Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End multiplayer revealed
Nathan Drake is finally back alongside his friends (and enemies) in a preview for the next Uncharted game. The multiplayer beta is open for PlayStation 4 players from December 4.
Pack a bag for the jungle and get on your favourite grey henley (half-tuck mandatory), because the hype for the first new Uncharted console game since 2011 is gearing up.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End promises a dramatic conclusion to lovable rogue Nathan Drake’s globe-trotting adventures, and a refinement of the celebrated shooting and exploration gameplay of the first three titles. You don’t have to wait until March to experience the game though, as a beta version of the multiplayer mode is being made available right now.
If you have a PlayStation 4 and a copy of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, you’re invited to download and play the beta for 10 days starting on December 4. I had the chance to play a few rounds early, and while it certainly doesn’t feel like a finished product, it’s a fun taste of things to come.
Team-based shooting, with a supernatural twist: Elena activates a Djinn power-up in the Uncharted 4 multiplayer beta.
At its core not much has changed. This is still the cartoony, modern Indiana Jones world we know, and that’s only accentuated in the multiplayer courtesy of the collection of familiar playable characters that chat away to the player while the game loads and yell goofy catchphrases at each other in the heat of battle. Not much can be gleaned from the beta in terms of the main game’s plot, save that Nate, Sully and Elena are visibly slightly older and new character Sam Drake is fighting on the side of the good guys.
Only one mode is available in the beta, and it sees two teams of five face off in a simple deathmatch. Players select their favourite hero or villain, depending on which team they’re sorted into, and select a loadout of weapons and items depending on how they’d like to play (one features a sniper rifle, pistol and healing items for example, while another has an assault rifle and mines).
Whether you co-ordinate with teammates to outfox the opposition or go it alone is up to you, but there’s a lot of opportunity to switch up your strategy. The two stages available in the beta (one jungle setting and one urban) are littered with cover, open arenas and high vantage points, as well as multiple paths to traverse through. The grappling hook — a brand new mechanic in Uncharted 4 — lets you take shortcuts or make daring escapes across ravines, and you can even land on unsuspecting enemies for a quick knockdown.
Nate takes cover with his brother Sam, a newcomer to the series.
Adding another layer of strategy, each round has its own economy, as players rack up cash for various actions including knockouts, downs, assists and more. The cash can be used at any time to purchase one of four power-ups, which are equipped as part of your loadout but can’t be used until you buy them. They include things like heavy weapons and grenade refills, but also present two exciting new options.
Sidekicks are AI-controlled helpers that drop immediately onto the field in front of you when you buy the power-up. There’s a variety of sidekicks available — from snipers to medics — to suit any situation, but while you can have multiple in your loadout you can only place one on the field at a time. Dropping a personal body guard with a gattling gun while you take cover is an awesome way to get out of a desperate situation.
Then there’s the mystic power-ups, which take inspiration from the various supernatural forces of the series. Players can deal big damage to a whole group of enemies by summoning Eldorado, reveal their their locations with the Staff of Ayar Manco, or slow them down with Indra’s Eternity. My personal favourite transforms the player into a Djinn — the kind Nate hallucinated about in Uncharted 3 — which lets you dash unpredictably about the field and deal fiery death to anyone you happen across.
A character is affected by the Wrath of Eldorado mystical power-up, which can be thrown to take out a crowd of enemies.
All this taken together adds up to a chaotic and brash multiplayer experience, where strategy can be rewarded but can also be undermined by a cashed up player calling in reinforcements. A good amount of depth is emerging in the metagame too, with the beta including the ability earn points to customise loadouts as well as unlock funny hats, costumes and taunts to personlise your character. Developer Naughty Dog has promised that many more game modes and maps will be available when the game launches on March 18, 2016.