You’ll still constantly change weapons as ammo runs out or you kill an enemy with a better gun.

The other major thing I noticed was the increased number of awards I got for just about every kill. Naughty Dog appears to have added cash awards/medals for even more specific situations, like headshots or coming extremely close to death and finishing off an enemy. This ties in to all the new additions to multiplayer such as Medal Kickbacks that can make you disappear in smoke or turn you into a swarm of bugs. It also just feels good to be awarded everytime you kill someone in a different way.

I got a small taste of the new features in Uncharted 3 when a power play kicked in. Power plays are basically events that occur during multiplayer matches, providing certain conditions and bonuses for those that fulfill them. The power play in my game was “marked man,” which marked an enemy and made our team go after him and the opposing team protect him. The opposing team didn’t do so well, and he fell to my burning hot lead (thanks sniper rifle). These power plays are definitely a great addition to the already hectic Uncharted multiplayer game.

I know multiplayer is most popular in titles like Call of Duty and Battlefield, but Uncharted has a unique niche that shouldn’t be ignored. The Uncharted 3 multiplayer beta begins for PlayStation Plus subscribers on June 28, which is everyone that had a PSN account previous to April 20 due to Sony’s Welcome Back program. For everyone else it starts on July 5, and ends on July 13 for all participants. Check it out.

Uncharted 3 will be released on November 1, 2011

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