Gaming

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

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

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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

Gaming

Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s new console

Formerly known as Project Scarlett

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With millions of eyes glued to the Game Awards, Microsoft took the opportunity to unveil their latest console. Formerly known as Project Scarlett, the gaming console now has an official name — Xbox Series X.

The Xbox Series X has a custom-designed CPU that’s based on AMD’s Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA Architecture. Speaking of CPU, that’s exactly what the console looks like. Despite it looking like most CPU Towers, the console can be positioned both vertically and horizontally.

Microsoft Xbox chief Phil Spencer claims the new console it will “deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way.” It’s also using an SSD which should boost load times. It’s also capable of 8K gaming with frame rates of up to 120 FPS as well as ray tracing.

Spencer confirmed with GameSpot that it the Xbox Series X is backwards compatible. It will support games you can play on the Xbox One and will also have support for accessories sold for earlier versions of the console.

There’s no word yet on exact pricing and availabilty but they did say it will come just ahead of the holiday shopping season in 2020. This puts it squarely around the time of the PlayStation 5’s release date. Exciting times ahead for console gamers!

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Gaming

Black Shark 2 Pro: Price and availability in the Philippines

It’s finally here!

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It’s finally here! The much anticipated Black Shark 2 and Black Shark 2 Pro are finally in the Philippines.

First announced back in July, the Black Shark 2 is a much anticipated gaming smartphone. Powering the phone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus.

The device also comes with an AMOLED display with a 240Hz touch report rate. However, is that the display still retains a 60Hz refresh rate that lags behind its major competitor — the ASUS ROG Phone 2 — which has a display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The display’s response speed was reduced to 34.7 ms, promising faster response times during high pressure gameplay.

Price and availability

The Black Shark 2 comes in three variants: 6GB/128GB (PhP 22,990), 8GB/128GB (23,990), and 12GB/256GB (PhP 28,990).

Meanwhile, the Black Shark 2 Pro comes in two variants: 8GB/128GB (PhP 27,990), and 12GB/256GB (PhP 33,490).

The phones will be available in select Mi Stores: SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, and SM Mall of Asia starting December 13.

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Gaming

Resident Evil 3 gets its remake, available Q2 2020

Remade into horror and glory

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PlayStation saved the best announcement as its second to the last for its final State of Play. One of the most popular survival horror franchises gets another remake since its release 20 years ago. Capcom wants to take everyone back to Raccoon City in its full, high definition glory in Resident Evil 3.

Revisit the story of Jill Valentine as you venture through the virus-infected city in this modern remake. Avid followers of the multitude of Resident Evil games will enjoy the improved visuals while enjoying the same style of shoulder-perspective gameplay. Capcom programmed the entire remake on their own RE Engine, the engine responsible for Devil May Cry 5.

Apart from that, Capcom also announced Resident Evil: Project Resistance – a 4v1 multiplayer mode within Resident Evil 3. It features similar gameplay to that of Resident Evil 2, as players turn into survivors at the mercy of a Mastermind. Early talks suggested that it would be a separate title, but will now be part of the Resident Evil 3 remake.

The game will be available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the PC on April 3, 2020. PlayStation is already taking in pre-orders for the game as early as now.

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