Naughty Dog has a very strange history with multiplayer before Uncharted 4, and really since Uncharted 2. That iteration was more of a tacked-on multiplayer for the sole fact that it’s really difficult to sell a game that only has a 10-12 hour single player campaign and no other content. It’s an unfortunate reality in the industry but it’s how it works these days.
Regardless, Uncharted 2’s tacked-on multiplayer is some of the best time I’ve ever had playing an online game. I poured 80 hours into it despite the fact that it was pretty barebones. It only had eight maps at launch and a couple of interesting gameplay types, including co-op. The multiplayer got progressively better because Naughty Dog wanted it to be better, and I was head over heels in love with this multiplayer because it managed to combine the platforming aspects of Uncharted into one hell of a great experience. It was strategic and wonderfully balanced. It lacked actual class customization weapon-wise and instead focused on forcing the player to find weapons on the map, which seems to be a rarity these days in multiplayer. It was just different.
Uncharted 3’s multiplayer was essentially an expansion of 2’s with more actual class customization. It was great multiplayer and all, but I didn’t get too heavily into it. I put about 30 hours into it and that was that.
The Last of Us was Naughty Dog perfecting multiplayer. It was strategic and required serious teamwork in order to actually win games. It’s still some of the most unique multiplayer I have ever played and I put about 30-40 hours into it and still occasionally go back to it this day.
So what’s up with Uncharted 4’s multiplayer? Is everyone forgetting it exists already? I haven’t heard many people actually bother to talk about it, which is funny because it’s pretty great despite a serious lack of day one content. It only has eight maps, which is fine and all I suppose. The real issue is that there are only three actual game modes, which is seriously laughable in 2016. All you get is Team Deathmatch, Command (which is basically Domination in Call of Duty), and Plunder, which has been in every Uncharted multiplayer game since the beginning. I don’t even know how Naughty Dog thought it would be a good idea to only launch with three game modes, but I guess I could understand that single player was the real focus since it’s arguably the best Uncharted campaign.
Despite the serious lack of multiplayer modes, I love almost everything about the Uncharted 4 multiplayer. It’s fast-paced, plays really well, and just feels right. For some reason, I want to complete the daily challenge every day and feel real incentive, which is difficult for most multiplayer games to make me want to feel that way. I want to unlock all the different skins and characters to play as despite the fact that they don’t really have much relevance to the actual gameplay. I also want to unlock all the weapons and other equipment, which basically requires repeated use of certain weapons or just basic progression of playing enough matches.
Some of the new items, such as Mythics which basically allow you attack the enemy players through weird spirit things or a Staff of Ayar Manco that basically acts as a centerpiece to detect enemies on the map, add an extra layer to the Uncharted multiplayer that was wholly necessary to make it better. They’re really fun to use and for the most part fairly balanced.
Uncharted 4 isn’t about the multiplayer. It really isn’t. Everyone should probably go play the single player and love everything about it. The multiplayer is there to enjoy as well if you really want to. Most people are probably still busy playing The Division or eagerly anticipating Overwatch. I will probably still be sitting back and playing Uncharted 4 multiplayer despite the lack of content. I can’t help but want to support every endeavor Naughty Dog has because their games have brought me so much joy and this game is no different. The multiplayer is on point and plays quite well and that’s all that really matters to me. The fact is, I’m having a blast playing it and I hope others try to jump on and understand how fun this game’s multiplayer actually is. If you’re looking for multiplayer that just has some seriously solid firefights and implements platforming in an interesting way, this is the game to play.