Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Co-Op Hands-On Preview

Out of all the greatness and glory that oozed from Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, one part of the game that sat in mediocrity was its cooperative multiplayer experience. Though enjoyable, the non-survival mode of the multiplayer featured a rather simple, easy, and somewhat bland format. Players would follow an on-rails platforming segment featuring one or two moments where a second player’s help was required, then enter an open area for a straight shootout with a few waves of foes. Kill the baddies, rinse, and repeat until you reach the treasure chest at the last shootout.

In the two years since Among Thieves released, Naughty Dog took notice of these shortcomings and completely tuned up the way that cooperative missions will run in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Platforming isn’t limited to specific segments, and shootouts will bring more to the table than simply killing everything that’s thrown at you. It feels a lot less like a chore and much more like the intense, high-action sequences that get your adrenaline pumping in the single-player campaign.

When my demo session began with the help of GamerNode’s own Jason Fanelli and another eager journalist, we started out exploring a Syrian museum castle when a helicopter blew us down into what apears to be the castle’s sewage system. We kicked off the gameplay by helping one another up and out of the area using the triangle button, and then scaled the side of the castle, stones jutting out for us to platform up. Upon reaching the top, we found that enemies weren’t going to just come to us; there were some already there. With two having their backs to us, we quickly used Uncharted 3‘s new one-hit stealth eliminations to keep them from alerting their friends.

We needed to enter the central area of the open yet multi-level complex and figure out how to move on. In order to do that, we took out the remaining few sentries watching the locale. Once that was done, an actual cutscene kicked off that showed our trio of Drake, Sully, and Elena trying to figure out what to do next. This shows that the co-op will apparently feature its own narrative separate from that of the single-player game. After the trio deliberated, Drake placed an artifact into a stone engraving in the ground. Upon doing this, a group of pedestals rose up that featured pressure plates. All we needed to do was find the idols spread throughout this section of the castle and return them to the pedestals all while under fire from waves of foes coming at us from various directions. Simple.

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This is where Uncharted 3‘s co-op has separated itself from its predecessor. Instead of segments with one isolated type of gameplay it has combined and added to them. These instances now feature combat, platforming, exploration, and, to a basic extent, puzzle solving. It also brings with it a much bigger emphasis on strategy. Idols can be chucked, you need two people to access the idol, and you are being shot at from multiple directions by enemies who won’t stay in one place. You’ll need to communicate with your buddies in order to both survive and be efficient. My partners and I proved this as we were quickly defeated in our session after neglecting to inform each other where we were going and what we were doing after securing the first idol.

Game design aside, Uncharted 3 also features a changed up and tweaked weapon set. The AK-47 makes its return, but most of the other weapons have undergone either a cosmetic or functional change. The Dragonov Sniper is now a one-round reload, so accuracy and bullet management are going to be much more important than in Among Thieves. Though the FAL is gone, it has been replaced by the G-Mal, which is more aesthetically pleasing but features the same zoom and three-round burst capabilities.

Several other guns have been changed, but perhaps the best weapon of all so far is one of the Uncharted series’ newest: a sniper pistol. The weapon appears to be a Desert Eagle with a massive scope attached to the barrel. The result gives you a powerful mid- to long-range companion to the Dragonov Sniper that can take out enemies in one shot. It proved quite effective for me as I laid waste to several adversaries in addition to rescuing one of my pals.

After failing on the first attempt and succeeding on the second, our session time unfortunately ran out. However, despite being unable to see the rest of the mission, I still walked away feeling a lot more satisfied with Uncharted’s newest iteration of cooperative multiplayer. It feels fresh, challenging, and, above all, entertaining. If the weakest link in the series has been retooled this well, who knows just how much of an improvement on its predecessor the rest of the game can be. Be on the lookout for Nathan Drake’s latest adventure when Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception lands on November 1, exclusively on the PlayStation 3.


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Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

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