Saturday, July 24, 2021

IN THE EVENT YOU Play ” NEW WORLD “? Beta Impressions From The Frontier

Amazon Games’ upcoming MMORPG New World is in the spotlight as a lengthy closed beta session shows off the action ahead of an August 31st release. New World has changed its vision multiple times over the course of development, and now the question on everyone’s mind is – where is this going to land on release? What kind of player is it for? What kind of MMORPG is it? And perhaps the most important question, is it worth your time at all? Over the course of the beta (and a demo session that took me into an endgame slice with a fully-geared character), I’ve seen some areas with huge potential that are currently underserved in the MMORPG space – and some others that could be intense detriments for the title. Let’s talk about New World!It successfully lands a powerful frontier survival vibe If you’re familiar with survival games that have you punching wood to get a house going, New World delivers on this front initially by giving the player myriad survival pursuits. Hunting turkey on the borders of your established safe zones to raise your cooking skill and create rations is far more engaging than it has any right to be. Hunting down elusive saltpeter deposits in mines and crafting your own shells for your old-timey rifles feels fun. Being able to skill up in everything to your liking is a classic system à la Runescape, and its nice to know you can work up every single crafting and gathering skill if you wish, right down to doing some fishing. Banging together your first batch of gathering tools is actually freaking awesome. Digging up carrots and potatoes feels meaningful. Coming back to your town in the middle of the wilderness to trade feed and talk with your fellow explorers has all the allure of bustling about Disney’s Frontiertown, and I’ve rarely had so much investment into crafting and trading systems in MMOs. I can see potential problems with these aspects later down the line, i.e. do I really want to spend my time in the endgame gathering resources just so I can play the game, but for now, there’s plenty of magic in creating my own food, ammunition, and supplies before I trek out into the wild. It feels gritty, it feels raw, and it feels fresh. Faction PVP can be a lot of fun Territory control and faction-based opt-in PVP not only bring back a bit of realm-vs-realm feel from the glory days of Dark Age of Camelot, but they inject something that many online experiences have moved away from in the last decade – social interaction. That means yes, you are going to see a player named PoopyPants (Yes, this was a real player I saw) cutting down trees and screaming outside of town about the price of silver ore, and your chat feed is going to be inundated with comments that make the infamous Barrens chat look downright erudite. However, it also successfully adds shared social stakes to the experience, even if you choose not to interact at the verbal level with any other players. By funneling players into three different factions, you have an investment in your tribe regardless of how deep you want to take it. If you still just want to solo and bring back a load of furs to trade in town, you can – but the real fun is to be had by grouping up, interacting with others, and eventually taking over some territory as your chosen faction. At the solo, guild, and greater level, having game flow dictated by players instead of the “theme park” experience is a bold choice and more than a bit refreshing. The issue here is how interesting and meaningful are these faction wars going to be in the endgame? While I don’t have the answer to that yet, the prospect of really engaging with other players in a meaningful way in a MMORPG gives me a powerful nostalgia bump and some serious differentiation from many other genre offerings today. On the flip side, if you’re not really interested in territory wars or PvP, other existing MMORPGs might be a better choice. The combat is New World’s biggest weakness In almost every MMORPG, you’re going to be doing a ton of combat. It’s probably the biggest portion of the entire gameplay experience. With limited skill options, awkward animations, and very little excitement, New World’s combat is decidedly dull. Now, there’s something to be said about popping an opposing faction member from a great distance before you engage in a 3v3 skirmish that gets real greasy, but that’s more about the player-to-player interaction than the combat, which can often feel wooden and wonky. While I enjoy systems that attempt to break the genre out of the tab-targeting standard that’s been grandfathered into MMOs for ages, it misses the mark here.  I found it hard to determine if the other aspects of the game that seem enjoyable can carry this particular aspect either, as combat is the core of almost every other pursuit. Even if you’re just spelunking for saltpeter, you’re going to have to fight a ton of various zombie-like creatures, wolves, or bears, and it simply does not feel good. This problem is exacerbated in group experiences, both PvP and PvE, but more pronounced in the latter. Chewing into spongey opponents as a pack with the glaring lack of feedback from weaponry is almost comical, and your options in combat feel extremely limited and lacking. Everything can feel the same Enemies, locations, and activities can become a big bowl of mush without breaking it up with some PvP pursuits. You’ll see many of the same rickety little fishing villages, decrepit farms, and crumbling ruins as you traverse the giant world. Killing some undead buccaneers at level 5 feels the same as it does at level 15, and you’re going to be doing a ton of daily-quest/fetch style activities in order to grind out your faction reputation, like wandering around the aforementioned locations for boxes and killing X undead baddies. It feels intensely repetitive even after only twenty hours of gameplay, so I’m concerned about how that will translate to the endgame – will I still, as an elite member of the Syndicate, still be wandering farms killing undead and picking taters? I mean, I do like picking taters... Travel is rough When you’re just starting, it’s fine that you’re walking everywhere because you don’t have far to go. However, this takes a turn at around level 12, where you’ll find the autorun button and some movies on your favorite streaming platform to be your best friends. The world is large, and traveling it all on foot is a huge pain. Without mounts, and the fact that fast travel is limited by resources, moving around the map is an absolute bore and a chore. I realize there are other meaningful concerns that probably flow into this decision, like the implications of having everyone zoom around in a game that’s attempting to create stakes with territory control and PvP, but this becomes harder and harder to ignore the more you play and get quests on opposite ends of your map. Forging ahead Based on the beta, New World is going to be an interesting but potentially niche addition to the current crop of MMORPGs. However, it seems to really serve players that want to play with small groups of friends for faction skirmishes and that are interested in greater territory control wars with big guild politics and all that. If you’re not interested in that kind of greater pursuit with plenty of social interaction and PvP, the PvE elements by themselves do not seem compelling enough to keep things rolling.  While I love the feeling of crafting my own stuff, slowly increasing the areas that I’m strong enough to explore, and fastidiously upping all my gathering and crafting skills, I can see those charms fading rapidly as the activities become somewhat rote. The dynamics involved in faction wars and territory control seem to be the peppy antidote for the never-ending rock farm in various undead shacks and homesteads. As with other games that lean into this kind of emergent gameplay (RIP Shadowbane), some of New World will be what players shape it into.
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    On a July 8 release sniper Elite VR sets its sights

    Your home, your family and everything you love lies in the path of a vast and brutal army. Will you pick up your rifle and stand against impossible odds to defend them? Rebellion, in partnership with Just Add Water and Coatsink, brings you a brand new addition to our multi-million selling Sniper Elite series. You will experience a powerful World War II story through the eyes of an Italian Partisan, rising with your brothers and sisters to protect your homeland from the fascist forces that threaten to destroy your homeland. Play Video We’ve designed Sniper Elite VR from the ground up as a VR exclusive game that retains the authenticity that the title is famous for and delivers a new perspective on our critically acclaimed sniping and stealth mechanics. The first and most important of these is the scope. The PlayStation VR Aim Controller really opened our eyes to how far we could go with the realism of using a sniper rifle. When you lift the Aim and steady yourself to fire, you find yourself holding your breath and squeezing the trigger slowly. It’s not just about playing the role of a sniper, it actually helps you to land that first shot on target. There were many technical challenges to overcome. It is, after all, adding a third camera to the rendering demands of the game. But, with some clever tricks assisted by the console’s horsepower, we’ve created the seamless, immersive and natural feeling of using a real, physical sniper scope. With the PS Move controllers, you’ll manually feed a new clip of ammo and action the bolt of a Carcano rifle or slap a fresh magazine into a Sten — or, if John Woo is more your style, dual-wield a pair of Colt 1911s. Sniper Elite’s defining signature moment is the iconic X-Ray cam. There was never any doubt that we would need to bring it to VR and that it would have to express all the punch and power of the original. It took a lot of fine tuning but I’m happy to report that we have succeeded. Like a lot of things in VR, you’ll have to see it for yourself before you believe it. Free movement is the third pillar of the Sniper Elite series. The tactical options that open up when you can pick your own path through the enemy, sneak to an overlook position or sprint for cover when things go loud demanded that we step away from the ‘on rails’ gameplay of some VR shooters. That has required that we support a suite of movement and comfort options. Sniper Elite VR allows you to customize many aspects of the movement system including free movement, single stick teleport and facing input and individual control over the position of inventory interact points and hand offsets. The combined VR development experience of the three studios working on Sniper Elite VR has been brought to bear to create an experience for players at all comfort level preferences without compromising the thrilling sensations of the gameplay. Rebellion is a strong believer in virtual reality as a platform for creating unique gaming experiences. We were part of the first group of studios to deliver a release title for PS VR with Battlezone Gold and the principles that informed the development of that game; that it should be a full AAA game that exploits the unique qualities of VR, remain true for Sniper Elite VR. If you’re a fan of the Sniper Elite series or are coming to it for the first time, you are going to get an explosive and exhilarating experience that will challenge you and keep you coming back for more. We can’t wait for you to get your hands on it!

    How Rebellion adapted Sniper Elite for PS VR

    It’s great to be here once again after the debut of our gameplay trailer for Sniper Elite VR! We’ve been working closely with our friends at Just Add Water to bring the Sniper Elite experience to VR. The idea of Sniper Elite in VR has always seemed a no-brainer (Kill Cam pun intended) but it’s taken a lot of hard work to make it a reality.   All that hard work has culminated in an authentic, thrilling World War 2 sniping experience for VR – one you’ve never experienced before. Check out that trailer below then read on for 7 things you need to know about Sniper Elite VR! Play Video 1.    All first-person Sniper Elite VR will be the first exclusively first-person entry in the Sniper Elite series. You’ll always be looking out of the eyes of the hero, whether you’re staring down the sights of your rifle or looking for the perfect vantage point for your next target. Sniper Elite VR is an immersive shooter experience that’s perfect for PlayStation VR. 2. Truly elite sniping The Sniper Elite series is renowned for offering the best sniping experience in gaming. Sniper Elite VR will live up to those high standards. We’ve got the best-in-class scope occlusion and zoom mechanics that feel extremely realistic. You’ll feel like you’re staring down the sights of a real sniper rifle. Sniper Elite VR offers a fantastic, thrilling test of your long-range skills.  3. Three control methods On PlayStation VR you’ll be able to play Sniper Elite VR in three different ways. For those who want to feel the weight of a rifle in their hands and the scope up against their eye, the PSVR Aim controller offers highly intuitive controls.  Or you can go with PS Move controllers and immerse yourself in the WW2 shooter experience. Use Move gestures to bring rifles to eye level, replace rounds, grab and throw grenades and more.  Finally, if you prefer a more traditional gaming experience, Sniper Elite VR fully supports DualShock too. Playing it feels great, whichever control method you choose.  4. Move the way you want to  We know different players prefer different ways to traverse landscapes in virtual reality. Sniper Elite VR offers both free movement and teleport movement options, and plenty of options to help ensure the game feels comfortable to play whether you’re seated or standing up. 5. Full single player campaign  Sniper Elite VR is designed to keep you entertained for many hours. The story campaign takes you to the heart of World War 2 and the same time period as featured in Sniper Elite 4. You are a new hero in a brand new story as you fight as part of the Italian Resistance against fascist occupation. Sniper Elite VR features 18 challenging missions across different scenarios and stunning backdrops. From firefights across the streets of picturesque Italian villages to chaotic bunker raids, we’ve got a very generous campaign on offer here. And Sniper Elite VR isn’t designed to be played just once. We offer additional challenges, mission rankings and more. So there’s that extra incentive if you want to take the Nazis down all over again.  6. Feature-full Sniper Elite gameplay  Sniper Elite fans will instantly recognize the core gameplay that they know and love from the series. You’ll be able to use sound masking, set traps, create distractions, and perform stealth and melee kills. You’ll set your sights on a variety of targets including front-line soldiers, officers, snipers, Jäger troopers, tanks and patrol boats. And as you progress through the campaign you’ll be able to master your weapons and fine-tune a diverse arsenal of WW2 armaments.  7. The Kill Cam returns, adapted for VR  One thing you won’t have seen in the gameplay trailer but you may be excited to learn: Sniper Elite VR delivers the iconic X-Ray Kill Cam, now adapted for virtual reality! We’re really proud of the work we’ve done to ensure it delivers that bone-shattering, organ-piercing drama in VR while remaining a completely comfortable experience – and, as ever, it’s a completely optional thing if it’s just not for you!  We know loads of you have been waiting very patiently for Sniper Elite VR. We’ve been working closely with our friends at Just Add Water in these extraordinary times to get it into your hands and onto your headsets. I hope to have more news for you about that soon so keep your eyes peeled! But most of all stay safe. 

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