Call of Duty: Black Ops PS4 Multiplayer Beta Impressions

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This was originally posted in a Call of Duty: Black Ops III beta impressions thread on NeoGAF but I decided to massage it into a post here:

I came away from the Call of Duty: Black Ops III PlayStation 4 multiplayer beta feeling positive and optimistic. The most glaring issue was the networking and matchmaking performance. It would be a damn shame if both of those areas do not improve in the final release. Dedicated servers would be greatly appreciated.

I thought the PS4 beta felt great. I liked the size of the maps and the pace of the game. I enjoyed the mobility options in Advanced Warfare but I felt the games were too frenetic at times and the “time to kill” felt too low for a game that’s trying to promote mobility.

I felt BLOPS3 nailed the blend of TTK and mobility. It reminded me a lot of BLOPS2 with a touch of mobility options. There were numerous occasions where I saw an enemy late, they shot at me, and I was still able to get into cover and retaliate. I didn’t feel like that was the case with AW or in any COD title since BLOPS2. Guns still felt lethal when targets were within the gun’s optimal range but the bullet damage drop off seems to be more drastic outside that range which could explain how I’m surviving more firefights.

The idea behind the AW suit powers was sound but the implementation was flawed because I felt it wasn’t worth the sacrifice of an attachment or a perk. Giving everyone an added ability via the Specialist class without occupying a crucial class slot was the right choice. They served like mini-scorestreak rewards which had the potential to turn around a player’s performance in a round.

For the first time in a long time since I felt the SMG class was a viable option for me in certain maps. I can’t recall a game after COD4 where I actually made an SMG class and used it regularly. I also noticed that silenced weapons were no longer a prevailing option for people. In the last few games, I felt like I was a huge disadvantage if I wasn’t using a silencer.

As for deaths by scorestreaks? I felt it was manageable. The root of much of Call of Duty’s scorestreak related issues stemmed from the ease in which players can obtain the UAV. I was pleased to see that UAV spam was surprisingly low. Even then the high end scorestreaks weren’t wreaking a ridiculous amount of havoc in the games that I participated in.

I liked the fact that maps actually had character and wasn’t just a maze of corridors. It reminded of COD4 and BLOPS2 where maps and battles flowed through a few select distinct alleys.

I know it’s a beta but I hope the final release addresses the texture draw in issues; especially around shrubbery. Finally, it may be too late to address this but I wish it was easier distinguish friend or foe outside of the obvious name tag. Everyone appeared too similarly.

The multiplayer beta showed great promise but there’s still a great deal that’s a mystery to the player base. Will there be a deadly/cheap combination lurking somewhere that will ruin the game for everyone else? We shall see.

I have a beta life now

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I just realized that I could be running public beta software on my desktop, laptop, console, tablet and phone. It’s the kind of world we live in now. A world where the word beta is treated more like demo and the lines between development and final get blurrier and blurrier.

Desktop: Windows 10 Technical Preview

The Windows 10 preview builds have solidified to the point of being ready for prime time which is no surprise considering the official launch is only a couple of weeks away. I haven’t installed it on my home PC yet but my day-to-day experiences with it at work have been very positive. I just wish they would change that Recycle Bin icon.

Laptop: Mac OS X “El Capitan” Beta

It was made public last week but my gut reaction was that there wasn’t enough surface level changes to warrant the hassle of downloading the beta last weekend. I think I’ll give it a test drive just to say I’m living on the technological edge.

Console: Xbox Dashboard Preview

I managed to get an invite via GAF for the Backwards Compatibility but unfortunately the only backwards compatible title that I own is the original Mass Effect and I have no interest to revisit that at the moment. I’m crossing my fingers for Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2. I’m also crossing my fingers for the redesigned interface to make an appearance sooner rather than later. The current interface is very clunky.

Tablet: iOS 9 Beta

It’s probably the beta with the most drastic change and also the most impressive. I recall running the previous iOS betas and they were not nearly as functional and performant as iOS 9 Beta. It’s still early which means no third party applications support the split screen functionality but I like what I see so far.

Phone: iOS 9 Beta

Of all the devices that I own, I have the least amount of desire to install beta software for it. Not because I need my phone to the rock solid foundation of my daily life but because not a single feature on the iOS 9 page screams “you gotta try this on the iPhone”. I might just install it anyways.

 

What a crazy alignment of beta participation. The most surprising thing is how stable and functional every one of those builds are. I’m used to crashes, slowdowns and notable incompatibilities with my current suite of software but none of it reared its head with these betas.

Silent Hills Playable Teaser Impressions

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Silent Hills PT Logo

Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro and Norman Reedus are bringing us Silent Hills and they decided to generate a bit of hype for Kojima’s project by releasing the PlayStation 4 playable teaser known only as P.T.

By the time I got around to it, the cat was out of the bag. People already discovered P.T was actually a teaser for Silent Hills. According to Kojima, this teaser was supposed to be cryptic and take the community at large a week or so to decrypt — unfortunately it took less than a day.

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Destiny (PS4) Alpha Impressions

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Destiny Logo

Destiny isn’t just Borderlands expanded to its natural MMORPG-esque conclusion. No, Destiny actually has enemies with enough brains to dodge and challenge me. It felt like I was playing a larger sequel to Halo: Reach (without the Halo trappings).

Even on “Brave” difficulty, it was immediately apparent that Destiny’s enemies weren’t distant cousins of those found in Borderlands. The smarter ones hide away from sniper fire and will rush me down if they believe they had the advantage. I didn’t notice much diving from grenades like in Reach though. I suspect higher difficulties will reveal more advanced A.I routines.

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