Uncharted 2 'Gold Rush' Co-op Hands-On Impressions

Naughty Dog was one of the few developers nice enough to show off something new at Comic-Con, giving us our first chance to play Uncharted 2: Among Thieves' recently revealed "Gold Rush" co-op multiplayer mode. How'd that go? Beautifully.

"Gold Rush" is not unlike a blend of the Uncharted 2 multiplayer modes we played this past April, combining the three-player action of the game's cooperative mode with the capture the flag style "Plunder" gameplay. Grab the idol, take it back to your treasure chest and hope you survive long enough to cash in on that booty.

Each round requires more than just the safe return of the golden idol, which slows players down and limits them to pistol-wielding while carrying it. You'll also have to clear each round of mercenaries intent on sniping you or snapping your neck. To add more comparisons to Uncharted 2's newest mode, think of "Gold Rush" as CTF plus coop plus Gears of War 2 "Horde"-style waves of enemies.

Those enemies become increasingly more skilled and well armed as the round counter increases. Getting past round 4 was no easy task for me and my Comic-Con co-op team. The communication just wasn't there, key to safely transporting the idol and requesting back up.

As with the game's "Plunder" mode, players can lob the golden idol in an arc, key to faster movement across a map. You'll also need to toss the idol to higher ground, should the treasure chest be on a second floor. As in "Plunder," players can opt for a fire bucket brigade strategy, tossing the treasure from player to player to player.

If you want to score big in "Gold Rush," you'd better learn that technique, as a multiplier time counts down from 3.... 2.... 1. The faster you grab the gold, the more money you earn. Players can also find pieces of treasure scattered about the map, meaning more money to buy more "Boosters"—Naughty Dog's take on Call of Duty 4's "Perks"—in Uncharted 2's in-game shop.

Should anyone fall during the round, players in good health can revive them. And only one needs to survive to complete the round. But that doesn't mean that teamwork should be ignored.

"Gold Rush" is a little less frantic than Uncharted 2's deathmatch mode, but speedier than the regular three-player co-op mode, making for a tasty compromise of play styles. While the variation from the already revealed modes isn't that strong, it should be a great mode for smaller groups of players looking to score an in-game cash boost.