Uncharted 4 Multiplayer hands-on preview: mystical madness

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Zipline

When it comes to Uncharted, everyone who’s dabbled with the franchise will no doubt babble on about how epic the campaigns are, and how gorgeous they’ve been too. Following Nathan Drake on his wild treasure hunts has always been an enjoyable experience to say the least. When it comes to the multiplayer components of the franchise however, which have been present since Uncharted 2, very few people spout positive remarks. That whole experience in general has been pretty forgettable overall.

That’s something that will hopefully change when Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End ships early next year – on the 18th of March to be exact. Naughty Dog have rejiggered the multiplayer component for Drake’s latest outing. It’s cover shooting as usual, but with a whole lot of supernatural thrown in to the mix. Will it shake up the experience into something more memorable? I drove off to Ster-Kinekor yesterday to find out…

BAM

If you’ve ever played Uncharted before, you’ll be comfortable with the movement and mechanics of the multiplayer immediately. Traversing walls and snapping to cover is identical to previous titles, and easy peasy to get to grips with even for newcomers.

What Naughty Dog have thrown in though to open up extra movement options, is a grappling hook. On the one map I played, there were large gorges and drops that would make mincemeat of even the most seasoned of explorers. Hopping over them was a simple matter of jumping, tapping a shoulder button, and swinging across.

Any other normal person would let go at the end of the arc. I on the other hand, had far too much fun swinging back and forth like Tarzan, which saw me greeting death far more than necessary. It’s a great addition (the grapple hook – not me dying all the time), and one that will hopefully pave the way for some memorable battles both on ground and in air.

Selfie taunt
Is that a Sony Xperia Z5? 

The actual matches themselves start out peacefully enough – if you can count ordinary gunfire and grenade explosions tranquil anyway. That doesn’t last long though, believe me, because within a minute or two, the entire battleground devolves into something far more chaotic. You’ll understand why soon enough.

Shooting an enemy to 0 health doesn’t immediately kill them, but downs them instead. A few follow up shots need to be deployed to finish them off, or rather, a melee attack if you’re the more up close and personal type; a little like Gears of War’s Execution mode.  Whatever the choice, downing an enemy and killing them rewards the player with cash, which can then be spent immediately in-game for upgrades or abilities.

EXPLOSIONS

One way players can choose to spend their cash is on an AI controlled buddy, who will drop into the battle immediately. They all come in different flavours depending on personal preference.

The saviour will go about reviving downed players, as well as dishing out extra ammunition to those who need. The sniper does exactly what you’d expect – pick a spot for them to camp, and let them do some dirty work while you run around elsewhere. The brute is likely to be the choice of many, as he is a large chap wielding a minigun, who can be hid behind while destruction ensues.

My favourite by far though, was the hunter. This AI buddy has very little health, but is fast, and will seek out enemies. Once located, they will grab an opponent and incapacitate them in a chokehold of sorts, leaving you to decide what’s the best way to dispose of them. Shooting them from point blank range is so tasteless! Now, remember that grapple hook? That can be charged up to deal a fatal melee attack, which I found to be particularly satisfying.

THUNK

Summoning in AI friends at will is random as is, but the magic doesn’t end there in the Uncharted 4 multiplayer. Players also have the option to spend cash on mysticals. Think back to any previous Uncharted campaign you’ve played. It always starts out grounded in reality (to an extent) but moves on to some mumbo-jumbo by the time the credits roll. Mysticals are inspired by that sort of thing, giving players a supernatural advantage over others. These too come in different flavours depending on personal preference.

There’s a staff that works pretty much like a highly advanced UAV – showing exactly where enemies are hiding. Another can be thrown like a grenade, which deploys a totem that shoots out spirits that seek out and hurt enemies – killing them if they aren’t smart enough to run away from the general area of effect. I didn’t get to explore each one thoroughly unfortunately, but I never once felt cheated when I was on the receiving end.

These, along with AI buddies, give the Uncharted 4 multiplayer a whole different feel, and a fun one at that.

characters

My only concern is that it falls into the same trap previous games in the franchise have succumbed to. While fun now, will it still be as enjoyable in a month or two? I honestly don’t know, I have not put in nearly enough time to see if that will be the case.

What I can say though is that Naughty Dog have taken the multiplayer in a new direction, and it feels good. I hope it has the life and longevity to keep fans entertained for a good long time moving forward!

Last Updated: December 4, 2015

Matthew Figueira

Defence of the Ancients? More like Defence of the cabbages! Have you seen my head? I look like a Merino Sheep on pole. NO SHANGE only SHAPPIES! :D

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