Gaming

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II Hands-On: Old fan meets new game

Prepare for multiplayer

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I remember playing the first Call of Duty. It was a simple time. Crawling through the different theaters of World War II, Activision’s fledgling first-person shooter was a simple game of finding the coolest gun and shooting targets with it. Now, the decades-long franchise is anything but. Inside a typical Call of Duty game today, players will find an endless barrage of overpowered abilities and perpetually optimizable loadouts.

As an old-but-lapsed fan of Call of Duty, my hands-on of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II can easily devolve into a nostalgic waxing for days past when things were supposedly simple. However, this isn’t that. This isn’t the tale of an aging millennial wagging a 1940s Thompson at a zoomer’s decked out M16. This is quite the opposite. I find that I really want to play with that M16 with its dozens of knickknacks and its cheesy Doritos skin.

A mishmash of good ideas

Teasing fans with a tiny dose of FOMO, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II offers early access to its single-player campaign through the Vault Edition, among other gizmos once the game launches for everyone. While players don’t necessarily need the access a week in advance, it does provide a good glimpse of what’s to come for the modern shooting series. And, boy, it’s a doozy.

First of all, the graphics are astonishing. While I won’t claim to know how a modern war would look like up close, Modern Warfare II takes players to a wide variety of locations; each of which was painstakingly rendered to detail. Each level felt fresh and novel.

Of course, I can also thank the level design for that funky fresh feeling. Levels aren’t just simple shoot-em-ups. While most have their share of shooting, each level contains a new idea. For example, one has players controlling the recon and fighting arms of a helicopter. Another will have players reenact Sniper Elite and puzzle out the best way to take out targets with a rifle.

A particular standout has the player sneaking through the streets of Mexico using only scrap metal. It’s a new crafting system that just blends well and offers a great change of pace for the game.

For the most part, the game’s unique mechanics doesn’t overstay their welcome. Most will end and have you thinking, “hey, that was a great idea.” Naturally, the risk of offering so many mechanics is the loss of the game’s identity. Purely based on the campaign, there isn’t much that screams Call of Duty. To its credit, it’s a strength. I’d rather play a mishmash of interesting ideas, instead of a monotonous shooter for several hours. Obviously, it’s a taste test for the coming of multiplayer.

Not a perfect package

Unfortunately, it’s not all candy and flowers. Because it’s a chopseuy of guns, the bad levels end up as real stinkers. One particular pain point is a car chase mission. Though vehicles have existed in the franchise through some form, Call of Duty is not a car game. Movement was simple enough. But, besides the inherent difficulty of shooting a gun from a moving car to another moving car with limited ammo, the sequence also has players physically abandoning their current vehicles, jumping onto a fresh one, and hijacking it ad nauseum. Oh, and the bad guys have tiny drones and mines that are almost impossible to see or shoot.

The story isn’t a blockbuster either. It’s almost a blast-from-the-past recreation of 24. I was almost certain Jack Bauer was going to make a cameo after the credits. Then again, playing a Call of Duty game for the plot is as much a lie as saying everyone watches Pornhub for the story. It only serves to hurry players along to the multiplayer, and it does that job quite well.

Can’t wait for more

Coincidentally, the last Call of Duty I truly played was the first Modern Warfare 2. Even then, the franchise’s mechanics already started showing signs of mania towards absurd powers. Though the past iterations initially steered me away, the fresher and more polished ideas of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II has me clamoring for more, eager for the launch later this week.

Gaming

ROG Phone 6 gets limited-edition Diablo Immortal design

Available by mid-December

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ROG Phone 6 Diablo

ASUS ROG is officially capping 2022 on a great note as it introduces the ROG Phone 6 Diablo Immortal Edition.

This limited-edition iteration of the gaming smartphone dubbed as the “King of Gaming Smartphones” was done in collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment, and is a surefire must-have for gamers.

The phone features a Hellfire Red colorway wherein a unique flame effect design is embellished onto the phone. This finish also changes luminance at different viewing angles.

The Diablo Immortal theme also extends to the user interface which comes with an exclusive animated theme pack that includes a live Diablo wallpaper and redesigned app icon frame.

When the phone is charging, an exclusive sound and animation containing Diablo-themed elements will also be experienced.

Hellfire-raising accessories

Complementing the device is a set of accessories that is part of the package. It starts with the box itself, whose design is inspired by the in-game Horadric Cube, while the phone is also stored in a box modeled after the Worldstone.

A special protective Shield Blessing Aero case and Map of Sanctuary scroll that reveal hidden marks for those playing the game are also included.

Even the phone’s SIM ejector pin gets a Diablo treatment, coming with a Diablo emblem design.

Demon-slaying ready smartphone

More than its appearance, the ROG Phone 6 boasts of the best specs that deliver extreme mobile gaming performance.

It is powered by a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor. The phone has 16GB of DDR5 RAM, 512 of UFS3.1 storage, and a 6,000mAh battery.

The display is a 6.78-inch 165Hz AMOLED screen that supports HDR10+ visuals.

And with GameCool 6 cooling system and AirTrigger 6 technology, one’s gaming experience will definitely be seamless.

Pricing, availability

The ROG Phone 6 Diablo Immortal Edition will retail for PhP 68,995 by mid-December in all ASUS and ROG concept stores and multi-brand dealers.

For more details, click here for the product’s page on ASUS-ROG’s official website.

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Gaming

Marvel’s Midnight Suns now available worldwide

On PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC

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Marvel's Midnight Suns

Tactical action RPG Marvel’s Midnight Suns is now officially available worldwide. It is playable on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

Midnight Suns is created by Firaxis Games — the studio behind the critically-acclaimed, world-renowned XCOM and Civilization franchises. The game promises a rich story, character relationships, customization and progression of an RPG. And combines these with tactical strategy and combat mechanics of a card-based tactics game.

What to expect on gameplay?

Midnight Suns

Your Marvel Adventure. You are the Hunter, the first customizable original hero in the Marvel Universe. Lead a legendary collection of heroes that span across the Avengers, X-Men, Runaways, and more as you customize your team, tailor your selection of abilities to suit your playstyle and unlock iconic outfits that will delight any Marvel fan.

Explore the Darker Side of Marvel. Rise up against the demonic forces of Lilith and experience an immersive personal story that brings familiar heroes to an unfamiliar world, filled with the supernatural and the mystical. The stakes are higher than ever as you face-off against fallen versions of iconic Marvel characters and attempt to stop Lilith from reviving her evil master, Chthon.

Live Among the Legends. See heroes in a new light and unlock additional abilities as you develop relationships and strengthen personal bonds outside the field of battle with some of your favorite Marvel Super Heroes such as Iron Man, Wolverine and Captain Marvel. Dive deep and explore the Abbey – your very own mystical secret base – as you explore the grounds and uncover its hidden mysteries.

Fight and Think like a Super Hero. From the creators of the critically-acclaimed tactical XCOM series comes a new engaging and deeply customizable card-based battle system that rewards clever thinking with Super Hero flair. Team up with your fellow heroes, assess the battlefield and launch devastating iconic attacks against the forces of darkness.

Different Editions

Midnight Suns

Legendary Edition

Marvel’s Midnight Suns will be available in four editions: Standard Edition, Enhanced Edition, Digital+ Edition, and Legendary Edition:

Standard Edition (US$ 59.99) on Windows PC via Steam and Epic Games Store. It includes the base game.

Enhanced Edition (US$ 69.99) on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. It includes a next-gen optimized version of the game for next-gen consoles and five premium cosmetic skins.

The Digital+ Edition (US$ 79.99) on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows PC via Steam and Epic Games Store. It includes 11 premium cosmetic skins. PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S SKUs include the next-gen optimized version of the game for next-gen consoles.

The Legendary Edition (US$ 99.99) on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows PC via Steam and Epic Games Store. It includes the Marvel’s Midnight Suns Season Pass. The pass contains 23 premium cosmetic skins for the base game. It also has 4 post-launch DLC packs, each featuring a new playable character, new missions, new enemies, and additional character skins.

These are all based on 2K’s suggested retail pricing. You may check with your local stores and your region’s digital stores for local pricing.

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Gaming

Gran Turismo 7 might get a PC port

According to the creator

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Between last year’s Forza Horizon 5 and the upcoming Need for Speed Unbound, it’s a great time to be a racing gamer. Now, if you prefer playing on the PC, you’re likely getting another title to fuel your racing ambitions. According to the creator himself, Gran Turismo 7 might make a pitstop for PC.

Speaking to GTPlanet, Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi is “looking into” a PC port for the latest entry to the series. Released back in March, Gran Turismo 7 became the quintessential racing simulator for the PlayStation 5 (and the PlayStation 4, too).

That’s no surprise, though. If the “7” in the name of its latest entry hasn’t given it away, the Gran Turismo series has (usually) wowed gamers for years using the top-of-the-line hardware packed inside the most recent PlayStation console. It highlights and underlines the “simulator” in the car simulator genre.

However, amid all the hype, the series had a major flaw: You need a PlayStation. Now, as more former exclusives are making their way to the PC, the racing simulator might join in, adding another playable title for PC gamers. If the title makes the jump, it will join illustrious names like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Days Gone, and Uncharted. In fact, more are likely on the way. Sony is now fine with exclusive titles making the jump.

SEE ALSO: Gran Turismo 7: For car enthusiasts

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