Over the weekend I was lucky enough to be invited into not one but two betas on the 360. The first was for Tom Clancy’s End War. Apparently I won a contest that I don’t remember entering. End War is an RTS that you can control using the microphone. You’ll say “Squad 2 Flank Enemy 4!” or something and your second squad will figure out how to intelligently get to the enemy’s 4th unit and flank them. I thought it was a neat idea but I have an issue with microphones in games. See, I have a hard enough time playing games at the tender age of 34 and looking my wife in the eye without having to add her catching me having discussions with my console to my shame. For that same reason I don’t even use Ventrillo when I play MMOs. Besides, I can’t imagine what might happen if the battle turns bad in End War and I suddenly scream out “$%$%, you $%##%^$ $#%#$^^^^!!!” What kinds of debauchery might my units end up getting in to? I passed my key on to a buddy who was a lot more excited by the game.
Then, a few hours later I received a key for the Call of Duty: World At War multiplayer beta. That, my friends, was something to get excited about. From my review of Brothers In Arms you already know that I love WWII shooters. From the short amount of time I’ve been playing I just want to let you know that this will be something special. The beta is limited to a few maps and a handful of game modes. They have also capped the player levels at 11. Even with those limitations there already are some scary good people out there. The multiplayer is very much like Call of Duty 4. The same leveling system is used to unlock weapons and perks. For those unfamiliar with it, at level 4 you can create custom classes by choosing a primary weapon, sidearm, grenade, special grenade, three perks and one vehicle perk. The perks do things like give your bullets an impact bonus, let you sprint farther, and increase your ability to aim. As you gain levels you gain access to challenges which reward you with equipment and experience for meeting them. An example of a challenge is killing 25 players with a given weapon. Needless to say, I immediately went out and preordered the game after the first night of the beta.
Speaking of Call of Duty 4, can you believe that I’ve owned the game for almost a year and only just tried the multiplayer out today? I can’t believe that...its proof that I am some special kind of idiot. Well, it didn’t help that someone was borrowing my copy of the game for the better part of the year. I would never have lent it out had I tried it beforehand. I just started this afternoon as a level 1 noob but it didn’t take me too long to reach level 5. I noticed the copious amount of snipers in the game. Maybe it was just the group I was playing with but I need to level up so I can get some upgrades.