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Uncharted 4 multiplayer guide

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Killing and winning with Nathan Drake and friends

Most fans know Nathan Drake as the dashing hero of multiple single-player campaigns, but he's also appeared in the franchise's multiplayer element since 2004. Yes, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End has a pretty fantastic story, but under the surface lurks a surprisingly deep online component. Here are some tips to help both old and new Uncharted fans get back on the saddle — after all, it's been almost five years since Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception was released.

Before you dive in, we highly recommend that you play through the campaign before you touch multiplayer. Not only will it prepare you for what's to come mechanically, but the multiplayer reveals of certain characters on both the hero and villain factions will provide minor narrative spoilers.

SINGLE-PLAYER GUIDE

Uncharted 4's single-player component is filled with collectibles, and we've got a guide to help you find every one of them.

Meet your grappling hook

The first new toy you may notice jumping into Uncharted 4's online component is the grappling hook. By pressing L1 in specific areas, players can toss a line of rope that will initiate a swinging motion, allowing them to leap from setpiece to setpiece. You can also use it as a rappelling tool and as a vine of sorts, ensuring a safe fall.

While it's easy to get overwhelmed by this concept that's tacked onto all of the other nuances that the Uncharted series brings, don't overthink it — in fact, don't even make a point of using it all that often. Swinging on a rope limits you to the use of a sidearm, and unless you're moving as a group to either outflank an opposing team or you're absolutely sure the coast is clear, grappling too often makes you an easy target. Case and point: Try hanging out near grappling hook zones, as players can't resist the L1 pop-up, leaving them completely open to fire.

One more thing: The grappling hook also has a windup melee attack that you can spring by holding down L1. New players severely underestimate the power of this ability, as it can one-hit KO just about everyone on the field. If you find yourself in a close-quarters situation, or you're sneaking up on a lone foe, the wind-up stealth kill is the easiest way to take them out. Make a point to practice this move in several matches so you remember it exists — it'll save your life one day.

The flow of battle

So how does the flow of battle work? Completing actions, such as kills or reviving teammates, nets you cash. Don't think of it as a permanent mainstay — rather, a temporary fleeting bonus that is reset at the end of each session. Press the touchpad, and you'll bring up the in-game shop, which provides all sorts of gear and power-ups. If you're ever lost, pressing L1 will always provide technical details for each upgrade while the shop is open.

Here are a few other general tips:

  • You can crawl surprisingly far to avoid an execution, and even fall down ledges.
  • Even if you don't get revived by a teammate, you can still stave off an enemy for an execution bonus.
  • Always try to follow up on a kill to prevent an opponent from negating it with a revive.

When it comes to ancillary user interface options that can help provide an advantage, it's slim pickens. There's really only three that come to mind:

  • The camera assist function hels if you have trouble operating the right analog stick in tandem with movement.
  • The aim-assist slider, which that starts at its maximum value by default
  • The repeated button presses toggle under accessibility, which removes mashing from the equation in favor of holding down a button. That comes into play primarily when a Hunter Sidekick is choking you out.

Looking for co-op? It won't be available until later this fall.

Making sense of the economy

First let's break down the two main currencies — Relics and Uncharted Points. The former is all earned in-game, and the latter is the premium currency (though you'll get a limited amount periodically) used for cosmetics like outfits and weapon skins. Microtransaction rates go from $5 to $50, with the former netting you 500 Uncharted Points — just enough to purchase either one new character (500) or two outfits (200 each). Characters are all cosmetic and provide no individual bonuses of any kind.

Beyond that, Relics (the purple icon) are the main attraction, and you can technically use them to unlock new cosmetic items. Vanity Chests are just that — cosmetic bonuses. Each chest typically comes with three in a pack, which can include taunts as well as outfit pieces. If you want certain cosmetic rewards or even extra characters, you'll have to spring for Uncharted Points to buy them.

Mod chests provide bonuses for Mysticals and Sidekicks. One mod is included in each chest. Take Highlight Targets, which modifies The Wrath of El Dorado so that it paints enemies on the radar upon use. Note that you can unlock all mod chest rewards during normal play, though it may take you a while. Attaining max level equates to roughly 200 uses of each individual power-up.

Finally, one-time use boosters, reminiscent of purchases from the mobile realm, provide temporary bonuses for a round. Each pack comes with four boosters, and usually result in cheaper purchases ranging from a 20 or 30 percent price decrease.

Maximizing your Relic returns

Before you jump into your first match, go ahead and complete all the trials on the default difficulty. Not only are they tutorials of sorts, but they'll also reward you for your efforts.

Provided in a set of three on a 24-hour basis, daily quests are also worth doing, so make a point of writing them down in your phone or on a sheet of paper to ensure that you're constantly working toward them.

Look for loadout synergy opportunities when tackling challenges. For example, revive challenges are easier to complete with the Cintamani Stone Mystical and a RevivePak. If a specific challenge is in play that just doesn't mesh with your playstyle, you can pay 50 Relics to replace a challenge — allowing you to choose from three new random options.

Loadouts

Loadouts are broken down in the following slots — long guns, sidearms, Mysticals (magic), Sidekicks (AI), heavy weapons and Boosters. Players aren't locked into any particular category, though each weapon or ability comes with its own Loadout Point (LP) cost. For example, you don't need to equip a sidearm — or anything, really. You're free to pick what you want, so long as you stay within the confined LP zone (the default is 19). Unlocking new power-ups and weapons is as easy as using them and earning kills with them respectively, as there's no standard player level like the Call of Duty series. Boosters are a little more complicated in that each one has a specific goal, like earning charged melee kills for stealth, but most unlocks are straightforward.

To really take advantage of this system, if you have the cash to spend in-game, buy something in every match you can. If you really want to maximize your progress, you can even buy and use items rapidly near the end of a game, even if they're thrown into a ditch somewhere. Any use counts. It doesn't have to be effective.

Gear

Try to earn at least two gear items per tier. That will provide you with an overall Loadout Point bonus (150 long gun kills, 200 pistol kills, 30 Mystical uses, 100 Sidekick uses, 75 gear uses, 50 heavy weapon kills and 13 booster unlocks all add +1 LP each). Wielding the same weapons consistently will also net you hero weapons eventually, though the earliest for each type arrives at roughly 350 kills. Access these using the modify menu as you would any other power-up or loadout item. Remember that sidearms kills (something players typically don't earn the majority of their kills with) unlock a point as well.

The fastest way to earn unlocks is to use the cheapest power-up in each slot, as well as the Cash Drip Booster (which increases your passive cash return). For gear, use the RevivePak or the grenade, and upgrade it once at the start. It'll regenerate faster, allowing for the maximum amount of uses per match. Keep in mind that, while the initial buy-in for any item is set at a base price, every time you use it in a match its cost will go up, so make sure you're making your uses count.

Sidekicks

As one of the new additions to Uncharted 4, Sidekicks are essentially AI characters you can summon into battle. They're surprisingly effective, and unlike Mysticals, which all require some degree of finesse, Sidekicks instantly appear in battle, and they do their own thing (with one exception), racking up more cash along the way.

The Brute ($800 for its first use in a match) is probably the simplest Sidekick, as it merely shoots enemies with suppressing fire while equipped with heavy armor. At worst it's a distraction, and at best, it can actually kill enemies on its own. You can't control the Brute, and as far as abilities go, it's one of the most user-friendly things to spend cash on, especially in Team Deathmatch.

At a significantly cheaper initial buy-in ($500), the Savior is the easiest way to work toward your eventual 100 Sidekick use goal and unlock all four options. Like the Brute, it can also work autonomously. It provides defensive support in the form of team revivals (including your own) and ammo distribution. Players who prefer the glory of kills could overlook the value of the Savior, which will allow you to reap the benefits of cash bonuses to spend on other items. Strongly consider using it for Command and Plunder games as well.

The Sniper ($700) is the only mobile option for Sidekicks, and as such, the toughest to use. By pressing R1, you can order your AI to a new location, generally leaving them vulnerable while they move. It's important to protect your Sniper during this time, but not having your AI move to a far away or otherwise unsafe location is the best way to prolong its life. The Sniper is also far less effective in a Team Deathmatch game, as backwards as that sounds. Players tend to focus on kills and will take it down swiftly. In the two other modes, the Sniper can work while opponents focus on objectives.

Last but not least, the Hunter ($600) is the wildcard, and effective in every gametype. Hunters immediately run around and seek out enemies to choke out, which sets them up for an easy kill. Unlike the Brute, which is almost always in plain sight, the Hunter operates in the shadows and is constantly moving. As such, players will need to capitalize on these chokeholds rather than let the Hunter roam free and pointlessly stun enemies for a limited time. It's possible to have the AI follow you by going to the storefront and locating the option, but having it seek out others serves as a valuable radar of sorts. If you ever get choked yourself, mash (or hold) the Triangle button, and then immediately shoot them — trying to melee might get you caught in another hold.

Mysticals

Due to its weak damage output, the Wrath of El Dorado is not something that typically kills players on its own. Use it to zone out objectives or while laying down fire. On defense, you'll notice that some of the projectiles start popping in the air on their own. That signifies the range of the relic. Offensive players can follow the bullets to lead them toward foes.

Cintamani Stones, which trigger the instant revival of a teammate in a specific zone (it's not just an area-of-effect, you can actually aim it like a projectile), are excellent tools to support your team with. You can also use them to distract enemies, as the smoke and fire it triggers can confuse players.

As the go-to radar ability, the Staff of Ayar Manco is probably the safest and easiest Mystical pick a player can make. If you play MOBAs you're probably aware of the ward item, which can be placed in the ground to notify your team of enemies in the vicinity. The staff does just that, working as a pulse that goes much farther than you'd expect it to. It can be destroyed, so put it in an inconspicuous place, including cliffsides or around the corner from a main chokepoint. On offense, look for where the pulse is originating to locate the staff.

As the most advanced ability in the game, Spirit of the Djinn isn't great for newer players. In short, it allows you to teleport when pressing the dodge button — for a limited time. As good as it sounds, it actually prevents players from using cover, which can be pivotal to team-based fights for every mode other than Team Deathmatch. Any opposing team worth their salt will focus fire you with explosives, which can take you out even if you're teleporting.

Lastly, Indra's Eternity is another area-of-effect ability that places a slowing field on the battleground. It's a safe Mystical that's great if you're playing the Command or Plunder modes. Use it to control chokepoints (main routes that players are required to take to easily get from point A to point B) or objectives themselves. Even if your entire team is equipped with Indra's Eternity, you'll have an answer for nearly every situation.

Mastering the three core modes

Uncharted 4 has eight multiplayer maps available. While that count is a bit low for an online shooter, it also means that you won't have to spend hours studying each arena.

Team Deathmatch

As the core mode of the game and the only one that features ranked play at the moment, odds are you're going to be spending most of your time playing Team Deathmatch. While focusing in on your own kill-to-death ratio is important and ultimately wins the game, don't underestimate the power of playing a support role. This can include taking a RevivePak instead of a Grenade and a Savior Sidekick instead of a Brute.

No matter what your loadout, caution is paramount. Uncharted 4 isn't quite a tactical shooter but it's also not an arena-heavy one where you can just run into every fight guns blazing. Characters tend to get shredded very quickly when they're out in the open. A Thief's End is a cover-based shooter, so act accordingly. Try to use cover when possible, and stay near your team. Going rogue as a lone wolf will often result in your death, with no one near you to grant a revive. Teams that stick together and negate kills with Saviors and other support items can frequently snatch games from the jaws of defeat.

Command

You may recognize Command as the popular Domination gametype, which presents three points to capture across each map, denoted as A, B and C. While many teams race to all three, splitting up their forces in an attempt to capture them all, the age-old adage still rings true: keep two, and win the game. At the start, sending just one person to capture the point closest to your spawn, and then allowing the rest to secure B, is always the best plan.

While nabbing every point is possible in some blowout games, defense is just as important. If you have five enemies at their home point of C for example, and you send two of your own to capture it, they'll quickly move on you after making short work of that light outfit, then move to B, putting you behind. Restraint isn't something that's practiced often in online shooters, but it will lead to more wins if you consider it as an option.

Plunder

Think of Plunder as a one-object (an idol, to be specific) Capture the Flag (CTF) mode, and you'll dispel any complicated notions you might have. Have your team run toward the middle to secure the zone, but you don't necessarily have to make your presence known right away. Wait for the other team to run out into the open to try to grab the flag, and then take them down as a team. Revives are invaluable here, as they'll allow your team to get right back into the action to either stop an enemy return or help back up a friendly capture.

Speaking of captures: If you happen to secure one, your team should immediately set up a perimeter at the middle to prepare for the next Idol spawn. There's no need to further back up the teammate who captured it.

Players who have the idol in their possession can only throw it (R1), use it as a melee attack (Square), or wield their sidearm, so having a good Plunder-specific loadout with a solid pistol can put your team at an advantage. Keep in mind that reloading your sidearm while aiming with L2 will actually drop the idol, so empty your clip if you need to reload instead of doing it manually. You also can't throw the idol into your team's chest like a basketball, so don't try.