Ghost Recon Wildlands

Ghost Recon: Wildlands Open Beta Review

Ghost Recon Wildlands

This past weekend, the Ghost Recon: Wildlands Open Beta hit Xbox One. Featuring two areas for exploration and gameplay, the Beta opened up Bolivia to players as they worked to take down the Santa Blanca Cartel.

With full character customization and gameplay options available, plus the ability to play via online co-op, the Beta showed off all the game has to offer before it’s March 7 release.

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Review: Gigantic Stress Test

A few days ago, I took part in the Gigantic Stress Test on Xbox One and had a blast. It was the first time I got my hands on the upcoming free-to-play, third-person action MOBA developed by Motiga.

Taking place on June 30 and July 1, the Gigantic servers were opened to test out their ability, and while there were some of the expected hiccups, the game functioned relatively well. There were the odd “game froze, gotta restart” glitches, the endless loading screens, and a few of the normal headaches that come with a pre-release build (in particular, no option to adjust screen size, which created some visual challenges). Despite the issues, the game was relatively smooth when it was time to head into the arena.

Pitting two teams of 5 against one another in whimsical landscapes with a variety of unique characters to suit most play styles, the game centers around each team’s guardian–a massive, towering beast that will react to how the team itself is fairing on the battlefield. By killing other players, summoning helpful creatures at strategic spots, and collecting orbs, a team can “charge up” their guardian, giving it the power it needs to rampage on the battlefield or directly engage with the opposing team’s guardian. At various times during the match, teams will be tasked with defending their guardian when it becomes vulnerable to enemy or opposing guardian attacks or attacking the opposing team’s guardian. Whichever team takes out the opposing team’s guardian first wins.

Featuring colorful and imaginative fantasy characters, players can assemble varied and multifaceted teams incorporating various levels of attack, defense, mobility, and utility. From the sword-wielding Aisling, who deploys her father’s spirit from her sword to wreck face, to fire-loving dragon sorcerer Charnok, all the way to the crossbow-wielding sniper Imani, there’s a hero for players far and wide.

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Review: The Division Beta

The Division Beta has been in full-swing this weekend and I spent some time playing in post-collapse New York. After abandoning the Alpha after only a short while, I wasn’t particularly excited about the Beta. However, what I found both pleasantly surprised and disappointed me.

imageThe best way perhaps to sum up The Division Beta is simply: An empty landscape full of empty promises. There is simply a lack of meaningful content in the Beta to indicate whether the game is actually worth $60 at-launch.

While the game successfully renders a post-collapse New York in rather stunning detail, there simply weren’t enough story elements or things to do in the Beta to fully flesh out the world or give clear indication as to how this tale would ultimately play out. With only one major mission available: saving a doctor in order to bring her into your headquarters to set up medical services, and about five side missions that had little bearing on any sort of story element, the Beta left me high and dry in a few short hours.

Though the world is rendered nicely, what is unclear is what state the city is in. There are a few straggling citizens wandering around the waste, and some fairly neutral canine scavengers, but there is no indication as to the “why.” Why are these people still in New York? Why are they not dead yet? Most importantly, why should I care?

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Review: Rainbow Six Siege Closed Beta

imageOver the past few days, I’ve been playing the Rainbow Six Siege Closed Beta, and while there are some enjoyable aspects to the game, the recently announced lack of a single-player campaign and lack of polish haven’t sold me on the $60 price tag.

But wait! you might cry, it’s only a Beta, you can’t expect polish on a Beta. True, the whole point of a Beta is to find out what needs to be polished in the scant 3 months before the game releases (on Dec. 1). However, what I’m referring to is the graphics quality and the frame rate; things that take a bit longer to fix than a few bugs (and there were a few). It was reported that the Xbox One was running the game at 900p while the PS4 was running it at 1080p. Well, I was playing it on the Xbox One, and the visuals certainly did not impress for a next-gen title.

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imageThe screenshots from my play experience show a lack of refinement and smoothness to the visuals, including some rough-looking textures and graphics that look more on-par with an Xbox 360 game. But, graphics are just one part of a game’s appeal.

During the Beta, players could choose from 3 different game types: Multiplayer TDM – Bomb, Multiplayer TDM – Secure Area, and Terrorist Hunt. Out of the 10 times I attempted to join a multiplayer match over my four days (about 12 hours total) of play time, I was only able to join in twice; a 20% success rate. Terrorist Hunt, because of its PvE nature, where a team of 5 “Operators” takes on AI Terrorists, proved much easier to get in to. I had about an 80% success rate entering those matches and spent my time playing on the Normal and Hard difficulties.

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