Overwatch Beta Returns with Progression System, King-of-the-Hill Mode

The closed beta for Overwatch has returned for select players (I know, I didn’t get in either) and it brings some major changes.  First, there is the addition of a progression system that rewards players as they play.  As you play with any hero, you’ll earn experience towards your account-wide level.  Leveling up will earn you a Loot Box containing four items of varying rarity.  Items you can receive from these boxes include player icons, alternate colors and skins for specific heroes, emotes, sprays, voice lines, victory poses, and highlight intros.  Receiving a duplicate of an item you already own will instead award you credits to unlock items of your choosing.  Loot Boxes won’t require the purchase of keys to open them like in many free-to-play games, but the boxes themselves will be available to purchase once the game is fully released.  The progression system is still a work-in-progress and may be changed before release.

There were also several updates made to diversify gameplay, chief among them being a new game mode.  Control, Overwatch‘s take on the classic King-of-the-Hill mode, will have teams fight to hold a randomly selected area of the map for three different rounds.  Two new maps have been released for Control, Lijiang Tower and Zenyatta’s monastery in Nepal.  There is also the addition of bots to play against and Private Games being changed to Custom Games.  In a Custom Game, players will be able to add their own rules to games, such as altering map rotation, banning specific heroes, and switching team balancing on and off to name a few.

You can read up more information on the new progression system here and the patch notes here.  What are your thoughts on the changes made to Overwatch?  What do you think still needs to be added?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Star Wars Battlefront Beta – First Impressions

Yesterday (08/11/15), we heard echoing, hysterical squeals as a countless number of Star Wars fans finally finished installing the Star Wars Battlefront Beta onto their gaming systems. As it’s not due for release for another month, this was just another fantastic teaser for this highly anticipated installment to the Star Wars Battlefront game series, developed by EA (EA Digital Illusions).

The open-beta let us indulge in several aspects of Star Wars Battlefront which isn’t considerably far from it’s release date. The beta taunts fans with only two available mulitplayer maps to play, both of which assigned to a different game mode. In Drop Zone, players navigate the dusty, mountainous map, Sullust, whereas in game mode Walker Assault, players are almost able to live the events in The Empire Strikes Back as they traverse the snowy, barren landscape of Hoth. Other game modes that will become available with the full game upon release are: Supremacy, Fighter Squadron, Blast, Cargo and Droid Run. The maps that will be incorporated into these game modes, however, are not yet known. The beta also allows the player to test themselves and become familiar with game dynamics in Survival mode, available under the missions section of the main menu. As the title states the player must simply survive against the waves of enemies. The only Survival open to play with the Star Wars Battlefront Beta is Survival Tatooine however, we can see that when we are finally able to get our hands on a copy of the game we will also be able to play survival on Sullust, Endor and Hoth.

Here is some of my own gameplay on the Star Wars Battlefront Beta including some survival gameplay:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSMqKW8TKIg

”I Find Your Lack Of Faith Disturbing”

Generally speaking, going by the Star Wars Battlefront Beta, I have high hopes for the game upon its release. The multiplayer dynamics are relatively typical of EA. Furthermore, the servers run incredibly smooth and there is little trouble joining games and lobbies in which your friends are in. The character customization is simple and easy to come to terms with within a game or two. You merely earn credits after playing a game, the amount varying and dependent on how well you perform in game. Using these credits the player purchases weapons and Star Cards which then can simply be equipped to the players Hand. In addition to all of this, power-ups are littered throughout each game mode. By picking these up, the player is entitled to do any of the following dependent on what is picked up: Gain use of powerful artillery and weaponry, pilot a ship or AT (varying on your alliance) or even play as a Jedi/ Sith master. The power-ups are simply great for allowing the player to explore the different aspects of Star Wars alongside the tactical advantage it brings.

STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ Beta_20151008211838

But enough of the technical stuff. The beta has allowed us insight into how thoroughly awesome Battlefront is going to be when released. Everything about the graphics, gameplay and game content really harnesses that true Star Wars ”Feel”. As mentioned breifly before, it is almost as if you are living out the events from the films. Trudging through the snow on Hoth through blaster rifle crossfire, the accurate sound effects and typically triumphant Star Wars music, even the ships battling relentlessly above your head as you fight below, every little detail contributes to making the game feel so real and it is so well executed by EA.

On another note, the graphics are simply…WOW. The planets are incredibly accurate to those in the movies. Every bit of graphical content is perfectly designed to create the perfect atmosphere to the game. The crashed Star Destroyers and X- Wing Fighters really create the perfect battle scene. The maps are vibrant and really bring the game to life.

 

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”I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This”

During my time playing the Star Wars Battlefront Beta, the only noticeable faults I found were to do with teaming up on survival which you have the option to do locally or online. I found that, despite all means of trying, I could not team up with my friends online to play survival. Whether or not it is because you are intentionally restricted from doing so in the beta is beyond me, but regardless, it was a flaw I noticed. The other possible flaw I noticed was perhaps that the power-ups were a little over-powered. I understand that this is subjective, but I found that a relatively common pick-up on Hoth was the AT-Walker power-up. 45 seconds on each of the occasions I picked it up was enough to secure myself at least 20 kills. It makes the Walker Assault on Hoth incredibly difficult when playing as the rebels especially.

”May The Force Be With You”

All in all, I found the Star Wars Battlefront Beta a lovely insight into how fantastically popular Star Wars Battlefront is going to be when released next month. EA has cleverly incorporated every aspect of Star Wars and combined with its commendable multiplayer, Star Wars Battlefront does the series justice, satisfying ongoing Star Wars fans, fans of the game series and also possessing potential to earn itself a mass of new fans. The game dynamics are simple and easy to come to terms with and collectively I think it will be giving the Black Ops 3 multiplayer a run for its money upon release. I just hope that the majority of the Star Wars fanbase doesn’t keel over in depression when the Beta is over.

 

STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ Beta_20151008212923

Splatoon Global Testfire Impressions

Splatoon

Nintendo killed it at E3 last year. From Zelda to Yoshi’s Woolly World, it seemed that everyone had at least something interesting to look forward to. Out of left field Nintendo announced Splatoon, a third-person shooter for the Wii U. It looked vibrant, colourful, fresh, and full of character.

It was a game that intrigued me despite a few worries I had about the product, and having played it during the global test, I’ve learned a lot more about what the game has to offer.

The Bad

Playing With Friends? I Think Not

I’d like to get the obvious out of the way and say that I’m puzzled at Nintendo’s choice to completely shun any sort of party and friend play. In the 90s Nintendo dominated the multiplayer scene, and yet they seemingly skimp as much as possible when it comes to modern multiplayer.

Why can I not play with my friends in a party? Why can’t I hear them speak? Why must I use third-party applications to have fun with your game?

I shouldn’t have to ask all of these questions, as all multiplayer games offer at least some sort of party play.

Matchmaking Since 2015

As I just mentioned, most multiplayer games use a tried and true formula that makes the experience smooth and enjoyable, something Splatoon seems to have completely disregarded.

Half of my time with Splatoon was spent looking at menus and error codes. Whenever I’d try to join a public match, I’d be told that the lobby was full and promptly booted to the main screen again for another try.

Instead of reaching for say, ten accessible lobbies to try and place the player in, it seems that the game tries to connect to one random lobby (I hope it’s at least based on ping) and if it’s full or the connection is bad, you have to start the entire process over.

Why do we have such archaic framework for your prime multiplayer experience? Why can’t there be an algorithm that searches for several lobbies at the same time, putting the player into the best and quickest fit with the least amount of trouble? At the very least give us some half-functioning browser like Battlefield has. At least then I’d know if my lobby is full before joining.


Motion Controls Are The Future

The Gamepad is a remarkable controller. It feels comfortable and light while offering several beneficial and innovative features. Why, however, Nintendo feels the need to force motion controls on us at first is beyond me.

To learn the game you have to play the tutorial, yet the tutorial only offers motion control rather than a prompt asking the player what they’d prefer. I felt sick swinging my viewpoint around with the Gamepad, and I don’t think it’s viable at all in any sort of competitive setting where quick aiming is a must. I’d much rather use thumbsticks, which are thankfully not entirely disregarded.

I would like to say that for what they are, the motion controls function well. It’s probably one of the best implementations of motion control for aiming, but it still doesn’t jive with me.

Options Menus Are For Punks

 Most games allow the player to pause the action to change up some key settings that anyone might want to customize. Not in Splatoon however, as it seemingly revels in the fact that it disregards basic game functions.

Want to adjust your sensitivity? Do you feel that the volume is too high or the brightness too low?

None of these settings are accessible through the pause menu, rather, you must exit to the main screen just to change these settings; an extremely inconvenient and annoying prospect.

Something like camera sensitivity or inversion is essential to a player’s ability to play the game. Something like this might only need a slight tweak to get that perfect feel, so having to go in and out of games just to adjust your sensitivity is beyond ridiculous to me.

I had to put up with several bad matches just so that I could test out the sensitivity until I found something that I felt fit my style of play. Furthermore, if you consider the bad matchmaking system in place, it makes doing this time-consuming and utterly frustrating.

Class Changing Ain’t Easy

 This is yet another misstep that turns out to be agonizing for no good reason. If you want to change your class in Splatoon, you can’t just do it upon death like almost every other class-based multiplayer game. Rather, you have to again drop to the main menu and start the matchmaking process over again.

I’ve now mentioned twice how bad the matchmaking is handled, so you can see the problem with all of these drop-outs.

It’s OP!

It seems that the paint-roller class has some balancing issues. While other classes slowly take away the opponent’s health or have a large charge time for long-distance shots, the paint-roller nearly instant kills anyone it comes in contact with. You essentially just roll the paint on the ground and charge enemies like a bull, racking up kills left, right and centre.

The downside to this class is that you can’t engage anyone that isn’t directly on even ground with you, but it hail’s in comparison when you consider how easy it is to downright slaughter other players.

 I admit that it is probably too early to start yelling OP, but the paint-roller seems to be the obvious choice for not only kills, but how quickly you can paint the map in your favour. (a key factor of who wins and who loses).

One Map, Or Two?

I am having a lot of trouble remembering whether I played one map or two maps. I am leaning towards two but they were both so grey, white and samey that I couldn’t really distinguish what map was which.

It is probably too early to make this point a bad point, as I am sure Nintendo made the rest of their maps varied, but the two maps we got to test felt so similar that I am still wondering as I write this, how many I had access to.

Splatoon

 The Good

Give Us Smooth, Give Us Silky

It is no secret that Nintendo loves colour. Every game they create has beautiful, vibrant visuals that age incredibly well. Splatoon, while not as colourful as something like Yoshi’s Woolly World, is still a vibrant and colourful experience.

The maps start out pretty basic, but as your team and the enemy start slinging paint all over the level, it becomes increasingly messy and colourful until you’re fighting in what appears to be a neon rave.

It’s really pleasing to the eyes and the OCD to have the ability to literally add colour to the game, especially in a competitive multiplayer setting.

Mini-game Inbound

I previously mentioned how awful the matchmaking and connection issues are, but what I left out was the one saving grace to all of this nonsense: a loading-screen mini-game.

I am a sucker for mini-games and this doesn’t disappoint. Whenever the game is doing any sort of matchmaking, you are left to play a jump-centric platformer game on the Gamepad’s screen.

It certainly doesn’t fix the issues I’ve presented, but it makes it much more enjoyable to suffer through!

 Lag Is A Thing Of The Past

With any multiplayer experience, it’s probably too early to tell how the game will function after launch, but if we can take anything away from this experience, it’s that we won’t be suffering from a lot of lag.

Splatoon runs like a dream when it runs, and that is saying something. I encountered no lag or framerate issues, nor any sort of choppiness with the other players in the lobby. It was nice to see no rubber-banding, no warping, no lag spikes. All of it felt great and smooth, and I’m grateful for this after spending months with Battlefield 4, or, as I like to call it, ‘a test of patience’.

Prepare For Battle

 Splatoon doesn’t have much downtime when you are actually in a match. It’s actually surprising how frenetic and consistently engaging the action is. You hardly spend time wandering around, as the maps feature many tight corridors and many flanks for sneaky engagement. Couple this with your ability to spawn anywhere you please (as long as you land on your paint), and you won’t be searching for things to shoot very often.

The addition of your squid form makes it all the better as well. When you’re a squid, you can quickly swim through your ink and hit big jumps for mad air that give you the boost you need to enter the fray as soon as possible.

It makes for fast-paced gameplay and it makes you feel more active in your pursuit of victory.

The Gameplay Is Where It Counts

I think that one of the best aspects of Splatoon thus far is just how well executed the gameplay is. When we get past the pretty colours and the fluidity of movement and map design, we’re left with what is essentially a tight shooting experience.

The classes are varied and they possess unique abilities such as a bubble shield or a paint radar that obliterates everything in it’s proximity, The weapons all have their unique feel and functions that vary in importance depending on the encounter, The controls feel responsive and fluent; you don’t have to spend much time fighting with them.

When you partner all of these things with nuanced maps that compliment the gameplay exceptionally well, you’re in for a great time with a game that knows what it is trying to do.

splatoon


I’ll Be Damned If It Doesn’t Feel Good

When all’s said and done, Splatoon is a game that feels great to play. The controls are tight, the action is consistent, the classes are varied, the mechanics are unique and engaging, and the art and sound design is top-notch. Nintendo nailed the gameplay, despite the fact that they almost completely disregarded some of the important UI and matchmaking tricks that modern shooters utilize.

It was a very flawed experience, and despite that, I am still anxiously waiting to play more.

New Halo Game Coming To PC

Halo

Halo developer 343 Industries has announced that a new game, developed by Saber Interactive, is coming to the PC. It’ll be online and free-to-play, and is due to launch in beta this year. But Halo Online is only going to be available in Russia.

Halo Online will be based on Halo 3, though heavily modified to include graphics more similar to Halo 4. It will be online 0nly and will allow between 4 and 16 players in a single match. With no mention of a story mode, it’s likely to feature player-vs-player based gameplay. It will have an in-game economy, though it’s unclear exactly what form it will take. It’s also designed to work on low-end PCs, which means players won’t need to shell out for hardcore gaming machines to play it.

343 Industries have called Halo Online a “learning opportunity” to help them explore ways to attract new players to the franchise. The game will be set on a “secret UNSC space installation called Anvil”, a place where Spartan-IV soldiers train and test new technology. There will also be a location in the game based on a Russian city.

XBox fans will be disappointed as there’s been no mention from 343 Industries about the game being released on XBox One or 360. Team Slayer and Assassination modes have been confirmed so far, with more modes expected to follow.

343 also said their focus is on gathering information from the closed beta in Russia and that they’re not looking at bringing the game into other countries. So if you want to play game on your PC, pack your bags for Russia.

Exclusive Battlefield Hardline PS4 Beta Gameplay

Battlefield

We here at Vgamerz have been trying out the Battlefield Hardline and decided to share a bit of our experience thus far.  The cops and robbers centric shooter is the first yearly  entry in Battlefield, but it seems to make up with gameplay innovation with new game modes and gear. The gameplay video features play from both the police and criminals, along with a number of different weapon sets.

Driving feels better than before as, with a more traditional racing drift allowing for quicker and more response driving. The vehicle sets themselves felt shallow in comparison to those available in Battlefield 4, but with the crime angle more vehicles are sure to be added by launch day. Moment to moment it felt weird to play as both sides, with Cops using excessive violence and criminals mowing down cops in turn.

The imagery is sure to disturb some players more than others, but since the gameplay feels exactly like every other Battlefield I found it a simple ascetic swap that may not affect long time players.  The gadgets are another cool addition, with zip lines and tazers leading the way. If Battlefield can change the formulaic combat scenario while still operating within their gigantic destructible arena’s then Hardline may be the best title yet. All this remains to be seen however, as the developers have proven a that a good framework exists and the only thing left is coming up with new ways to interact with it.

The new Battlefield and Call of Duty titles are both taking their respective series in new directions that aim to steer away from the typical military shooter, and I hope they can succeed. For more info on the Call of Duty trailer check here, and for all your E3 news needs head on over to Vgamerz news hub.

New Destiny Trailer and Gameplay

Destiny

Sony kicked off it’s Playstation E3 press conference with Destiny – and for all the right reasons.

Activision’s gigantic new FPS franchise started off with a trailer that blended both cinematic and gameplay footage, and showed in more detail a lot of the mechanics they have already talked about. It showed the vastness of the game and shared a bit about it’s combat. It was then announced that the Games Beta would come to Playstation games starting July 17th. There will be exclusive in-game missions, and a PS4 + Destiny Bundle as well.

Check out the Destiny traler below to see some gameplay from the upcoming game:

Check our hub for all the latest E3 updates.

(Update) First Battlefield: Hardline Beta Gameplay Leaked

Battlefield

[The video has been removed presumably by Battelfield EA for obvious reasons]

A Youtube user by the name of Freddy Dancer has leaked what appears to be the first gameplay footage of the upcoming Battlefield Hardline beta. After a leaked trailer for the game surfaced a few days ago, it was only a matter of time before new footage appeared. Unfortunately for fans of the series, this video doesn’t actually show combat, as it is simply an empty server where Freddy shows off some of the weapons and vehicles that the beta will utilize.

Considering this is all we’ve got until E3, it will have to do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkknsCqAeFk

If the past is any indication, this video will probably not remain active for long, so watch it while it’s hot.