Friday, 11 August 2017

Path Of Fire Preview - Color Me Impressed

Beta weekend. Demo. Preview. Call it what you will, the doors are open. Last time we did this, when we caught the beta bus that was bound for Heart of Thorns, you needed a pre-order to board. This time you don't need a ticket at all. Just jump on.



Okay, it's not quite that simple. Before you grab a raptor and roam the desert you have to jump through a few hoops. First you have to make a new character. Then you get to watch a rather nice cut scene while you take an airship ride from Lion's Arch to Crystal Desert.

I got the feeling I was missing some plot here. Maybe there's a pre-expansion lead-in we're not seeing. I hope so . If not it seems a bit of an abrupt transition form the end of the last Living Story. The view's nice, anyway.

Next comes what is presumably the first segment of the expansion's storyline. There's a lot of fighting, a lot of fire and it's all very orange. You get a mount. It was easy enough but I could have done without it. I just wanted to get to the real map. 

Once the flames die down you begin to see just how gorgeous this thing is going to be. The scenery is astonishingly lovely - and we're only in a quarry!

I wanted to explore the mine workings but this is one of those story instances that warns you you'll be summarily ejected if you deviate from the program. I hate being on rails. I don't have that kind of tunnel vision. Okay, I'll stop.

After a bit of business with Kasmeer and Rytlock, which I found very interesting and amusing enough that I laughed out loud, twice, the story segment concludes and the real doors open.

Blimey, Charlie! It was night when I arrived and it stayed night until I left which seemed like about an hour but can't have been, can it? The city, Amnoon, is stunning. It's mostly the color palette and the lighting, I think. I just gawped.

And gawped. And took screenshots. And ran around and gawped some more. The desert sky at night, the stars and the moon, the sea, the clouds... I'm not sure you even need gameplay with visuals like these.

There is gameplay, though. Plenty of it. And it's the same as you're used to if you've played GW2 in the last year or so. There's something to do in every direction, some event to complete, heart to fill out, Mastery or Hero Point to get, Champion to kill...

Or all of them at once. Here's a snapshot I took mid-battle. Someone had triggered a Djinn at a Hero Point and while we were killing him a Champion Hyena for one of the new Bounty Hunts got involved, so we had the two of them on the go, when a Veteran (or maybe it was a Champion) Hydra wandered over the hill and thought he'd have a go at us as well.

All good fun until someone loses a head, as I think I heard the Hydra say. And enough for me for a first look. I saw enough to know that I'm going to have a great deal of fun exploring and I'll probably need to buy a new Hard Drive just to store all the screenshots.

Not sure I'll be doing any more of the "beta". I don't want to take the edge off and there's always that niggling terror in the back of my mind - this might be the time a precursor decides to drop.

Looking good, though, ANet. Looking really good.

6 comments:

  1. I really hope they have more weekends like this. Away all weekend and I'm so jealous :-/ enjoy Elona!

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    1. People were saying in map chat that there's another preview coming up to try out the Elite specs, which aren't in this one. Not sure where that information is coming from, though.

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  2. It really is gorgeous, isn't it? And so much detail :O

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  3. I didn't get to play for very long yesterday, and I hope to do more today, but so far I tend to agree that this is a pretty impressive preview. I went in with low expectations, but it's been a good ride so far. I, too, first entered the zone at night, and yes, it's breath-taking. Maybe a desert expansion isn't such a bad idea after all.

    I've been away from GW2 long enough that I think this may ultimately still be too little too late to bring me back, but I can't deny it leaves a good first impression.

    As an aside, I was a bit miffed about having to make a new character, but it lets you make a revenant even if you don't have HoT, so that's cool. I'm not quite sure what I make of it. Strange class.

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    1. Oh my gods, I was able to comment without the site crashing once. It's a Christmas miracle!

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    2. Don't look at me! I haven't changed anything. Blogger being Blogger I guess.

      I like Desert zones in general so I was happy enough when I heard that's where we were going but it's a lot more spectacular than I was expecting.

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