Over the weekend, Matthew Herst and myself (Trent Katzenberger) played around in the Uncharted 4 Server Stress Test. We decided to have a chat about it and share it with everyone so that our thoughts on our experience could be known far and wide. What follows is the (slightly edited) transcript of our conversation. Enjoy.
Trent: I’ve always been a huge fan of the Uncharted series and number four is something that I have been waiting for since I saw the trailer all those E3’s ago, so to finally get to see the games title card appear on my screen was infinitely exciting.
Matthew: I’ve also been a big fan for a couple of years now. Uncharted 4 has been near the top of my most anticipated list from the moment it was announced. But I generally play the games for the story. I want to know what Nate and Sully get up to and what kind of antics await them, so when then multiplayer beta became open to the public, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d dabbled with multiplayer in the previous entries and had a good time, but it never managed to hold my attention. However, what I’d seen so far about the latest Uncharted multiplayer offering had piqued my interest so I downloaded the Client and hopped in. And I was very impressed by what I played.
Trent: I come from a similar place, and I agree with you completely. While I normally get very upset rather quickly with multiplayer shooters and rage quit after a round full of spawn kills I did not find that to be the case with the Uncharted 4 Multiplayer, and not only did I have a great time but I found myself often adding a decent amount of points to my teams scoreboard. For something that could have easily been a degenerate slogfest of frustration, I found the gameplay to be rather nuanced and balanced. Naughty Dog has done an excellent job creating a multiplayer mode which is both fair and fun.
Matthew: You’ve hit the nail on the head. The multiplayer feels like a simple extension to what will undoubtedly be a stellar single player experience. It controls well and running, rolling and climbing around the various battlefields didn’t get old in my short time with the game. My only real complaint with the overall feel of the game is that the shooter controls aren’t always the most precise, but the series’ shooting has never been its strongest aspect. Despite that, I still did fairly well in games and managed to adapt to the controls fairly fast.
Trent: The only time I ever had any particular trouble as far as the controls go was with the R3 button. The guns with scopes can supposedly change their zoom level by pressing in the right analog stick, but no matter what I (as well as the people I played the “Stress Test” with) did I couldn’t get it to work. While this sounds like it could be a major inconvenience I did not find it too troubling, and it very well could be some issue on my end. Speaking of climbing, how did you feel about the grappling hook (which is something that was not included in the previous games)?
Matthew: I thought it was a really cool addition if a bit underused. Right now it’s just posed as a new and cinematic way to get over larger gaps in the terrain. Charging it up to unleash a more powerful melee attack is incredibly satisfying, but its use is still constrained to the specific grapple points. I used it a lot and the fact that you can shoot while swinging or tackle an enemy as you speed toward the ground will undoubtedly lead to some really cool moments, I just didn’t get to experience any of them. While we’re talking about new gameplay additions, what did you think of the new purchasable abilities?
Trent: They work very well as a subtle way to bring more balance and strategy to the playing field, because although they are powerful artifacts, tools, and upgrades that can be purchased mid-game the system that Naughty Dog has implemented is very even, for example; you don’t just get points to buy things from getting the most headshots and kills. They’ve also included the ability to treasure hunt into the multiplayer experience. There are multiple ways that this can be done; there are treasures strewn about the map, at least, some of which are visible on the radar, and each of these that you pick up gives you points in addition to money to spend at the store. Depending on how you set up your loadout there are even some passive abilities that allow you to gain treasure if you can make it to where you last died, so the new store bought upgrades really work as a balancing mechanism, no matter what you are best at in the game there is a way to gain money to be able to access them.
Which of the store items/upgrades did you prefer?
Matthew: I have a soft spot for the cursed relic/ sarcophagus. Tossing it into the middle of a group of unsuspecting enemies, watching it materialize out of a smoky haze and start hurling evil balls of smoke at any player nearby is mesmerizing and incredibly satisfying if you can rack up a number of kills with it. The absurdity of it is also great because you can’t help but do a double-take every time it pops up. The various hireable grunts are also a cool addition – if they worked like they were supposed to. There is definitely a deeper tactical level present in Uncharted 4′s multiplayer that was lacking in earlier games thanks to these new upgrades. I can see myself putting a lot of thought into how I’ll jump into battle once the full game is out. Is there anything else that stood out to you from your time with the Beta?
Trent: I just wanted to say that the graphics are as excellent as everyone was hoping they would be from all of the different trailers we’ve seen. The animations are also very smooth and it was actually a pleasure to watch myself get curb stomped to death. Overall I really enjoyed my time with the Uncharted 4 “Server Stress Test” which is what they chose to call it. I’m very curious to know why they didn’t call this a Beta. I’ve only got one more thing to say, and while it is not really a complaint it is something that I hope they implement between now and when the full game is released. As you said earlier the grappling hook, while excellent, is a little under used. We only got to play three levels and I hope that there are more levels available in the full release and that there are more instances where the grappling hook can be used in them. I would love to have at least one stage where there are some climbing and/or rappelling combat going down. Do you have anything else you would like to add?
Matthew: I think you covered all the bases. The game does look fantastic, which means the single player must look even better because games often need to tone down their visuals for multiplayer modes. Also, like you said, the animations are top notch. Watching my character clamber up walls, swing at enemies or even just run was a constant joy. After spending a little bit of time with the beta, I can confidently say that I am much more excited to tinker with Uncharted 4’s multiplayer when it finally hits store shelves.
Uncharted 4 has a tentative release date of May 10th, 2016. We cannot wait.
Are you still completely sure that Uncharted 4 is going to be one of the worst video games ever produced? Did you love every moment you spent with Uncharted 4 and you are now counting the seconds till you can cram your copy of it into your PS4? Have you never heard of the Uncharted games? Whatever the case may be, we would love to hear your opinions, so please drop us a line in the comments section below.