Metal Gear Survive Beta Impressions: Shamble On and On and On
Over the weekend, I participated in Metal Gear Survive‘s open beta. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the beta test, but I wouldn’t be telling the truth either. The game is at odds with itself but has potential. I wish I could speak for the single-player mode, but Konami didn’t want us to experience that portion of the game. Still, the multiplayer was enjoyable. Mostly. Kinda.
Now, before I begin this article, I need to make something abundantly clear: my experience is based solely on playing the multiplayer mode alone. Why? Because I have an Xbox One without an active Xbox Live Gold subscription, which means the game did not let me team up with anyone. I did not want to pay $9.99 for four day’s worth of gameplay. Sure, I could have spent the other twenty-six days in the Gears of War 4 multiplayer, but that would imply I’m a gamer who enjoys competitive multiplayer matches, which I’m not. Point is, I would have wasted my money. Moving on.
The multiplayer missions available during the open beta were, for the most part, fun, but I believe that was due to the underlying gameplay mechanics instead of the mode itself. Metal Gear Survive is what could be considered a standalone expansion, a game that reuses and remixes assets from a previous game to create a new and semi-wacky experience that doesn’t overload the development team, require gamers to own the original game, or cost too much money to develop or purchase. Prominent examples of standalone expansions are Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, and Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell. The most important reused assets in Metal Gear Survive are the stealth mechanics, as they actually complement the zombies. These zombies can detect players either through sight or sound, and when they do, they scream to attract more zombies. However, this scream only attracts zombies inside a certain radius, one determined by the underlying mechanics that govern how enemies detect you in the first place. Sure, the zombies are easy to kill, but depending on how many hear the scream, you can easily be overwhelmed. This, coupled with hard time limits set in the multiplayer missions, create an internal struggle of risk vs reward. Do you rush through a horde of zombies and make them aware of your presence so you can obtain the powerful Walker Gear (or other rewards) in a timely fashion, or do you take it slow, sneak in and out without being seen, and fail to return to your post in time?
While most of the game is based on stealth, the missions that made up the beta revolved around base defense. Each mission tasked players with protecting a “digging machine” that attracted every zombie within a five mile radius in a wave-based horde mode that takes several cues from tower defense games. While I do not know how these missions compare to tower defense horde modes in other games, Metal Gear Survive‘s defense missions were tense, difficult, and required players to make quick choices on the fly. Early on (in easy mode), zombies only came from one direction. While players could just shoot them like fish in a barrel, that strategy is a great way to burn through precious ammo, ammo that is better off spent on mutant suicide bomber zombies that tear through defenses and the “digging machine.” The key to success was laying down traps and walls, killing zombies before they damaged your walls too much, and creating replacement traps and walls as needed (or, given limited building materials, whenever possible). Different fortifications required different materials, some of which were only available as mission rewards. Admittedly, I memorized the locations of each material and zombie after playing through the same map several times, which made defense easier. Plus, the longer I played, the more materials and fortification blueprints I gathered, which made defense even easier. After numerous false starts (i.e., withdrawing without defeating all the enemy waves), I was finally able to finish the missions, which was admittedly very satisfying.
On a side note, the beta boasted a leveling system that let gamers improve their stats, learn new attacks, and acquire important skills. While I didn’t notice much of a difference in the stats, the attacks and skills made a world of a difference. That is the sign of a good, or at least decent, leveling system: it provides tangible advantages. On the other hand, that might simply speak more about a poorly-implemented combat system than a well-implemented leveling mechanic.
What Didn’t Work
If I were to sum up my experience in Metal Gear Survive‘s open beta in one word, it would be tedious. The missions required me to make my way over to a designated area, protect a “digging machine” from increasingly difficult waves of zombies, use the rewards to level up and build equipment to aid in future defenses, and repeat ad infinitum, or in my case, ad nauseam. For those of you who don’t speak Latin, it means “something that is repeated so often it has become annoying.” Even when the multiplayer missions were fun, they required me to perform the same tasks over and over again without any variation. The zombies I faced in my first instance of wave three of the first mission were the same zombies I fought in every other instance of the third wave of that mission. The only variety the game provided was spawning a paltry number of random materials in random locations on the map. Video games are meant to be entertaining. If they induce feelings of tedium, something is very wrong.
The Metal Gear Survive beta test’s biggest flaw was the close-quarters combat. I know I praised the stealth mechanics, but that’s because they’re taken straight from Metal Gear V. The combat in Metal Gear Survive was slow and clunky at best, and thanks to the camera, it was almost impossible to determine if I was going to hit a zombie even with the targeting reticule that changed shape and color to tell me a zombie was in range. Yes, I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. The close-quarters combat was clearly a modified version of the shooting controls and mechanics from Metal Gear V, which weren’t designed for melee weapons. The biggest strike against the combat, though, is defense missions in the open beta were downright dependent on close-quarters combat; no matter how many zombies I burned, shot, or blew up, I eventually had to hack at them with machetes and axes thanks to their sheer numbers. One of the biggest aspects of the multiplayer missions relied on mechanics that were unpolished and utilized a camera with zero depth perception, which is never a good sign.
Before I end this article, I need to mention the presentation in Metal Gear Survive: it was dull. Many games with regenerating health systems distort the screen to indicate damage, and the more damage a character takes, the more distorted the screen becomes. Most games opt for a red pulsing effect to indicate blood loss or a heartbeat, but Metal Gear Solid V makes the screen look like a burned film reel. Credit where credit is due, that is a unique take on the tired cliche. Metal Gear Survive, though, just splashed blood on the screen. Wet, red, runny blood that looked about as fake as b-horror movie blood. Moreover, the room I visited between missions was a boring white void. Sure, it had several workbenches to craft weapons, traps, and walls, as well as training dummies to try out new weapons and attacks, but otherwise the room was as vanilla as its color scheme and stylistically out of place with the rest of the game.
The Metal Gear Survive beta was half-baked. Its best components were perfected for other games; it introduced mechanics that didn’t work as intended, and it committed the cardinal gaming sin of being tedious. Although, I wouldn’t say I didn’t have fun in the beta. The missions were enjoyable enough, although I can’t help but feel they would have been more enjoyable had I bit the bullet, purchased the Xbox Live Gold subscription, and teamed up with other gamers. The most egregious problem of the beta was the repetitive missions. Maybe this will be fixed in time for the release, or maybe it’s a sign I should stick to the single-player campaign. If the beta was any indication of the final product, Metal Gear Survive will be an ok game at best. Given Konami’s recent track record, Metal Gear Survive might exceed my expectations, which is about as damning with faint praise as you can get.
5 Reasons You NEED To Play The Final Fantasy VIII Remaster
After many years of fans begging Square Enix to remaster Final Fantasy VII, they finally listened and did just that. There were numerous excuses as to why the game’s re-release had lagged behind the re-releases of both VII and IX, with the most common excuse being that the game’s original code was lost years ago. However, the company made it happen and the game is finally available for modern audiences to play on modern hardware today. We’re going to give you 5 reasons why you should do just that.
First time available on modern hardware
As we’ve already said, this is the first time that the game is available on modern hardware. While the game originally launched for PS1 back in 1999, it later got a PC port in 2000. That means that is has been a whopping 19 years since a new version of the game has been available for purchase, and that wait was a brutal one. However, it is finally over and you can now play this classic game on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch along with PC. If the lack of modern hardware support was stopping you from checking out, that excuse just got thrown out the window.
The visuals look better than ever
Thankfully, Square Enix did not just slap this port together quickly and throw it out there to shut everyone up. They did a terrific job of putting on a shiny new coat of paint for the game, with the character models in particular looking much better. While things like environment textures didn’t get quite the same amount of attention, this is nevertheless the best that the game has ever looked. It also helps that the game is simply beautiful from a design standpoint, with the game’s world being gorgeous to behold even though we’re dealing with the hardware limitations of 1999.
Quality of life improvements
While those who played the game 20 years ago will still be getting what is essentially the same experience, Square Enix did add some quality of life improvements to put it more in line with current JRPGs. These changes include the likes of increasing battle speed by 3 times, shutting off random encounters completely and even a cheat to give you max HP and limit breaks. While these may seem minor, these will go a long way to ease some of the tedium that many feel after some particularly long gaming sessions. Max HP and Limit Breaks will also make the incredibly tough Ultima and Omega Weapon boss fights a lot easier to deal with.
The Final Fantasy series is known for having its fair share of enticing side quests and mini games, but there isn’t a single one that is as addicting as Triple Triad. The game is essentially a card game that is played on a 3×3 grid, and each card has a certain number on the top, bottom, left and right sides. You need to place your cards in a manner that the numbers on your cards are higher than your opponents, and seeing as your card can be attacked from four different sides this can be tricky. You’re able to challenge many different characters to a match throughout the course of the entire game, and doing so comes with plenty of nice rewards that will make your quest easier.
The game is awesome
While our previous points focused on specific elements of the game, this one is a simple fact that has been true since 1999: the game is awesome. Unfortunately, releasing immediately after Final Fantasy VII (a watershed moment for gaming) put it under a very cruel microscope, with many knee jerk reactions simply saying it “isn’t as good as VII.” However, in the years that have passed people have revisited the game, and the consensus has definitely changed. This adventure that Square created is unlike any other in the series, being host to an ambitious and bizarre plot filled with some of the best characters the series has ever seen. If you’ve played the game before then this is the perfect time to experience this masterpiece all over again, and if you haven’t then what are you waiting for?
10 Huge Games Still Coming In 2019
2019 has been yet another good year for gaming so far, with several games releasing that will be big contenders for game of the year once the curtain closes. However, despite the year already being more than halfway over, there are still some huge titles on the horizon that are sure to make their own dents on the coming best-of lists. This article will list the 10 biggest games that are still coming in 2019.
A new game from Remedy Entertainment is always highly-anticipated, and Control is no different. The game is an action-adventure game in the same style as Alan Wake or Quantum Break, but with a supernatural twist. Players will control Jesse Faden, who possesses a variety of supernatural abilities like telekinesis, levitation and more. She will be using her abilities in order to defeat an enemy known only as the Hiss, which has corrupted reality. Control launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 27th.
It has been many years since the last game in the Borderlands series released, but the hiatus is finally coming to an end very soon. Those who have played previous games in the series will feel right at home with this game, as it’s once again a loot-driven FPS. The game will offer more zany characters and a charming and insane world to explore, all while dealing with new antagonists Troy and Tyreen Calypso along with their Children of the Vault cult. Borderlands 3 launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 13th, with a Google Stadia port release date being TBA.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series is returning soon with Breakpoint, which will serve as a continuation of previous game Wildlands. The game is set in an open world environment called Aurora, which is a fictional island in the Pacific Ocean. Players will control Lieutenant Colonel Anthony “Nomad” Perryman, who is a special forces operative that was sent to the island to investigate a series of disturbances in the area. Breakpoint launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 4th, with a Google Stadia port coming in November.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Each new installment in the Call of Duty series is always huge, but Modern Warfare’s release marks a first for the long-running franchise. It will be the first game in the series that is reimagining of a previous game in the series, taking 2004’s original game and updating its mechanics and themes to match today’s world. The game will still have some of the beats that the first game had, but will also incorporate lots of surprises to make it a fresh experience. Modern Warfare launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th.
The Outer Worlds
Obsidian Entertainment’s The Outer Worlds is one that will be very highly-anticipated for fans of Fallout: New Vegas, as this game serves as a sort of spiritual successor to that game. It will be an open world RPG that allows you to explore many unique areas crawling with plenty of deadly foes. Players will also be able to encounter and recruit NPCs as companions that have their own personal missions and stories to take part in. The Outer Worlds launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th, with a Switch port also being in the works.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
It seemed very unlikely that Luigi’s Mansion would become a recurring franchise for Nintendo following the original GameCube game, but here we are. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is coming to Switch, which also means it will be the first home console release since the original game back in 2003. This time the game is set in a haunted hotel rather than a mansion, and Luigi has some new tricks up his sleeves to take down all those ghosts. Luigi’s Mansion 3 will launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch on October 31st.
If you’re looking for the most ambitious (and weirdest) game still coming in 2019, then look no further. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding has perplexed gamers ever since its announcement, and each new trailer that releases just brings more and more questions to the table. It is Kojima’s first game since breaking up with Konami after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phanton Pain (and the cancellation of Silent Hills), and it looks like Kojima has taken the newfound complete creative control to deliver something truly original. Death Stranding launches exclusively for PS4 on November 8th.
Pokemon Sword & Shield
At this point we all know what to expect from a new Pokemon game, and Sword and Shield seems poised to deliver even more cute creatures for players to capture and battle very soon. What sets Sword and Shield apart from its predecessors is that it will be the first home console release for the series, which is saying something considering the series has been around for over 20 years. Pokemon Sword & Shield launches exclusively for Switch on November 15th.
If you’re a fan of Shenmue then nothing needs to be said for the inclusion of the upcoming third game on this list. Fans of the series have been waiting nearly two decades for a follow-up to the second game, and in just a couple of months that will finally be delivered to them. Brought to life thanks to an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, the game continues the adventure of protagonist Ryo Hazuki as he hunts down his father’s killer. Shenmue III will launch for PS4 and PC on November 19th.
id Software’s DOOM 2016 was one of the best FPS games to come along in years, so it’s a no-brainer that the follow-up would be on this list. Eternal is set to offer yet another intense FPS campaign for players to plunge into, while also offering a multiplayer component that greatly improves upon the last game’s underwhelming multiplayer mode. There will also be twice as many demon types than there was in the last game, meaning that the chaos level just got that much higher. DOOM Eternal launches for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and PC on November 22nd.
5 Most Exciting Announcements From The Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference
Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference has officially come to an end, and with it came plenty of big announcements to get excited about. Some new games were announced, whereas previously-announced games got new footage and/or release dates. In this article we’ve narrowed it all down to the 5 most exciting announcements.
New Xbox “Project Scarlett” Coming Holiday 2020
We’ve known for a while now that a new Xbox was in the works, but now we know when to expect it. Microsoft’s fourth console (which hopefully has a better official name than Xbox One did) will be a big step up from the previous console. Things like much faster load times, an AMD Processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, 8K Resolution and 120 FPS were all mentioned. A price and exact release date weren’t mentioned. It will also be launching with…
Halo Infinite Coming Holiday 2020, Launching On Both Xbox One and Project Scarlett
The wait for the next Halo game has been longer than ever before for series fans, and the announcement at E3 revealed that the wait will continue. Halo Infinite will not be launching until Holiday 2020, meaning it will have been 5 years since the previous game released with Halo 5. It will also be launching on Xbox One and Project Scarlett, meaning the new console will have a big launch title for fans to get pumped about.
Cyberpunk 2077 Coming April 2020, Stars Keanu Reeves
It’s hard to pick a game that people have been more excited about than Cyberpunk 2077, and after Microsoft’s press conference we’re even more excited. Not only is it coming in April of next year, but Keanu Reeves himself will be playing a “key” role in the game. Everything shown from the game has looked great so far, so hopefully it all pans out and we have another classic from CD Projekt RED come April 2020.
FromSoftware and George R.R. Martin Collaboration Elden Ring Announced
This one was actually leaked prior to the presentation, but Dark Souls developer FromSoftware and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin are collaborating on a new game. The game is called Elden Ring, and it will be a departure from the developer’s most recent games as it will be open world. Very little information on the game is known at this point, as it is still in the early stages of development.
Phantasy Star Online 2 Is Coming West
It took a very long time, but the popular MMORPG is finally coming west. The game is coming to Xbox One in a free-to-play form in Spring 2020, so the wait won’t be that much longer. “There will be no limitations on game experiences,”says Sega, because they want to “provide all players with a fair and exciting experience.”
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