Category Archives: Gaming

Fallout 4 Mods Are Coming This Week So What Should You Download for PS4?

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Settlement ‘clean up’ mods are a must have for Fallout 4 camp builders.

Mods are finally coming for Fallout 4 on PS4!  Bethesda confirmed today (17/11) that an update patch for consoles that is due ‘later this week’ will contain the mods for PS4 consoles to go live.

 

Creative modders have been busy building mods for PS4 in the last two weeks since mods began appearing on Bethesda’s official website.  Even with the massive limitations imposed by Sony that specifically strip any form of real modding customization by not allowing anything that uses external assets or scripts, there are currently 151 mods (and that number is building daily) ready to go for users when mods finally go live this week.

So what mods should you download?  Check out my list of recommended ones below!

CLOTHING/PLAYER MODS

UCO: Unified Clothing Overhaul by AndrewCX. |  With the lack of external assets allowed in the game it means custom outfit pieces will never be available to PS4 users.  With this UCO mod, users will be able to  upgrade all armor/clothes/hats/helmets/bandanna’s and glasses, layer more armor pieces over more clothes and color swap the appearance of clothing/armor & raider power armor among other options.

UCO Pipboy Color Swap Enabler by AndrewCX. |  This mod enables users to change the color of their players pipboy by offering 59 different colors and patterns to use.  There are some special instructions to follow to ensure this mod works.

Ultimate Vault Attire by Guidion | This mod allows users to craft and mod vault jumpsuits, vault tech armor and scientist outfits.  Ballistic weave, vault numbers, legendary effects and suit linings can also be altered when crafting.

Waste Anchorage Hairstyle by TheRealElianora |  This will probably be the only ‘hair mod’ PS4 users will ever get.  This new hairstyle combines the “Waste Maiden” with the “Anchorage” hairstyle and is available for both genders.

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Elianora’s Companion Overhaul Mod is a must get mod!

The Companions Enhanced by The RealElianora | Players using this mod will see companions (Piper, Curie and Cait) enhanced with a new look and added buffs for their weapons.  An update for Mama Murphy is also included.

NPC Pipboys for PS4 by Batta0909 | Small mod that makes pipboys usable by companions and settlers.  They have no actual use and cannot be used by the player but adds to the overall effect if building settlements within a bunker/vault.

 SETTLEMENT MODS

Clean and Smooth Settlements by Okie1682| For those like me who have completed the game and are focusing on settlement building, Okie1682 is releasing his ‘clean and smooth’ settlement mods that basically strip the settlement of all debris and junk, tress and foliage, rebuilds broken benches and some buildings – basically, it leaves a blank canvas ready for building and the best bit, this mod should work on pre-existing game saves though Okie1682 has noted that buildings and items may appear to be floating in areas where the ground has been smoothed out on your game save but a it’s easy enough to scrap and rebuild.  So far, the following settlements cleaned up include:

Starlight Drive-in | Egret Tours Marina | Sanctuary Hills | Somerville Place | with more to come!

Settlement Resource Alignment by Race4it2 | This little mod improves resources for selected water pumps  (Water Purifier now 100 water units) , small generator (300 power) and tato plant (6 food) and increases the length of copper wiring from 500 to 5000.

GoodNeighbour Player Home by Tony1912 | This mod introduces a multi-level player home within the walls of GoodNeighbour.  Located Next to the Third Rail this ex apartment offers a workshop with all build functions plus power. There’s fast travel too and from this location. 4 Balconies,  no clutter – just move in and build!

Settlement Build Budget x10 by AndrewCX | A great mod that increases the build budget of all settlements to 10 times their default values.  The only downside is this mod will not work on save games and will only work on a new play through – which AndrewCX notes is down to modding restrictions placed by Sony.

Prisoner Shackles by mlucke | This fun mod takes the shackles used by the disciples in Nuka World and makes them available to your settlements.  Includes a prisoner mat that come with various poses, a craftable shock collar and cages.

Wild Plants and Alcohol for Settlements by 3lric | This mod brings in a massive selection of wild plants found in the commonwealth and make them available to transport into your settlements.  Includes plants like Wild Melon, Wild Mutfruit, Wild Tarberry and HubFlower along with a range of planters and a massive selection of craftable alcohol via the cooking stations.

CHEATS

Cheat Container by Vicyorus | A must for any player, the cheat container is a small tool box located outside each and every settlement and contains 60,000 units of each building component.  This, at the moment, does not re-spawn but there are load instructions on how to get these to refill.

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ArougueModder’s Oil Rig Player Home Mod

Workbench Anywhere by AndrewCX | This mod allows users the create a “Spawn Beacon – Workshop Workbench” that can be used like a grenade to spawn a workshop workbench anywhere in the game world.  This mod is heavily restricted though and only seems to work on locations that have been ‘cleared’ but will not form part of

Get All Perks by mttprc11 | As it states, unlocks all perks within the game and also includes a standard riffle with 9999 ammo, 9999 stimpacks and 99999 caps.  As it’s untested, author notes this may not work on existing game saves.

MISC

Oil Rig Player Home by ArogueModder | This massive structure will appear on your pipboy after installing as ‘oil rig’ and is a playable home with Workshop, Navmesh, Map Markers and a Vertibird Landing Pad.  ArogueModder notes that this will disable map boarders on your game.

Limited Minutemen Quests by Chucksteel | This much needed mod reduces the number of quests Preston can give you at once from three to one.  No new quest will be offered until the current one has been completed!

As noted above, mods are coming thick and fast and will change the way you play Fallout 4.  Are there any specific mods you are looking forward to?  Something that should be on this list?  Sound off in the comments section!

The Nintendo Classic Mini is here in Australia but Getting one isn’t that easy.

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The Nintendo Classic Console

The very retro and very anticipated Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System hit Australia this morning but good luck finding one for retail price as they are already at a sold out status.

Target Australia’s website are directing customers Nintendo’s Facebook page for more info about the sold out status (where customers are complaining some stores only had 10 consoles in stock for sale) while BigW Australia’s website has crashed due to overwhelming demand.

Customers were able to place pre-orders for the classic console from as early as July this year.

So now it’s sold out, the question begs is there another shipment?  The simple answer is YES but it’s a very open yes.  Nintendo have confirmed another shipment is due our way “sometime in early December” and that’s it.  No word on exactly when or how many units are coming our way or when we can start placing pre orders for the new console.

The retro inspired classic mini features 30 classic games from Bubble Bobble to Super Mario Brothers 1, 2 and 3 and Double Dragon 2 among a list full of fan favorites.

For those who can’t wait until the next shipment can always hit eBay where scalpers currently have their $99 classic console listed for as high as $1300!

UPDATE: Monday Nov 14th.

EB games Australia, it appears, are doing daily pre-order runs via their website for the insanely popular console.  Today’s first run saw the ‘undisclosed’ amount sold out within minutes and crashing their website leaving many many customers frustrated with the lack of preparation by the company.

  As of this post, EB’s website is noting another batch will be available for pre-order tomorrow from midday AEDT but as noted, there’s no disclosure about how many consoles are actually available for the pre-order.  For those trying to find those elusive extra controllers, EB have noted that they are still awaiting news of another shipment and that they have none currently available in stock.

In response to the backlash, EB released a statement noting for today’s pre-order, they had increased their server space to account for 30,000 people – twice as much as the norm and for tomorrow, they’ll double that again for 60,000 people.  The bottom of the statement reads “Stock for this item will be extremely limited”.

Fallout 4 Mods for PS4 have Began to Appear on Bethesda Website

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Unlock Ballistic Weave Mod by AndrewCX is live on the PS4 Mods page

The latest patch update to Fallout 4 (released today on PC and coming soon to consoles) includes an update to Bethesda’s Creation Kit which now offers mod support for PS4 mods.  The expectation is that the next scheduled update will finally include mods to be opened for PS4 users playing Fallout 4.

The previously stated restrictions involving no external assets and minimal mod storage space are still in effect though as of this post there are currently 29 mods available for the PS4 (that number raised by 5 in the 10 minutes since I began writing this post) that will be available for when mods go live.

The small mod storage space on PS4 consoles shouldn’t be too worrisome for players as the current “no external assets” restrictions currently in place mean available mods shouldn’t be much larger than a few MB each.

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Mods for PS4 Fallout and coming quick and fast

The current listed mods include the hugely popular “cheat container” that offers players a small toolbox in Sanctuary full of 10,000 units of each building component (plants not included), an “unlock ballistic weave” mod for those (myself included) who encountered a bug with Tinker Tom not offering ballistic weave for clothing items after completing Railroad tasks or for those who did not side with the Railroad.

The “Beantown Interiors Project” has been ported to PS4 as well which opens up 30 buildings in Concord, Jamaica Plains and Hyde Park, among others, that have been boarded up and inaccessible to players and Elianora’s “Waste Anchorage” hairstyle mod along with her “Tweaks and Fixes all-in-one” mod and “Companion Appearance Overhaul” mods are live too.

Those worried about the lack of external assets affecting the amount of mods coming to Fallout 4 need only take a look at the current list of Skyrim mods for PS4 which is currently sitting at over 750 listed mods.  Granted these mods will never reach the same customization offered to Xbox One and PC users.

Mods for PS4 users playing Fallout 4 are due later this month.

Fallout 4 + Skyrim Mods coming to PS4 in Limited Capacity

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It’s a sucky time to be a PS4 console owner, even more so if you’re one who was expecting mod support for Fallout 4 and Skyrim.  The battle of mod support between Bethesda Studios and Sony had become such an epic pile of shit that neither side were offering reasonable answers as to why mods were cancelled for PS4 users in the first place.  Sony literally kept tight lipped on the topic, Bethesda placed the target sign on Sonys back while PC and Xbox users reveled in the mass amount of mods available for Fallout 4 and the soon to be released Skyrim Special Edition.

Now it seems the two sides have found a ‘reasonable’ common ground that will actually see mod support come to PS4 users for Skyrim when the game releases October 28th and then later on for Fallout 4 players – but – it’s not going to be in the same capacity that PC and Xbox One users have been graced with.

“Mod support will come to Skyrim first,” Bethesda explained today in a blog post. “We and Sony have worked hard to make this possible. Mods on PlayStation 4 will allow you to modify and create your own content by using our Creation Kit available here. You will not be able to upload external assets with your PlayStation 4 mods, but you will be able to use any assets that come with the game, as most mods do. By creating a Bethesda.net account, you’ll be able to browse and try mods right from within the game.”

“You will not be able to upload external assets” is the bad words in the above statement that heaps another pile of crap onto an already big pile of crap for PS4 owners.  What this means is that unless the mod comes from a vanilla base that already exists within Skyrim and Fallout 4, it can’t be ported to the PS4 which ultimately kills a large bulk of mods from settlement additions, outfits, hair options and power armor mods that currently exist and use custom created content.  It will be interesting to see if anyone creates anything decent and worthwhile porting into the game with the vanilla bases available.

Oh and lastly, word has it, unlike Xbox’s 2gb mod storage limit, PS4 users are being awarded 900mb of mod space.

So one now has to wonder – what’s the point of allowing mods at this late stage if it is going to be so greatly limited? Is it so Bethesda remains true to their word that Skyrim Special Edition and Fallout 4 got their mods?

How much is an Xbox One these days?

Update 21/10/16

Bethesda finally went about and released some further notes about mod space for Skyrim Special Edition on ps4 and Xbox One consoles when the game drops on October 28th.  Once again, Xbox One is coming up on top with a whopping 5GB limit compared to PS4’s 1GB.  This compares to the previously announced 900MB cap for PS4 consoles for fallout 4 mods.

Why the space difference?  All comes down to external assets.  As Sony is refusing mods that require them, the range of mods will be much smaller and will not require much space within the PS4 console while Microsoft’s Xbox One has been more than open to allowing mods that use them.

There is still no official word on when mods will hit for PS4 users playing Fallout 4.

Fallout 4 Mods for PS4 Officially Scrapped…..For Now.

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“Zella’s Dyed Wigs” are just one of many mods currently available for Fallout 4 on PC and XBox 1

PS4 owners currently playing Bethesda’s Fallout 4 (including myself) have been patiently waiting since its release back in November 2015 for any news of mod support coming to fruition for their console versions of the game.  The official word from Bethesda was that June 2016 will see, for the first time ever, official mods coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox 1 users playing Fallout 4.

It was exciting news for console users as the range of mods that had been available for PC versions of most Fallout games, that included everything from texture improvements, new settlement build items, body modifications, new hair textures, outfits, weapons – even changing seasons….were finally coming to consoles and would virtually make the experience of Fallout a brand new one that would look as however we determined it to.

June came and passed and it’s now early September and Xbox 1 users are now reveling in mods for the game while it seems PS4 users have been left out in the rain and may never actually see mods at all and according to Bethesda, it’s not on their behalf.

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Mods can drastically alter the way the original game of Fallout 4 looked and felt.

On their official site, Bethesda announced they are halting their fight to get mods out for PS4 users because Sony won’t come to the game.  The statement reads:

“After months of discussion with Sony, we regret to say that while we have long been ready to offer mod support on PlayStation 4, Sony has informed us they will not approve user mods the way they should work: where users can do anything they want for either Fallout 4 or Skyrim Special Edition.

Like you, we are disappointed by Sony’s decision given the considerable time and effort we have put into this project, and the amount of time our fans have waited for mod support to arrive. We consider this an important initiative and we hope to find other ways user mods can be available for our PlayStation audience. However, until Sony will allow us to offer proper mod support for PS4, that content for Fallout 4 and Skyrim on PlayStation 4 will not be available.

We will provide an update if and when this situation changes.”

As it reads, this news will also affect the hugely anticipated Skyrim Special Edition release that is also being flogged as offering mods to PS4 users.  It appears the breakdown between Bethesda and Sony comes in the form of not enough mod storage space (900mb for PS4 to 2GB for XBox 1), sound file support and texture issues with PC to console modding.  It also seems Bethesda’s approach to mods “where users can do anything they want” isn’t sitting too well with Sony either.

And to kick us PS4 Fallout players while we’re down, The development team on Farming Simulator 17 have confirmed that mods will be playable on the PS4 version of the game from the day of release.  Don’t ask me why this is happening but not for Fallout 4!

I wonder how much an XBox 1 costs these days?

 

Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance Bundle Goes Live For PS4

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Classic console game series Marvel Ultimate Alliance has been given a re-birth as Activision and Marvel bring the classic series to next gen consoles but it’s not all good news as fans balk at the costly price.

Boasting one of the biggest rosters ever seen in any Marvel based game, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and it’s follow-up Ultimate Alliance 2 have been brought to next gen consoles allowing old fans to replay the classic games and new fans the chance to finally play those games not available on current consoles.  The first Marvel Ultimate Alliance features 22 playable characters including Captain America, Black Panther, Storm and The Invisible Woman and included more than 140 iconic Marvel characters such as Psylocke, Winter Soldier and Loki spread across its story.  Players can customize and upgrade their squad of heroes in the single-player campaign, co-op and competitive online and local multiplayer for up to four players.

It’s successor, 2009’s Ultimate Alliance 2 followed the Marvel Civil War story line and included an impressive roster similar to the games first outing.

From Executive Producer Mike Jones, “The team did work really hard on improving performance, some UI and graphic enhancements as well as making the games compatible with modern platform features.” Jones adds that the games “play really smooth.”                                                                                                                                                                                                 Upon original release, both games included DLC that included extra characters, alternate outfits and comic missions but since the bundle’s release, it’s been noted the DLC that was part of Ultimate Alliance is missing while UA2 does include the DLC.  It’s a bit of a kick in the face for fans who weren’t told about this prior to purchasing the bundle.

Speaking of which, both games, currently available on the Aussie PSN store can be bought separate for $50 each (yes $50 per game!!!) or as a bundle for $60.  While most are excited about seeing the games available on their next gen console, the high price point on decade old games – some of which are missing dlc – is another misstep.

 

 

 

The Marvel Ultimate Alliance bundle is available for PS4 and PC now and is set for a July 28th release on Xbox 1

Fallout 4 DLC Content Calendar Revealed

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Fallout 4 DLC has been announced

News on Fallout 4 DLC has been pretty scarce since the games release late last year and while we knew it was coming, just how much was coming and what we would get was being kept a surprise but yesterday, Bethesda let the cat out of the bag and let us all in on what’s to come.

In an update on their blog, Bethesda revealed the first wave of DLC content, announced a price hike for season passes and confirmed that mods were in fact on their way.

The first of the three announced DLC packs titled Automatron (March 2016 release) will see players hunting the wasteland for evil robots that have been released by the mysterious Mechanist. As players go about finding and destroying these robots, we’ll be able to harvest parts and build and mod our own custom robots that we can assign as companions. From Bethesda: “Choose from hundreds of mods; mixing limbs, armor, abilities, and weapons like the all-new lightning chain gun. Even customize their paint schemes and choose their voices!

The second DLC titled Wasteland Workshop (April 2016 release) will see players literally hunting and taming their own wasteland creatures. Raiders to Mirelurks to Deathclaws, players will be able to tame them or set them off in battle against each other. The second part of this DLC looks to address one of the games biggest and most interactive features of settlement building (which I have come to love) and will include a stack of new settlement design options including additional lighting, letter kits and more.

The third and final DLC release is the biggest and most promising of the lot, titled Far Harbor (May 2016 release) is a full game add-on that will see players taking on a new case from Valentine’s Detective Agency to find a missing woman that will see you travel to the coast of Maine to the mysterious island of Far Harbor, where higher levels of radiation have created a more feral world. An unrest has evolved between the townspeople, the synths and the children of the Atom and it’s your responsibility to find this missing woman while trying to evoke peace between the factions.

Bethesda is promising this third DLC will be the biggest landmass add-on they’ve ever created, filled with “new faction quests, settlements, lethal creatures and dungeons. Become more powerful with new, higher-level armor and weapons. The choices are all yours.”

While only three DLC announcements have been made, Bethesda are promising much much more is on it’s way and have therefore upped the season pass plan from US$29.99 to $49.99 (£24.99 to £39.99 GBP; $49.95 to $79.95 AUD). For users who have already bought the season pass, you guys are set and no further charges will be given. Those not yet with the season pass will still be able to nab the cheaper pass up until Feb 29th when the price increases on March 1st 2016.

Beyond this announcement, Bethesda have also announced beta testing for these new DLC packs will be open to players who have joined their Bethesda.net website (registration is still open) and those lucky enough to be given the option of playing the beta’s will also be able to level up and keep their stats as they progress.

Bethesda are still working on the highly anticipated ‘creation kit’ modding tool for PC and console users.

For all the info on the upcoming DLC packs click here

More Info Released on Black Ops 3 Character Customizations

As previously confirmed, female soldiers will be playable in both multiplayer and campaign modes
As previously confirmed, female soldiers will be playable in both multiplayer and campaign modes

It’s been some time since the Call of Duty Black Ops 3 Beta was released and we all got to see a small glimpse of just what Treyarch has in stall for the newest installment of the first person shooter series.  With less an a month to go before the full game drops, some more information about the customization in both multiplayer and campaign mode has come to light.

Related Topic: First good and bad impressions of Black Ops 3 

Treyarch’s game design director David Vonderhaar recently confirmed that yes, customization is coming to multiplayer..

The tweet was quickly followed up with a screen shot showcasing the customization screen…

Here, we can see head, body and showcase weapon options with ‘variants’ listed in between each category – no word yet on what that entails – plus a taunts and gestures option included.

When it comes to campaign mode, players WILL be able to play as either a male or female soldier and will also have the ability to customize this character which will also transfer into cut scenes.  Check it out in the video below (3:10 mark) which shows the option to change gender, head and body load outs.

While not as in-depth as Advanced Warfare, the customization options offered up so far do mean that the clone-experience we all went through in the beta will not be happening in the full game!

Call of Duty Black Ops 3 will be available on November 6th for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC. For the first time ever in the series, the game also features a 4 player campaign for PC and current generation consoles.

Hands On Look at Star Wars Battlefront: The Good and The Dark Side

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Just one of the many randomly generated characters in the STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ Beta

Star Wars fans unite as the playable beta for the soon-to-be-released Battlefront game is now open for play and it’s FREE for all PS4, Xbox1 and PC users!  While I may not be the biggest star wars fan, I am fond of the series and what it has to offer to both cinemas and gaming and by the looks of it, both are set to make a big impact on fans.

The free playable beta straight up offers three modes of play – a ‘survival’ mode on tatooine that can either be played solo or with a friend in co-op that has you as a rebel fighter going up against hoards of storm troopers, shock troopers and AT-TE’s.  There’s also two multiplayer modes open for play with ‘drop zone’ that is basically a zone wars game and the larger scale ‘walker assault’ which pits rebel soldiers against storm troopers, AT-AT’s, player controlled tie fighters, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

Of the three game modes, it’s the ‘walker assault’ that’s the biggest draw card showcasing a ridiculously large free-roam map with a total of 40 players within a single game.  For the most part, I found myself splitting my time between the two multiplayer maps enjoying both game modes equally.

That said, the beta is not without it’s problems even though the game will appeal to both star wars fans and first person shooter fans.

THE GOOD

*The graphics are just insane.  Like crazy insane.  The snowy, rocky landscape featured in Hoth’s ‘walker attack’ is crisp and lush and textured while the reddish and brooding terrain on Sullust in ‘drop zone’ is equally stunning.  From steaming sinkholes to snow capped mountains, DICE have truly created a beautiful looking game.  Even when in a 20v20 game of Walker Attack, everything is incredibly detailed and sparse and visual.

*Game play is incredibly smooth.  All three game modes available, while mostly standardized within multiplayer games, feel new and fresh and make use of the entire map.  Weapons don’t feel over powered and the bonus cycler rifle is a personal favorite weapon.

*Servers ran well and so far have had no issue with getting kicked out of a game, lagging or even finding a game.  Even the ability to join friends in the same lobby was pretty pain free thanks to the size of the games.

*The multiplayer hub is a neat idea that allows users -while waiting for a game to start – to customize either their star card hands (more on that later) choose their weapons or customize their player without the worry of being ported into a starting game without saving any changes.  Once ready, you can then jump straight into the game and continue on the fight for good…or evil, though don’t linger for too long as there is a limit of being idle before being booted from the server.

*Customization, while not a feature in the beta, will be open upon the games full release and will include male and female characters.  Storm trooper customization will be limited (no pink and purple storm troopers in this game!) but there is an option to remove the helmet and customize your players head/face.  Rebel soldier customization will be more generous in what it has to offer.

*The game feels like it’s Star Wars.  And in general, that’s what fans want.  Battlefront doesn’t feel like a rip-off or even sub-par, it feels like what we’ve known and loved for all these years.

STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ Multiplayer lobby
STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ Multiplayer lobby

THE BAD

*The Star Cards your player holds ultimately decide what ‘accessories’ your player holds.  From thermal detonators to sniper rifles to jump packs, each one offers the ability to change up game play.  The downside is that at any given time, you can only hold two cards, though I’ve seen some players with three, and it feels limiting to what you can allow your character to start with.

*The blasters are a great addition to the game and the four available in the beta flow across both troopers and rebel soldiers – but, there are no options for add-ons.  No scopes, no grenades, no quick-cool-down feature.  I guess this would keep things pretty even between teams but once again, feels limiting to what one could do when the game starts.

*Walker Attack is a fantastic game mode – when you’re selected to play on the side of the empire.  The only major downside of this mode is that it’s so one sided with the rebels attempting to outrun the empire and their AT-AT’s and AT-ST’s to stop the assault with coordinated airstrikes via controlled satellites that of the 15 or so games I played, the rebels won just once.

For any damage to be done to the massive AT-AT’s, the rebels must control two uplink points at once to call in a friendly attack but when it’s rebels vs empire troopers and walker vehicles…it all becomes too difficult and one sided.

*Spawning, as per the norm, was a nightmare.  With such massive maps, getting killed only to respawn literally in the middle on nowhere kills the momentum, especially when you have to run to the opposite side of the map just to catch up with other players who found themselves in the same situation.  The flip side is finding the enemy spawning directly behind or even beside you in random sporadic moments of wtf?!.

For what’s on offer in the beta, Battlefront actually impressed me to a point where i’m actually excited to see the whole game once it’s released and finally make the decision to add it to my list of pre-orders.  For EA and DICE, I think they achieved what they set out to make – a game that feels true to the Star Wars status.

First Good and Bad Impressions of Treyarch’s Black Ops 3

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Top scorers post game lobby is a nice new addition!

Yesterday, Treyarch’s Black Ops 3 beta access opened to PlayStation 4 users worldwide (with an access code) offering players the chance to get their teeth into the bare bones of the game before it releases in full in early November.  Upon first impressions, Black Ops 3 destroys the abomination that was Advanced Warfare and offers up a sturdy modern throwback to the ground based warfare we had come to love with the first person shooter series.

My first experience with this beta didn’t go off to a good start however with a corrupt install followed by an extra agonizing 7 hour wait for the 12gig file to download.  Thankfully, past that, my issues with the game were relatively minor (paintshop refused to work, matchmaking/server issues) compared to others who have been experiencing full crashes.

Outrider looks sensational in the game
Outrider looks sensational in the game

As of writing this, I’ve spent just shy of about 5 hours with the game (though currently there are server issues meaning I’m sitting in a lobby unable to play), the three available maps, a handful of the game modes and four of the specialists (the other four are unlockable in the beta).  Black Ops 3 honestly feels like a true Call of Duty game, one that has the right amount of modern elements without jumping into the ludicrous (AW anyone?) and exciting new features that makes this new COD game feel fresh.

So…the hits and misses so far:

Misses-

*THE TOKEN UNLOCK SYSTEM:  Treyarch have brought back their token unlock system and combine 10 which I personally have never been a fan of as trying to get a balance across a primary, a secondary, wildcards and perks with only 10 elements is proving to be tough.  Advanced Warfare’s level unlock and combine 13 system felt more comfortable and more achievable than waiting for tokens to build up before unlocking items, though I do like and remember enjoying the gun level up system which is also back.

*SPAWNING:  Bad spawning usually plagues the COD series early on in releases and BO3 is falling into the same trap with team spawn points reversing sides very very quickly throwing game play off somewhat.  Quite a few times I’ve found myself having to turn back because the enemy has quickly begun to spawn behind me.

*SPARROW:  Outrider’s ‘sparrow’ compound bow is a very sluggish weapon to use and as a fan of the crossbow from previous series, this compound bow – while powerful – becomes rather pointless when you factor in the slowness of use in fast game play modes.  Fingers crossed a crossbow is available in the full release.

*MELEE: What happened to Melee?!  I mean, it’s still there, but in a sort-of-drunken-punch kinda way that actually has little to no effect on the opponent.  Being able to be quick on the R3 button in that moment of surprise is a skill that requires many attempts to master and now, the little girl punch we have feels lost and is sorely missed.

*SPECIALIST PERSONALIZATION: I know it’s coming in the full game, but I did believe we were going to get a taste of specialist customization in the beta.  I’m being picky I know – I just HATE multiplayer games filled with clones of the same character!

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*THE CHAIN BASED MOVEMENT SYSTEM: How refreshing is this new movement system?!  The unlimited sprint mixed with a boost jump mixed with wall running mixed with a decent knee slide all whilst shooting and reloading is a great new element to the game.  While wall running took a few attempts to nail (it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it)  it’s a very cool addition to the game play that feels quite effortless and allows for some rather sneaky movement to place you behind the enemy team.

*GAME PLAY: I will say, I originally felt the game to be heavy and slow, but after a few plays, I realized that I had become so used to Advanced Warfare’s flight system and that in fact, BO3 was how it used to be – a brutal ground based war that relies on a mix of precision and stealth rather than speed.

*THE CARNAGE: The damage caused by Outrider’s ‘sparrow’ bow is quite gory and graphic with body parts flying about the place and on more than a few occasions, my characters was left without any legs after getting to close to a cooked frag!

*POST-GAME LOBBY: I love the post-game lobby showcasing the matches three top scorers.  It really adds to player determination to do well and basically boast about how awesome they were in that match.  Once specialist personaliztion comes in to effect, this new feature will look even more better!

*THE MAPS: In the beta, there are four maps available, and to me, are in the medium sized range.  They’re not nuketown short and they’re not Stonehaven large but all four showcase the beautiful graphics and the possible game play involved, taking advantage of the new swimming and wall-running features.  Of the four previewed in beta mode, ‘Combine’ was my favorite as it offered a great balance for both snipers and ground runners.

*PAINTSHOP: A fun new element within the series that allows for deeper personalization – of your weapons.  I did have a quick play around with it, but when it comes to this type of stuff….i’m not that creative, but being able to blast around with a shotgun covered in pink flames does feel pretty cool!

*POWERFUL SILENCERS: I’m a runner/gunner player who mostly relies on catching the enemy team off guard and it’s proven difficult in past COD games with silences significantly reducing the damage effect of a weapon.  In BO3, I found the silencers to have much more effect and damage which makes the way I play that much more effective.

I do have a lot of love for the Call of Duty series and it’s refreshing to see Treyarch taking note of what we hated about AW and offering us a true call-back to the series so many of us love.  Black Ops 3 is THAT modern era ground based war that needed to happen to bring back the love to the series that forces players to use stealth and precision over speed and height.  This beta has me excited to experience the full release from zombies to campaign to multiplayer.

PS4 Beta experience ends August 23rd and starts up for XBox August 26th.