Blade & Soul, the upcoming martial arts inspired MMORPG from NCSOFT, will be launching in Europe on January 19th 2016, but ahead of that they will be running a closed beta test weekend between Friday 18th December (from 6pm GMT) to Monday 21st December. It's the last chance to sample the game before it goes live, and the kind folks at NCSOFT have handed us a bunch of beta keys for the upcoming test. You can learn more about the game, and how to claim your key, by hitting the jump.Click here to read more...
We know many of you have picked up Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (especially after some of those Black Friday deals) but not everyone felt it was worth it. I, for one, have already played all three games and still have my PS3 hooked up (as a Netflix device, pretty much.) So, is it possible to take part in the Uncharted 4 beta that is now ongoing without buying a copy?
Well it turns out you can, but you're going to need a little help.Click here to read more...
After an extended weekend of slaughter of Imperials and Rebels – in which 9 million players took part – the Star Wars Battlefront beta ended earlier this week. Giving us a taster of three of the modes available, along with just a handful of customisation options, we all finally sampled the action that will be coming in November. However, with the blasters now silent, the lightsabres no longer massacring people, and the Walkers no longer treading on everyone, it’s given me time to reflect on what the beta showed us.
The first big impression I felt once in-game was that it looked and felt like Star Wars. From the fantastic visuals, to the way characters move, to the sounds of the weaponry, engine roars, and iconic music playing in the background – it’s like we’re actually in the films. The replication of the Battle of Hoth in Walker Assault made me feel like I had been thrown into the start of The Empire Strikes Back, especially as a Rebel. It’s a feeling that I haven’t really had with a Star Wars game since playing through Star Wars: Alliance back in the day, so the Battlefront beta was off to a good start.
Click here to read more...
Blizzard's upcoming team-based FPS Overwatch has been on our radar since its announcement at last year's Gamescom, and last night it was finally announced that the closed beta would be begin on October 27th... in America. Gamers based in Europe and Asia will need to wait a little longer, unfortunately, but it's been promised that Europe will be the next region to be invited to the test.Click here to read more...
Stay on target, Red 2. It definitely isn't a trap. Something something Star Wars quote.
It was announced last night that instead of ending the beta test as originally planned, the servers for Star Wars Battlefront will remain online until sometime on Tuesday 13th October.Click here to read more...
Yet more beta news this morning, this time for Star Wars Battlefront. In a community post on their official website, EA announced that the upcoming beta will not only be available on all platforms, but will be open to everyone when it goes live early next month.Click here to read more...
Looking forward to Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3? Starting August 19th gamers who have pre ordered the game will be able to access the Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3 beta on their Playstation 4 consoles. If you have pre ordered your copy in-store, then you will have received a beta code which you will need to redeem.
If you have pre-ordered a digital copy of Black Ops 3, then you need do nothing as your participation will be registered automatically. The BOPS beta will only be coming to current gen consoles so if you currently have a PS3 or Xbox 360 then there will be no beta access for you guys.
Playing the beta? Check out Brendan's Battlefield Hardline Survival Guide!
After getting to grips with the game last year and lamenting that it felt like a BF4 mod rather than anything particularly fresh, Battlefield: Hardline proceeded to miss its original drop date, and got pushed back to this year. We rejoiced in the hopes of the developers using the extra time to work out what it was that they actually wanted to do with Hardline, maybe even giving the game some semblence of an identity beyond that of its predecessor. Well, now there's a new beta out and, having spent several hours playing cops and robbers in the new build, here are a bunch of our impressions on the latest slice of action from Visceral games and DICE.
Battlefield Hardline is back and much has improved. Instead of feeling like a palette swap, it now feels like a DLC pack.
Improvement is a very relative thing, I suppose.Click here to read more...
The Halo 5 multiplayer beta is in full swing on Xbox One. As a fan of the series since 2001, I have to say that it makes an interesting first impression.
Right from the off, it's clear that 343 Industries are dead-set on cornering the Esport market in terms of the 4v4 arena gametype. Spartans now cockily swagger into the maps like quarterbacks or WWE wrestlers, with matches portrayed as if they're bona fide sports broadcasts rather than training simulations. It's a weird shift in tone for a series rooted in hard Sci-Fi, and frankly, I'm not sure whether I like it.
What I do like, however, is that Halo 5 feels like Halo... only much, much faster.
Be in no doubt, Halo 5 is still very much a Halo game; perhaps a little like a supercharged version of Halo 2. Two teams of four scrabble to secure power weapons to dominate their opponents, skilfully pushing the advantage thanks to recharging shields and health before falling back to lick their wounds. Familiar weapons like the Assault Rifle, DMR, Battle Rifle, SMG, Sniper Rifle and Magnum all feel familiar, robust and powerful, dominating their specific ranges, firing in their own unique cadence and issuing a snarling report thanks to the franchise's trademark superb sound design. This time, though, you'll need to source new kit on the fly thanks to the absence of Halo 4's custom loadouts.Click here to read more...
Who do I want to be?
It's the question that plagued me at the start of every Infinity Engine RPG -- the plethora of choices, the breadth of meaningful combinations, I found them to be paralysing in some ways, often stuck for well over an hour in indecision. Of course, back in those days, the game usually came with an instruction manual of such thickness that the Bible might have seemed a pamphlet next to it, a manual that made for the best toilet reading ever. So I'd go off and to my business, catch up on some lore, immerse myself within the game world, and attempt to make a decision from a position of greater understanding.
So it is that I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time reading every bit of character description for the Pillars of Eternity Backer Beta, swotting up on the little twists that Obsidian have made to the more traditional classes, and deliberating over the geographical history of my character -- a feature that makes no real difference in the game itself on a mechanical level, but simply further envelopes you in the game's lore.
It was far too difficult. In the end I went for a Fire Godlike Cipher because he looked utterly badass, and because the psionic class is one of the most unconventional I've seen in some time. Typical.
To have spent so much time (none of it felt even remotely wasted) building a character for a slice of standalone gameplay with a party of template strangers and a bunch of powers and abilities that I didn't choose might seem odd, but actually I feel the Backer Beta has been somewhat perfectly balanced. That mix of the familiar and the utterly new, plonking you down in the game world without a lick of context, was probably the only way Obsidian could have made a working beta that manages to show off a great deal of the character of this game without spoiling things too much. Dyrford is a sleepy little village that's home to a fair bit of ruckus of late, and although there's nothing here affiliated with the main story in the game whatsoever, the settlement does a nice job of introducing quest types, gleefully throwing you into the middle of disagreements and disappearances and danger.Click here to read more...
We left our fiery Godlike, Garion, and his merry band of personality-less beta backer templates poised on a knife edge last time. Would we admit that we'd allowed the baby murderer to escape, or would we attempt to lie and sow misinformation amongst Medreth and his goons?
To be honest, it all seemed like the perfect setup for a bit of amateurish combat. Only here's the thing... I got slaughtered within 30 seconds the first time wrong.
Thankfully, I'd also forgotten to hit the record button so the scenes of my extreme failure are lost lost. But the point is that modern games and mouse-spamming hack'n'slash titles have made me soft. Diablo III is a perfect example: it's a game you can play incredibly drunk. Or sleepy. Or while doing two other things simultaneously. Pillars of Eternity, like the Infinity Engine games before it, demands one's full attention. And then laughs at you by overruning you with combat boars.
BUT I HAVE FIREBALLS, WILD PIGGEHS! HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW?!
Ahem.Click here to read more...
Some pretty grim things have been going on the Dyrwood. A betrothed noblewoman passing through the village on the way to the altar has gone missing. There's a orlan woman holed up in the pub who's apparently guilty of murdering a bunch of babies. Soldiers are clashing with townsfolk and an all out class war is brewing in the streets and in downed flagons of ale.
Oh, and if that wasn't enough, the place is surrounded by bandits and brigands and ogres and a dragon who's gone and burned the face off of the potions merchant.
Into the thick of this omnishambles we stride -- a fiery, horn-topped Godlike Cipher, and a band of nondescript party members -- determined to fix things. I like to try and be honest, I'm a bit of a smartypants at times, and I do like a clever quip here and there. One of the best things about the early parts of the beta, and the conversation options is that you can construct your character's personality through interaction. Will you be reasonable or quick to temper? A cruel mercenary or an honest hero with genuine good will? You can turn off all of the character highlights if you want to make decisions based simply on the writing and the lines of dialogue, and you can choose to have the options unavailable to your particular character build vanish so you don't know what you're missing.
It all depends what sort of role-playing experience you want to have.
Apparently mine involves terribly accented voices performed by yours truly. Pressures of the "record" button and all that jazz. In any case, here's a little walkthrough of what to expect in the first half hour of the Pillars of Eternity backer beta.
In this week's episode of Game Night, Brendan and I climb upon our Dealspwnies of war and ride into battle against super-powerful spider tanks and a spawn-camping purple eye of belligerence. Yes, we're back in Old Russia for this one, as we take on the Level 6 "Strike" Mission in the Destiny beta, and I die a lot and get a bit hysterical.
Destiny hasn't been the only beta to emerge this week, Ubisoft also launched their closed beta for The Crew.
I'd tell you all about it if I could, but unfortunately, The Crew's beta is riddled with bugs and crashes, and after completing the first mission or two, I was met with a black, frozen screen of death that the game now constantly loads into.
We do, however, have the opening scenes of The Crew captured for your perusal, mind, and you can laugh as I attempt to deal with the game's somewhat arcadey handling and crash into a barn.
As you may or may not have noticed given the prevalence of Destiny content on-site, Brendan and I have been playing a significant amount of the beta for Bungie's upcoming FPS. There's lots we absolutely love about it, not least the core gunplay at the heart of the game, but there are also one or two things we'd certainly change.
I LOVE... the exquisite gunplay
Bungie are very, very good at making first-person shooters. They should be. They've been at it for decades. But Bungie feels like a refinement of everything that they've done previously. The very feel of the game, the heft of the guns, the movement and gait of the camera, the differences in agility between the three classes, and the behaviour of the enemies in the game -- it's all absolutely spot on. There's a mechanical brilliance to Destiny that is incredibly accessible and familiar on one hand, and yet exceedingly scalable -- a system to welcome beginners and give veterans the freedom that they want.
Put simply, it feels right. It feels good to control. To fire off a few rounds. To jump through the air, sling a grenade at one group of enemies, before wheeling about and using your fists and your firearm to beat down another group. It doesn't do anything new in this regard, it just feels nigh on perfect.Click here to read more...
The Floating Robot of Tyrion Lannister believes that there's an old comms array that might still be working up near the Skywatch, and that it could potentially put Earth in contact with some of the relatively close-by colonies.
Only problem is that swathes of Fallen and Hive stand in the way of getting some answers
The "Shores of Time" Maat Mons Venus map added to the Crucible matches for the Destiny beta offers up a fresh slice of PvP action. The only mode available is still Control, where players vie for domination across three capture points, but what's interesting about Maat Mons is its size. Unlike the Moon map, Maat Mons is tightly packed, with all three control points very close together, much like Rusted Lands. All three points have two main routes in and out, creating a triangle that keeps players moving, and the flow of battle constantly changing.
It's a map that's perhaps a little unkind to Warlocks, mind, as you'll see in the first few seconds of the video above where Brendan and I help Bravo squad crush the opposition, after I throw myself to my death for science.
Definitely for science.
More all-new Destiny footage for you before the beta goes offline today. This time, we check out the Level 4 story mission, "Warmind", hunting for an old AI that used to protect Earth. But the Fallen are looking for it too, and there's a showdown in the Skywatch.
There are some new enemies in this particular mission, the pesky shielded Servitor being one of them. But thankfully we're packing some new weapons as well, including a fusion weapon that narnesses Traveller power and disintegrates enemies like a Spartan Laser crossed with a shotgun.
Destiny's level 3 story mission is the same one we saw in the Alpha. We've plonked both vids here in this post (hit the jump for the alpha gameplay footage) so you can marvel at the similarities and the slight differences. The biggest talking point here? Dinklage's voiceover.
Does the mechanical, vocoder-esque effect improve things? Does it still need some serious work? The "wizard from the Moon" line is gone, but is the script the issue?
To be honest, I'm not sure I care too much given the delicious gunplay, and for my money, the robotic effect more or less does the trick. I don't think this performance is going to win any awards, but it's also still not the final version yet, so there's room for improvement.Click here to read more...
The Destiny beta is upon us, and we've got an enormous amount of content coming over the next few days. Whereas the Alpha presented us with a single story mission, there considerably more opportunities to get a feel for the game's narrative here in the beta.
You can check out Brendan's video of Destiny's striking opening scenes and the first playable mission here, and above we've gone and captured the level two mission, titled "Restoration", that sees my Warlock Guardian and the Dinklage Ghost rooting around Old Russia for a warp drive.
Make sure you hit subscribe, as there's going to be plenty more content to come!