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The Legend of Korra – New Screenshots & Game Mode Revealed

By BetaDaysUK

Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra animated TV series, a spin-off of the Avatar cartoon series, is popular with kids and adults alike (myself being one of those man-children), so many were quite happy to learn that uber-publisher Activision and Bayonetta makers Platinum Games were joining forces to make a fighting game set in this rich world.

As well as the game featuring a new third-person singleplayer story set between seasons 2 and 3 of the show, in a fresh batch of screenshots released today, Activision has revealed a new unique gameplay mode based on the series’ prominent sport, the fast-paced competitive action of Pro-Bending. In Pro-Bending two teams of three players each use the elemental ‘bending’ forces (fire, earth and water) to undertake a tug-of-war to seize territory and push one another off a floating battlefield. This new separate game can be unlocked after completing the singleplayer Story Mode for the first time.


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The Legend of Korra is available digitally via PSN for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, the Xbox Games Store on Xbox One and Xbox 360, and for Windows PC via Steam this October 22nd.

Source: Push-Start

    

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Get Ya Motor Running Again For More The Crew Closed Beta

By BetaDaysUK

Details are still light, but Ubisoft Canada have confirmed that racing game The Crew will be returning for a second closed beta session this August 25th. No mention of if it’ll be just PC again or available to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 but I’m certainly keen to hit that open road again before it launches later this year.

Check out our previous coverage with video and thoughts of the beta here. Those that didn’t get in last time should still sign-up here just in case.

The Crew will release for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One on November 11th in North America and the 14th across Europe.

Source: Push-Start

    

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Beta Preview: The Crew

By BetaDaysUK

We gamers have recently had a bit of a beta-test-fest! With every console owner seemingly searching Destiny‘s Cosmodrome, I had the chance to play the PC closed beta of Ubisoft’s (they hope) new franchise racing game, The Crew. I’d previously gotten hands on with it at last year’s Eurogamer Expo event at Earls Court London and at the time was, for the lack of a better word, underwhelmed by my experience. Despite being decidedly ‘Meh‘ the opportunity to see what progress had been made in the almost 12-months of additional development was too strong an urge. With the NDA lifted I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on its progress.

This last year has seen the release of a new generation of consoles and with it some tough decisions being made by Ubisoft to bump release dates, to create an upgraded experience showing off new tech and best take advantage of additional system power (which makes sen$e).

We had around a week to access the cars and races up-to level 10 in the story, which covers a relatively small section of the games overall geography.

I, along with many others judging by the forums and as expected with any beta, encountered many crashes and bugs. Some of which are typically minor niggles, while others are quite game killing and suitably frustrating. The decision for the game to be always online has meant at peak times or during maintenance, players have been unable to race and when you are in, you could expect crashes (the application more so than through vehicular accident). You’ll also see from the video later on in the post that I’d encountered some quite strange instances as well; such as a pre-race cinematic throwing the cars into the air (not a one-off) or a jump challenge in which I completely missed the ramp and despite this earned a gold achievement for simply driving over the landing markers …which I’m not complaining about. To the company’s credit however, on a daily basis Ubisoft were pushing out updates here and there to address many of the player’s feedback.

In the way that The Crew plays now verses in 2013? Little has changed. No new engine or massive graphical overhaul can be seen. At its beating heart it’s still an A-B-C racing game across different terrains with different classes of car and a narrative that drives the player progression forward. I did notice Ivory Tower and Ubisoft Reflections have gone to town on many of the back end features. Crew management (an under sold feature despite the games name) and the in-game interface appear a lot slicker, easier and intuitive to use. In fact a lot of the games social and mechanical options can be accessed and changed on the fly, even in the middle of a race.

The story, as I’ve been affectionately calling it, is “bobbins”. You play Alex a racer who is framed for murder, sent to prison and enlisted to go undercover in return for ….actually I’m not sure I recall! The story was the same as every other Driver/Need For Speed game previous and so inconsequential the details escape me.

As you do race you can, in traditional racing game territory, unlock and earn money (both cash and ‘crew’ points) to procure new cars, add-ons for your ride and story reputation that then unlocks even more events and challenges.

The racing as with the story is very standard. Check point racing, laps, chasing other cars, escape the police etc. have all been done many times before, and after couple of days playing I was getting decidedly tired by the experience and debated retiring early from the beta. Sure I could upgrade my car or do plenty of races, but I was getting bored of the streets of Detroit. The game was getting flaky and the town was packed bumper-to-bumper with other online racers all jostling/crashing around and it was starting to get frustrating. What I did next changed my whole view of the game:

I hit the open road.

I ignored my handler that I needed to gain “rep” in the town by racing other Vinny Diesal types. Instead I opened up the game map, picked a city on the GPS and set off. I selected Las Vegas which, as I didn’t realise at the time is around 2,000 miles away from my starting home of Detroit. The evening was getting late, but I thought “What the heck. It won’t take long for the monotony to get too much and I switch off”.

The journey took me through many sights, cities and towns and in around 60 minutes later (yes, in the real world I would of needed to be going 2000mph to achieve this) it was starting to get (in-game) dark and finally on the horizon I could see the bright flashing and strobing neon lights of Vegas. For the first time in playing the beta I found that I had fun, just by simply driving fast through the rough streets of Michigan, farmland Iowa, rocky Colorado before coming out of Utah to the flat Nevada desert and seeing Sin City in its digital glory. Once I hit the Strip, only a single additional racer could be seen in the whole town – a very nice German fellow. We exchanged a few broken English/German pleasantries over the in-game proximity based audio chat system and went our separate ways to explore some more.

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After another couple of hours of being reckless at speed in thick traffic I returned to the missions at hand with a better appreciate of the potential scope of what lay ahead of me. Visiting a few other cities, such as New York, again it dawned on me the amount of effort and potential the game has. It’s big. It’s REALLY big. And that’s what I’ve taken away from my experience of the beta. Not the bugs, or the generic racing, standard upgrading progress and generic story – but the potential.

When the game is released, or if another beta comes out, I urge you to get organised with friends and hold your own Cannonball Run event (or Gumball Rally for you young kids) across the length of virtual-‘merica. Due to the compressed time/distance/speed the game utilises, it’ll only take around 90 minutes to navigate and you’ll have some real fun.

In summary the beta was suitably bumpy and buggy, but I’ve decided I’m invested. Now I just need to get a crew to play with!

The Crew will release for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One on November 11th in North America and the 14th across Europe.

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Source: Push-Start

    

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New Firefall Gameplay Trailer Lands To Celebrate …Er… Launch

By BetaDaysUK

Red 5 Studios’ Firefall has been in development now for a few years (announced in 2010) and gone through a lengthy closed and open beta. This week sees the sci-fi set classed based massively multiplayer open-world shooters official launch to the world. To celebrate in the traditional sense, the developer/publisher has released a shiny launch trailer to educate and entice gamers to the Firefall universe and explain what it’s all about.

For more info on the game, visit the official Firefall website or download from Steam for free now.

Source: Push-Start

    

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Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms Dev Diaries

By BetaDaysUK

bitComposer and Slovakia based developers Games Farm have released a couple of developer diaries for Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms. The singleplayer action-RPG currently on Steam’s Early Access has been generating some positive buzz since launch middle of last month. In the game players take control of a demon that swallows the souls of the dead to bring them back to fight as his puppets, allowing you to control your party of characters across two worlds at the same time.

Part one of the developer diary features Peter Nagy, head of the studio, who talks about the worlds back story, the first chapter of the game and introduces the main protagonists and how they interact with both the real and shadow world.

The second part of the diary consists of an interview with narrative designer Chris Bateman who gives a general introduction to chapter 1 of Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms and a new Travelogue.

Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms is available now on Steam Early Access with a full release expected by the end of 2014. Stay tuned for our preview of the game soon.

Source: Push-Start

    

Two Outlaws For Price Of One! Secret Ponchos Includes Giftable 2nd Copy!

By BetaDaysUK

Early adopters of Switchblade Monkeys’ stylised PvP wild west shooter Secret Ponchos have had a lot of fun in the five weeks it’s been available via Steam Early Access. With what’s been dubbed as “Phase 1” by the developers coming to an end soon, for a limited time they’d like to thank the players who have already purchased (or those that do purchase the game before August 5th) by offering an additional copy that can be then gifted to a friend, family member, loved one …or bitter nemesis! This gift will appear in your Steam inventory and will allow the lucky recipient to unlock the current Early Access version and eventual full release title when launched.

Check out our preview coverage of the game here, and join the developers every Saturday on Twitch for live tournaments, community Q&A’s, reveals of new content and more. Secret Ponchos is now available on Steam Early Access with a PlayStation 4 version to be released later this year.

Source: Push-Start

    

Mazda Vs. Merc Vs. Weather In New World Of Speed Trailer

By BetaDaysUK

A new gameplay trailer has hit the interwebs today from My.com and dev’s Slightly Mad Studios (Project Cars) showing us its work in progress for the free-to-play MMO arcade racing game World of Speed. The video features the games digital representation of the Mazda RX-7 and Mercedes Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution battling it out around London (you may spot some recognisable landmarks) and in Blighty’s suitably drab weather conditions.

World of Speed will release this year, though no exact release date has been given as of yet. Those interested in taking part in the closed beta can sign-up here.

Source: Push-Start

    

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Preview: Secret Ponchos – Early Access (PC)

By BetaDaysUK

What’s your head worth?

Secret Ponchos is a competitive twin-stick shoot-out fest with MOBA styling’s set in taking in an isometric Old West world. Developed and published by the small studio of Switchblade Monkeys the game was announced at PAX East in 2013 then formed part of Sony’s PlayStation 4 press conference at E3 the same year. Since then the game has received a lot of interest and now this wagon rolls into PC via Steams Early Access initiative.

Pick a miscreant from four characters, partner up with another player to create a gang, albeit a small one, then head out to the digital frontier to find another like-minded couple and do them more harm than they can do to you in the time that’s allowed.

The game plays much like an online battle arena title as the classes selected play an important part of the game. Each of the characters posse has a unique trait, weapon and play-style. The four currently available are: ‘The Killer‘; a balanced all-rounder with medium range and movement speed with a six shooter and a throwing knife. ‘Kid Red‘; who’s a quick lad but deals light damage however does have a mean arm to throw sticks of TNT! ‘The Deserter‘ has better range, but slower rate of fire/movement but carries a deployable medic bag, then finally the ‘The Phantom Poncho‘. The mysterious Phantom uses a double barrel shotgun and is a lethal whip wielder able to stun at a good range.

Like Team Fortress 2 (a game the developers have stated as an influence), the title plays the most fun when understanding your buddies and baddies abilities because working effectively with your cohort will win the duel-duel (double-duel?). Playing as the ‘Phantom Poncho’ for example you’re able to use your whip to snare or stun the enemy while a ‘Deserter’ class can then impale an opponent dealing an impressive 1-2 of massive damage. This is not a game to play lone wolf – unless the match making is broken …which it is from time-to-time.

On the subject of bugs the game is still in it’s “Early Access” cycle so as you would expect it has some stability issues and as well as absent features. The game will crash out from time-to-time or you’ll encounter ‘quirks’ – such as if you’re in the lobby on your own you can force the match to start with just your character leaving you to wonder the badlands on your lonesome.

Three maps are available to duke it out in. This is quite a small amount, but each does offer a different scale, style and are well crafted enough to allow for plenty of choke points or spots to hide and ambush an opponent using the cover, such as behind barrels and walls. These items are however destructible so you do have to pick and choose your hideout wisely. Although a player’s health doesn’t regenerate, around the map, you’ll also have access to random pick-ups that spawn (along with other perks).

At the end of the round, doing well in a match allows you to level up and to increase a characters reputation/notoriety. This progression results in points to spend on boosting the base stats and abilities of your character (movement speed, fire rate etc).

The Good

Graphically Secret Ponchos is slick and polished. The characterisations are amazingly animated, look detailed and have a fun Gorillaz-esq style to them. Levels and environments are created with a lot of care and attention to detail. Touches like bottles on tables in the saloon can be shot/knocked are small, but add to the overall feel. Aurally the music is a real highlight with selection of distinctive western style melodies that are both catchy and memorable. The four characters are also well balanced towards each other and give a solid learning curve that when you proficient prove complementarily to your duelling partnership and to be feared.

Currently the game has no keyboard and mouse support, but thankfully the game works really well with a twin-stick controller (either Xbox 360 or DualShock game pads). Controls are responsive and layout is intuitive/easy to pick up and play after only a few minutes of game time.

The Bad

The biggest issue, and one I completely understand how it has occurred, is that the game doesn’t have enough bodies playing, making its matchmaking at ‘off-peak’ times decidedly difficult. When you do manage to play, the only team sizes are 2-vs-2 and in addition having only one flavour of game mode available, Domination, does tend to make things go stale shortly. Four playable characters and three maps, as wonderful as they are to play and look at, are too few to allow you to get stuck in or hold your attention for any duration. If you do wish to hone your skills away from real people, the offline practice mode consists of a measly match against constant respawning lifeless and stationary opponents. This brings us on to….

The Ugly

The unattractive truth is that Secret Ponchos is a toothless prospector; the game is missing a lot but knows where the gold is! Players will need to be patient before we can finally hit pay dirt.

Number 1 on the Wanted list has got to be increasing the team sizes. Four players (2 vs. 2) is simply not enough. Next new characters and game modes are also needed. Stable mates of any such game of this ilk should include free-for-all or even some sort of capture the flag/objectives are needed. The maps I also feel should be more interactive and have elements that can be used against your opponents – such as TNT crates that explode, or some sort of hunters traps that stun.

After this the top priority for the devs should be adding AI and then using them to craft s a singleplayer experience with a narrative (as these characters are crying out for a back story or an adventure) or even better still co-operative mode with you and a buddy, Butch and Sundance against the ‘horde’ of desperado’s.

Options are woefully missing from the menu for the basic and usual technical titbits you’d expect from a PC game. No interface exists for changing the screen resolution; this is instead managed via a keyboard combination, nor an option to even quit out of the game at the time of writing.

It appears although not implemented that eventually you’ll be able to see how you stack up against your internet brethren in official league tables. At the moment the Leaderboard to check your standings against other players, ‘Blood Bets’, gang management and an Online Store for what appears to be character customisation lead to nowhere.

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Verdict

So what does the future hold for Secret Ponchos? Well although Switchblade Monkeys have confirmed very little of a development timeline, they have said that many of the wish list (maps, modes, AI and even split-screen etc) are coming to the game at launch. Two more characters are due. A lady Matador appears in promotional material who is seen to be lightning fast, but has to utilise melee attacks only, and the other being teased by the development team is a “Trapper” (whom I envisage as a brawler Davy Crocket type fellow) who they hint at will be able to lay suitable ambushes for other dastardly outlaw types. As well as new characters and more maps are mentioned throughout development and more post launch to expand the universe they’ve created.

Secret Ponchos is not a bad game. It’s not an overly buggy game. It’s just a very early release of something that could be amazing. For the money and its status I’m not expecting League of Legends or Team Fortress, but at this moment it just has too few ways for you to die in the Old West. The game is paper thin, but on that paper it has jotted down some good ideas, created some wonderfully presented art work and a detailed treasure map for its planned journey ahead.

Those that are keen to get in on the ground floor of a new game, work with the developers to find bugs and perfect character balance will be appreciated, however if you are looking for something you can get your teeth into you most definitely will want to wait.

Secret Ponchos is available now on PC Steam Early Access with a full release for both PC and PlayStation 4 coming “this fall”.

Source: Push-Start

    

Teaser & (VERY) Early Look At Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade

By BetaDaysUK

Like an intergalactic transport ship, you wait for ages and two come along! Earlier we reported that Focus Home Interactive would be releasing an FPS title set in the Games Workshop’s universe called Space Hulk: Deathwing and now we can see some new footage for another Warhammer 40k game, but this time it’s a free-to-play 3rd-person, PvP-focused Action-MMORPG from Behaviour Interactive called Warhammer 40,000 : Eternal Crusade. To be honest as you can see from the work in progress videos the game is in its very very early alpha stages at the moment, but it certainly does have potential I think!

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade sees players selecting one of four factions to fight others for control of an open and persistent world. Claiming territories via these battles earns you the right to customize and improve characters via a progression system said to be drawn from Warhammer 40,000 lore. Engage at range in vehicles or go fight with the hand-to-hand trademark Chainswords.

A Space Hulk size of more early alpha footage can be viewed at the official YouTube channel. For more information on the game or if you wish to purchase a founders pack, visit the official website.

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade is being developed for PC, Mac, and SteamOS to release late 2015 (although they note they are also planning on releasing the game for next-gen consoles).

Source: Push-Start

    

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First Trailer For New FPS Title, Space Hulk: Deathwing

By BetaDaysUK

Today is a good day for fans of Storm Bolters and Power Fists! If you’re not a fan of these or think they are some sort of devices purchased from Ann Summers, you may not be interested to know that a new title set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe is being developed by Streum On and published by Focus Home Interactive and co-produced with Cyanide Studio.

Space Hulk: Deathwing is a first person shooter that puts you in charge of a ‘Librarian of the Deathwing‘. Now to be clear, these are not your usual ‘shushy’ people found in your local book depository – these are power armour wearing chaps and mean serious business. Don’t believe me? Just check out the beautiful Unreal Engine 4 in-game début trailer below:

No release date has been announced for Space Hulk: Deathwing, but expect it to release sometime this year for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Source: Push-Start