Posts Tagged ‘beta’

Protoss The Button: Starcraft II Legacy Of The Void Beta

The poor old Adept will have to retire his name if I ever control him

Good news if you’ve been waiting to see how Big Stubbly Man and Chitin Stilettos Woman managed to defeat timeless evil once and for all until the next sequel: the third and final chunk of StarCraft II is very much on its way. In fact, beta invites for the Protoss-focused Legacy of the Void are due to go out before the end of the month. “Much has changed” since the last time Blizzard let us have a peek at their void.
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Premature Evaluation: StarCrawlers

I’m writing these alt-texts on what is often now called Mother’s Day here in the UK, but can be helpfully distinguished from the American day of the same name by its more accurate title, Mothering Sunday. The origins of each are different, though intertwined, and certainly the popularity of both celebrations share a common factor: the pain many mothers felt at losing their sons to war - which is definitely entirely relevant to SpaceCrawlers and not at all a wild digression born of my waning attention span.

Each week Marsh Davies plunders the ravaged hulk of Early Access and smuggles out any stories he can find and/or succumbs to the terrors of the interdimensional void. This week he murders robotic wait staff and asset-strips sci-fi dungeons in space salvage RPG StarCrawlers. It goes on sale tomorrow.

Is it any wonder that some members of the gaming community nurse a persecution complex when, in the games themselves, so few people, animals, robots, or multifanged amorphous spacethings are ever pleased to see us? In StarCrawlers, even the cleaning droids and busboys want to have a pop, lobbing chinaware and squirting me with detergent. Admittedly, I am usually there to plunder their derelict spacestation, or sabotage their data centres, or “deliver a severance package” to a megacorp employee who has, in a literal and shortly rectified sense, outlived his usefulness. But still, it is a bit of a hit to the self-esteem that you can’t walk from one room to another without some haywire robot or grotesque alien hatchling flinging itself at you. “Where’s the beef?”, I mutter to the hatchlings, as I ruefully sunder them with psychic horror channelled from the abyssal nightmare of the void.

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Hot Cakes: Dirty Bomb Weekend Beta Key Giveaway

Edit: That was quick. All keys have been claimed, I’m afraid. Enjoy if you managed to grab one!

Fancy an early jaunt in an upcoming game? This weekend, the folks at Splash Damage are performing a stress test of their multiplayer FPS game, Dirty Bomb [official site] and we have a pile of keys to hand out to our readers. All you need to do to snag one is pop your email in the box below. The giveaway is first-come, first-served and the key is distributed via godankey.com. They won’t use your email address for anything other than dispensing the key.

The stress test has already started and runs through to Monday. Go go go!

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Premature Evaluation: Distance

I’d like to see a series of Top Gear in which “the lads” are injected into an imploding cyber-horror unreality. Come on, Clarkson, say something off-colour about this giant buzz-saw you’re about to plough into.

Each week Marsh Davies revs his engines and tears off into the nightmarish neon digiscape of Early Access and returns with any stories he can find and/or skid marks. This week he speeds into the distance in, er, Distance – a hallucinatory “Survival Racing” game.

“Survival Racing” say the developers. It’s an ominous appellation that suggests players might have to rumble along the verges on wooden wheels, shunting rubber trees until they’ve shaken enough ingredients loose to build some tyres. Fear not – Distance isn’t that sort of survival game. It is, in fact, a time-attack obstacle course apparently set inside the cheese-dream of a Tron lightcycle. You play as some sort of car AI in some sort of collapsing simulation – the “story” of the story mode is just as deep as it needs to be – and you must speed through these pulsating landscapes of monolithic black shards and streaking neon, all while avoiding inexplicable laser hazards and performing rad stunts. Naturally, there is a throbbing electro soundtrack, too.

It’s already terrifically entertaining. Merely weaving through the stacks and overpasses of this world to the pulse of the music offers a baseline level of aesthetic scintillation, but the game builds and builds upon its core driving model until you are flipping between perpendicular roadways, flying, boosting, jumping with split-second precision as the rhythm pounds and the environment itself contorts and explodes. Cool.

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Premature Evaluation: Frontiers

Pining for the big outdoors?

Each week Marsh Davies voyages into the uncharted territories of Early Access and comes back with any stories he finds and/or hypothermia. This week he packs his pickaxe and pith helmet, and sets out for Frontiers, an ambitious firstperson survival-RPG.

How much can I bench? I can bench an actual bench. I’m benching it right now, and maybe forever, not only because I can, but because I must: because I cannot put down this bench. I only wanted to see if I could balance it on the head of an NPC who was rudely ignoring me. I couldn’t. Nor could I put it anywhere ever again. This is how I live now – with a bench hovering just in front of me, occasionally spasming as I pass through doorways that are substantially smaller than it, clipping into the faces of people as I try to buy sausages from them. I really regret picking up this bench.

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Desert Island Risks: Wayward

Survival and crafting are strongly linked concepts in gaming. Here in the real world, I survive by writing about toys (and the occasional art-toy), an onerous duty that is deemed worthy of financial reward. I use the dosh to buy chips and fizzy pop, and somehow that seems to be enough to keep my tiny engine running. Truth is, I’ve never crafted anything in my life – I had to phone a friend to help me out last time I bought a piece of furniture from Ikea. If I found myself on a desert island, like the player character in turn-based survival sim Wayward, I’d walk around looking for a Wifi hotspot until the landcrabs ate me. The game is free, in beta and a damn fine example of the type.

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Rockman, Paperman, Shotgunman: Mighty No 9 Beta

Mighty No. 9 is Mega Man and Mega Man is Rockman. I don’t know if it’s better to be mighty or to be mega, but I do know that when it comes to platformers, it’s generally better to be Shotgunman than Rockman. It’s hard to jump if you’re a geological anomaly and there tend to be plenty of things to kill between the platforms and the spikes. Kickstarter success Mighty No. 9 is the creation of Comcept, with input from Mega Man co-designer Keiji Inafune. We’ve seen plenty of progress shots and videos since the crowd funded the game, and there should be a great deal of footage to come now that the backer beta has been released to high tier ($80+) supporters. An official video shows some of the new content.

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Hands-On: Pillars Of Eternity

After publishing my thorough conversation with Pillars of Eternity lead designer Josh Sawyer, I realised that I hadn’t actually expressed an opinion about the game. I was curious and hopeful but hadn’t had a chance to play it, and see how well all of the elements came together. The backer beta, which launched yesterday, is a huge relief. Pillars is shaping up to be worthy of its inspirations, and intelligent and bold enough not to be bound to them.

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Be There, Be Square: BattleBlock Theater

BattleBlock TheatER is The Behemoth’s well-received follow-up to the side-scrolling beat ’em up Castle Crashers, which contained gaming’s most recognisable defecating deer. I don’t know if BattleBlock continues the proud tradition of cacking Cervidae but the trailer announcing the Steam version does have one sadly unexpurgated scene of extreme expurgation. Whether you’re keen to see a cartoon trouser-mess or not, you should watch the trailer because it’s a brilliant little skit about console-to-PC ports, and it contains more Oculus Rifts than any of those underground indie game conventions that you never seem to get invited to.

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Desktop Despots: Tropico 5 Beta Begins Next Month

New Tropico games aren’t appearing as quickly as my brain thinks. This is simply that I now perceive time at such a pace that the world is a dizzying blur around me. If you’d held a knifegun to my headthroat and demanded a release date for Tropico 4, I’d have tried to second-guess myself and suggested late 2012. It was in fact August 2011, and I am an old, confused man, unsure why the Christmasses won’t stop happening. Anyway, my confused rambling aside, Tropico 5 is appearing a very appropriate three years after the last time El Presidente reared his undemocratic city building head, and is now accepting applications for its March beta.

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Something For The Weekend: Wildstar Beta Key Giveaway

Listen! This weekend, the beta for Wildstar is opening up and 40,000 keys are available right now. First come, first served.

Our first feature about the sci-fi MMO went live in August 2011, which is approximately fifty seven years ago in blog years. Since then, we’ve had interviews, hands-on previews, news stories aplenty and one last interview. It’s am ambitious game, not quite shattering the WOW mould but seeming to stretch it as far as it can go.

Go go go.

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The Necromantic Era: Deadbreed

During the long hours of a League of Legends or DOTA 2 session, do you occasionally grimace and howl at the bright colours flashing across the screen? Would you like your champions to be drawn from a pool of necromancers, skellingtons and leather-clad vampires, with not a wisp or an elf in sight? Deadbreed could be the MOBA for you. From a veteran team of developers, including Stefan Ljungqvist who has experience as a member of the Just Cause team, Deadbreed promises to be HARDCORE and it contains more monsters than an abandoned Universal Studios backlot. Battles are 3v3, with AI opponents available if you don’t fancy dealing with spectral smack talk. A trailer lurks in the cold earth below and beta signups are open now.

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Impressions: Starbound

Shhhh.
Starbound is a procedurally-generated universe, where you have a ship, a star-map, and an infinite number of planets to visit and plunder. It is a game that makes almost no definition between single and multiplayer, allowing you to bring your character across the void and back again, visiting the same places online and offline, and sharing those worlds with friends. Its first beta just welcomed weary travelers, and though it is missing a framework that would make it an easier game to follow, the foundation is strong. I’ve spent the weekend exploring the stars.
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Hex-A-Decimate: Drums Of War Beta

Beta signups are now open for Drums of War, a turn-based tactical combat game set in a world of “magic and mythical creatures”. They mean fireballs and orcs. Looking through the screenshots, I was convinced I’d seen the game before but a quick trip to the RPS archives left me covered in dust and regret, but I found no evidence of these particular drums. I suppose one hex-based fantasy game can look a lot like another, but the emphasis on environmental reaction was sending my belfry into a cacophony. Then it hit me – I’d failed to find a previous reference to the game because it had a naff word crammed in front of its now-absent colon. The game was once Crasleen: Drums of War and I rather enjoyed the demo.

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InXile On Date, Length, And Expansion Of Wasteland 2’s Beta

Wonderful news from the tweet-o-dodecagon today: Wasteland 2‘s beta finally has a release date. After it slipped from October into daaaaaaaates unknown (woooooooooo), inXile CEO Brian Fargo has claimed the Kickstarter darling is only two-and-a-half weeks out. That in mind, I got in touch with Fargo to find out what took so long, how much of the game will be available in the beta, whether it’ll expand over time, and what all of this means for the final game. Read on for the full thing.

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Starbound is Betabound, Landing Around Dec 4th

If ‘arrangements go through with Steam’, Starbound’s first beta will be available around December 4th. I’ve opened a can of fizz in celebration of the fact because Starbound’s procedural planets and penguins look splendid, and December 4th isn’t much more than a week away. Instead of counting down the days until Christmas, I’m going to start counting the days until Starbound, even if it might not be quite as punctual as Daddy Jesus Claus.

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Bust Into Lego Minfigures Online’s Closed Beta


As a casual observer of the Lego phenomenon, I am continually baffled by the games. I don’t particularly enjoy the LEGO: Pop Culture Thing third-person smash-em-ups, as I mostly want a creative restructuring of things (though John thinks it’s because I’m made of hate. I assure you the two are not related). Smashing and rebuilding without any control just doesn’t fit into my Lego universe, and while I briefly exposed a nerve of interest when Lego Minfigures Online was announced, Adam’s preview was a splash of cold water that made me grimace. There was a lot of smashy and not a lot of buildy. That’s not to say it’s not in there, but they really didn’t want to talk about it if it is. Ah well, I still have Garry’s Mod and Minecraft, and all other kinds of creative games. If you’re looking for more punchy smashy fun, you can now sign up to the the LMO Closed Beta.
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Hit The Mechs: Fields Of War

Currently in beta, Fields of War is “a massive multiplayer third-person-shooter focused on large scale battles, territory control, skill and most importantly team play.” When I read that description, I expected the video to contain tiny computer men running around and shooting at one another but the synopsis conceals the game’s trump card. The tiny computer men are concealed within mechs, with up to a hundred player-controlled war machines on each side. AI bots are also available to fill in any gaps. The closed beta has now finished but you can play in the current version by purchasing the game for $15. Now, let’s look at some combat and customisation.

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Remembered Realms: Neverwinter’s Beta Starts Today-ish

Neverwinter goes into a proper open beta very soon (today in fact, for those with the head start, 30th for the plebs), and we’ll finally be able to have enough time with it to properly get to grips. The all-too-short beta weekends have shown a game that’s definitely bursting with potential, not least because of the Foundry in which users can create their own in-game quests and campaigns for others to play. Also, today is the day that Perfect World release the one billionth trailer for the game! Congratulations all involved.

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