Dust 514 is an ambitious game, and recently I got the chance to play this closed beta to check out how exactly the PS3 version fares. One thing is to be noted though; this is a beta, as in, a real beta. So expect graphical issues, performance problems and other things. Hopefully all these things will be fixed before release.
I was a little underwhelmed at first when the game put me in a giant map, with little to no opponents to shoot at. I did find a few, and it resulted in a great one-on-one skirmish, but that’s about it. It may be that the current beta does not have a lot of players–or it seems that is the case, because I just could find a decent amount of people playing it.
As I mentioned before, Dust 514 is an ambitious game–especially considering they’ve fit the entire world in a console with limited specs. It must be nightmare to balance everything and make sure it doesn’t result in a complete clusterfuck. Based on what I’ve played, the netcode seemed very good; my shots actually registered and I got a bunch of kills to my name. It’s incredibly satisfying to kill someone here using the variety of stunning weapons available at your disposal.
What weapons you get also depends on the class you pick and other variables. You can also purchase items and equipment using ISK–which is the in-game currency. If you are loaded with money i.e. real world money, then you can just purchase AUR (Aurum), which allows you to do the same thing. It’s an MMO so such advantages will always be available. I am not saying the game is pay-to-win, it seems like they’ve given enough resources for newbies to do some significant damage and actually feel like they are contributing in a meaningful way.
Before you jump into battle, you are exposed to this big conference type room where you get to choose between different options to play the game–including the marketplace. It’s quite ingenuous and actually immerses the player. The more you play the more in-game currency you get which allows you to gear up nicely. It’s pretty straightforward. PS3 users are not exposed to an MMO of such scale, and it can be daunting at times just by looking at the various complex gameplay mechanics.
The game has a huge learning curve, and by huge I mean, gigantic. But considering the fact that the game is designed for people who will be investing significant time and resources, such a learning curve can actually be a positive thing when you think about it. The game is connected to EVE Online, which I’m sure not many PS3 users know about, but in the close beta you will be able to call Orbital Strikes from Space to pummel your opponents. And in the full game, these Orbital Strikes can actually be sent by real players.
The graphics look pretty poor at this stage, and I know it’s a beta, so I’m not going to analyse it a lot. But considering the massive maps, it’s sort of expected. I hope they can polish the game a little bit and try to increase the visual fidelity because for console gamers, presentation counts as well.
So far, from what I’ve seen, it’s an excellent ambitious MMO on the PS3, but it requires a lot of polish and tweaking for public consumption.