Soon, you'll be able to high five your PlayStation Network and Facebook buddies while standing over the corpse of Nathan Drake—and you'll be rewarded for doing so in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception's all-new online multiplayer component.
PlayStation 3 owners will be able to get their hands on the game's multiplayer as early as June. Uncharted 3 doesn't ship until November, but a multiplayer beta for the game will go wide on July 5, with early access to that beta hitting a week earlier on June 28. PlayStation Plus subscribers and Infamous 2 owners will be allowed that early access (but don't be surprised if Naughty Dog has a few beta codes for die-hard Uncharted fans).
Now, high-fiving your teammate in Uncharted 3 may not be the most innovative or impressive of the game's features, but it was one I was happy to pull off while standing above a pile of pirate corpses. (Especially after being "left hanging" a few minutes earlier by my matchmade buddy.)
Here are the more impressive and exciting features of Uncharted 3's multiplayer, starting with the benefits of friends.
Uncharted 3 introduces the Buddy System, which does more than just let players high five each other. When paired with a buddy in, say, the game's new Three Team Deathmatch mode, a six player, 2 vs. 2 vs. 2 contest, players can earn extra cash by performing certain actions during matches. They can be as subtle as high-fiving for a few extra bucks or more complicated, like teaming up to take down a foe, but all carry a risk-reward consideration.
The Buddy System also adds special Buddy Boosters, unique player perks that help players work in tandem to earn extra cash, ammo, grenades, medals and more. Players can respawn on their buddy's location during a match and buddies are made easily visible with a unique marker.
Speaking of Boosters, the perks of Uncharted 3, players can now purchase Paid Boosters by using their in-game cash to buy skills that aren't available simply through unlocks. While the list of Boosters is long and varied, with the ability to level them up through player progression, there's one Booster that won't make a return.
No, Situational Awareness, the bane of many Uncharted 2 players, won't be making a return in Uncharted 3.
What else is new in Uncharted 3 multiplayer?
Free For All - It's every man for himself in eight-player FFA multiplayer.
Power Plays - an event that gives the leading team an opportunity to earn more cash and the losing team an opportunity to score more kills. Naughty Dog says "it sucks when you get blown out" during a multiplayer match, something Power Play aims to address.
Overtime and Sudden Death - Closer matches may need to be settled with good old fashion kills counts. If a match is really, really close, the game will add a minute-long Overtime period, for added intensity. Sudden Death settles things in case of a tie, with last man standing rules applying.
Medal Kickbacks - Medals picked up from treasure chests can be spent to buy temporary boosters. They're one-time uses and include special abilities like a rocket launcher, a smoke bomb that teleports players out of sight and Carpet Bomb, an option to toss three grenades at once.
Massive Customization - Players can fully customize their characters, outfitting both heroes (Drake, Sully) and villains with "hundreds of unique parts," including hats, shirts, sunglasses, pants, shoes and more. Want Nathan Drake to wear a purple thermal shirt and gold jeans? No problem. Players can also customize their weapon load outs (primary gun, secondary handgun, two booster slots and one medal kickback slot) and add weapon mods to guns.
Cinematic Multiplayer - That runway sequence you see in the above multiplayer trailer? That's part one of the two-part Airstrip map. More on that later.
The trailer also shows off a few new Uncharted 3 multiplayer tricks, like deep player, weapon and emblem customization, splitscreen multiplayer, new taunts, melee during platforming, environmental hazards like that plane that strafes the runway and more, like improved environmental destruction.
Update: One thing I neglected to mention about splitscreen multiplayer is that it will allow for multiple PlayStation Network IDs to be signed in.
We'll have more soon in our hands-on impressions of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception multiplayer.