The Last of Us was undoubtedly a huge success for Naughty Dog, selling over 8 million copies in two months and subsequently being the biggest launch on PlayStation 3 for 2013. Single player was where the majority of plaudits came, following Joel and Ellie's emotional journey and fantastic gameplay.
Multiplayer on the other hand was a little hit and miss. For players who preferred slow paced, tactical gameplay, The Last of Us multiplayer was fantastic. For those who were a bigger fan of high octane, quick reactionary experiences, this isn't where they were going to find it. Thankfully, the Uncharted 4 beta seems to take the best from both worlds.
Currently the only available mode is Team Deathmatch, however it shows promise. The tactical cover based gameplay from The Last of Us and previous Uncharted multiplayer experiences still exists, however they've expanded on the gunplay and made it a lot more refined.
Two maps are included in the beta; Island and Madagascar City, both of which feature close quarters and long range environments to have gunfights in, along with both having advantageous high points and sneaky alleys and paths to surprise your enemy from behind. The map design really is phenomenal and it'll be interesting to see how it works with other game modes than Team Deathmatch.
One new mechanic introduced is the ability to rope swing across certain areas simply by holding the L1 button then releasing it when you want to let go, which is incredibly useful for traversing large drops or leaping behind enemies.
New to Uncharted 4 is the use of in-game cash, which you can spend on various bonuses. Mysticals are one of the new categories of items, featuring things like the Wrath of El Dorado; a sarcophagus that when thrown unleashes spirits that hunt down nearby enemies and damage them. The Cintamani Stone also revives downed allies in the nearby area to full health immediately.
Sidekicks are another new introduction with the option of choosing a Sniper who will defend a location at range, a Brute, which can tank a lot of damage but moves slowly, a Hunter, which will chase the nearest opposition player and hold them so you can KO them, and a Medic who will provide ammo and revive your teammates. Cash can also be spent on heavy weapons such as RPGs or upgrading your gear.
With less than 100 days to go until release, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is looking very promising indeed - on the multiplayer portion of things anyway. Naughty Dog have done the sensible thing; taken what worked in the past and removed what didn't. The final product is shaping up to be very impressive - let's hope the single player follows suit!