I have a rule about Betas. It’s a simple rule. I don’t play them. This rule has served me well in the past it prevents me from becoming jaded by an unfinished product that I would otherwise enjoy, it also saves me wasting time. If a game is really great I could sink a good chunk of hours into the beta to later have to repeat all the content when the game goes live.
This is why I haven’t touched the Guild Wars Two beta. It’s also why I didn’t play The Old Republic until it had been out a few days.
Beta’s are a strange idea to begin with. When a beta is offered it’s not a beta at all. Usually the game is usually stable enough to call at worse a release candidate or Demo.
What are doing us stress testing the servers and giving them feedback on playability. Sure a bug or two maybe discovered but the true purpose of a Beta offer is to get you to buy the product early (pre order now and get beta access) or to give you change to try a Demo. If the game is not liked by the gamers the developer gets to say ‘all those things you hated are beta only features that will be changed in the full version. Where as the word ‘demo’ is a commitment to the quality of the product.
This being said I strayed away from my habit of ignoring Beta’s and loaded up Ghost Recon Future Soldier on my PS3, the only reason I did this was because it was available through the Playstation store (plus members area) and was little to no effort to get.
Being a shooter there is no content to be spoiled by this multiplayer beta, I would play the same few levels over and over on any shooter so it’s really an irrelevant worry.
The game however is a wonderful surprise. It’s all the best features of Ghost Recon Advanced War Fighter (a game I had a lot of live for) but with a more modern feel and graphics that look glossy and impressive.
As a Demo I have enjoyed this game to the point where I have little doubt that I will buy it soon after release. As a beta the game has failed, there are very few things unfinished or in need of change, and as usual with these ‘demo style betas’ there isn’t even a facility to report a problem if you do find one.
TLDR version: Beta’s are stupid but Ghost Recon Future Soldier is good.