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Game

Diablo IV’s public beta will start in early 2023

Blizzard plans to invite some of its most dedicated fans to play Diablo IV in the coming weeks. The studio shared details about its upcoming end game closed beta test on Monday. Using “specific gameplay data,” Blizzard will select players who have recently spent “significant” time with the post-story experiences found in Diablo II: Resurrected and Diablo III. If you feel that describes you, you can let the studio know you’re interested in participating in the beta by ensuring the “News and Special Offers from Battle.net” option is enabled on your by October 11th. Once that’s done, look for an email from Blizzard in your inbox for an invite. 

Once the beta arrives, it will be available on PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5 and PS4, with support for crossplay and cross-progression between platforms supported. If you don’t get into this round of testing, Blizzard notes public testing will begin early next year.

The upcoming beta will focus on Diablo IV’s endgame experience for a couple of reasons. Blizzard says it doesn’t want to spoil the game’s story before release. The decision is also a reflection of the way a lot of players enjoy Diablo games. “For many, the end game is their favorite aspect of Diablo — we want to ensure it feels satisfying, and with no shortage of challenging variety to experience across many, many demon-slaying gaming sessions,” the studio said, adding feedback from participants will play a critical part in polishing the experience. One thing you should not expect is to hear from those playing the closed beta. Blizzard said the event would be “confidential,” a not-so-subtle allusion to the fact footage from Diablo IV .

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AI

Google is beta testing its AI future with AI Test Kitchen

It’s clear that the future of Google is tied to AI language models. At this year’s I/O conference, the company announced a raft of updates that rely on this technology, from new “multisearch” features that let you pair image searches with text queries to improvements for Google Assistant and support for 24 new languages in Google Translate.

But Google — and the field of AI language research in general — faces major problems. Google itself has seriously mishandled internal criticism, firing employees who raised issues with bias in language models and damaging its reputation with the AI community. And researchers continue to find issues with AI language models, from failings with gender and racial biases to the fact that these models have a tendency to simply make things up (an unnerving finding for anyone who wants to use AI to deliver reliable information).

Now, though, the company seems to be taking something of a step back — or rather a slower step forward. At I/O this year, there’s been a new focus on projects designed to test and remedy problems like AI bias, including a new way to measure skin tones that the company hopes will help with diversity in machine-vision models and a new app named AI Test Kitchen that will give select individuals access to the company’s latest language models in order to probe them for errors. Think of it as a beta test for Google’s future.

Step into the AI Test Kitchen

Over a video call ahead of I/O, Josh Woodward, senior director of product management at Google, is asking Google’s latest language model to imagine a marshmallow volcano.

“You’re at a marshmallow volcano!” says the AI. “It’s erupting marshmallows. You hear a giant rumble and feel the ground shake. The marshmallows are flying everywhere.”

Woodward is happy with this answer and prods the system again. “What does it smell like?” he asks. “It smells likes marshmallows, obviously,” the AI replies. “You can smell it all around you.” Woodward laughs: “Okay, so that one was very terse.” But at least it made sense.

Woodward is showing me AI Test Kitchen, an Android app that will give select users limited access to Google’s latest and greatest AI language model, LaMDA 2. The model itself is an update to the original LaMDA announced at last year’s I/O and has the same basic functionality: you talk to it, and it talks back. But Test Kitchen wraps the system in a new, accessible interface, which encourages users to give feedback about its performance.

As Woodward explains, the idea is to create an experimental space for Google’s latest AI models. “These language models are very exciting, but they’re also very incomplete,” he says. “And we want to come up with a way to gradually get something in the hands of people to both see hopefully how it’s useful but also give feedback and point out areas where it comes up short.”

Google wants to solicit feedback from users about LaMDA’s conversational skills.
Image: Google

The app has three modes: “Imagine It,” “Talk About It,” and “List It,” with each intended to test a different aspect of the system’s functionality. “Imagine It” asks users to name a real or imaginary place, which LaMDA will then describe (the test is whether LaMDA can match your description); “Talk About It” offers a conversational prompt (like “talk to a tennis ball about dog”) with the intention of testing whether the AI stays on topic; while “List It” asks users to name any task or topic, with the aim of seeing if LaMDA can break it down into useful bullet points (so, if you say “I want to plant a vegetable garden,” the response might include sub-topics like “What do you want to grow?” and “Water and care”).

AI Test Kitchen will be rolling out in the US in the coming months but won’t be on the Play Store for just anyone to download. Woodward says Google hasn’t fully decided how it will offer access but suggests it will be on an invitation-only basis, with the company reaching out to academics, researchers, and policymakers to see if they’re interested in trying it out.

As Woodward explains, Google wants to push the app out “in a way where people know what they’re signing up for when they use it, knowing that it will say inaccurate things. It will say things, you know, that are not representative of a finished product.”

This announcement and framing tell us a few different things: First, that AI language models are hugely complex systems and that testing them exhaustively to find all the possible error cases isn’t something a company like Google thinks it can do without outside help. Secondly, that Google is extremely conscious of how prone to failure these AI language models are, and it wants to manage expectations.

Another imaginary scenario from LaMDA 2 in the AI Test Kitchen app.
Image: Google

When organizations push new AI systems into the public sphere without proper vetting, the results can be disastrous. (Remember Tay, the Microsoft chatbot that Twitter taught to be racist? Or Ask Delphi, the AI ethics advisor that could be prompted to condone genocide?) Google’s new AI Test Kitchen app is an attempt to soften this process: to invite criticism of its AI systems but control the flow of this feedback.

Deborah Raji, an AI researcher who specializes in audits and evaluations of AI models, told The Verge that this approach will necessarily limit what third parties can learn about the system. “Because they are completely controlling what they are sharing, it’s only possible to get a skewed understanding of how the system works, since there is an over-reliance on the company to gatekeep what prompts are allowed and how the model is interacted with,” says Raji. By contrast, some companies like Facebook have been much more open with their research, releasing AI models in a way that allows far greater scrutiny.

Exactly how Google’s approach will work in the real world isn’t yet clear, but the company does at least expect that some things will go wrong.

“We’ve done a big red-teaming process [to test the weaknesses of the system] internally, but despite all that, we still think people will try and break it, and a percentage of them will succeed,” says Woodward. “This is a journey, but it’s an area of active research. There’s a lot of stuff to figure out. And what we’re saying is that we can’t figure it out by just testing it internally — we need to open it up.”

Hunting for the future of search

Once you see LaMDA in action, it’s hard not to imagine how technology like this will change Google in the future, particularly its biggest product: Search. Although Google stresses that AI Test Kitchen is just a research tool, its functionality connects very obviously with the company’s services. Keeping a conservation on-topic is vital for Google Assistant, for example, while the “List It” mode in Test Kitchen is near-identical to Google’s “Things to know” feature, which breaks down tasks and topics into bullet points in search.

Google itself fueled such speculation (perhaps inadvertently) in a research paper published last year. In the paper, four of the company’s engineers suggested that, instead of typing questions into a search box and showing users the results, future search engines would act more like intermediaries, using AI to analyze the content of the results and then lifting out the most useful information. Obviously, this approach comes with new problems stemming from the AI models themselves, from bias in results to the systems making up answers.

To some extent, Google has already started down this path, with tools like “featured snippets” and “knowledge panels” used to directly answer queries. But AI has the potential to accelerate this process. Last year, for example, the company showed off an experimental AI model that answered questions about Pluto from the perspective of the former planet itself, and this year, the slow trickle of AI-powered, conversational features continues.

Despite speculation about a sea change to search, Google is stressing that whatever changes happen will happen slowly. When I asked Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of research at Google AI, how AI will transform Google Search, his answer is something of an anticlimax.

“I think it’s going to be gradual,” says Ghahramani. “That maybe sounds like a lame answer, but I think it just matches reality.” He acknowledges that already “there are things you can put into the Google box, and you’ll just get an answer back. And over time, you basically get more and more of those things.” But he is careful to also say that the search box “shouldn’t be the end, it should be just the beginning of the search journey for people.”

For now, Ghahramani says Google is focusing on a handful of key criteria to evaluate its AI products, namely quality, safety, and groundedness. “Quality” refers to how on-topic the response is; “safety” refers to the potential for the model to say harmful or toxic things; while “groundedness” is whether or not the system is making up information.

These are essentially unsolved problems, though, and until AI systems are more tractable, Ghahramani says Google will be cautious about applying this technology. He stresses that “there’s a big gap between what we can build as a research prototype [and] then what can actually be deployed as a product.”

It’s a differentiation that should be taken with some skepticism. Just last month, for example, Google’s latest AI-powered “assistive writing” feature rolled out to users who immediately found problems. But it’s clear that Google badly wants this technology to work and, for now, is dedicated to working out its problems — one test app at a time.


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Computing

How to download the MacOS Ventura beta right now

Apple’s newest operating system, MacOS Ventura, will be coming out this fall. It brings improvements to multitasking with Stage Manager, as well as new ways to bring your iPhone closer to your Mac. All that said, you might be wondering how (and when) you can download MacOS Ventura.

As of writing in June, MacOS Ventura is only in a developer beta stage. That means you’ll have to pay the $100 fee and sign up for the Apple Developer program to enroll your Mac to get the new OS. Come July, though, MacOS Ventura will head to the public for free beta testing through the Apple Beta Software Program. We’ve got all these methods for downloading MacOS Ventura covered in this handy guide.


Apple

A warning

We do have a warning before getting into the specifics. MacOS Ventura is still in developer beta. It also only works with select Mac models, which we list here.

There will be lots of bugs that impact the performance of your Mac if you choose to install it in this early stage. You’ll also need to backup your Mac via Time Machine before you install it. In addition, we also advise downloading and then creating a bootable USB installer for the version of MacOS that came with your Mac.

This is so that if you have issues, you can do a restore of your original MacOS version if Apple’s built-in Internet Recovery feature fails to reinstall the OS that came with your Mac. So do proceed at your own risk, as Digital Trends can not be held liable for damages to your Mac.

The terms of the Apple Developer Program.

Install through the Apple Developer Program

To begin installing MacOS Ventura, you’ll need to enroll in the Apple Developer Program using Safari on your Mac. If you haven’t already, visit Apple’s website for details on the program and then follow our steps below.

Step 1: Back up your Mac. Then, from the Apple Developer Program Website, click the Enroll button at the top right. Read the terms and agree. You can then click the Start Your Enrollment button at the bottom.

Step 2: Sign in with your Apple ID and password. If you have two-factor authentication set up, enter the code sent to your Apple devices in your web browser. Once you enter it, you can click the Trust button to avoid entering the code again.

Step 3: Purchase a membership for $100. You can turn off auto-renew so you don’t get charged again next year.

Step 4: After you sign in and purchase a license, there should be a new sidebar available for you to view. Items like Membership, Certificate IDs, and Documentation should show up. Under Additional Resources, look for Downloads.

Step 5: You’ll be taken to a web page that lists all of the downloads available for you. Click the Install Profile button next to MacOS 13 Beta.

Step 6: This will download .pkg file. Be sure to note where it is saved.

Step 7: After the .pkg file is downloaded, double click to launch it, and follow the instructions on the screen.

Step 8: Once the Install MacOS Developer Beta Access Utility closes, head to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences, followed by Software Update.

From there, you’ll see that MacOS 13 Beta is listed. Click the Upgrade Now button and wait. The download should take up to an hour, depending on your internet.

Step 9: When finished downloading, the Install MacOS 13 Beta app should open up on your system. If it didn’t, look for it under your applications or refresh and go back to System Preferences to check again for the download. Follow the instructions on your screen, and choose the drive where you want to install MacOS Ventura. Your Mac will reboot a few times, and eventually, you’ll be up and running with the OS.

A screenshot of Apple's public website.

Install through the Apple Beta Software Program in July

While MacOS Ventura has not yet hit the public for free testing, Apple has mentioned that this will happen in July. When it does, you can test through the Apple Beta Software Program. Here’s how.

Step 1: Back up your Mac. Then, sign in to the Apple Beta Software Program website using your Apple ID in Safari on your Mac. You might be prompted to enter a code for two-factor authentication, if set up. Enter the code to proceed.

Step 2: Once signed in, you’ll have to enroll your Mac using the MacOS Public Beta Access Utility. Scroll down in the enroll page and click the blue Download button in step two on the page.

Step 3: Install that utility and follow the instructions on your screen.

Step 4: Once the utility is installed, you can head to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences, followed by Software Update.

Step 5: You’ll see MacOS Public Beta listed. Click the Upgrade Now button. Allow it to download. Eventually, you’ll get a pop-up window with an installer. Follow the directions, and choose the drive for installation. Your Mac will reboot and you’ll have Ventura!

While we won’t get into the specifics, there are ways to get the early developer beta for MacOS Ventura at no cost. Again, you can look into these methods at your own risk. It will involve downloading the same profiles that we’ve mentioned above and following the same steps but skipping out on the $100 fee.

We highly advise against this, though, as the developer beta is highly unstable and downloading profiles from websites not sanctioned by Apple is highly unsafe and possibly illegal. It’s best to wait for you to wait for Apple to work out the bugs and download through the Apple Beta Software Program.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Babylon’s Fall Beta Highlights Slick Combat and Nothing Else

Imagine a chair. Like, a really good chair. The kind of chair that your Pop-pop used to have. The one that he would sit in for hours watching Mel Brooks films and sipping on his “adult juice.” This chair has everything you need. Soft cushions, a heating pad, reclining mode, and excellent lumbar support. Now, start to strip away all of its components, remove everything that doesn’t serve its function as a chair. What you’re left with is a hunk of mass that you can sit on. That’s how I’d describe Babylon’s Fall in its current state: Technically a chair.

Platinum Games recently held a closed beta event for Babylon’s Fall, where players got a brief peek at what the game looks like and feels like. The Bayonetta developer is highly regarded as a development studio that focuses on high-speed and visceral combat that’s filled with flamboyant flair. The beta test for Babylon’s Fall strips away most of everything that Platinum Games is known for, and mainly showcases its combat, with very little fanfare.

Without the stylized art, unique characters, or a sense of progression, Babylon’s Fall is currently difficult to grasp. If the final game adds everything Platinum is known for, then this could be another hit for the studio. If it doesn’t, it could wind up being a shadow of the studio’s better games.

Build your fighter

Babylon’s Fall is about heroes venturing into the Tower of Babylon to confront the evils that reside there. I think? Knowing very little about the game, I went into the beta test to try and see if I could learn more about the story and the world that encapsulates it. Unfortunately, that did not happen. I was dropped into an underwhelming character creator and was told to pick a lineage for my character with very little context. Each lineage has unique abilities, but since most of them overlapped with each other and I didn’t know what “tethering” means here, I felt completely in the dark.

After character creation, I entered the hub city that was populated with other players but had very few NPCs to interact with. This made the hub feel very hollow. There were plenty of spaces, rooms, and buildings that will clearly have important characters to interact with, but for now, it was just empty space. The only characters I could interact with were a shop owner that I could sell my equipment to and the quest giver, who would not give me a quest and instead just directed me to interact with the quest board right next to them.

This was clearly deliberate, as the developers wanted us to just focus on the main core of the game: Going into a quest and fighting. The quests themselves are a collection of fighting stages separated by some weak platforming puzzles. Once a player gets to a fighting stage, they are welcomed by scores of enemies or a boss, or sometimes both. This is where the beta test really begins and introduces the players to the Gideon Coffin, which is basically the magical reason why players can use four weapons at a time. Each weapon is assigned to a different button or trigger and will do different things depending on where you slot them.

For instance, a sword in the light attack slot will be your main weapon to attack, whereas a hammer assigned to a trigger will do a devastating area-of-effect (A0E) attack at the cost of the player’s spirit meter. Depending on how a player customizes their weapon loadout will determine the kinds of combos that they can execute. There are plenty of ways to do that, and many combinations that can fulfill a variety of playing styles.

Party of players in Babylon's Fall fighting enemies.

It did feel good to figure out what weapon loadout worked best for me. It felt great using two hammers on my triggers to wreak major AoE damage to initiate combat before flowing seamlessly into a flurry of light attacks from my sword and then picking off enemies with my bow in my heavy attack slot. I could execute aerial combos with ease and do devastating damage if I timed my attacks correctly. If you’re familiar with the combat styles of other Platinum Games’ titles, then this should be an easy flow to get into.

No progress

However, once you take a step further and look at what else the game has to offer, you might be disappointed, as there really wasn’t anything else there. The enemies aren’t as inspiring as usual Platinum foes, and their rudimentary tactics were blatant and easy to exploit. The combat encounters do very little to differentiate themselves from each other. Besides the occasional flyer or ranged enemy, each encounter feels exactly like the last. There really isn’t a reason to change up tactics, as any combo will generally work on an enemy. The platforming aspect of the game isn’t engaging yet and feels like it’s only there to fill time.

After completing a quest, I was showered with new gear options to outfit my character. In the beta, there was some room for customization, but nothing out of the ordinary. There were options for lighter armor for faster dodging or heavier armor for more defense. The weapons only offered raw stat increases, which made progression feel dull. The only reason why I would grind for new gear is to make sure your damage numbers go up. There was nothing to look forward to, or a build to plan.

Characters face off in Babylon's Fall.

Games like Monster Hunter Rise fall into a similar rut, but have built-in mechanics to help hide these shortcomings. Rise offers raw increase in gear, but also has passive effects that can drastically alter playing style. Not only that, but thanks to the A.I. of the monsters, each hunt feels dynamic. Even if you are hunting the same monster, with the same party, the same gear, and the same location, the fight can be completely different thanks to the actions of the players and the monster they fight. In Babylon’s Fall, there is nothing dynamic happening in the fights. They start to blend together, which leads to mindless grinding.

My experience with Babylon’s Fall felt like a showcase of combat and nothing else. It simply highlighted the actual mechanics of combat and how it feels to execute them. Fortunately, the combat feels good (as you’d expect from Platinum), but everything surrounding it lacks character so far. No bells, no whistles, no over-the-top characters, and no colorful lights. Without those hallmarks, Babylon’s Fall’s combat doesn’t seem like enough to hold my attention. However, if those other components are lurking deeper beyond the limits of the beta, then this game has the potential to be something special.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Elden Ring delayed as closed beta registration opens

Those looking forward to Elden Ring have been waiting a long time for the game to come out, and today that wait got a little longer. From Software announced today that Elden Ring has been delayed. While it’s always sad to hear of a delay, the good news is that this one isn’t very long, so gamers who can’t wait for Elden Ring won’t have to wait too much longer.

From Software took to Twitter today to announce that the new release date for Elden Ring is February 25th, 2022. Originally, Elden Ring was slated to release on January 21st, 2022, so the game is being delayed by just about a month.

In the grand scheme of things, a month’s delay is not a big deal, especially when games are seeing much more dramatic delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its tweet, From Software seemed to blame the delay on the scope of Elden Ring growing beyond initial planning, saying, “Elden Ring will release on Feb 25th, 2022, as the depth & strategic freedom of the game exceeded initial expectations. Thank you for your trust & patience.”

In addition to announcing the delay, From Software and Bandai Namco announced that players can now sign up for Elden Ring‘s closed network test. The test will take place on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, with five sessions running at various times between November 12th and November 14th.

If you’re interested in signing up, check out Bandai Namco’s website, where you’re asked to pick your platform, select the From Software titles you’re familiar with, and leave your email address. Registration closes on November 1st, giving players two weeks on the nose to sign up.



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Game

‘Diablo II: Resurrected’ open beta begins on August 20th

In the midst of a that has engulfed the company in turmoil, Blizzard will give Diablo II fans the chance to play the game’s during two separate early access weekends. The first of those will begin on August 13th at 1PM ET. It will be open to those who pre-ordered Diablo II: Resurrected or the Diablo Prime Evil Collection, which includes both the remaster and Diablo 3, on PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5 and PS4.

Diablo II Resurrected beta timing

Blizzard Entertainment

If you fall into that camp, you’ll have until August 17th at 1PM ET to play through Act I and II of the story as the Amazon, Barbarian, Druid, Paladin or Sorceress. What’s more, this time around, Blizzard will allow you to play with up to seven other players, with support for cross-progression enabled. Just note that during the early access weekend, that feature will only work on platforms where you’ve pre-ordered the game.

One week later, starting on August 20th at 1PM ET, Blizzard will open the beta to anyone who wants to take part. At that point, you’ll have until the 23rd to see the work the studio has done to update its beloved action RPG. Unfortunately, neither beta will be available to check out on the Nintendo Switch. And if you want to see how the Assassin and Necromancer play in the remaster, you will also have to wait until the game’s date.

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Game

Diablo II Resurrected open beta dates and details revealed

The release date for Diablo II Resurrected is quickly approaching, but Blizzard will be hosting a pair of beta tests before the full game arrives. The first is an early access test that will only be available to those who pre-ordered the game, while the second is an open beta test that anyone can participate in. Today, Blizzard confirmed the dates for these beta tests and revealed details about each of them.

The early access beta will be taking place this weekend, kicking off on Friday, August 13th for PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, and PS4 players (sadly, no Nintendo Switch) who pre-ordered Diablo II Resurrected or the Diablo Prime Evil Collection. The beta will begin at 10 AM PDT, though you can see the start time for your specific time zone in the image below. The early access beta will run until Tuesday, August 17th, at 10 AM PDT.

The open beta will kick off on the same platforms a few days later, running from Friday, August 20th at 10 AM PDT to Monday, August 23rd at 10 AM PDT. This beta is free for anyone on the supported platforms listed above to participate in, regardless of pre-order status. Once again, you can check the image below for regional start times.

This will be a multiplayer beta, so you’ll be able to link up with friends, but like the technical alpha we saw earlier in the year, progression through the story will be limited to just Acts 1 and 2. However, there will be two new classes to play this time around, as Blizzard has added the Paladin and the Druid to these betas. They’ll be joining the Barbarian, Sorceress, and Amazon, the three classes available during the technical alpha. Sorry, Necromancer and Assassin fans, but it looks like you’ll need to wait for the full game to play as your class of choice.

Blizzard has put together a lengthy FAQ about these betas, and that can be found over on the company’s news site. Diablo II Resurrected is out on Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4 on September 23rd, 2021.

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Game

What you’ll get in the ‘Back 4 Blood’ open beta

After playing a few hours of Back 4 Blood, the new co-op survival shooter from Left 4 Dead studio Turtle Rock, I was left with two questions: How is this legal? And, when can I play again? Turns out, right now.

The Back 4 Blood open beta runs from August 5th to 9th, and again from August 12th to 16th, on PC, Xbox and PlayStation consoles. I got a sneak peek at what the beta has to offer on PC, with an emphasis on PvE content, since there were some technical issues with PvP modes during my playtime. Those have been resolved and I’m told PvP is ready to rock for the open beta.

Not that you should expect it to be perfect. Turtle Rock Studios is using the open beta to fine-tune Back 4 Blood ahead of its release on October 12th, and developers are serious about gathering as much feedback as possible. There’s plenty to track: The game uses a Left 4 Dead-style AI director that adjusts the difficulty level in real-time as you plow through hordes of Ridden in your own special way. There’s also a card system that allows players to build decks of class-specific perks, plus corruption cards that apply randomized effects to every level, changing up the gameplay each time. And it’s a true cross-platform game, running across console generations and PC. All of this is on top of a new PvP mode and the core PvE gameplay, which has to feel like butter if it’s going to satisfy Turtle Rock’s Left 4 Dead fans.

I’m one of those fans, and I have to say, I’m enjoying the hell out of Back 4 Blood. Left 4 Dead is a pivotal game of my past, and Back 4 Blood taps into those good feelings in a delicious way.

Back 4 Blood

Turtle Rock Studios

I’m most interested in PvE, since that’s the core of my nostalgia in this case, and I ended up playing about two hours of the main co-op mode with some new friends. The open beta features two PvE maps for co-op runs and two maps for the Swarm PvP mode, where teams of four take turns fighting each other as the Cleaners (the main characters) and the Ridden (the infected former humans). A new character, Mom, joins the roster of playable Cleaners for the first time, too.

One thing that stands out in Back 4 Blood is its sense of replayability. While the levels feel familiar, they’re filled with secrets and they naturally encourage dynamic play, offering various ways to approach any single encounter. The card system adds a lovely layer of customization to the game, while the corruption cards make each new round just a little different, just a little more exciting. There’s a variety of weapons and items to gather as well, and a healthy allotment of ammo drops throughout the maps, especially if you go exploring. 

Shooting the Ridden is immensely satisfying with any gun, while getting snatched up or knocked down by a Special Ridden is shocking basically every time. Meanwhile, the dialogue among the Cleaners is cute, with references to “the new normal,” lizard people in the government and the lamestream media, to name a few joke opportunities. The protagonists of Back 4 Blood aren’t shocked and running for their lives; they’re on a mission to eradicate the Ridden and create safe zones for human life to resume. It’s a refreshing perspective twist.

I ran into a few issues during my time with Back 4 Blood’s open beta content, but nothing that felt insurmountable at this stage of development. Essentially, I trust Turtle Rock to take the feedback from the open beta and apply it to the game in the smartest, most gory way possible for its launch in October.

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Game

Amazon’s New World Has Been Delayed Again Following Its Beta

New World, Amazon’s upcoming MMO, has been delayed until September 28. This is the game’s fourth delay, as Amazon had originally pushed it to August 31. The developers explained that the reason for the delay is to incorporate player feedback from the beta.

On Twitter, the official New World account posted about the positive reception the beta had. The social media account claimed that over one million players tried out the beta, accumulating over 25 million hours of playtime. Because of the player feedback that the developers received, they have decided to push the release date of New World to the end of September. The developers apologize for the continued delay but want to assure players that they are focused on the “highest quality game possible at launch.”

A message from the New World team. pic.twitter.com/oAZdK7dxTn

— New World (@playnewworld) August 4, 2021

Notably, New World ran into a particularly nasty issue during its beta tests where the game was reportedly bricking certain graphics cards. The delay announcement doesn’t mention that problem, though it does say that the team is looking to “smash bugs” discovered during the beta.

This will be the second time that New World has been delayed this year, with a total of four game delays. Originally, the game was supposed to be released in spring 2020 but was delayed to August 2020. Because of the pandemic lockdown, the game was delayed a third time to spring 2021. However, the developers decided to delay New World for an August 31 release in order to work on the end-game content.

New World has taken the gaming world by storm. The game has been one of the most-viewed games on Twitch as well as one of the most-played games on Steam during the recent beta access. The game is being developed by Amazon Games Orange County as well as Relentless Studios, a team that is one of the main development divisions under Amazon Games. New World will launch for PC on September 28.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Latest PlayStation 5 Software Beta Adds M.2 SSD Support

Starting today, PlayStation 5 users no longer have to be constrained by their console’s puny, under 1TB storage. That is, as long as they’ve signed up for the PS5 software beta. Users that can download the latest beta update for their PS5 will be able to add their own M.2 SSD to the console, expanding its storage capacity by up to 4TB.

If you already have an external HDD or USB SSD hooked up to your PS5, there’s still a reason to hook up an M.2. Unlike other drives, an M.2 SSD that fits Sony’s specifications can launch and run not just PS4 games, but also PS5 games, something that HDDs and USB SSDs can’t do.

That being said, Sony’s specifications for M.2 NVMe SSDs that can be used with the PS5 are very strict. To start, you’ll need to get the latest in NVMe SSD tech, with a PCIe Gen4 interface. The storage capacity of an eligible M.2 SSD can range from 250Gb to 4TB, and it has to have a read speed of up at least 5,500MB/s. These specs aren’t anything to scoff at and mean that any compatible M.2 SSDs will likely take a bite out of your wallet.

Along with M.2 support, the new PS5 software beta adds a ton of changes to the console, including 3D audio support for TV speakers and some UI optimizations. The console’s Control Center for instance will let players personalize it more with options for changing controls. A trophy tracker is also being added for all the completionists out there that makes up to five trophies quickly accessible through the control center.

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