Uncharted 3 and Gears of War 3 are sort of kindred spirits, often put against one another because they're both cover-based shooters each exclusive to their own console. But as anyone who's played only an hours worth can tell you, the similarities are only skin deep and even then they're still pretty far apart. After playing a fair bit of multiplayer for both recently, the multiplayer is one such feature that more strikingly details the differences between the two games from a gameplay standpoint.
I got into Gears relatively late, only at around 2009 when I also invested in a 360 - primarily for the exclusives, like Gears naturally. And I love this series! I love the shooting, I love the weapons, I love massacring the locust, I like the characters, and the 'roided up aesthetic of the Gears themselves look pretty awesome to me. They're like action figures! It was only very recently--literally like a couple of weeks ago from now--that I actually first played some Gears multiplayer via Gears of War 3, however. As you can imagine, I've spent a lot of my time getting completely pulverised from every which angle - most often the back, though a shotgun to the face is also very common. I've managed to play enough that I can hold my own... more or less. There are still times where I'm completely left there sitting in a pool of my own tears out of frustration, but there are times where I've even hit the top score of a match.
I played with a lot of bots for quite some time and I've always been reluctant to get me some GOLD to go against real players. But the bots are, well, fucking stupid as you may expect. Even on the 'insane' AI setting, I can easily cleave me way through 'em all. I was getting fed up and it simply wasn't satisfying anymore because I know that facing off against real players functions nothing like a bot match. Fortunately as luck would have it, my little brother happened to have a free month's worth of GOLD and opted to give it to me.
Even before heading online, I was able to grasp the mechanics pretty easily. I'm often able to get the active-reload bonus without fail and, unlike Uncharted 3, Gears 3 still primarily functions as a cover-based shooter. The overall feel of the game is also incredible! The idea that the Gears games control all sluggish and clunky is frankly a terrible misconception, most likely from people who haven't actually played the games. Trust me, Gears of War 3 moves fast! Roadie running, cover bouncing or whatever the Hell it is, rolling out of the way leading into a swift retreat - the best Gears of War 3 players play like a fucking machine. The controls overall are so tight, so responsive that rarely is it the game's fault that you now find yourself as a pile of gooey gibs lathered across the floor.
Because of said haste, however, the shotgun is also the most commonly used weapon. That's not some secret of the trade or anything of course; I imagine most people are well aware of the shotgun dominance that populates the Gears multiplayer. In fact there are a significant amount of players who will literally just charge around everywhere using nothing but the gnasher shotgun. And why wouldn't they? Should you ever manage to master the art of wall-bouncing or whatever the Hell, you can easily run right up to someone while they're shooting at you, barely taking any damage and BAM - your head's gone. What's more annoying than how an entire arsenal is sometimes discarded for just one weapon, though, is how I simply can't seem to compete at that level of shotgun proficiency. Now I don't strictly stick to my shotgun or anything, in fact I most often rely on my retro lancer, but naturally the shotgun is the go-to weapon for close-range combat and rushes. And I can, at times, even manage to nail me some lucky blindfire headshots and to even sneak up on an unsuspecting player and do to him/her what so many have done to me before hand.
Unfortunately, those shotgun duels that often erupt when it's you and another guy strafing around with a shotgun don't very often tend to go my way. Or whenever I'm bum rushed, there's a good chance that they'll swiftly be able to get in close without me barely getting a shot in in. I don't want to completely push myself into the mud here, though. I would say that I'm still OK at the game, despite my limited experience.
Because of how Gears 3's multiplayer is generally structured--cordoning your own segments of the map where the best weapons spawn by placing grenades and camping your ass down, actually using cover and flanking tactics to counter said cover, and not to mention how in TDM you have a limited set of lives--killing another player feels highly gratifying. And having the luck (because when it comes to shotgunning, that's really what a lot of it is down to for me) to potentially take on two at once can also make me feel like a bloody champion.
To actually reflect my own inexperience and sometime-reliance on luck, my Gear of choice is Benjamin Carmine - the best Carmine ;). As I've said earlier, retro lancer is my primary weapon and surprisingly enough it works for me favour quite a bit of time. When it's active-reloaded it can tear right through a player quicker than a shotgun if they can't get outta the way quick enough, and it's great for catching players off-guard and downing 'em without needing to snuggle right up into ass with the shotgun. Speaking of which, the gnasher shotgun is my shotty of course since the sawed-off doesn't seem worth it; its slow reload and single shot feature hinders what is otherwise a sort of redundant ability to kill anyone in close range with said single shot because the gnasher is frankly almost as effective within that range.
Anywhoo for the sake of such a substantial amount of text, I figure I should probably do a TL;DR edition to easily digest my pros and cons - in bullet points!
- Controls brilliantly.
- Runs really smooth with little evidence of lag on my end.
- Weapons still feel just as powerful in the multiplayer as they do during the campaign.
- Great graphics.
- Incredibly satisfying to snag yourself some kills because of the more reserved, slower-paced nature of some matches.
- This could possibly be an isolated incident, but I've encountered no accounts of racism, bigotry and other headset garbage. There was one group of mates who were a buncha twats and would also revel in winning, but otherwise the horror stories of xbox live--via Gears 3 in any case--have been hidden from me thus far.
- No perks, boosters, killstreaks or anything of the sort - just pure skill.
- So much to unlock and so many achievements to strive for! Plus the amount of ribbons and medals make for some incentives to player differently - theoretically anyway. Unlocking a character skin by other means than simply levelling up is also highly satisfying. I admittedly played against bots to unlock me the Locust Sniper skin by getting 50 headshots mind you... >_>
- Executing players is risky but worth the added humiliation you're bestowing onto your opponent.
- Shotguns, shotguns and more shotguns! The shotgun is the favoured weapon for the more advanced players and its disappointing to see an entire armoury of weapons often discarded in favour of just the one.
- Shotguns are also hard to master.
- No signal identification of when a grenade's been thrown your way. This transpires across the entire game, and while your character will call-out a grenade if it's nearby, it can be easy to miss and a visual identifier would make for a more reliable way of letting you know there's a frag that's just been hurled under your arse.
Overall I find Gears 3's multiplayer to be highly addictive and simply a lot of fun to play. Even when I'm doing pretty badly I'll stick around because I love the feel of the controls so much. The shotgun complaint is a significant complaint, though. I'm very excited to join in once Judgment is released as well, so I can actually feel like I'll be on some even ground fighting against the flock of newbies that'll invariably join in.
Anywhoo if anyone ever wants to play, my gamertag is DayLiam. I'm much better at the coop stuff, naturally, but if you don't mind potentially dragging along dead weight, then I'm all for playing some competitive as well! Unfortunately that month only has about... I dunno, maybe a week or two left? I might buy me a subscription card sometime down the line in any case.
Unlike Gears, I actually have a lot of experience with the Uncharted games. I bought Uncharted 2 day-one and I think after my first completion (out of I think six) of the campaign, I would drift in and out of the multiplayer. During this time I had a posse I formed up through Gamespot. A lot of good times, greats even and it felt nice to be apart of a community. There was only around 5-6 of us mind you. One such, who's a user on here actually but doesn't use her profile anymore, I played a lot with. We even beat through the cooperative adventure levels with just the two of us! I put in a lot of time with my little brother as well; we had loads of fun just messing around with the cinema mode, looking for goofy pictures to take.
In any case, I played a lot of Uncharted 2. I first started off with the open beta and played till the end; then the full game arrived and, like I said, I played a lot. I was there to celebrate through the Thanksgiving holiday bonus and the Christmas bonus, and overall I accumulated something like, I dunno, maybe 100 or so hours in total. Which probably doesn't sound a lot to, say, the people who have put in literally 1000+ hours in TF2, but for me who never sticks with an online multiplayer component for that long, it definitely felt like I planted my feet in deep.
I especially liked the Ranked mode, as it gave you a separate rank besides your own overall rank that designated your skill; from 1 to 50, which would rise and lower depending on how well you done in matches. I was able to stay stuck to 50, if the high 40s, for a good long while during my stay. I eventually moved on, about the time the Siege DLC was released. I wasn't playing with my old Gamespot crew during this point either, so I fell out after playing on my own for so long. Eventually once i got a stronger foothold in the GB community, I tagged with a lot of other like-minded folk and from there we had our own GB Uncharted gaming nights, helmed by X19. It was a lot of fun, though the long hiatus meant that I was rusty. The fact that a lot of the more casual goers left also resulted in me often facing against the people who were significantly more dedicated to getting good at the game than I was. I was still alright, but I was no longer cleaning house like during the first few months.
Eventually Uncharted 3 arrived. Well, first there was the two beta's, and the first one during summer I was an absolute King at because of my overall experience with the game. Once the full Uncharted 3 came along, I actually headed into the multiplayer after only playing through about halfway of the campaign. That was primarily because, well, I'm really not a fan of Uncharted 3's campaign. But to a lesser extent I was also super excited to play more Uncharted 3 multiplayer!
In any case Uncharted 3's multiplayer is... different from Uncharted 2's in some areas, but it's largely the same sort of deal just expanded upon. Sprinting, automatic ammo pickup, a more diverse set of Boosters (perks) and now introducing Kickbacks (killstreaks... sorta), weapon MODS, cosmetic customisation options and so forth.
Once again I rallied alongside the small squadron of like-minded GB'rs and we regularly played ourselves some Uncharted 3! I've had a lot of fun with Uncharted across the hours, which according to my time stamp is a significantly lower number than the time spent in Uncharted 2. The competitive side of things leaves me only around 24 hours in fact, less than a quarter of my time spent in Uncharted 2. That would probably be because while Uncharted 3 made a myriad of improvements to Uncharted 2, there was still a lot of inherent jankiness to suffer through and, after playing through some very recently (which inspired this very blog), still persists.
For starters, unlike Gears 3, playing Uncharted 3's multiplayer as a cover-based shooter rarely works. In fact the multiplayer mostly adheres to the exact opposite approach, with most players--admittedly including myself--rolling along much like it's a run n gunner. The added sprint option allows you to better travel throughout the arenas, and the added verticality and overall openness of the maps means that taking cover often doesn't provide you with a lot of actual cover. Because of the relatively large diversity of customisation when put against Gears, it allows a lot more variety in playstyles, as well as for the balance to go completely whacked. For a time, such weapons like the FAL-SS were insanely overpowered against other such ilk, and unlike Gears were everyone is mostly in even ground, a low level player stuck with an AK regardless of experience (after Uncharted 3's prestige equivalent for example) will clearly be at a hefty disadvantage against someone using the Level 50 unlockable Fal weapon with a level 3 fleet-foot booster - which allows players to more hastily move around while aiming.
Many a patch has been released to continuously tweak this and poke at that by the ever gracious Naughty Dog, but other problems still arise. For starters, despite the sort of impression the franchise has generally put forward, Uncharted 3 is a significantly clunkier game than Gears 3. Gears 3's controls are damn near pitch-perfect I tell you, whereas Uncharted 3's, while it may feature quicker animations, is much slipperier and less precise. Many a time would you find yourself stuck against a wall when trying to move about, or accidentally jumping against a wall when you're trying to latch onto the edge. The platforming elements ported over from the single-player is still a great feature and one such style of gameplay that helps Uncharted 2/3's multiplayer stand out amongst the crowd. But it comes at a price as you're forced to put up with some squirrelly controls.
Because of the fast pace of the game and the map design of most levels, what generally tends to happen a lot is while you're currently engaged with one player, another one is usually able to quickly arrive soon after and finish you off should you win. Sure, this is a common strategy for many multiplayer games, but with Gears 3 and the fact that you often always have a shotgun at hand, it often feels like there's more chance for you to survive an ambush by another player. Whereas in Uncharted you can very easily become overwhelmed and no matter how hard you press down that sprint button will have to inevitably find yourself downed.
What is most unfortunate, however, is the lag. Whereas Gears 3 mostly plays like a dream from a net perspective, Uncharted 3 is more so unpredictable. My connection is OK at 20Mbps, but lag is still prominent enough to cause the occasional outrage. Stuff like players taking an inordinate amount of bullets to take down, grenades that will explode almost instantaneously when thrown, dying a second later after escaping a chasing player, melee attacks which sometimes won't register--and in fact close-quarters combat is a total mess regardless of lag to be perfectly honest. It goes without saying that lag is prominent across most facets of online games, but in Uncharted 3 there is a significant number of Mexican players--who are so proud of their native lands they all often like to label their 4-character clan tags as MEX--who will have a completely empty connection bar. It can't be helped, but such prominence still stands out and can make playing the game a complete piss take at times.
Now I notice I've been rather negative overall concerning Uncharted here, which I don't mean to be! In fact, ironically enough, I think Uncharted 3's multiplayer is probably easier to get into than Gears 3. Because of the often chaotic nature of matches, they can sometimes go one way or another, and levelling up via the coop stages can help if a player should simply want to hit the level where they're more comfortable with their arsenal and array of boosters & kickbacks You're still getting to play and listen to the humorous quips of the ever likeable Uncharted cast as well. For myself, I've long primarily stuck to playing as Sully on the heroes side--orange shirt Sully at that--rockin' a fedora. Though on the side of the villains I'm kinda all over the place
The gunplay is still pretty solid and while the variety of boosters and kickbacks sometimes completely shit all over anything to do with balance, they can also make for a more colourful series of matches. Though unfortunately, we're at the point where quick-boom and RPG!! are the most common kickbacks to be equipped. Trying to occasionaly run away from a horde of insta-kill spiders can also be a right bastard, but it still makes for a hilarious scenario as you're just bailing right outta there screaming for your life.
And this Uncharted segment is long enough that even I can now sympathise with anyone who wants to give it a miss... So, TL;DR DIGESTIVE ENGAGE:
- Fun cast of characters to play as.
- Verticality adds an interesting dynamic to the competitive gameplay.
- Shooting is still fun enough to lead into addicting all-day multiplayer marathons.
- Great amount of customisation.
- Dedicated support by Naughty Dog.
- Comparatively easy to get into against Gears of War 3.
- Taunts! And many many more with this new series of patches and free DLC! Want to have Katherine Marlowe perform a 'Hillbilly Shuffle' over your latest kill? Uncharted 3 got what yo need!
- Slippery movement and platforming that isn't as precise as you'd probably like. Remember those missed jumps you may have unfortunately succumbed to during the campaign? Annoying, right? Well imagine falling prey to one of those in a multiplayer match.
- The aforementioned customisation also invariably leads to unbalance. There's a Hardcore mode that cuts off all of the peripheral bonuses, but it's only for TDM.
- The open, labyrinthine nature of the maps leads to a lot of scattered chaos.
- Laggy players are a noticeable issue that has plagued my playtime for a long while now, which is more so a nuisance after playing a series of stable matches for Gears 3.
- Multiplayer graphics are somewhat sub-par when compared to the campaign. The maps look fine, but some of the character models--especially the faces--are poorly textured; Charlie Cutter's MP character looks like a cocaine fiend.
- Spawn locations can be a little busted; you also don't receive any temporary immunity when you return into the match like in Gears, so occurrences of spawning on top of a live grenade or to be blindfired + melee hit as soon as you run around the corner can happen.
I hadn't played Uncharted 3 in a fair few months, but the latest patch--which is one of the largest I've seen for a console game--egged me on as an excuse to head back in. Things still mostly play the same, and it's been so long that it's a struggle to actually pin-point the differences. My heart & soul, the G-Mal, has a heavier bit 'o recoil, but otherwise I eased in and experienced all of what I loved and loathed about Uncharted 3's multiplayer. I'm more than likely still going to head back in every so often as well, so once again feel free to add me!
PSN-ID be Yummylee.
Despite the title, I'm not here to hand out a verdict as to which is insurmountably better. They both of course have their own set of pluses and negatives. Gears 3 is a much more methodical sort of game, where your decisions within the battlefield and supporting your team stands for more than simply being a good shot--though that doesn't hurt, either How you choose to manoeuvre throughout the environment is a notably key factor as well, and while the same can be said for Uncharted 3, Uncharted 3 is tougher in setting up an escape plan. On the other hand, Uncharted 3 is more ripe for simply screwing about and having some immature fun.
Because Gears of War 3 is a more prominent ringer within the tournament scene, there's less chance you'll encounter equally minded players who play for the goofiness of the game and instead will be pulverised by people who want nothing more than to win. However, Gears of War 3 is possibly a more gratifying game to excel at in spite of this; because of its strict style of play, it feels invigorating to rank yourself high up on the match leaderboard. I'm currently still enjoying them both, but once Judgment arrives, I think that may act as the deciding factor as to whether I will move onto the Gears style of gameplay for my TPS competitive urges, or whether I'll stay stuck in with Uncharted 3 as I carry on enjoying kicking players off ledges and sneaking up behind fellows and snapping their necks - ninja styaaal.