Yesterday afternoon I received a PlayStation Network message from [EA/Sony] with the following text:
Congratulations PlayStation Plus Member! You have been invited to participate in the Dead Space 2 Multi-Player Beta! The Private Beta takes place from 10/05/10 to 10/19/10. Play tonight and help test the Dead Space 2 servers! We need your help to hit 2,000 simultaneous users. Please play tonight between 9:00PM and 1:00AM Pacific Time and help us achieve our goal! Thanks, The Dead Space 2 Team.
Attached: PSN Multi-Player Beta eVoucher
I was stoked and proceeded to download the client for PS3 to begin testing the game mid day yesterday. Early in the day, servers were extremely responsive and quite good. During their “stress test” where users were on from 11PM – 3AM CST, that was when the power of their dedicated servers started to buckle as I was disconnected from close 1 out of every 5 games for a connection time-out. I commend Visceral Games for performing a stress test cause it’s definitely a great idea to make sure that the servers can handle a high load of connecting users. I also commend Visceral Games for using dedicated servers for Dead Space 2 as the games I played last night had minimal latency. There was no choppy frame rates as seen from the game data being crunched on dedicated servers instead of the host’s Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC. It’s something I am glad that Electronic Arts is encouraging their production teams to use as it keeps multiplayer games nice and fair. I can only assume that after last night’s server stress test that Visceral Games will be adding more servers for the anticipated server load.
As for the multiplayer, it’s set up with a level unlocking system and on hitting Level [X] you unlock certain guns if you’re playing on the “engineer” team. I have reason to believe the same holds true for for the necromorph team as there’s one that’s locked off. The map that the beta features is a 4 vs 4 “capture the flag” in a mining sector. The objective is for the Sprawl Security Team (engineers) to build a shock mine with 3 minutes. The round is extended for another 3 minutes per piece of the shock mine obtained and locked in. If you nab a piece, more time is added to the clock. Engineers have a pulse rifle, health pack, and a Stasis Generator on hand to start. On the necromorph team, you have The Pack (child bodied necromorphs), Lurker (puppy size necromorph with tentacles that can shoot barbs), Spitter (acid spitting necromorph), and the Puker. The necromorph objective is to stall for time until the round is over.
The engineers have a limited amount of ammo, but if they kill a necromorph, they are rewarded with a dropped item (ammo, health, Stasis packs). The Stasis Generator is great for moments where you get over-run by packs of necromorphs and could buy your team a few seconds of dismembering necromorphs to progress. On the necromorphs side, The Pack are blazingly fast and can do some quick swipes for quick damage. The Lurker is almost like your sniper unit as they are small, can mount themselves on the ceiling, and a headshot with the barbs usually will kick an engineer to critical condition. The Spitter is much like the one from Left 4 Dead 2’s mechanics on the acid spit causing splash damage but also had bladed arms to slash and maim. I was unable to play the Puker necromorph last night as it wasn’t available for me to pick on any games.
I will say that the necromorphs will have to be balanced out, as with playing them and being beaten by them… They have a huge advantage, especially as a grouped pack. A well composed necromorph team can quickly decimate an engineer team straight to Hell. A excellent engineer team could survive the onslaught but they would definitely need to communicate to make it work as well as stick together as a pack. A well timed Stasis Generator blast will put the necromorphs in slow-mo allowing you a wonderful opportunity to dismember them to oblivion. I can say that if Visceral Games gives a hard look to the game, they may just have a winner this coming new year.
[Image sourced from the official Dead Space Series site]