Board Game Addict
- 12 Mar 2012
- Reaction score
For games where the main focus is the single player story, multiplayer can often appear to be a tacked on extra with limited appeal. The Last of Us seems to be an exception with an excellent multiplayer which provides tense, tactical gameplay. More importantly, it appears that Naughty Dog have addressed the issues of imbalance from the multiplayer in Uncharted.
The Last of Us multiplayer is called Factions. When you first log in, you are asked to choose which faction you would like to play – Hunters or Fireflies. Once you have chosen your faction, you can then customise your character with a variety of hats, masks, helmets, taunts and emblems. Many of these are initially locked and these become available as you play the game online.
Your character starts with 4 weapons loadouts – assault, sniper, support and stealth. Each of these loadouts comprises of a handgun, a main gun (in most cases), some Survival Skills (perks) and in some cases the ability to purchase a gun in-game. These loadouts are fixed, you cannot change any of the elements in these. However, you also have 4 custom loadouts that you can edit to your heart’s desire. You do have to choose carefully though, as each loadout has a number of loadout points to spend (initially 9, though that increases with experience online). Although most pistols are free, main guns and Survival Skills use loadout points. Main guns cost 2 loadout points. Basic Survival Skills cost 1 or 2 points but more advanced versions of these can cost up to 6 points, so it’s very easy to use up all of your loadout points. Note that although some guns and Survival Skills are available initially, others are unlocked as you play the game. Although this may appear to disadvantage new players, the standard 4 weapons loadouts contain Survival Skills that are not initially available in the custom loadouts, so this balances things out.
Your character also has one-use boosters which you earn as you play online. You can use only one booster in a match and once it is spent it disappears from your list of available boosters.
There are two game modes available – Supply Run and Survivors. Each of these is a variation on Team Deathmatch. Both are tactical and to win it really pays to work as a team and use comms. Each game mode comprises of two teams of 4 players (8 players in total).
There is a party system so you can join up with up to 3 other players before going into a public game. There is also a private option meaning that you can get together with 7 other people in your own room.
Both game modes are played across 7 varied maps and have some things in common:
- A key element is the crafting from the single player game. Crafting allows you to build a range of extras including health packs, shivs and bombs. You can also craft gifts if you have the relevant perk equipped enabling you to give stuff to your teammates.
- There are several supply boxes dotted around each map. Visit these to collect supplies for crafting and the chance to gain some resources. Resources can be used in the in-game store to purchase armour, a weapon (if you have enabled a purchasable weapon in your loadout), upgrade your existing weapons and buy more bullets. In Supply Run you can also upgrade melee weapons.
- Crafting, spotting and various other actions in the game will earn you more resources which can be used in the in-game store. All resources (whether used in-game or not) are counted towards the resources required to help your clan survive.
- Health is not regenerative. If you are hit you will lose some health and the only way to regain it is to use a health kit if you have one or have one of your teammates heal you.
In Supply Run each team has a total of 20 lives shared between the 4 team players. The aim is to eliminate the opposing team by reducing their total lives to zero. If you die, you will be respawned in the next spawn wave which generally takes somewhere between 1 – 15 seconds depending on when you died. If the number of lives for your team reaches zero and you die, you will not respawn and will watch your remaining teammates as they battle out the rest of the match. There is a time limit on the match of 15 minutes and if there are still lives left on both teams when the timer reaches zero, the team with the most lives remaining is the winner. Any items you pick up or craft are kept for the entire game. Resources you earn and then spend on armour, bullets etc are also retained.
In Survivors the match is played over a maximum of 7 rounds and the first team to win 4 rounds is the winner. In each round you only get one life and if you die, you will watch your remaining teammates until the start of the next round. A round lasts for 3 minutes and it will end if either one team is eliminated or the timer reaches zero. If there are members of each team alive at the end of a round then the team with the most survivors is the winner unless both teams have the same number in which case it is a draw. In this mode there are no melee weapons. Any items you pick up or craft only last for that round. However resources you earn and then spend on armour, bullets etc are retained.
There are a range of tactics that will help you to survive for longer in both game modes:
- Stick together! Working in pairs or a team of 4 will give you a greater chance of winning than running off as a lone gun.
- Use comms. Talking to your teammates, telling them where the enemy is, giving and receiving instructions will give you the edge over a team that has no comms
- Spot the opposition. Press R3 when you see someone from the opposing team to spot them. All of your teammates will see them for a few seconds until the spot disappears. Note this can be counteracted by the Covert Training 3 Survival Skill.
- Don’t run! Running (moving with L2 pressed) reveals your position (just as shooting does) on the opposing team’s map, so use it sparingly such as at the beginning of a round when on the opposite side of a map to the opposition or to run away from a firefight you are going to lose.
- Use listen mode. Press R2 to enter listen mode which will reveal any of the opposing team who are moving in your vicinity. You’ll then see them outlined through objects. Note that this can be counteracted by remaining still or the Covert Training 2 & 3 Survival Skills but only if the player is crouch walking.
- Collect items from drop points. The various drop points marked on the map provide various random items that you can use for crafting. You may also get some resources if you are lucky. Every player will get their own items from a drop point so you don’t have to compete with other teammates or the opposition. If your team is losing, you seem to get more resources from a drop point. If you’re the last player standing on your team, you’ll also get more items from a drop point.
- Craft, craft and craft! Crafting not only provides you with health packs, bombs and other items but also earns you resources.
- Spend your resources. Use resources you earn in the in-game store to buy armour, bullets, weapon upgrades and special weapons to help you survive and hopefully win. You won’t gain anything by saving your resources.
- Heal teammates. If you have the First Aid Training 2 or 3 Survival Skill equipped, heal your teammates whenever you can. Not only will it help your team to survive but you’ll also gain resources by doing so.
- Revive downed teammates. If a teammate is downed and you see them crawling around, revive them if it is safe to do so, it’ll keep them in the game/won’t reduce your team lives and you gain resources by doing this. There is a time limit to revive a teammate, so don’t leave it too long or they will die.
- Execute the opposition. Shooting/meleeing one of the opposition will bring them to their knees. They can still survive by crawling away to get revived by one of their teammates, so execute them by shooting them as they crawl around or get up close to carry out a special execution!
- Use bombs as mines. The explosive bombs (the ones that look like a can with scissors and other bits inside) can be thrown using L1 + R1 just like the smoke bomb and molotov. You can also just press R1 to drop it at your feet. Doing this won’t cause it to explode and it’ll become a mine that will blow up any member of the opposition careless enough to step on it!
- Use a downed enemy as a trap. This is a tactic your team could use to lure other members of the opposition to help their stricken teammate. When they arrive to assist, take them out too! Be careful though, the opposition may have comms and could be aware of what you are doing.
- Use the map to lure the opposition. Running or shooting your weapon reveals your location to the other team. Most of the time you may not want to do this but it can be another way of luring them to your location where you and your teammates can take them out.
The multiplayer has an overall ‘meta’ game element, which is to increase the size of your clan (a rather confusing term to use as most people will associate clan with a team of players usually flying the same clan tag). Your clan is a number of virtual people and with each passing game your clan will grow or shrink in size depending on how well you did. Do well and collect a lot of resources in a game and this will help to grow your clan. Don’t do so well and you won’t have collected enough of the resources to meet your clan’s daily need, which will mean some clan members will go hungry and some may become sick. Continue to do badly and some will die.
I believe there is a finite period of time over which you have to grow your clan (it may be 12 weeks, not sure as I’ve not got there yet). With each match you play, a day passes. In the first 7 days you show in matched with a rank of 0. Survive the first week and your rank becomes 1 and so on.
During the course of each week (7 matches) you will receive a ‘challenge’. Some challenges allow you to grow your clan by up to 10% whilst others will reduce your clan from anything between 10%-100%!! Challenges take place over 3 matches and you can select from a range of these. So you might choose to down people (shoot/melee so they are crawling around but not dead). There will be 3 levels to the challenge e.g:
For an ‘increasing’ clan challenge
Down 3 people – increase clan by 3%
Down 6 people – increase clan by 7%
Down 9 people – increase clan by 10%
Getting less than 3 people would gain you nothing
For a ‘decreasing’ clan challenge
Down 3 people – decrease clan by 40%
Down 6 people – decrease clan by 20%
Down 9 people – decrease clan by 10%
Getting less than 3 people would lose you 60% of your clan!!
There are a wide range of challenges, some based on downs or executions, some on healing teammates, others on using particular weapons to down or execute people.
Challenges can be repeated if you wish. However to encourage you to try different challenges instead of repeating the same one again and again, the required numbers for that challenge increase on second and subsequent attempts. So what may have been fairly straightforward the first time will be more challenging a second time and on further attempts will be very hard indeed.
At the end of the 12 weeks, if your clan has survived then you will receive a trophy for the clan type you chose (Hunter or Firefly). You can then repeat the meta game with the other clan type to hopefully receive a trophy for that one too. However, if your clan dies before the end of the 12 weeks you will receive nothing!
After playing the game for a few days I’m very much enjoying it and I’d have to say my favourite game mode is Survivors, which is a little surprising as I generally prefer respawn games. The single life in each 3 minute round of survivor makes it a tense game but also very enjoyable and is certainly a change of pace from the running and gunning in Uncharted.
Overall I'd highly recommend The Last of Us both for its excellent single player game as well as the online multiplayer action.