Oh Betas you wonderful yet evil things. Something that can bring a community together or show that a company has lost its soul. A thing that can create or destroy a game. Today I feel the need to point out the only three good betas I have seen that have not just been a big marketing thing. #1 is all of the WoW betas, or any mmo for that matter. The fact is that mmos just need betas. They are way too big for the company to just go and find every little bug so why not have the people interested in you're game do it. After all they have tons of balancing and areas to deal with. #2 and not just because I am 50% fan boy the Reach beta. When bungie first said they were doing the Reach beta I almost cried because I thought one of my favorite companies had just sold their soul to the devil. I mean Halo 3 was understandble because it was a new console but why test Reach? I'll tell you why it was JANKY yet fun. Assassinations splitting time and space, host migration problems, weird team deciding bugs in invasion, balancing issues, all of which Bungie has kept us up to date on in their podcast. Finally at then end f the list is the MoH beta. At first it just seemed like a way to sell preorders, selling your beta (cause that what it was) just seems awful. Next the game play doesn't improve and the creators are silent about it. Finally today we have evidence that they are actually fixing things. So not the best beta but at least they are using it how they should.
I've been looking at a lot of things going into games on the Xbox this year, which translates too I am looking at all of the first person shooters coming out on the Xbox because that appears to be all of the big releases except for Assassins creed. Halo Reach and Black Ops have something in common, customization. Black Ops with customizable guns, character looks, and others. Halo Reach with the ability to make maps, set up your armor, and even change the game rules itself right down to how high you can jump. This is going to be the way of the future focusing on the map creation on the console. The armor, looks, and guns are entertaining for the hours in which you try and unlock them even if you don't care how you look in a first person shooter. The map creation on the other hand expands a games life a ton and makes a new community in a game. Think about it, how many people would have played halo 3 for e years or so straight if they couldn't play on a new map every day? It's also created communities such as Forge hub. In my opinion customization from your character to your game is the way of the future.
The first time I saw the trailer I just said "oh, so, more bioshock but in the air. At least that looked kind of cool I guess." Then about a day after I watched it again and really thought it over. I came to the conclusion that Bioschok infinite has potential to be awesome. The thing that Irrational does well is atmosphere. The atmosphere was so good in Bioshock that the underwater city of Rapture was the main character of that game. The city had a presence and the story was all about it. Ryan, Fontaine, even you were just a mere pawn on the board while Rapture plays a game. The new city of Columbia seems brighter, more open, but with a dark undertone. Hopefully Columbia can be as good a main character as the first one.
Halo reach beta is on may 3rd and I will be trying it out. I wasn't too excited about reach until I saw the Carnage carnival trailer. I have always been a very loyal Halo player more so with 3 because of the introduction of Forge mode. Anyway it seems like they are changing and adding enough stuff that I will be content for another three years. I do not look forward to making maps with jet packs on the mind though. Already difficult making sure the map is grenade jump proof. Heh then again everything is better with jet packs.