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29 Aug 2017

Destiny 2: PC Beta First Impressions

Previously, I was cautiously optimistic about the Destiny 2 beta on PC. Unsurprisingly, after hitting it for a few hours yesterday, I’m much more enthusiastic. I’ve always felt that good first-person shooters are played best with a mouse and keyboard, and Bungie’s latest served to reaffirm that opinion. Even so, I can’t help but think that this was less of a beta, and more of a teaser for the full game.

It wouldn’t be a launch without some kind of mishap, and Destiny 2 managed to throw up a few errors when the horde of players tried to log in. I got caught by the ‘saxophone’ error message myself, but kudos to the teams at Blizzard, Activision and Bungie for crushing it quickly. I’d barely lost 30 minutes to the issue before the announcement came across Twitter that the problem had been resolved.

Ultimately, it ended up being an evening of highs and lows as I chewed through the single-player scenario/mission, and teamed up with friends to stomp through the Strike. At the end of it, we all agreed that the beta was more of an advert for the classic FPS crowd than a lure for MMO players. However, with Destiny 2 securing a spot next to World of Warcraft on the Battle.net Launcher, gamers may be lured to the sci-fi magnum opus purely out of curiosity.

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27 Aug 2017

Destiny 2: Cautious Optimism

Destiny 2 is right around the corner. For console players, just a few short weeks remain before launch day. PC gamers will have to wait until late October for their turn, but the open beta this week should help soften the blow. It’s a time to check system requirements, clean out drive space, and ponder on that preorder.

And yet, Destiny 2 is not a ‘must buy’ for me. Not yet, at least. My experience of the original Destiny was a triumph of missed expectations – I’d hoped for a deep and involving storyline that took us to fantastic places, and instead we got a mediocre script and lacklustre voice acting. Once the shrink-wrap sheen wore off, it slid into the ‘some-other-time’ shelf, next to my PS4 copies of Battlefield 4 and Final Fantasy XIV.

Still, I’d keep coming back. About six months ago, I hauled the console out from under the TV and into my home office, just so I’d feel more compelled to fire it up and get some games in. I picked up the expansion pack for Destiny, which improved the experience hugely, and progressed up to level cap. There’s still more of the saga for me to complete, but I feel like I’m getting the gist of Bungie’s vision now. It’s just a shame it took so long for me to get there.

Which is why I decided to check out the Destiny 2 beta on PS4 earlier in the year, and why I’ll be trying out the PC beta later today. I much prefer using mouse and keyboard for first-person-shooters, plus I have a much bigger network of friends on Battle.net ready to play alongside. Besides, there’s a meaty Nvidia 1080Ti and 4K monitor just waiting to devour all of those glorious pixels.

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26 Aug 2017

Broadband Blunders & Mac Machinations

This is a story in two parts, both revolving around a simple desire: to turn my ageing MacBook Air into a simple gaming machine. Bought in late 2013, it was nearing the end of its useful life as a workhorse, and I’d been eyeing up the more modern Pro line to replace it. To eke some final mileage out, I thought about installing some games on it.

Sounds simple, right?

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24 Aug 2017

Dauntless Founders Alpha Preview

Disclaimer: I bought into the Founders Alpha. As such, the usual caveats apply: wanting to avoid buyer’s remorse, wanting something to be good because you’ve sunk money into it, and so on. If you’re not comfortable with risking your investment in an Early Access beta that you might not enjoy, then don’t.

With that out of the way, why am I excited about Dauntless? If I’m honest, it’s because of something I love about MMOs: fighting big-ass monsters with a group of heroes and stealing their loot. Take that idea, put the boss on a floating island, and that’s how I look at the core concept. Simple, right?

Sure, some gamers may invoke the Monster Hunter lineage, but that’s alien to me as I never got into the series. From what I understand, however, it’s a similar deal: kill big monsters, harvest them to make better weapons and armour, use that to take on bigger monsters. Rinse and repeat.

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13 Aug 2017

Path of Fire – a Delicious Demo Experience

Earlier this week, I promised that I’d be taking a look at Path of Fire, the upcoming expansion for Guild Wars 2, during the open demo weekend. I wanted to discover for myself if the sense of wonder had been rekindled, teasing me to explore mysterious new lands. I wanted to feel like I could survive instead of being a corpse to be tossed around. And I wanted to see if the joy returned from the original game, given form in small details that lend weight to the world.

I’m pleased to say that, on all three counts, Path of Fire exceeded my expectations. Yes, the demo was restricted to half of the first map, with limited exposure to the new storyline. And yes, the demo provides you with a fresh character fully kitted in exotics, which is more powerful than my current Guardian. However, even with those caveats in mind, I had a fantastic time playing the preview. On all three counts – exploration, survivability, and easy-going entertainment – the new experience delivered.

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