Marvel Heroes Omega Early Access report

Open beta for Marvel Heroes Omega starts next week, but if you were in the closed beta you get to start today. I was and I did. Everyone else can play free I believe on Tuesday.

I’m really enjoying this game. I know all my PC gamer friends have been playing Marvel Heroes since forever, but for some reason my PC and Marvel Heroes never got along, so even back when I was playing PC games I never got a chance to play much of MH. But the nature of this game just makes it ideal (to me) as a couch game. In fact it supports couch co-op so you and a friend can play together, side-by-side.

If you haven’t played Marvel Heroes in a while, you may be surprised to learn that the whole “Level up, earn points, spend points” system has been replaced. Now you just unlock powers as you level from 1-30 and don’t have any choices beyond what keys to bind powers to. I WANT to complain about this since it “dumbs down” the game, but in practice I like this just find. This is just a fun game to me and I’m OK if I don’t have to research builds or what not in order to have a good character. There’re systems beyond powers that kick in much later in the game and maybe that’s when you have to start thinking hard about what you’re doing, but early on it’s just a casual hoot.

There was one glitch with the launch of early access, in case you hear stories about this. When you create a Marvel Heroes account, you get a bundle of “Eternity Splinters” to spend on a hero. Between closed and open beta they bumped up the cost of Heroes, but they forgot to bump up the amount of Eternity Splinters they gave new accounts. That meany very few heroes (2 I think) were affordable for new accounts.

Gazillion realized their mistake pretty quickly and gifted affected players with an additional 500 Eternity Splinters, so we actually made out. I’d purchased Angela (from Spawn, I’m told) since she was cheap, but now I have enough Eternity Splinters to buy another hero.

Of course everyone is mad at Gazillion but it wouldn’t be the Internet if they weren’t. I’m not. Like I said, I feel like I got a bonus and I’m enjoying playing Angela.

So far, servers seem stable, everything else is working well. People are grinding through mobs and busting boss-loot-pinatas and it’s just a gas. I can’t wait to play more. Hopefully everything will stay as solid when the doors are open and everyone comes rushing in.

Wander, the non-combat, non-functioning MMO

A few weeks ago I saw a post on the Playstation blog about Wander, a new MMO coming to the PS4 and PC. It’s hook was that it had no combat, which sounded interesting. I decided to give it a try on the PS4 when it came out last Thursday.


TL;DR version of this post: Wander DOES NOT WORK. It is not glitchy or rough. It does not function. DO NOT BUY THIS GAME.

Longer version.

The first time I started Wander I stared at a loading screen for about a minute, then the game world appeared, I heard a voice-over start, and the game crashed. I’d estimate it ran for 8-10 seconds (past the loading screen) before crashing the first time.

I started it up again and found myself in a new location with no voice over and no idea what I was supposed to be doing. I later found out that when you crash and reload, the game apparently assigns you some other player’s game state! The voice-over I’d heard was a sort of introduction/tutorial telling me what I was supposed to be doing but due to the crash I skipped that. And since it was an MMO I couldn’t restart.

An MMO where there’s no way to communicate with other players or customize your avatar in any way, but that’s the least of its problems.

Over the next 40 minutes or so the game crashed 5 times.

When it wasn’t crashing I found these runestones that prompted me to draw a glyph and then speak a word. It seemed like I was supposed to draw the glyph on the PS4 controller’s touchpad, then do a 2-finger tap to ‘speak’ but I never got it to work. Or maybe I did once. One time I did something and then this random word was spoken over and over (with no input from me) until the next crash.

There were other runestones that played an audio clip and those, at least, worked.

And that was the grand totality of interactions in the game.

When the game wasn’t crashing, my character was running into invisible walls, or clipping through walls, or floating above the ground, or moonwalking, or any of a number of other wonky behaviors. Meanwhile there was crazy pop-in of textures and objects.

But here’s the thing with Wander. Say the devs put out a miracle patch and fix all these issues.

It’s still crap because there is no game here.

Imagine starting with an MMO like WoW. Then remove the combat, the crafting, the mobs, all ways of communicating with other players, and all character customization. Then homogenize the world so it all looks like Stranglethorn and remove any of the interesting set-pieces that you sometimes find in WoW. That’s Wander.

But the music in it is pretty good, so there’s that.

When they said it was a non-combat MMO I assumed, stupidly, that they would add something as an alternate to combat. But they didn’t. Well there are these non-functioning runestones that might do something but I don’t know what it could be. The purpose of Wander seems to be to, well, wander and look at terrain that quickly becomes repetitive.

Wander is a horribly broken game that, if fixed, will just be a horrible game. Avoid at all costs.

And SHAME on Sony for making this available in the Playstation Store. Talk about a loss of trust. From here on out I’ll have to assume that every game is horribly broken until I see confirmation from other players that it is not. Sony’s certification process is clearly pointless and useless.

If you think I’m just whining about Wander, here’re some links to show it isn’t just me:

Here’re a few clips I made. I didn’t get many because the game was always crashing on me. In these clips you’ll see my character run, slowdown, stop, walk, run… you have to understand that I am not doing that. I’m trying to run the whole time. I assume she walks because there’s a hidden stamina feature but I don’t know why she stops. When I’m staring at a rune stone it’s because I’m trying to interact with it. The 5 minute clip is boring because there is no game to show. What you see is that the game is. The shorter clips just show off some glitches. They were both captured after the one time I got a runestone to work and you’ll hear a voice saying something like “ahn-may” over and over again. I’m not doing anything to cause that… it happened until the game crashed again.

Fun fact: I have never quit Wander voluntarily. Every ‘session’ has ended with a crash.

The Bound By Flame launch trailer is here

The PS4 finally gets an action-RPG this week; something sorely missing on the platform (the same could be said for the Xbox One I suppose, but they’ll have to wait).

Bound By Flame is available for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and PC. It’ll be in stores on Friday but available digitally tomorrow on the Playstation Store. Here’s the launch trailer:

Learn more about Bound By Flame on the Playstation blog!

Drive Club for PS4 finally gets a launch date: Oct 7th, 2014

Drive Club was supposed to be a launch title for the Playstation 4. Better still, Playstation Plus subscribers were supposed to get a free version of the title to jump-start their PS4 game collection. Sadly it slipped and I think most of us assumed it’d arrive sometime early in the new year. But alas and alack, that was not to be.

But finally we have a release date: October 7th, 2014. Let’s hope it was worth the wait. As much as the delay sucked, if it means we get a better game it will have been worth it. It’s not clear yet if there’ll still be a PS+ freebie version but I hope so.

With the launch date comes a new trailer. Game is pretty, that’s for sure. But it still isn’t clear what playing it will feel like. I bet we learn more at E3.

In defense of the PS4 launch library

The Playstation 4 is here and I have mine. I’m a happy camper! (No fanyboyism…my Xbox One should be arriving next Friday and I’m excited for that, too.)

A lot has been said about how weak the PS4 launch library is, and I’m here, at the risk of damning with faint praise, to say it isn’t as bad as some of the gaming blogs would lead you to believe, particularly if you’re already a Playstation customer.

I’ve owned the PS4 for 24 hours and here’s what my library looks like:

Need For Speed Rivals: $60 (I paid $40): This is the game I’ve been playing the most. I like it a lot. It isn’t a system seller (it’s available on last gen too) but it’s a solid arcade racer.
Killzone: Shadow Fall: $60 (I paid $40): Haven’t touched it yet
Assassin’s Creed IV: $60 (I paid $40): Haven’t touched it yet

I got these 3 in an Amazon “Buy 2 get 1 free deal”

Knack: $60 (I paid $50): Haven’t touched it yet

I bought this one digitally in October when Sony was giving you $10 back for every $50 you spent.

So far, this is what game sites are talking about when they talk about the weak launch. But they don’t mention:

Sound Shapes: $15?? (I paid $0) A PS3/Vita title that has been ported to the PS4. If you own it there, you own it here
Flower: $15?? (I paid $0) Same as Sound Shapes. I already owned it so d/led it for free.

Resogun: $0 Take an old school shooter and pump it full of steroids. This is the game I’ve put the 2nd most time into. Love it!
Contrast: $0 Haven’t touched it yet

These two are free to ‘lease’ for as long as you’re a Playstation Plus member, and since every PS4 comes with a 1-month free trial of PS+, everyone has access to them free for the first month of their console ownership

DC Universe Online $0
Warframe $0
Blacklight: Retribution $0

Haven’t tried any of them yet (well I’ve played DCUO on the PS3) but all are free-to-play games available for anyone to download and enjoy.

So no, the PS4 doesn’t have the strongest launch library ever, but it does have a lot of options that you can sample without spending a lot of money. I kind of wish I hadn’t purchased so many games so soon; the free offerings could have carried me a long ways, I think.

Of course the big question is what happens on Tuesday and the Tuesday after that and the Tuesday after that. Will the library sit stagnant until March or will we get a continuous stream of new content? I think that’s the important question that we need an answer to.