Well you are lucky – I promise, you really are – to have two writers willing to, nay RARING to speed out of the gates with opinion fuelled rants and argument. Both myself and AHDVD have been playing it for a while and we both have very strong opinions. But what do we think?
Hit the jump for AHDVD’s initial argument, my response will follow tomorrow.
I know it’s only ‘beta’ but still, when we’ve had ‘betas’ of games before, they usually tend to be very similar to final release at this point.
Me, personally, I think they’ve taken what was decent about Gears Of War 1 & 2 and fucked them both in the ass.
The beta lets us play either straight up deathmatch (with up to 10 people (will it be limited to only 10 at release?) or the King of the Hill game mode which is pretty much the same from the previous games. The one thing that they have added thankfully is respawning.
Copied directly rom Call Of Duty and Modern Warfare is the ranking system, which is basically works the same as COD/MW, you get points for kills, finishing techniques (oh yes, you can dispatch your enemy different ways a la Mortal Kombat), and there are medals awarded for certain things – basically it’s like the barracks/challenges system for certain kills, number of ranked wins, etc, etc. Though to be honest, how hard would it have been to add this to Gears Of War 2?).
I’m not sure what advantages there are for advancing in this, but there must be some advantage – see below.
There are 4 maps in the beta, and though they look graphically brilliant, none of them is particularly imaginative in it’s design, they are all pretty much symetrical with only two spawn points and could have been created the same way as a rorschach picture with paint thrown on a sheet of paper then folded over. Having only two spawn points is REALLY annoying when you get a game that gets one sided – it doesnt especially help to respawn only to be blown away by shotgun 2 seconds later before you know what has happened.
The weapons are now too unbalanced, especially the shotguns, we now have as basic weapon options a choice of the shotgun from the first 2 games, and a sawed-off shotgun (single shot, takes a week to reload). The problem is, that the shotguns are pretty fucking useless until you get real close, but then before you get in close range, they are devestating – the sawed-off in particular seems to end you if you are half-way close to someone, not just point blank.
Covering – the control system is still fucking retarded as gears 1 and 2, but now it’s worse – response is sloppy and though they have tried to make the accidental gripping onto walls better than they fucked it up in GOW2, it now results in you missing a wall altogether when you are trying to get to cover.
Collision detection between players is also a pain in the ass, I tried to lancer a player, 3 players all together, any of them would do (although now when you are chainsawing someone now you can be shot and die – and nothing you can do to stop it until you’ve finished, by which time – dead) I had the saw revving full, and walked right in the middle of them, did I get any of them? did I fuck.
The lancer is the only weapon I’ve been able to repeately get a kill with, and by a kill, I mean a knock-down only to be robbed of the kill by a teammate or them getting back up before either I can get to them (no change of getting close with the lancer for a chainsaw kill – see the shotgun).
Oh, and that’s another thing – we now have a choice of 2 lancers as our main weapon, the standard one and the old fashioned one (or whatever they fucking called it), the main difference being, that the old fashioned one doesnt chainsaw, it just cuts, so you can hit players with it like a shotgun or pistol instead of chainsawing – only you cant because as mentioned, player collision detection is fucked.
The third main weapon option is the hammerburst machine gun, the horde basic weapon – this thing now has recoil so bad it’s like watching Michael J Fox trying to shoot.
Absolutely useless as a weapon.
Sniper. They’ve now got 2 snipers, simple sniper as before and ‘One Shot’ — the one shot being able to completely blow you away from any distance with a single hit – but also, the regular sniper now no longer seems to kill with a headshot – I hit 2 people with definite headshots, and didnt get kills – I don’t know if this is a changed setting for the sniper (if so it makes it pretty much fucking usless as by the time you’ve hit a person once and re-loaded they have got to cover), or if this was a collision detection issue, but it happened on 2 seperate occasons, and I’ve not seen any other sniper headshot kills, which leads me to suggest it’s a change to the weapon. So it’s now useless.
The torque bow – one of the great weapons from the game, only now the targetting scope for it is HORRIBLE distracting and complicated, a simple line and dot of target worked perfectly for it, why fuck with it.
Oh, and to kill you now the person doesnt have to get a direct hit with the bow to kill you, just in your vicinity, unless you manage to dive clear out of the way, you’re dead – the explosions are far too deadly.
New weapons they have are the Digger (I forget the full name) a nice designed weapon, that a person fires in your direction, then the missle or whatever burrows under the ground (and under whatever stone or pillar you are hiding behind!) and blows you up. Supposedly you can dive clear of this, only never seen it, as the explosion seems more deadly than the new torque bow explosion.
Grenades – Okay, so we have the same smoke, frag, and ink grenades as previous, but now also have a new incendiary explosive, basically its like the flamethrower in a can – the person is hit with fire (and can survive! – barely) – it als leaves a fiery residue on the ground where it goes off for a moment, like the ink grenade, this injures if walked through. – Tagging – Tagging of grenades has now been upgraded to be able to tag a grenade to a wall like a claymore, and personally, a nice idea, but if you’re in a game with a grenade whore, it very, VERY quickly becomes frustrating as they are very hard to see until you come around a corner sometimes. I also found them WAY more powerful this way than when thrown.
Boomshot now has a much more deadly explosion, much like the torque bow, it’s much more easier to be downed or even killed without getting a hit too close.
It seriously needs to be toned down to be more precise.
Mortars, (I forget the name, but you’ll know what I mean by – Mini-gun), and pistols – surprisingly, unchanged.
No sign of a hammer of Dawn in the beta, but it will probably make an appearance at release.
One thing that doesnt help with the gameply, is that I got a code from Bouncy for the 2nd week of beta-testing – so people had it a week before – in only a week some people were already at higher ranked levels, i’m not sure if it makes a difference to their weapons effects in game or if it’s just character skins/weapon art, or if it was just from experience after a week of playing, but the 1st week players were obliterating the 2nd week players, it seemed like they had too much of an advantage after a short amount of time – and the beta testing unlockables are apparently getting carried over to the game at release, so how much of an advantage is that going to give the beta testers over anyone completely fresh to the game? I think that’s gonna be reflected in the trade in numbers after the first week – I expect they will be higher than Epic would like.
Overall, I seriously have not been so frustrated by a game, I came close to throwing my pad through my TV on several occasions playing it, and if it’s the same at release, I doubt I would get it, only rent to play the campaign maybe, but i’ll be leaving the multiplayer alone.