Tagged: Beta Test

Microsoft has more than one Xbox 360 update planned for 2015

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Xbox Preview Program updates are nothing new if you follow Xbox’s Major Nelson or if you keep an eye on the Xbox press site. So I was about to scroll on by this latest Preview Program Enrollment headline when I realized it was for the Xbox 360. By this point I figured Microsoft was happy to leave their last-gen console to retire like a distinguished 55 year old; still around and doing well but not the topic of water cooler gossip like it used to be.

I’m happily mistaken — especially as Katy and I are using our 360s more than ever to play EDF — and happy to report that at least two new updates will be coming to the console through 2015. The first, which doesn’t have a solid release date yet, won’t bring glamorous new features but it may ease the pains of network troubleshooting for some users. Improved troubleshooting options will be added as well as a download/upload speed test utility.

The next update(s) are only promised by Major Nelson as “coming later this year”. While owners could sign up for the preview program in years past, this time around it’s more like a lottery. Major Nelson’s post details the new process.

Of 2014: The ‘You Beta believe it’s not yet a game’ List

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I’ve tried to stay away from betas and early access games but nowadays you can’t help but stumble into them. Maybe it’s a marketing promotion or a free key passed around by friends. Maybe you get an invite for being an Xbox Gold or PlayStation Plus member. Maybe there’s just a good (pre)sale on Steam. Despite my efforts I wound up playing more of these than I expected to in 2014. Here’s a little about each.

 

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Beta: It’s just another word for ‘Timed Demo’

The Crew beta
Ubisoft blew it! A free-form racing game across the United States with no loading from coast to coast; and they gave it all away in the beta. All I ever needed out of this game was to recreate the Cannonball Run, and I did, and then I was done playing the beta. The actual game seems neat as well but the emphasis on multiplayer spoils it for me.

Destiny beta
I managed to get into the beta for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox One and the difference between them was a surprisingly minute amount of fidelity. They both played identically and ran just as smoothly with only higher resolution textures making a difference. This was the closest I got to being swayed by a beta into buying the full game but I was already bored by the time I got to the moon.

Titanfall beta
I love the world, the acrobatic gameplay and the giant mechs slamming onto the battlefield. It’s the playing that bums me out. It’s just another tiny arena where you mindlessly, endlessly shoot other people. I tried to explore the space available but some people just don’t care about architectural appreciation.

 

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Early Access: Play the game you just paid to help finish

Neo Scavenger Early Access
I played the demo of this game endlessly and finally bought into the Early Access version when it was in a bundle. I’m rubbish at surviving this game’s hardcore, hard science world but like any good randomized roguelike it only makes me want to try again (and again and again). It’s still not “finished” but what is there is substantial, I actually had to make sure it was even still Early Access.

Nom Nom Galaxy Early Access
I love the idea of focusing the resource gathering and crafting of Terraria on a larger gameplay mechanic. It’s all about streamlining the production of soup to beat out the competition. It’s the kind of mundane excitement that I can really get behind but like most of these games I’ve only dabbled until it’s farther along.

Prison Architect Early Access
Another pre-sale bundle buy, this is the one beta/early access game I’ve spent the most time with; around 30 hours to be more precise. Being a simulation game makes it easier as I’m building everything from nothing and not exploring already built content. It’s missing some core motivational features (campaigns, progress, Achievements, etc) but the basics are there to instill loads of stress and accomplishment.

Starbound Early Access
A sci-fi Terraria with interplanetary travel? I was sold the instant I heard the description and it’s still one of the few games I’ve backed. I’m still waiting for it to be more Final but I did jump into the beta build a few times. I’ve kept up with the development blog and though people seem to think the game has stalled I’m happy to wait. It just doesn’t make for any interesting stories to write in this recap.

Viscera Cleanup Detail Early Access
There is something supremely clever and oddly appealing about being the janitor that comes in behind the rampaging sci-fi hero. It wasn’t a kickstarter thing but I put down money as quickly as possible to pre-order this one. A year and a half later and I’m still waiting for it to be final before I put my heart into mopping up ludicrous gibs.

 

 

Here’s that Hono Bono video I forgot to post

Watch me watching my phone film a TV screen while I play and talk my way through some of the recent beta for the very first MMO that I’ve ever had any real interest in. This video turned out horrendously as I have no way to capture PC game footage. I went to the trouble of recording direct feed audio and narration but then they got all out of sync with the video. Instead you get me, my PC noise and some music from the game I laid over in the background. Sorry, this video sucks but the game is very, very cool!

I guess I forgot to post this back when I got it on YouTube. I was a little worried it’d be taken down but so far no one from Koramgame has found it. The next beta test starts tomorrow and as far as I can tell it’s open now. I’m excited to jump back in as I’ve had time away from the game to try and make more sense of it.