A first-timer’s perspective on Ghost Recon: Breakpoint

Of all the games in the series I tried first, it’s this



I haven’t had a chance to play any Tom Clancy game in many years, and I wanted to scan the field first on which one I should start with. I decided that I should probably give the Ghost Recon franchise a good crack at it, and went with the latest release.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is the latest installment in this action-packed series. It is set three years after the events of its predecessor, Ghost Recon: Wildlands and features a returning cast of characters. 

Ubisoft promised some key differences in terms of the overall story arch and terrain while bringing the same gameplay older players know. It hopes to bring something fresh for the newbies like me who plan on getting invested in the franchise.

Except maybe that was all it was — an idea

In terms of terrain, I really couldn’t say anything more. It’s honestly fantastic to see how much effort animators put into the vivid imagery seen on the overworld. From the trees and the humidity of the forests to the fiery crash sites and abandoned camps, it looks realistic in every sense.

The realistic rainy mountain view provided the realism I needed for this game

In terms of story arch though, it seems fairly different. The game takes place in Auroa, a forest-laden island in the South Pacific. It follows the franchise’s lead character “Nomad” after his team’s drug bust in Bolivia from Ghost Recon: Wildlands. The team was sent to Auroa to investigate the sinking of a US cargo ship near the island.

While it does present something relatively different, I felt that the way I progressed through the game seemed bland and confusing. Throughout the game, I come across military-like entities, secret mountain camps, and several characters that reveal little important information on my objective. More often than not, I’m off fighting enemies than figuring out how to get survivors out of the island.

It’s the kind of rescue mission that just puts more emphasis on the action-packed scenery, and also on deep-rooted conflicts in the past. I had to read up on the premise of Wildlands before bridging the pieces together on the relationship between Nomad and the main antagonist, Walker. And for some reason, that’s one of the main takeaways I had from the storyline of Breakpoint.

You’re only sure of where you’re going in the beginning

The main setting for Ghost Recon: Breakpoint of the mountainous Auroa

The moment you jump right into the game, you find yourself by your totaled helicopter ride. As you gain consciousness, you slowly become aware of the basic controls of the game. Apart from that, you get a glimpse of your objectives and the general locations of these objectives. Seems pretty straightforward to start the game, right?

The thing is, that’s honestly the only straightforward thing I found. The moment you are off doing your objectives, I felt like I knew where I needed to be. From checking out crash sites to going to the hidden camp of Erewhon, this open world game offered you the simplest objective to start out.

Every other mission after that, it was basically left to you to decide where to go. The good thing about the missions HUD for the game is it actually tells you which one follows the main storyline. But, I ended up exploring everything else just to see the whole map first.

In-game mechanics that are either simple or weird

As much as I wanted to explore the main storyline at first, I literally needed a tutorial on how this game operates. First off, this is the only game I’ve played in my life where I literally had to access the map every 20 minutes. You know how games with missions show you a pathway towards the locations of your missions? Breakpoint doesn’t know this, as you are basically coming into every location-based mission blind.

One-stop access hub for your missions, objectives, and navigation to different screens (top)

I appreciate that you can see where each mission is on the map, and that you can tick on it so there’s easier access to it. But the moment I leave the Map screen and proceed with the game, I should have memorized how to get to that place first. It’s tedious to open the Map every now and then, and that’s just weird to me.

Second, I enjoyed the fact that you could organize your loadout before every battle. As you keep fighting and completing missions, you gain experience to unlock certain loadout slots. To me, it’s actually important to prepare for all your missions. Plus, the loadout screen seems simple and easy to understand.


A wide variety of weapons at your disposal

Finally, combat is just what you expect from any game involving weapons. I have to admit that aim in this game was fairly difficult to master, but nothing a quick sniper can’t fix. But honestly, you’d be spending a ton of combat time healing your injuries than actually shooting people in the head. I spent a lot of time hiding just to heal wounds to fight again, and thank God the stealth mechanic works well.

Bringing it all together

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is a peculiar game to start getting into a series for the first time. On one hand, you’re taken away by improved visuals, additional combat mechanics and the same style of combat you see from any other shooter game. As someone who particularly likes the combination of shooters and adventures, it’s something to try.

But, as a storyteller, I felt like I needed something worth investing time in. The storyline for Breakpoint felt different than its predecessors, but it never fully takes a deep dive into more pressing conflicts. As great as the action could be, it gets in the way of the more crucial element of the game.

Overall, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint serves you with the no-nonsense action in a personality-driven plot. Ubisoft promised something different than the last, and I honestly felt they fell short by a few notches. But, nothing like a good patch to fix those, right?

Me wanting something more out of this game


The ASUS ROG Mothership: A mega review

Do you really need an overkill gaming machine?



A 10-kilogram package arrived at my office one day, and at first I couldn’t believe it. I was expecting something big to come in, but a 10-kilo box that looks like a PUBG supply crate was out of the picture. Little did I know, I received ASUS ROG’s next big thing — and it’s quite literally big.

Announced back in CES 2019 (as of writing, how timely), the ASUS ROG Mothership GZ700 is the company’s next innovation in gaming laptops. I distinctly remember one famous YouTuber by the name of Linus Sebastian dubbing this the “Surface for gamers.” It comes in a form factor that I didn’t think was possible for a gaming laptop, with arguably the most powerful lineup of hardware included.

But should you be spending your hard-earned money on a monster like this? Let’s take one full tour of the ROG Mothership.

Let’s talk about the package first

Unboxing the entire package was relatively easy, except for the fact that it’s insanely heavy. Inside the one big box are two more boxes and the large ROG Backpack that almost looks (and feels) like a shield. Apart from the ROG Mothership box, you also get the ASUS ROG Cerberus V1 headset for free! I think ASUS ROG really wanted to deliver the full gaming experience, and adding a gaming headset was a nice touch.

Removing the backpack and the headset, the big ROG Mothership box has the device and another box inside of it. It’s no joke when I tell you that the ROG Mothership is close to five kilograms in weight, which is half the weight of the entire package. Of course, the other box contains the rest of what you need for the device: the two big charging bricks, documentation and stickers, and the ASUS ROG Gladius II.

If ASUS really wanted to give you one full gamer package, to me this sort of did it. It’s basically the equivalent of getting a full-fledged gaming PC complete with all the peripherals in one box. Although, ten kilograms is just a lot of heavy-lifting that it mirrors carrying weights in the gym. Nonetheless, once you open up the box, you’re definitely in for the gaming experience of your life.

One stacked spec sheet

Before we go any further, here’s a rundown of what the ROG Mothership offers.

The ROG Mothership comes with a 9th-generation Intel Core i9-9980HK processor coupled with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card. To maximize the potential of a powerhouse combo, ASUS slaps in 64GB of RAM and three 512GB NVMe SSDs (in RAID 0) inside. What you get is the most powerful, quickest, and deepest gaming desktop setup, but for a laptop.

The laptop’s display comes in two options: a 4K one and a 1080p one. The unit for review was a 4K UHD 17.3-inch panel with thick bezels and a huge chin underneath. ASUS claims that the display emits rich and crisp color with a 100 percent Adobe sRGB color gamut. Also, the display supports NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology for a smoother gaming experience.

On paper, I can tell you that this machine is straight up overkill. On my first time using it, everything just seemed too quick, it’s unfair. Opening up applications, playing RAM-consuming games, hardcore video rendering — this device can handle all of those, and it hasn’t maximized all of its RAM yet.

Is it really a gaming laptop?

When I first saw images and videos of the ROG Mothership back in 2019, I couldn’t believe that ASUS was marketing it as a laptop. The build quality of the device matches that of any 2-in-1 desktop, while throwing in the hefty graphics card. The entire body is encased in CNC-machined aluminum, which is basically thick layers of metal preventing heat from spreading to other components.

Yet again, ASUS claims that it is a laptop for its portability and design. The RGB-chiclet keyboard detaches from the base of the display, and connects wirelessly upon detachment. If you like wires, the keyboard also connects via a USB Type-C cable and charges it in the process. The device itself has a kickstand at the back, almost similar to that of any Microsoft Surface.

To be quite honest, this kind of setup doesn’t feel like a laptop — and it’s not just because it’s five kilos. The metal kickstand feels a little uncomfortable, that after 30 to 40 minutes you will be looking for any flat surface. I also found it a little difficult to manage because the keyboard is in an awkward position when it’s on your lap.

Gaming that’s just extreme overkill for a “laptop”

The ROG Mothership is one massive gaming machine, and I’m not exaggerating. ASUS made the bold yet proper choice to slap in the NVIDIA RTX 2080 inside if they wanted the full gaming experience. Gaming on the device felt buttery smooth and every intense moment felt too easy to handle. But that wasn’t after I had to tweak things a bit.

For starters, gaming on a 4K panel is great and all. But the flipside is that this display only clocks a 60Hz refresh rate, which to pro-gamer standards is slow. I understand that you grab high quality images and colors while playing some video games. For the most part, you have to deal with a 60FPS cap which isn’t bad, but an RTX 2080 wasn’t built for that.

Dialing the in-game resolution down was the best workaround I could find, and it worked wonders. Shadow of the Tomb Raider sneaked in above 60FPS at its highest possible settings, while battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends poured in 140 FPS. In-game details remained accurate all throughout 30 to 40 minutes of gameplay, which is what you expect from a 4K panel.

If you do plan to get this monster, I highly recommend switching to the 1080p display option. The added benefit is the fact that the 1080p option comes with a 144Hz refresh rate, rendering images significantly faster. While you sacrifice a little bit of image quality, I think it’s a worthy trade off.

An overkill gaming PC needs an equally overkill cooling system

Cooling the ROG Mothership is one hefty task, and the way ASUS did it was ideal. Apart from separating each component through CNC-machined aluminum sheets, eight heat pipes push hot air to the top and sides of the device. Through careful calibration on the ROG Armoury Crate, the fans inside will pump out as much hot air as possible to keep major components cool.

Based on my experience, it did a fairly good job with that. The device didn’t seem to experience any drastically high temperatures during prolonged activity. Although, if you plan to maximize or even overclock your CPU and GPU, you will experience that. It happens to a point of near uncomfortability, in that you wouldn’t be able to store the device for 30 more minutes.

The fans also tend to get unbearably loud during gameplay that I’m glad they included the headset with the package. Even while idle, the fans tend to kick in and force a ton of air out which shouldn’t really happen. But again, if it’s meant to cool all the heavy components inside then it’s alright.

Expected short battery life

The ROG Mothership, as powerful as it is, doesn’t last very long. As with most gaming laptops, battery life isn’t necessarily their strongest feature and this device confirms it. On most productivity uses, I got an average of three hours before completely depleting the battery. To me, that doesn’t seem too appealing by any laptop standards.

When you’re gaming full time, it actually gets much lower than that. On average, I got around two hours before having to plug one of the two charging bricks. These show that this was clearly better off as a full-fledged desktop instead. If there’s any great takeaway, it’s that one full charge is relatively fast. Using just one brick fully charged the device in three hours, while using both bricks saves about 45 minutes. 

Finally, is this your GadgetMatch?

Here’s the thing: the ROG Mothership is a beast. It’s got every piece of gaming hardware anyone could ever ask for, in a form factor you wouldn’t expect it to be in. The package itself is just complete for anyone aspiring to take gaming seriously. For the most part, everything about it checks out.

But for US$ 6499.99/PhP 399,995, I feel like you would need to shell out a kidney to get this device — and it’s not worth it. Honestly, you could get every piece of hardware, or even just go for SATA SSDs and slap them into a gaming rig for way less. Heck, you could even get the same peripherals and I feel you would still be spending less than the Mothership.

All in all, the ASUS ROG Mothership is one heavy, beefy monster of a gaming laptop. The power it possesses truly fits those who want to dream of the best. But if you’re anyone who doesn’t earn one million a year, it’s best to invest in a gaming PC instead.

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Razer’s Deathadder and Basilisk get an upgrade

Faster and more control than ever before



Razer continuously markets innovation when it comes to its gaming peripherals. With that in mind, the company launched the Razer Deathadder in late 2006 while the Razer Basilisk in 2017. Since then, these two iconic gaming mice has seen various options and innovations for the modern gamer. Now, Razer is bringing these two mice back, better and faster than ever.

The Razer Deathadder V2 features an ergonomic design and upgraded sensors for all gamers. It features Razer’s Focus+ Optical Sensor, elevating any gamer’s speed and precision during intense moments. The mouse perfectly suits those who prefer a palm grip while providing sweat-resistant coating and rubberized side grips.

It also comes with eight programmable and fully customizable buttons for all your macros and secondary functions. The mouse’s on-board memory supports up to five different profiles, expanding your range for any game. Also, it has Razer Chroma RGB support so you can personalize the mouse and even sync it with other Chroma-supported devices.

Meanwhile, the Razer Basilisk V2 receives an upgrade from its predecessor similar to the Deathadder V2. This mouse now houses 11 programmable buttons, allowing full flexibility during gaming. It also offers a customizable scroll wheel resistance so gamers can adjust it to suit their playing style. All of these comes with the upgraded Razer Focus+ Optical sensor.

The Razer Basilisk V2 retails at US$ 79.99 (~ PhP 4,000) while the Razer Deathadder V2 retails at US$ 69.99 (~ PhP 3,500). The company will roll out the two gaming mice starting January 15 (January 14 in the United States).

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Final Fantasy VII Remake release date moved

Minor setback



Fans who have been waiting so long for Final Fantasy VII Remake will have to wait a little longer. Square Enix just announced that the game’s release date will be moved to April 10, 2020.

In June 2019, It was announced that the game would be released on March 3, 2020. But Square believes it’s in everybody’s best interest to delay release of the game.

In a statement, the game’s producer Yoshinori Kitase said the move was necessary to “deliver a game that is in-line with our vision, and the quality that our fans who have been waiting for deserve.”

“We are making this tough decision in order to give ourselves a few extra weeks to apply
final polish to the game and to deliver you with the best possible experience,” he added.

Kitase closed the statement with an apology: “I, on behalf of the whole team, want to apologize to everyone, as I know this means waiting for the game just a little bit longer. Thank you for your patience and continued support.”


Final Fantasy VII Remake: Features and mechanics
FFVII Remake new screenshots: Chocobo, Classic mode, and more
FFVII Remake screenshots: Sephiroth, an improved Midgar, and learning Aerith


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