DID YOU READ

Uncharted 3 Multiplayer Beta Unveils Co-op Campaign

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A few weeks back, Sony opened up the multiplayer beta for this fall’s hotly-antcipated “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.” For the last fortnigh or so, PS3 owners have had a chance to test drive two initial maps and a variety of modes for Nathan Drake’s third globe-trotting adventure.

IFC’s Matt Singer and I teamed up last week to try out the beta and both came away very pleased with the preview. Multiplayer plays much like the single-player portion, with cover and tactical traversal being key to any kind of success. Anyone taking a run-and-gun approach in the wide-open areas of, say, the Chateau map will just be doing the die-and-respawn tango, even if you have a buddy trying to provide cover fire. After some frantic Team Deathmatch to get warmed up, Matt and I moved on to Team Hunter one of the new “Uncharted 3” multiplayer modes. If you play as the game’s heroes, the goal of the mode is to place treasure on certain areas of the map. Meanwhile, those playing as the villains Heroes get the benefit of both pistols and long-range weapons while villains get only pistols. That inequity’s balanced out by the extra AI bots who’ll also be working to stop the heroes from achieving their objectives. After playing either side for a few hours, it seemed like, at this point, things in Hunter are weighted more towards the heroes. Villains may have the advantage of numbers but being able to shoot from a distance felt more powerful. The maps all show much promise. The Chateau map comes packed with hidey-holes and parallel pathways, along with turrets which serve as both bait and super weapon.

The fundamentals of the multiplayer experience will be familiar to anyone who’s played online shooters in the last five years or so. You’ll get attacked by waves of thugs across a huge environment, but “Uncharted 3” adds some differentiated classes of enemies that will require co-op co-ordination. The Choker, for example, can only be punched from behind and, if he grabs one of your buddies, you’ll need to attack him before your partner suffocates. If you revive a partner, you also will get full health back, too. Taunts are another new feature that let you brag over the body of someone you’ve taken out. Aside from looking hilarious and pissing off the other guys, they’ll give you an extra added chunk of XP. Buddy Taunts, like high-fiving over a fallen foe, benefit both players the same way. You’ll also be able to respawn on a buddy’s position, a great little tweak that keeps the flow of the game moving. One new feature being added to “Uncharted” multiplayer are the power-ups called Kickbacks. Kickbacks buff individual elements of the game experience for a limited time, so the Militia Man gives you unlimited ammo and Power Hunter reveals the location of the deadliest weapons on the map.

Developer Naughty Dog’s added additional modes and maps as the demo’s rolled on. The latest of those–also the last to debut before the demo ends this Thursday–is the combo of Yemen and various Co-op modes. I played a bit of Co-op Adventure and experienced firsthand some of the new mechanics that the mode’s going to offer. Players inhabit with series hero Nathan Drake, mentor/sidekick Victor “Sully” Sullivan or girlfriend Elena Fisher, starting off in a submerged part of a castle-like structure. The first part of the mission involves hunting down idols in corners of the environment and planting on them specific pedestals, in classic Indiana Jones-style. Of course, you’re being shot at by hordes of bad guys as this happens and the best strategy tends to involve two partners providing cover fire for the person lugging the treasure around. Once specific tasks like that are achieved, everyone needs to gather at glowing red group checkpoints to move the mission forward. The other part of the Co-op Adventure mode shows off the vertical combat system which blends the climbing “Uncharted” games are known for with cover-based gunplay. As you ascend the outside of a parapet, thugs rain down gunfire on you and your pals. Picking the right timing to move and when to fire back made for extremely tense and satisfying moments.

“Uncharted 3” might deliver the most beautiful environments of any upcoming shooter. The jungles looks just as vibrant and lush as they do in the single-player campaign and the Yemen map feels like a real marketplace recreated from the other side of the world. Overall, the most impressive thing about “Uncharted” multiplayer is how it still manages to channel the Hollywood blockbuster energy of single-player but spreads it around so that everyone feels heroic. The quiet tension of the hunt combines with first-class derring-do and clever humor to make for a strong offering. If the beta’s any indication of the final product, “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception” will be a great multiplayer destination for PS3 owners when it hits in November.

If you played the “Uncharted 3” multiplayer beta, what do you love or hate about it? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.