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Found 37 results

  1. Jack Gardner

    Metal Gear Survive Beta Drops in January

    Metal Gear Survive hits store shelves in February, but before the official release Konami will open up a beta in January. the beta will run from January 18-21. The beta will open up the game's co-op to test out the core mechanics (and network stability) of Survive: Base building, crafting, and combat. People who play the beta will be given in-game bonuses in the core game, such as a FOX HOUND name plate, a bandana, and a Metal Gear REX head. The beta will be immediately available to everyone on January 18. Speculation has run rampant about the future of the Metal Gear franchise since the high profile departure of Hideo Kojima. Konami's follow up to Metal Gear Solid V certainly raised some eyebrows when it was announced at E3 2016. The shift to some kind of zombie survival game struck many as odd and the lack of information on the game only caused people to become more uncertain, especially after the guiding force of the franchise split from the company. To give players an idea of what to expect, Konami has released a lengthy, commentated trailer to give an overview of Metal Gear Survive. First off, the story is not canon. It takes place in an alternate reality where following a massive attack at the conclusion of Metal Gear Solid V a portal opens up to another dimension, sucking up parts of structures and soldiers from Mother Base. One of the soldiers from the base, the protagonist, manages to avoid being sucked into the wormhole, but is sent into the rift several months later by a shadowy government organization. Once on the other side, the protagonist must hunt for food, build a base, fight off the ever-present zombie threat, and complete missions out in the strange, new world. Metal Gear Survive releases on February 20 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  2. Metal Gear Survive hits store shelves in February, but before the official release Konami will open up a beta in January. the beta will run from January 18-21. The beta will open up the game's co-op to test out the core mechanics (and network stability) of Survive: Base building, crafting, and combat. People who play the beta will be given in-game bonuses in the core game, such as a FOX HOUND name plate, a bandana, and a Metal Gear REX head. The beta will be immediately available to everyone on January 18. Speculation has run rampant about the future of the Metal Gear franchise since the high profile departure of Hideo Kojima. Konami's follow up to Metal Gear Solid V certainly raised some eyebrows when it was announced at E3 2016. The shift to some kind of zombie survival game struck many as odd and the lack of information on the game only caused people to become more uncertain, especially after the guiding force of the franchise split from the company. To give players an idea of what to expect, Konami has released a lengthy, commentated trailer to give an overview of Metal Gear Survive. First off, the story is not canon. It takes place in an alternate reality where following a massive attack at the conclusion of Metal Gear Solid V a portal opens up to another dimension, sucking up parts of structures and soldiers from Mother Base. One of the soldiers from the base, the protagonist, manages to avoid being sucked into the wormhole, but is sent into the rift several months later by a shadowy government organization. Once on the other side, the protagonist must hunt for food, build a base, fight off the ever-present zombie threat, and complete missions out in the strange, new world. Metal Gear Survive releases on February 20 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  3. Valve has been hard at work trying to perfect their virtual reality platform. They've just taken a big step by creating SteamVR Home, an interactive VR hub for Steam games. SteamVR Home is currently in beta, but can be accessed by simply opting into it. What does SteamVR Home do? Over the past year, Valve has been taking feedback from players and refining their vision for what a VR hub should be. The waters of virtual reality are still largely untested, so that feedback was critical to learning how SteamVR Home should function. Many environments and backgrounds have been uploaded to the SteamVR Workshop and creators have been clamoring for more tools so they can piece together better hub areas. Now, players will be able to create those areas with sound, better detail, animation, interaction, and even social elements. Those better environments can now attain higher resolutions, support animation, sound, and even games in their own right. To find the perfect hub, players can teleport around areas and explore hundreds of hubs created by the community. if one of the environments suits a player's fancy, they can save it and even create special props and drawings to decorate and personalize the space. The social integration is a huge addition. Those functions are now built into SteamVR Home. Players can invite friends into their home space or make an entire environment open to the public so anyone can join. Voice chat is possible, people can interact with the various decorations and tools in the given environment, and friends can explore new worlds together. Each player will be able to fashion an avatar for themselves, complete with accessories and props. Players can unlock more accessories by completing quests in other SteamVR areas. Of course, these wouldn't be very good hub areas if they didn't serve as, you know, hubs! From the default home area, players can launch VR applications, scroll through their friends list, and access other rooms. Creators will also be able to integrate those features into custom hubs. Many of the features in SteamVR Home have been borrowed from another Valve application titled Destinations. If you've been using Destinations and are worried about losing all your progress or stuff, don't fret. All of those in-game achievements and items will carry over into SteamVR Home. Destinations will cease being updated and all focus will switch over to SteamVR Home. Valve released a statement to those who have supported Destinations, saying, "We've been amazed by the incredible work the community has done in Destinations, and appreciate all the feedback you've given us as Destinations has gone from a simple photogrammetry viewer to something more. You are all veterans of this creative space and we hope you'll pass your knowledge and experience along as the rest of the SteamVR community gets access to these worlds." If you are interested in opting into the SteamVR Home beta follow these steps: Open Steam > Find SteamVR in your Library > Right click and go to Properties > Select the Betas tab and pick SteamVR Beta. View full article
  4. Jack Gardner

    SteamVR Home Enters Beta

    Valve has been hard at work trying to perfect their virtual reality platform. They've just taken a big step by creating SteamVR Home, an interactive VR hub for Steam games. SteamVR Home is currently in beta, but can be accessed by simply opting into it. What does SteamVR Home do? Over the past year, Valve has been taking feedback from players and refining their vision for what a VR hub should be. The waters of virtual reality are still largely untested, so that feedback was critical to learning how SteamVR Home should function. Many environments and backgrounds have been uploaded to the SteamVR Workshop and creators have been clamoring for more tools so they can piece together better hub areas. Now, players will be able to create those areas with sound, better detail, animation, interaction, and even social elements. Those better environments can now attain higher resolutions, support animation, sound, and even games in their own right. To find the perfect hub, players can teleport around areas and explore hundreds of hubs created by the community. if one of the environments suits a player's fancy, they can save it and even create special props and drawings to decorate and personalize the space. The social integration is a huge addition. Those functions are now built into SteamVR Home. Players can invite friends into their home space or make an entire environment open to the public so anyone can join. Voice chat is possible, people can interact with the various decorations and tools in the given environment, and friends can explore new worlds together. Each player will be able to fashion an avatar for themselves, complete with accessories and props. Players can unlock more accessories by completing quests in other SteamVR areas. Of course, these wouldn't be very good hub areas if they didn't serve as, you know, hubs! From the default home area, players can launch VR applications, scroll through their friends list, and access other rooms. Creators will also be able to integrate those features into custom hubs. Many of the features in SteamVR Home have been borrowed from another Valve application titled Destinations. If you've been using Destinations and are worried about losing all your progress or stuff, don't fret. All of those in-game achievements and items will carry over into SteamVR Home. Destinations will cease being updated and all focus will switch over to SteamVR Home. Valve released a statement to those who have supported Destinations, saying, "We've been amazed by the incredible work the community has done in Destinations, and appreciate all the feedback you've given us as Destinations has gone from a simple photogrammetry viewer to something more. You are all veterans of this creative space and we hope you'll pass your knowledge and experience along as the rest of the SteamVR community gets access to these worlds." If you are interested in opting into the SteamVR Home beta follow these steps: Open Steam > Find SteamVR in your Library > Right click and go to Properties > Select the Betas tab and pick SteamVR Beta.
  5. The alpha demo for the demon slaying Nioh back in April met with smashing success, garnering more than 850,000 downloads over 10 days. Those who played filled out a survey to help Team Ninja fine tune the gameplay and weapons. A beta demo slated for a late August release now includes many of those changes. Players will be able to download the beta through the PlayStation Store from August 23 to September 6. The Dark Souls/Akira Kurosawa-inspired Nioh thrusts players into the role of a 16th century Japanese warrior who clashes with various demons and monsters on his quest to fulfill his destiny. The beta will include a broader range of weapons; more axes, hammers, spears, and katana. Some of the beta will have players retreading the same ground as the alpha, but with revamped gameplay. However, there will be a new dojo area, training mode, and a mysterious stage that Team Ninja has not yet revealed. Nioh releases later this year exclusively for PlayStation 4. View full article
  6. Jack Gardner

    Second Demo for Nioh Coming in August

    The alpha demo for the demon slaying Nioh back in April met with smashing success, garnering more than 850,000 downloads over 10 days. Those who played filled out a survey to help Team Ninja fine tune the gameplay and weapons. A beta demo slated for a late August release now includes many of those changes. Players will be able to download the beta through the PlayStation Store from August 23 to September 6. The Dark Souls/Akira Kurosawa-inspired Nioh thrusts players into the role of a 16th century Japanese warrior who clashes with various demons and monsters on his quest to fulfill his destiny. The beta will include a broader range of weapons; more axes, hammers, spears, and katana. Some of the beta will have players retreading the same ground as the alpha, but with revamped gameplay. However, there will be a new dojo area, training mode, and a mysterious stage that Team Ninja has not yet revealed. Nioh releases later this year exclusively for PlayStation 4.
  7. SiN Studios

    Beta Test With Our Developers

    until
    Strength in Numbers (SiN) Studios is an independent video game development company based in Lansing, Michigan. We are currently creating our launch title, Tuebor, and are releasing it to the public in late August of this year. We're in the stage of Beta testing Tuebor now and would like to invite others to play with us! Thought this would be a great community to reach out to to play with us! When: Friday, July 29 8:00pm EST - ?? What: The level is called Lava Flow. We will work together to defeat waves of NPC's and ruthless artificial intelligence systems. Where: We will be posting the game client on our social media outlets on Friday, the 29th. Facebook: www.facebook.com/sinstudios Twitter: www.twitter.com/sin_studios Why: It's going to be a great time and provide a preview of the game before it's released! If you have any questions, please email me at : emily.springer@tueborgame.com
  8. SiN Studios

    Play test with Strength in Numbers Studios

    until
    Hi everyone! Strength in Numbers Studios is a video game development company out of Lansing, Michigan. We are an indie startup and are currently developing our launch title, Tuebor, which is set to release in late August of this year. Tonight we will be having a "Developers VS Non-Developers" game night from 8-10pm EST to test the Beta of Tuebor. The more testers the better so please tell your friends! We will be posting the link to the downloadable game client on our Facebook page, and Twitter page as well as through our "Alpha Sign Up Page," in mere hours. This link will take you to our first game play trailer. If you have questions, send us a message! Or email emily.springer@tueborgame.com . Hope you can make it!
  9. Has anyone else played Gang Beasts? It has been a great event to play at our Extra Life events! The early access can be a little buggy, but you can push through for some good times! I also got into the multiplayer beta and it has some pretty cool features over the original steam version! I have both videos listed below. If you have played, what experiences have you had with the game? Gang Beasts Steam Version Gang Beasts Online Multiplayer Beta
  10. Jack Gardner

    Metal Gear Online Arrives on PC Today

    Though it has been several months since Metal Gear Solid V released, the online competitive multiplayer that released on consoles is only just making its way to PC... sort of. The online portion of Metal Gear Solid V will be entering a beta phase on Steam later today to iron out any unforeseen kinks that could be lurking in the PC version's multiplayer. The beta should be relatively short, though Konami hasn't stated when Metal Gear Online will officially release. Konami's community manager, Robert Peeler, announced via Twitch that the beta should be going live at 10pm PST tonight, though it may be pushed back later by a couple of hours if issues arise. Players need to opt into the beta by adjusting their beta preferences for Metal Gear Solid V in Steam. On top of all that, a new map inspired by Mother Base will be added to Metal Gear Online and Konami is giving players the power to help name it. Suggestions need to adhere to the following naming convention: A color followed by a proper noun for a structure (i.e. Ivory Citadel, Silver Keep, etc.). Player suggestions can be sent via Twitter to @MetalGearOnline.
  11. Though it has been several months since Metal Gear Solid V released, the online competitive multiplayer that released on consoles is only just making its way to PC... sort of. The online portion of Metal Gear Solid V will be entering a beta phase on Steam later today to iron out any unforeseen kinks that could be lurking in the PC version's multiplayer. The beta should be relatively short, though Konami hasn't stated when Metal Gear Online will officially release. Konami's community manager, Robert Peeler, announced via Twitch that the beta should be going live at 10pm PST tonight, though it may be pushed back later by a couple of hours if issues arise. Players need to opt into the beta by adjusting their beta preferences for Metal Gear Solid V in Steam. On top of all that, a new map inspired by Mother Base will be added to Metal Gear Online and Konami is giving players the power to help name it. Suggestions need to adhere to the following naming convention: A color followed by a proper noun for a structure (i.e. Ivory Citadel, Silver Keep, etc.). Player suggestions can be sent via Twitter to @MetalGearOnline. View full article
  12. To give you the best idea of what Galactic Civilizations III is like, imagine Sid Meier’s Civilization V set in space with the ability to design your own spaceships. If that sentence doesn't get you salivating at the possibilities, you might have to go rewatch Star Wars. Over the last few days I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the latest build of Galactic Civilizations III and lead the human race into the future. Making sure that humanity survives to dominate the stars isn’t the easiest task, especially in the current build available from developer Stardock Entertainment. While it is certainly playable and quite enjoyable, the limitations of its beta state become immediately apparent when beginning a new game. Though the final game will include eight playable races as well as the option to create a custom race, the current build is limited to four: the Terran Alliance, the Drangin Empire, the Altarian Resistance, and the Iridium Corporation. Each race has different strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Terrans are great at exploring during the early game, while the Altarians are adept researchers and quick to adopt new technology. The other major limitation to the beta is that the only victory condition available is conquest. The final retail build will include diplomatic, scientific, and influence victories alongside conquest. Upon loading into a new game, everything seems fantastic. Fans of Galactic Civilizations I and II will feel right at home with the interface, while newcomers might feel a bit out of their depth and require a bit of a learning period before knowing the ins and outs of the numerous menus and orders. The first hour or so of gameplay feel refined and mostly finished and it is fun to expand to new worlds and see what you might find drifting among the debris in deep space. Survey craft can pick apart debris to find advantages for your race in the form of money or even operational ships. The first encounter with an AI civilization shows that Galactic Civilizations III is still very much incomplete. Not only is diplomatic victory impossible, but the diplomacy system hasn’t been implemented at all. This leads to every civilization attacking you on sight, which makes it difficult to fully explore the complex and interesting technology tree down any of the routes besides military. While researching the secret to building larger and larger ships, players will be able to design new types of spacefaring war machines. The ship designer is quite entertaining. It offers players premade designs or allows them to build their ships from scratch. Once the base body has been finished and outfitted with a variety of extra pieces give some character to the design, players can outfit it with weapons, armor, shielding, engines, etc. The system is incredibly flexible and I can easily see some Galactic Civilizations III players putting hours into creating new and unique ships for their fleets. The one thing that I will stress heavily from what I saw during my time leading the Terran armadas is how slowly the game moves. For me that’s great, I love slow, tactical experiences, but I understand that sort of experience isn’t something everyone enjoys readily. I spent nearly six hours with Galactic Civilization III and feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what the final version will be like. I have yet to see how science, influence, or diplomacy victories will work or explored how it could be feasible to research those parts of the tech tree. However, the time I spent in space is just enough to whet my appetite for the final product. Galactic Civilizations III is currently in beta on PC. It has no official release date. People can gain entrance to the beta via Steam for $44.99. I would not recommend purchasing the beta unless you are a hardcore fan of the Galactic Civilizations series and willing to deal with technical bugs and unfinished game systems. For more information on how the Galactic Civilizations III is progressing, be sure to check out the Stardock YouTube Channel to see their weekly progress videos. View full article
  13. Jack Gardner

    Preview: Galactic Civilizations III

    To give you the best idea of what Galactic Civilizations III is like, imagine Sid Meier’s Civilization V set in space with the ability to design your own spaceships. If that sentence doesn't get you salivating at the possibilities, you might have to go rewatch Star Wars. Over the last few days I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the latest build of Galactic Civilizations III and lead the human race into the future. Making sure that humanity survives to dominate the stars isn’t the easiest task, especially in the current build available from developer Stardock Entertainment. While it is certainly playable and quite enjoyable, the limitations of its beta state become immediately apparent when beginning a new game. Though the final game will include eight playable races as well as the option to create a custom race, the current build is limited to four: the Terran Alliance, the Drangin Empire, the Altarian Resistance, and the Iridium Corporation. Each race has different strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Terrans are great at exploring during the early game, while the Altarians are adept researchers and quick to adopt new technology. The other major limitation to the beta is that the only victory condition available is conquest. The final retail build will include diplomatic, scientific, and influence victories alongside conquest. Upon loading into a new game, everything seems fantastic. Fans of Galactic Civilizations I and II will feel right at home with the interface, while newcomers might feel a bit out of their depth and require a bit of a learning period before knowing the ins and outs of the numerous menus and orders. The first hour or so of gameplay feel refined and mostly finished and it is fun to expand to new worlds and see what you might find drifting among the debris in deep space. Survey craft can pick apart debris to find advantages for your race in the form of money or even operational ships. The first encounter with an AI civilization shows that Galactic Civilizations III is still very much incomplete. Not only is diplomatic victory impossible, but the diplomacy system hasn’t been implemented at all. This leads to every civilization attacking you on sight, which makes it difficult to fully explore the complex and interesting technology tree down any of the routes besides military. While researching the secret to building larger and larger ships, players will be able to design new types of spacefaring war machines. The ship designer is quite entertaining. It offers players premade designs or allows them to build their ships from scratch. Once the base body has been finished and outfitted with a variety of extra pieces give some character to the design, players can outfit it with weapons, armor, shielding, engines, etc. The system is incredibly flexible and I can easily see some Galactic Civilizations III players putting hours into creating new and unique ships for their fleets. The one thing that I will stress heavily from what I saw during my time leading the Terran armadas is how slowly the game moves. For me that’s great, I love slow, tactical experiences, but I understand that sort of experience isn’t something everyone enjoys readily. I spent nearly six hours with Galactic Civilization III and feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what the final version will be like. I have yet to see how science, influence, or diplomacy victories will work or explored how it could be feasible to research those parts of the tech tree. However, the time I spent in space is just enough to whet my appetite for the final product. Galactic Civilizations III is currently in beta on PC. It has no official release date. People can gain entrance to the beta via Steam for $44.99. I would not recommend purchasing the beta unless you are a hardcore fan of the Galactic Civilizations series and willing to deal with technical bugs and unfinished game systems. For more information on how the Galactic Civilizations III is progressing, be sure to check out the Stardock YouTube Channel to see their weekly progress videos.
  14. EA has revealed plans for a new service for the Xbox One that will allow players to access a library of EA titles and provide discounts to other EA products. What does a subscription to EA Access net paying customers? During the initial beta phase of the program, buyers will have access to a vault of EA's titles on Xbox One which includes FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2, and Battlefield 4. EA promises more titles will be added to the vault soon. Besides the game collection, subscribers will receive a 10% discount on all digital content purchased on Xbox One. The final benefit of a subscription is trial access to new titles up to five days before their official release. Trials will be available for Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA LIVE 15, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. EA Access will begin at $4.99 per month or $29.99 annually on Xbox Live. It will soon be available for purchase at physical retailers like Gamestop as well as online vendors like Amazon. On the surface the subscription to EA Access seems like a bargain at around $30 a year for over $100 worth of games (and that is just initially). However, I can't shake a distaste for being beholden to a third-party developer/publisher for access to games that I've purchased. What do the fine people of the Extra Life community think about EA Access? View full article
  15. EA has revealed plans for a new service for the Xbox One that will allow players to access a library of EA titles and provide discounts to other EA products. What does a subscription to EA Access net paying customers? During the initial beta phase of the program, buyers will have access to a vault of EA's titles on Xbox One which includes FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2, and Battlefield 4. EA promises more titles will be added to the vault soon. Besides the game collection, subscribers will receive a 10% discount on all digital content purchased on Xbox One. The final benefit of a subscription is trial access to new titles up to five days before their official release. Trials will be available for Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA LIVE 15, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. EA Access will begin at $4.99 per month or $29.99 annually on Xbox Live. It will soon be available for purchase at physical retailers like Gamestop as well as online vendors like Amazon. On the surface the subscription to EA Access seems like a bargain at around $30 a year for over $100 worth of games (and that is just initially). However, I can't shake a distaste for being beholden to a third-party developer/publisher for access to games that I've purchased. What do the fine people of the Extra Life community think about EA Access?
  16. Over the past few days I had the opportunity to take a break from reviewing the incredibly long PC RPG Divinity: Original Sin (68 hours in with the end still not in sight!) by suiting up as one of humanity’s last Guardians. After three focused days with the beta, I can say with confidence that Bungie has put what it learned from years developing Halo and successfully read the gaming landscape to create an FPS title that will stand the test of time. The Destiny beta was previewed on PlayStation 4. How does one describe Destiny? Destiny seems like a hodgepodge of various elements copped from other famous science-fiction games, movies, and books that were then rolled up into one package, streamlined, and then given some of the characteristics of an MMO (I thought about putting in the dictionary definition of destiny here instead, but decided that would be too obvious). The physics of the movement is very Halo-esque, giving the player a sensation of great power and fluidity, while eschewing the frantic pacing of titles like Call of Duty or Titanfall. Meanwhile the gunplay is heavily influenced by Borderlands. The aesthetics and setting have Star Wars influences written all over along them (imagine that the Deathstar was sentient, good, and didn’t blow up planets and you basically have the premise for Destiny). Finally, the story is a mix of Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End both of which were written by Arthur C. Clarke. And here is the thing: All of those disparate elements come together feeling new and fresh, which is a real achievement! I walked away from my weekend with Destiny having enjoyed myself and feeling optimistic about the game’s future. However, I don’t think it is enough to tell you that I had this positive reaction to Destiny, instead I’m going to attempt to explain why. One of the main attractions of Destiny is how it empowers players. It goes about this in a variety of ways, but first and foremost, it conveys power through movement and terrain traversal. As usual for an FPS, players can toggle between normal running and sprinting, the pace of which is not frenetically fast, but instead instils a feeling of accuracy and control. It is a small touch, but it works. Jumping represents a major contributor to the empowerment of movement in Destiny. At first it seems like a more toned-down version of Halo’s high, floaty jumps, but upon reaching level three or four, players unlock the double jump and it changes everything. In my mind, Titanfall was the first FPS that truly embraced the notion of verticality and freedom of movement. I played Titanfall and felt like I was seeing what the new trend in multiplayer would be; Bungie, much like Respawn, realized that it needed to get away from the landlocked mentality of last-gen’s shooters. I won’t say that Bungie looked at Titanfall and tried to emulate it; Destiny has clearly been in development for years, too long to make such a fundamental change to its entire structure and gameplay dynamics. Destiny and Titanfall both happened to hit on the idea that giving players more options in how they move makes the game a great deal more fun and allows for a more flowing feel to the entire affair. Oh, and the speeder bikes that you can summon almost anywhere control very well and lend the maps a sense of scope while finally allowing you to see what it would be like to ride one of the speeders from Return of the Jedi. Those are pretty sweet. Beyond movement, Destiny takes a running leap (har har) right out of the gate in regards to progression. Completing missions and killing enemies grants experience that adds up over time to level characters. Over the course of the first few missions players level up frequently, about a level per story mission, and find new equipment everywhere. Each level rewards players with a new ability, a variation of one of their existing abilities, an upgrade for core power, or a boost to base stats. New equipment comes in the familiar rarity color coding made omnipresent by Diablo (now go ahead and tell me that Diablo wasn’t the first game to start this sort of color scheme, Diablo was the first I could recall), though the best equipment typically drops in the form of schematics that must be decoded. Uncommon or rare weapons also gain experience the more they are used and can be upgraded once they’ve been used enough in battle. All of this comes together to give players a real sense of escalating power. Now, I can’t speak as to how this will continue on in the full version of Destiny, since the beta caps progress at level 8, but I’d imagine that, similar to other MMOs, the pace of power growth will slow dramatically during the mid to late game compared to the early sections. And make no mistake, Destiny is an MMO despite the marketing of it as being a “shared world.” Destiny takes many design decisions found in a typical MMO and applies them to a first-person shooter in a remarkably deft manner. The elements are there, from random events, to raids (called Strikes), to sidequests that branch off from the main story missions, to seeing the numbers indicating damage dealt pop up with ever successful shot to an enemy. At any given time I could see three or four other Guardians pursuing side missions or participating in random events, but social interaction never felt forced on me or like it took me out of the experience. The strange part is that this all comes together very well. I have my gripes with the Borderlands series, but being able to team up with friends and shoot your way through a campaign was undeniably fun. Destiny captures the essence of that co-op experience and applies it on a wider scale. In fact, the gameplay really does remind me of Borderlands, albeit with more mobility, except that Destiny manages to both make the gameplay its own and appropriately tone the entire affair. That tone is what will make Destiny such a success. Undoubtedly many kids under the age of 17 got their hands on the M rated Borderlands and Borderlands 2, but think of how many more copies Borderlands would have been able to sell with a T rating from the ESRB. On June 26 the ESRB announced that Destiny will be rated T, which widens the audience quite a bit. Combine that with the Star Wars vibe that the title exudes, the sweeping scope, the gameplay which can be enjoyed with friends, and the lack of a subscription fee (ignoring, for a second, PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live), and to me that seems like something that will be astronomically big. It will be innocuous enough to get by most parents while still appealing to the youth demographic and it will be interesting and edgy enough to pull in the older crowds. Now, from all those glowing statements about what Destiny does right, you might be thinking that this is the most perfect game to have ever existed or that I am a goon paid for by Bungie. Neither of those assumptions are correct for there are a number of areas in Destiny that fell short. Many people have pointed to Peter Dinklage’s voice acting performance as something that detracts significantly from their experience. I would never presume to try and invalidate the feelings that other people have, because gut reactions to things can never be “wrong” in any quantitative sense. However, I do think that this is a case of people signaling out a surface-level, lackluster element and pinning their frustrations on it. While Peter Dinklage at times certainly gives a phoned-in performance* (which could very well detract from some players in-game experience, it just didn’t significantly alter my own), the main problem with Destiny isn’t that the performances aren’t as nuanced and deep as they could be; the main problem is that Destiny’s narrative doesn’t know how to begin its story. I don’t want to be overly critical here because Destiny is still months from release and could very well have some of the beginning story elements locked away. However, the product on display in the beta is clunky. It is never sure of how much or when it should dole out information. My character awakens to the line, “you’ve been dead for a long time,” and immediately, without any questions asked, the game placed me into the action. Now, this is a good way to grab a player’s attention, but it comes with a number of questions that demand answers after that action is concluded. Those answers never came. I was whisked away to the last human city, Tower, where I was given general background information about the state of the world and my character’s place in it, but those don’t satisfactorily answer why or how my character was brought back from the dead. There are lots of logic things that can be overlooked in the name of drama, but it was really irritating to me to hear my character speak and somehow fail to ask how he was brought back from the dead. That’s kind of a big deal. If technology is advanced enough to bring people back from the dead after “a long time” how is humanity in bad shape? This serves as a great example of one of my biggest complaints regarding Destiny, because there are numerous times when important details about the world seemed to go unexplained or ignored. Players are simply told to accept the quirks of the various races and events in Destiny’s story without enough context to make sense of it all. The previous paragraph was a minor complaint. That might seem odd, but the story of Destiny is such a secondary (possibly tertiary) concern that it won’t be something that affects most players experience with the game, because the refinement of Destiny’s gameplay trumps most of the minor quibbles it has, story or otherwise. One of those nitpicks goes to the AI, which seem to encounter invisible walls from time to time that can be used to pick off enemies or manipulate them into doing stupid things like running out of cover for no reason. Melee enemies in particular seem to be hit on the head with dumb. Jumping to a high elevation causes them to mill around helplessly like lost puppies. If I had to pick one more smallish complaint, it would be that the sidequests scattered throughout the exploration mode are largely uninteresting and seem to exist mostly out of obligation. Despite the annoyances and the narrative concerns, the heart of the matter is that Destiny is fun. The diversity of inspirations works to make the journey through a devastated Earth and beyond seem new instead of rehashed. It is visually exciting and delivers moments of tense action, comradery, and a sense of adventure. All other concerns aside, the bottom line is that Destiny is such an enjoyable experience that trumps almost any other criticism you could level at it. Destiny releases September 9 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. * Regarding Peter Dinklage: Here’s the thing, folks, Peter Dinklage is a very talented actor. He has a real flair for the dramatic and is capable of turning an audience to putty in his hands through his tone of voice. While it is true that the end result of his voice acting in Destiny sounds less than stellar, we don’t know why he sounds that way. Making a video game is a highly collaborative process. It could be that he found the lines too ridiculous to say seriously; it could be that he just didn’t care; it could be that Dinklage acts best when physically present on a set (to my knowledge, he has only ever done voice work for one other property and that was for Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012); but it could also be that the people directing him didn’t know how to get what they wanted or they made the call that what they recorded was an acceptable final product. It is important to remember that Peter Dinklage doesn’t have the final say on what goes into Destiny and that others are making the call that those lines were read appropriately. Finally, in Destiny, Dinklage voices a robot and, to me, he sounds very robot-like and detached in-game, which could contribute to why some of his lines sound so lifeless. He’s undeniably a great actor, capable of compelling work (Here is a brilliant scene from Game of Thrones Season 4, spoiler warning and all that), but for that talent to shine it require people in a number of other capacities to recognize what the game needs and bring it out of Dinklage. View full article
  17. Jack Gardner

    Preview: Bungie's Destiny Is Going to Be Big

    Over the past few days I had the opportunity to take a break from reviewing the incredibly long PC RPG Divinity: Original Sin (68 hours in with the end still not in sight!) by suiting up as one of humanity’s last Guardians. After three focused days with the beta, I can say with confidence that Bungie has put what it learned from years developing Halo and successfully read the gaming landscape to create an FPS title that will stand the test of time. The Destiny beta was previewed on PlayStation 4. How does one describe Destiny? Destiny seems like a hodgepodge of various elements copped from other famous science-fiction games, movies, and books that were then rolled up into one package, streamlined, and then given some of the characteristics of an MMO (I thought about putting in the dictionary definition of destiny here instead, but decided that would be too obvious). The physics of the movement is very Halo-esque, giving the player a sensation of great power and fluidity, while eschewing the frantic pacing of titles like Call of Duty or Titanfall. Meanwhile the gunplay is heavily influenced by Borderlands. The aesthetics and setting have Star Wars influences written all over along them (imagine that the Deathstar was sentient, good, and didn’t blow up planets and you basically have the premise for Destiny). Finally, the story is a mix of Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End both of which were written by Arthur C. Clarke. And here is the thing: All of those disparate elements come together feeling new and fresh, which is a real achievement! I walked away from my weekend with Destiny having enjoyed myself and feeling optimistic about the game’s future. However, I don’t think it is enough to tell you that I had this positive reaction to Destiny, instead I’m going to attempt to explain why. One of the main attractions of Destiny is how it empowers players. It goes about this in a variety of ways, but first and foremost, it conveys power through movement and terrain traversal. As usual for an FPS, players can toggle between normal running and sprinting, the pace of which is not frenetically fast, but instead instils a feeling of accuracy and control. It is a small touch, but it works. Jumping represents a major contributor to the empowerment of movement in Destiny. At first it seems like a more toned-down version of Halo’s high, floaty jumps, but upon reaching level three or four, players unlock the double jump and it changes everything. In my mind, Titanfall was the first FPS that truly embraced the notion of verticality and freedom of movement. I played Titanfall and felt like I was seeing what the new trend in multiplayer would be; Bungie, much like Respawn, realized that it needed to get away from the landlocked mentality of last-gen’s shooters. I won’t say that Bungie looked at Titanfall and tried to emulate it; Destiny has clearly been in development for years, too long to make such a fundamental change to its entire structure and gameplay dynamics. Destiny and Titanfall both happened to hit on the idea that giving players more options in how they move makes the game a great deal more fun and allows for a more flowing feel to the entire affair. Oh, and the speeder bikes that you can summon almost anywhere control very well and lend the maps a sense of scope while finally allowing you to see what it would be like to ride one of the speeders from Return of the Jedi. Those are pretty sweet. Beyond movement, Destiny takes a running leap (har har) right out of the gate in regards to progression. Completing missions and killing enemies grants experience that adds up over time to level characters. Over the course of the first few missions players level up frequently, about a level per story mission, and find new equipment everywhere. Each level rewards players with a new ability, a variation of one of their existing abilities, an upgrade for core power, or a boost to base stats. New equipment comes in the familiar rarity color coding made omnipresent by Diablo (now go ahead and tell me that Diablo wasn’t the first game to start this sort of color scheme, Diablo was the first I could recall), though the best equipment typically drops in the form of schematics that must be decoded. Uncommon or rare weapons also gain experience the more they are used and can be upgraded once they’ve been used enough in battle. All of this comes together to give players a real sense of escalating power. Now, I can’t speak as to how this will continue on in the full version of Destiny, since the beta caps progress at level 8, but I’d imagine that, similar to other MMOs, the pace of power growth will slow dramatically during the mid to late game compared to the early sections. And make no mistake, Destiny is an MMO despite the marketing of it as being a “shared world.” Destiny takes many design decisions found in a typical MMO and applies them to a first-person shooter in a remarkably deft manner. The elements are there, from random events, to raids (called Strikes), to sidequests that branch off from the main story missions, to seeing the numbers indicating damage dealt pop up with ever successful shot to an enemy. At any given time I could see three or four other Guardians pursuing side missions or participating in random events, but social interaction never felt forced on me or like it took me out of the experience. The strange part is that this all comes together very well. I have my gripes with the Borderlands series, but being able to team up with friends and shoot your way through a campaign was undeniably fun. Destiny captures the essence of that co-op experience and applies it on a wider scale. In fact, the gameplay really does remind me of Borderlands, albeit with more mobility, except that Destiny manages to both make the gameplay its own and appropriately tone the entire affair. That tone is what will make Destiny such a success. Undoubtedly many kids under the age of 17 got their hands on the M rated Borderlands and Borderlands 2, but think of how many more copies Borderlands would have been able to sell with a T rating from the ESRB. On June 26 the ESRB announced that Destiny will be rated T, which widens the audience quite a bit. Combine that with the Star Wars vibe that the title exudes, the sweeping scope, the gameplay which can be enjoyed with friends, and the lack of a subscription fee (ignoring, for a second, PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live), and to me that seems like something that will be astronomically big. It will be innocuous enough to get by most parents while still appealing to the youth demographic and it will be interesting and edgy enough to pull in the older crowds. Now, from all those glowing statements about what Destiny does right, you might be thinking that this is the most perfect game to have ever existed or that I am a goon paid for by Bungie. Neither of those assumptions are correct for there are a number of areas in Destiny that fell short. Many people have pointed to Peter Dinklage’s voice acting performance as something that detracts significantly from their experience. I would never presume to try and invalidate the feelings that other people have, because gut reactions to things can never be “wrong” in any quantitative sense. However, I do think that this is a case of people signaling out a surface-level, lackluster element and pinning their frustrations on it. While Peter Dinklage at times certainly gives a phoned-in performance* (which could very well detract from some players in-game experience, it just didn’t significantly alter my own), the main problem with Destiny isn’t that the performances aren’t as nuanced and deep as they could be; the main problem is that Destiny’s narrative doesn’t know how to begin its story. I don’t want to be overly critical here because Destiny is still months from release and could very well have some of the beginning story elements locked away. However, the product on display in the beta is clunky. It is never sure of how much or when it should dole out information. My character awakens to the line, “you’ve been dead for a long time,” and immediately, without any questions asked, the game placed me into the action. Now, this is a good way to grab a player’s attention, but it comes with a number of questions that demand answers after that action is concluded. Those answers never came. I was whisked away to the last human city, Tower, where I was given general background information about the state of the world and my character’s place in it, but those don’t satisfactorily answer why or how my character was brought back from the dead. There are lots of logic things that can be overlooked in the name of drama, but it was really irritating to me to hear my character speak and somehow fail to ask how he was brought back from the dead. That’s kind of a big deal. If technology is advanced enough to bring people back from the dead after “a long time” how is humanity in bad shape? This serves as a great example of one of my biggest complaints regarding Destiny, because there are numerous times when important details about the world seemed to go unexplained or ignored. Players are simply told to accept the quirks of the various races and events in Destiny’s story without enough context to make sense of it all. The previous paragraph was a minor complaint. That might seem odd, but the story of Destiny is such a secondary (possibly tertiary) concern that it won’t be something that affects most players experience with the game, because the refinement of Destiny’s gameplay trumps most of the minor quibbles it has, story or otherwise. One of those nitpicks goes to the AI, which seem to encounter invisible walls from time to time that can be used to pick off enemies or manipulate them into doing stupid things like running out of cover for no reason. Melee enemies in particular seem to be hit on the head with dumb. Jumping to a high elevation causes them to mill around helplessly like lost puppies. If I had to pick one more smallish complaint, it would be that the sidequests scattered throughout the exploration mode are largely uninteresting and seem to exist mostly out of obligation. Despite the annoyances and the narrative concerns, the heart of the matter is that Destiny is fun. The diversity of inspirations works to make the journey through a devastated Earth and beyond seem new instead of rehashed. It is visually exciting and delivers moments of tense action, comradery, and a sense of adventure. All other concerns aside, the bottom line is that Destiny is such an enjoyable experience that trumps almost any other criticism you could level at it. Destiny releases September 9 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. * Regarding Peter Dinklage: Here’s the thing, folks, Peter Dinklage is a very talented actor. He has a real flair for the dramatic and is capable of turning an audience to putty in his hands through his tone of voice. While it is true that the end result of his voice acting in Destiny sounds less than stellar, we don’t know why he sounds that way. Making a video game is a highly collaborative process. It could be that he found the lines too ridiculous to say seriously; it could be that he just didn’t care; it could be that Dinklage acts best when physically present on a set (to my knowledge, he has only ever done voice work for one other property and that was for Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012); but it could also be that the people directing him didn’t know how to get what they wanted or they made the call that what they recorded was an acceptable final product. It is important to remember that Peter Dinklage doesn’t have the final say on what goes into Destiny and that others are making the call that those lines were read appropriately. Finally, in Destiny, Dinklage voices a robot and, to me, he sounds very robot-like and detached in-game, which could contribute to why some of his lines sound so lifeless. He’s undeniably a great actor, capable of compelling work (Here is a brilliant scene from Game of Thrones Season 4, spoiler warning and all that), but for that talent to shine it require people in a number of other capacities to recognize what the game needs and bring it out of Dinklage.
  18. Just a friendly reminder that the Destiny beta hits on July 17 at 10 AM Pacific for PlayStation owners and July 23, also at 10 AM Pacific, for Xbox. Also, there is a new Destiny trailer. Oh, and a couple spiffy, expensive collector's editions. It is important to remember that people who pre-order Destiny are guaranteed a spot in the beta and that PlayStation Plus will be required for certain features on PlayStation systems and Xbox Live required to function on the 360 and One. The Beta will be offline for scheduled maintenance on July 21 - July 22 and open back up to pre-order participants across all platforms until 11:59pm PDT on July 27. "Wait," you might be asking yourself, "What about those different versions of the game you mentioned earlier, Mr. Writerperson?" Activision and Bungie also revealed today three different collector's editions of the game as well as how much they are going to hurt your wallet. The Destiny Ghost Edition and the Destiny Limited Edition both include a SteelBook case with physical disc; a Guardian Folio containing Postcards from the Golden Age, Antique Star Chart, and an Arms & Armament Field Guide; a digital content pack consisting of a unique ghost casing, player emblem, and ship variant; and the Destiny Expansion Pass which grants access to two of the post-launch Destiny expansions. The first expansion, titled The Dark Below, will take players beneath the surface of the Moon to battle an alien god that leads an evil army of Hive forces against Earth. The second expansion has no details as of yet beyond its name: House of Wolves (Editor's Note: I originally typed this Hose of Wolves, which I imagine would be a game about wolf fire fighters). PlayStation platforms will also include additional exclusive content for The Dark Below and House of Wolves that will remain exclusive until at least Fall of 2015. And that is only what the two editions have in common. Continuing on.... Destiny Ghost Edition comes with a replica of Ghost, complete with motion-activated lights and sounds voiced by Peter Dinklage; a letter of introduction; Golden Age Relics which include a photo, patch, sticker, and two chrome slides of the Traveler. Digital pre-orderers will be receiving the Digital Guardian Edition of Destiny which includes a digital download copy of the game, the Destiny Expansion Pass, and the Collector's Edition Digital Content Pack. All pre-orders will include access to the Vangaurd Armory that includes early access to weapons, gear and exclusive player emblem. That's a lot of cool stuff. Now for the bad news: Ghost Edition will retail at $149.99; the Limited Edition will cost $99.99; the Digital Guardian Edition will bite at $89.99. Destiny's Expansion Pass alone will be $34.99 and the expansions individually will cost $19.99 apiece. All of these editions are available now. I suppose it is nice that we seem to have ourselves quite a few options. Destiny fully releases for all platforms on September 9. View full article
  19. Just a friendly reminder that the Destiny beta hits on July 17 at 10 AM Pacific for PlayStation owners and July 23, also at 10 AM Pacific, for Xbox. Also, there is a new Destiny trailer. Oh, and a couple spiffy, expensive collector's editions. It is important to remember that people who pre-order Destiny are guaranteed a spot in the beta and that PlayStation Plus will be required for certain features on PlayStation systems and Xbox Live required to function on the 360 and One. The Beta will be offline for scheduled maintenance on July 21 - July 22 and open back up to pre-order participants across all platforms until 11:59pm PDT on July 27. "Wait," you might be asking yourself, "What about those different versions of the game you mentioned earlier, Mr. Writerperson?" Activision and Bungie also revealed today three different collector's editions of the game as well as how much they are going to hurt your wallet. The Destiny Ghost Edition and the Destiny Limited Edition both include a SteelBook case with physical disc; a Guardian Folio containing Postcards from the Golden Age, Antique Star Chart, and an Arms & Armament Field Guide; a digital content pack consisting of a unique ghost casing, player emblem, and ship variant; and the Destiny Expansion Pass which grants access to two of the post-launch Destiny expansions. The first expansion, titled The Dark Below, will take players beneath the surface of the Moon to battle an alien god that leads an evil army of Hive forces against Earth. The second expansion has no details as of yet beyond its name: House of Wolves (Editor's Note: I originally typed this Hose of Wolves, which I imagine would be a game about wolf fire fighters). PlayStation platforms will also include additional exclusive content for The Dark Below and House of Wolves that will remain exclusive until at least Fall of 2015. And that is only what the two editions have in common. Continuing on.... Destiny Ghost Edition comes with a replica of Ghost, complete with motion-activated lights and sounds voiced by Peter Dinklage; a letter of introduction; Golden Age Relics which include a photo, patch, sticker, and two chrome slides of the Traveler. Digital pre-orderers will be receiving the Digital Guardian Edition of Destiny which includes a digital download copy of the game, the Destiny Expansion Pass, and the Collector's Edition Digital Content Pack. All pre-orders will include access to the Vangaurd Armory that includes early access to weapons, gear and exclusive player emblem. That's a lot of cool stuff. Now for the bad news: Ghost Edition will retail at $149.99; the Limited Edition will cost $99.99; the Digital Guardian Edition will bite at $89.99. Destiny's Expansion Pass alone will be $34.99 and the expansions individually will cost $19.99 apiece. All of these editions are available now. I suppose it is nice that we seem to have ourselves quite a few options. Destiny fully releases for all platforms on September 9.
  20. Join three intrepid players as they venture into The Devils' Lair in the gameplay preview of Destiny's Strike mode. When Destiny launches this September, it will come with a variety of game modes for players to dig into and experience. Out of those numerous modes, only three have been announced: Patrol, Strike, and Competitive. Of those three, we only know a bit about Patrol and Strike. Patrol is what amounts to an exploration mode, allowing players to wander large sections of interior and exterior spaces. In those areas players will find side quests, numerous enemies, and new gear. Like the game Journey, there will also be a degree of online interactivity while making your way in Patrol. Other players will wander into and out of a game pursuing their own goals and missions. However, players also have the option to team up and tackle dynamic challenges that require teamwork. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Strike. Strike seems to be Destiny's version of a dungeon, players of certain types work together to clear a certain area with a definite beginning, middle, and end. That end often involves a tense encounter with a powerful boss with a large reward for emerging victorious. These areas are designed to be played repeatedly, making Strike ideal for players looking to reliably obtain better gear. Check out the video below to get an idea of what to expect. Additionally, Polygon reported today that a Bungie representative has stated that game saves will transfer between console generations. "We're interested in making sure that last gen character can move to next gen," said Bungie's investment lead Tyson Green. "A lot of people are going to buy Destiny on PS3 or Xbox 360 and then get a PS4 for Christmas. Don't tell me I wasted those last 100 hours there. So we're really interested in supporting that." However, while Green did say that transferring data from PS3 to Xbox One wasn't out of the question, he also clarified that it was unlikely due to Sony and Microsoft's restrictions. As for future console plans or how those console transfers would work, details were not forthcoming. As we draw closer to E3 and Destiny's September 9 release date answers should be more readily available. Destiny will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Wii U. View full article
  21. Join three intrepid players as they venture into The Devils' Lair in the gameplay preview of Destiny's Strike mode. When Destiny launches this September, it will come with a variety of game modes for players to dig into and experience. Out of those numerous modes, only three have been announced: Patrol, Strike, and Competitive. Of those three, we only know a bit about Patrol and Strike. Patrol is what amounts to an exploration mode, allowing players to wander large sections of interior and exterior spaces. In those areas players will find side quests, numerous enemies, and new gear. Like the game Journey, there will also be a degree of online interactivity while making your way in Patrol. Other players will wander into and out of a game pursuing their own goals and missions. However, players also have the option to team up and tackle dynamic challenges that require teamwork. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Strike. Strike seems to be Destiny's version of a dungeon, players of certain types work together to clear a certain area with a definite beginning, middle, and end. That end often involves a tense encounter with a powerful boss with a large reward for emerging victorious. These areas are designed to be played repeatedly, making Strike ideal for players looking to reliably obtain better gear. Check out the video below to get an idea of what to expect. Additionally, Polygon reported today that a Bungie representative has stated that game saves will transfer between console generations. "We're interested in making sure that last gen character can move to next gen," said Bungie's investment lead Tyson Green. "A lot of people are going to buy Destiny on PS3 or Xbox 360 and then get a PS4 for Christmas. Don't tell me I wasted those last 100 hours there. So we're really interested in supporting that." However, while Green did say that transferring data from PS3 to Xbox One wasn't out of the question, he also clarified that it was unlikely due to Sony and Microsoft's restrictions. As for future console plans or how those console transfers would work, details were not forthcoming. As we draw closer to E3 and Destiny's September 9 release date answers should be more readily available. Destiny will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Wii U.
  22. Jack Gardner

    Titanfall Beta Impressions

    Over the past few days, I had the opportunity to spend an extended period of time experiencing a small selection of multiplayer maps and modes from the upcoming Titanfall. What did I think? Read on to find out! My initial thoughts on Titanfall were far from positive. I booted up the game and was greeted by the training tutorial which appeared to be a black screen full of polygons. I managed to progress a few lessons into the tutorial, but noticed with growing alarm that weapons were missing, textures were wonky, and the final straw was when enemies would be covered in strange twisted wire sctulptures. My gaming rig can play most games at max settings, so I knew something was wrong. After spending several fruitless hours searching for solutions, I was directed toward a YouTube comment that solved my problem. In some instances on PC, Titanfall will default to use the integrated PC graphics rather than the actual graphics card users have installed. So, if you want to save yourself a great deal of frustration when you boot up the retail version of Titanfall, make sure that you check to make sure it is running on your graphics card. I was... confused. After resolving that issue, I managed to complete the tutorial, which consists of both pilot and titan training. In a number of ways Titanfall seeks to improve the established multiplayer FPS gameplay established by the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty. One of the most prominent being the emphasis on mobility and verticality to level design and combat. While on foot, players can run on walls for a limited time or jump from wall to wall indefinitely. The inclusion of jet packs also means that reaching higher ledges is easy and juking enemies becomes a valid option. This mobility comes in very handy once enemy titans enter the fray. Called down from orbit, these giant robotic suits can kill players simply by stepping on them without even bothering with their array of rockets, giant chain guns, reflective bullet shields, and dashes. Stepping into the cockpit of a titan or seeing them sow destruction across the battlefield is always impressive. When a match starts, all players begin with a certain amount of time to wait before they can call down their titan and eliminating enemies reduces the timer. This system might seem to favor teams who receive their titans first, but on-foot players aren't completely defenseless. Armed with an anti-titan weapon and the ability to cloak, players can make themselves undetectable to titans while also packing a punch. But be warned, while cloaking is very effective against titans, it doesn't work quite as well against other enemies on foot. Titans are also limited to ground. They can't climb on buildings or jump, so sometimes having the higher ground can be a very effective way to fight against their overwhelming force. Titans can also be exited and made to follow the player or to guard a position, which can be useful if you want to provide a big distraction or hold a position. If this all sounds impressive and fun, that's because it is very impressive and fun. Three game modes were available during the beta: Attrition, Capture Point, and Last Titan Standing. Attrition was by far my favorite, which pits two teams of six against each other with each player or Titan kill deducting from a team total. If your team loses, all surviving players have to make a mad dash for an escape shuttle while the enemy team hunts down the survivors and attempts to destroy the shuttle. An interesting factor in attrition is that, even though there are only six players on each team, there are large numbers of AI soldiers who also participate in the battle, shouting to each other for back-up, calling out the positions of enemy pilots or titans, and respond to various combat situations relatively well. They aren't all that bright, but they lend every battle a feeling of scope that would be lacking otherwise. Capture Point is very similar to Attrition, but with the tried and true systems we've seen from other multiplayer FPS games before. Last Titan Standing is a single-life death match between two teams where every player starts with a titan, and the team to eliminate all enemy titans first is the victor. In a nice twist, even if you happen to lose your titan, you can still help your teammates while on foot. Titanfall rewards players with experience following each match, allowing players to feel a sense of progression. Each level brings with it an unlocked weapon, mod, ability, etc. and completing certain challenges can unlock more gear to test out on the battlefield. While the level cap during the beta was fourteen, it is expected to be much higher for the full game with many other goodies unlocked later on like different titan chasis. Eventually, players will unlock the ability to use burn cards, which are cards that can be activated in-game while respawning to give a limited, one-life advantage in the form of a more powerful weapon, faster movement, etc. which serve to spice up the combat even more. It is worth noting that while most of the weapons are different takes on weapons we've all seen before in FPS games, there was one that I found enjoyably different. The smart pistol lines up headshots automatically, requiring more time to target more powerful enemies. Once all shots are locked on, the pistol can fire and each bullet will hit, provided something else doesn't get in the way. If this seems cheap, it can be, but the downside is that with all the movement enemy players are capable of, locking all your shots can be a difficult task, especially if your opponent has a more conventional rifle or sniper rifle and has noticed your approach. Overall, my experience was overwhelmingly positive. Discovering small things like the several different animations that play depending on how you approach getting into your titan, or that you can hitch a ride on friendly titans, or calling down your titan on an unsuspecting enemy are all amazing little touches that give Titanfall a feeling of depth and excitement I haven't felt while playing online multiplayer since the original Halo. My first thought upon coming out of my first online match of Titanfall was that Respawn Entertainment has crafted the next big thing. It is fun, slick, responsive, creative, and you get to punch the snot out of giant robots. What's not to love? Titanfall releases on Xbox One and PC on March 11 with an Xbox 360 coming March 25.
  23. Jack Gardner

    Feature: Titanfall Beta Impressions

    Over the past few days, I had the opportunity to spend an extended period of time experiencing a small selection of multiplayer maps and modes from the upcoming Titanfall. What did I think? Read on to find out! My initial thoughts on Titanfall were far from positive. I booted up the game and was greeted by the training tutorial which appeared to be a black screen full of polygons. I managed to progress a few lessons into the tutorial, but noticed with growing alarm that weapons were missing, textures were wonky, and the final straw was when enemies would be covered in strange twisted wire sctulptures. My gaming rig can play most games at max settings, so I knew something was wrong. After spending several fruitless hours searching for solutions, I was directed toward a YouTube comment that solved my problem. In some instances on PC, Titanfall will default to use the integrated PC graphics rather than the actual graphics card users have installed. So, if you want to save yourself a great deal of frustration when you boot up the retail version of Titanfall, make sure that you check to make sure it is running on your graphics card. I was... confused. After resolving that issue, I managed to complete the tutorial, which consists of both pilot and titan training. In a number of ways Titanfall seeks to improve the established multiplayer FPS gameplay established by the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty. One of the most prominent being the emphasis on mobility and verticality to level design and combat. While on foot, players can run on walls for a limited time or jump from wall to wall indefinitely. The inclusion of jet packs also means that reaching higher ledges is easy and juking enemies becomes a valid option. This mobility comes in very handy once enemy titans enter the fray. Called down from orbit, these giant robotic suits can kill players simply by stepping on them without even bothering with their array of rockets, giant chain guns, reflective bullet shields, and dashes. Stepping into the cockpit of a titan or seeing them sow destruction across the battlefield is always impressive. When a match starts, all players begin with a certain amount of time to wait before they can call down their titan and eliminating enemies reduces the timer. This system might seem to favor teams who receive their titans first, but on-foot players aren't completely defenseless. Armed with an anti-titan weapon and the ability to cloak, players can make themselves undetectable to titans while also packing a punch. But be warned, while cloaking is very effective against titans, it doesn't work quite as well against other enemies on foot. Titans are also limited to ground. They can't climb on buildings or jump, so sometimes having the higher ground can be a very effective way to fight against their overwhelming force. Titans can also be exited and made to follow the player or to guard a position, which can be useful if you want to provide a big distraction or hold a position. If this all sounds impressive and fun, that's because it is very impressive and fun. Three game modes were available during the beta: Attrition, Capture Point, and Last Titan Standing. Attrition was by far my favorite, which pits two teams of six against each other with each player or Titan kill deducting from a team total. If your team loses, all surviving players have to make a mad dash for an escape shuttle while the enemy team hunts down the survivors and attempts to destroy the shuttle. An interesting factor in attrition is that, even though there are only six players on each team, there are large numbers of AI soldiers who also participate in the battle, shouting to each other for back-up, calling out the positions of enemy pilots or titans, and respond to various combat situations relatively well. They aren't all that bright, but they lend every battle a feeling of scope that would be lacking otherwise. Capture Point is very similar to Attrition, but with the tried and true systems we've seen from other multiplayer FPS games before. Last Titan Standing is a single-life death match between two teams where every player starts with a titan, and the team to eliminate all enemy titans first is the victor. In a nice twist, even if you happen to lose your titan, you can still help your teammates while on foot. Titanfall rewards players with experience following each match, allowing players to feel a sense of progression. Each level brings with it an unlocked weapon, mod, ability, etc. and completing certain challenges can unlock more gear to test out on the battlefield. While the level cap during the beta was fourteen, it is expected to be much higher for the full game with many other goodies unlocked later on like different titan chasis. Eventually, players will unlock the ability to use burn cards, which are cards that can be activated in-game while respawning to give a limited, one-life advantage in the form of a more powerful weapon, faster movement, etc. which serve to spice up the combat even more. It is worth noting that while most of the weapons are different takes on weapons we've all seen before in FPS games, there was one that I found enjoyably different. The smart pistol lines up headshots automatically, requiring more time to target more powerful enemies. Once all shots are locked on, the pistol can fire and each bullet will hit, provided something else doesn't get in the way. If this seems cheap, it can be, but the downside is that with all the movement enemy players are capable of, locking all your shots can be a difficult task, especially if your opponent has a more conventional rifle or sniper rifle and has noticed your approach. Overall, my experience was overwhelmingly positive. Discovering small things like the several different animations that play depending on how you approach getting into your titan, or that you can hitch a ride on friendly titans, or calling down your titan on an unsuspecting enemy are all amazing little touches that give Titanfall a feeling of depth and excitement I haven't felt while playing online multiplayer since the original Halo. My first thought upon coming out of my first online match of Titanfall was that Respawn Entertainment has crafted the next big thing. It is fun, slick, responsive, creative, and you get to punch the snot out of giant robots. What's not to love? Titanfall releases on Xbox One and PC on March 11 with an Xbox 360 coming March 25. View full article
  24. Titanfall, the first game from the creators of Call of Duty since they left developer Infinity Ward, has gone into open beta on both Xbox One and PC for the next few days. Though originally slated to end on the 18th, it was announced via Twitter that the beta would be extended due to server down time and would instead end on the 19th at 6pm Pacific. Everyone who registered for the beta should now have the game added to their Origin libraries. However, if you didn't register it would appear that you are out of luck as new registrations are not being accepted. Those with access to the beta can try out three different game modes: team deathmatch, Last Titan Standing, and capture point. The beta allows players to raise their accounts to level 14 as well as customize their Titans and loadouts. Titanfall is being released on March 11 on PC and Xbox One with a Xbox 360 version coming on March 25. Are you playing in the Titanfall beta? What do you think of it?
  25. Titanfall, the first game from the creators of Call of Duty since they left developer Infinity Ward, has gone into open beta on both Xbox One and PC for the next few days. Though originally slated to end on the 18th, it was announced via Twitter that the beta would be extended due to server down time and would instead end on the 19th at 6pm Pacific. Everyone who registered for the beta should now have the game added to their Origin libraries. However, if you didn't register it would appear that you are out of luck as new registrations are not being accepted. Those with access to the beta can try out three different game modes: team deathmatch, Last Titan Standing, and capture point. The beta allows players to raise their accounts to level 14 as well as customize their Titans and loadouts. Titanfall is being released on March 11 on PC and Xbox One with a Xbox 360 version coming on March 25. Are you playing in the Titanfall beta? What do you think of it? View full article
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