Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Multiplayer goes Free to Play!
Almost one year ago to the day, Sony and Guerilla Games released a stand-alone, free-to-play version of Killzone 3‘s multiplayer mode, and now Naughty Dog is following suit with Uncharted 3. Both games feature a large portion of the original mutiplayer component, with a level cap and locked features that can be accessed by using real money. Buying the full multiplayer game will grant you access to the entire multiplayer suite in both cases. Naughty Dog has broken this up into several smaller components so that players only have to pay for the features that they want access to.
First and foremost, there is the level cap set at level 15. You can play the basic competitive multiplayer (which includes team deathmatch, free-for-all, plunder, etc.) as much as you want and pay zero dollars for it, even after reaching the cap. Your progress past level 15 will be recorded in the background so that, if you were to purchase the game later, your progress would be awarded to you at that time. Options for going beyond the level cap include an increase to level 25 for $5, and removing the cap entirely for $20- that’s $5 more than it costs to remove the level cap in Killzone 3.
The next major features that are not available are the co-op game modes. Co-op arena is a wave-based game mode where players work together to survive an onslaught of enemies. Co-op adventure is more an objective-based mode where players work cooperatively to overcome certain conditions. Both of these modes are sold separately for $10 and $12 respectively, but each is sweetened by the inclusion of relevant DLC. Essentially, Naughty Dog is giving the player the ability to cater to what they want out of the game. If you’re looking for co-op but don’t care for a wave-based horde mode, then go for adventure. If you’re looking to play locally, $2 gets you the split-screen feature.
Finally, Naughty Dog has also included two options to expand the experience even further. The first is a pack that gives the player all three multiplayer map packs for one price; $25. The second is for those that become enraptured with the Uncharted experience and want more than multiplayer, perhaps the single-player campaign itself; $30. That also means that, yes, Uncharted 3 is finally available for download over PSN. If having the game broken into a million pieces isn’t your style, the Game of the Year version of the game can be had for only $40. It includes everything listed in this article, and then some.
The question is, though, is this a deal? If you’ve been adding up all of the content in your head, you’ve surely found that that buying everything separately costs a fair amount beyond the $40 that is required to get everything bundled together. If the player is in the market for, say, all of the co-op and map packs, then it would be in their best interest to just buy the whole thing. Buying the full game over the $30 campaign is a no-brainer. But there are plenty of gamers out there that want team deathmatch and only team deathmatch, all day long (see: Call of Duty), and those people can get their fill for $0-$20, which isn’t a bad deal at all. If you aren’t sure which camp you fall into, you can play the competitive multiplayer unabridged for FREE up to level 15, which will give you ample time to figure out if you want to dive in or not.
Wonky pricing aside, Naughty Dog should be commended for steering their free-to-play model towards a content and mode-unlock driven model. Too many games have lost their competitive edge in multiplayer due to the player’s ability to pay for better equipment. In this case, everyone is on the same ground. The players are simply limited by which modes they can play, and are given the option to pay to play those modes. I’m personally not a fan of stripping a mode down to its bare bones, but this is certainly to be preferred over the pay-to-win free-to-play model.
Our advice? Download it, and play to the level cap. Uncharted 3 has a better than decent multiplayer component, and it’s worth a try. If you like what you see, download the Game of the Year edition for $40. It gets you all of the important DLC and content, plus a slew of skins. That way, you’ll get to experience one of the greatest single-player games of 2011, as well as the complete multiplayer package.