A couple of multiplayer game betas I managed to get an invite to.

I’m sure everyone has more than enough Halo 3 news to keep them occupied until well after the game actually ships, so I’ll keep this short. It plays great. If you like the feel of either of the other Halo titles you’ll feel right at home with this one. Yes, the graphics aren’t as polished as many hoped they would be, but it’s a beta. They could improve quite a bit before the game goes gold.

The other beta I’ve been playing this week is Warhawk for the PS3. Because of the timing of the betas I really can’t help but compare the two. It’s not really fair seeing as how Bungie has a couple games under their belt to base Halo3 on and Warhawk developer Incognito apparently only has Twisted Metal to fall back on… but hey, life isn’t fair.

Warhawk looks pretty good, arguably better than Halo3 at this point in time. Remember, both are in beta right now and a lot could change before they go gold. Warhawk also has a lot of vehicles to play with, and said vehicles have really good control and feel to them once you get used to the tilt controls on the airplanes. Where Warhawk falls flat is the controls for the soldiers on foot. The reticule moves slowly at first and speeds up as you move the right stick farther out from center. This works well with vehicles, but doesn’t feel right when controlling a foot soldier. It makes precise movement and aiming very difficult and, for me, very frustrating. At one point I basically gave up trying to aim at all and just let the auto aim do it’s thing while I strafed back and forth, shooting enemies. The scary thing is that that worked quite well. What that says about skill I don’t know.

The second group of issues I have with Warhawk is basic multiplayer commands, options, and conveniences. Again Incognito’s lack of experience in this field is the main thing holding them back. The game has some of the more obvious things right, like robust server lists that can be sorted by any column and player lists in game that show ping times, as opposed to the dumbed down green bars. Unfortunately other things are completely missing, like an icon on the player list showing who’s talking, or as was happening last night, who’s creating ear bleeding feedback. Or an easy way to mute said player, assuming you can figure out who it is. Also missing are icons even showing who has a mic period.

Fortunately, the reason for having a beta test is to find out about issues like these and fix them before releasing the game. I still have high hopes for Warhawk (Halo 3 is almost spot-on already) and hopefully Incognito can fix the majority of the game’s issues before shipping.

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