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

Accessories

Razer introduces two new Ornata V3 keyboards

Slim, clicky, and ergonomic

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Ornata V3

Razer is releasing two new entry-level gaming keyboards in the Ornata V3 and Ornata V3 X, which will both have Razer’s Mecha-membrane switches.

The new keyboards come with all the basics expected of an affordable gaming accessory. That’s everything from their keycaps design, RGB backlight, and more.

The two low-profile gaming keyboards come with smaller footprint and slimline keycap designs. The ABS keycaps are UV-coated for scratch resistance, while the Ornata V3 X’s keycaps are spill-resistant.

The keyboards also feature Razer Chroma RGB with 10 lighting zones. The V3 X has four lighting effects: Breathing, Spectrum Cycling, Static, and Wave.

Aside from these, they have backlit dedicated media keys for more convenient controls such as playing and pausing, skipping, or adjusting brightness or volume.

Adding value to the Ornata V3 and V3 X is their magnetic soft-touch wrists rest. These are not often included for keyboards in their price range.

Pricing, availability

The Razer Ornata V3 and Ornata V3 X keyboards are now available on Razer’s official website, Shopee, Lazada, and through their authorized sellers.

The Ornata V3 will retail for PhP 2,590 while the Ornata V3 X is priced at PhP 4,199.

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Accessories

SteelSeries unveils Arctis Nova Pro series

The almighty future of audio

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Arctis Nova Pro

SteelSeries has released the Arctis Nova Pro series. It’s latest and most advanced gaming and esports headsets yet from the company.

The series has two variants — the Arctis Nova Pro and Arctis Nova Pro Wireless. The new series is enhanced by SteelSeries’ Sonar Audio Software Suite. It helps deliver the ultimate sound quality and clarity.

The software is the first in-gaming Pro-grade Parametric EQ which gives gamers even more control over sound across games, team chat, and the microphone and allows them to adjust individual frequencies on the fly seamlessly.

Both variants come with immersive 360° Spatial Audio which is fully compatible with Tempest 3D audio for PS5 or Microsoft Spatial Sound.

They also feature Multi-System Connect which allows users to switch between platforms easily. Complementing the next-level sound experience is an AI-powered noise cancelling and broadcast-quality bidirectional microphone.

Price and availability

The Arctis Nova Pro will retail for US$ 279.99 for both the PC/PlayStation and Xbox options, while the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is priced at US$ 379.99.

In Singapore, pricing are as follows:

  • Arctis Nova Pro – SG$ 439
  • Arctis Nova Pro (Xbox) – SG$ 449 (available in Sep 2022)
  • Arctis Nova Pro Wireless – SG$ 599 (available in Sep 2022)
  • Arctis Nova Pro Wireless (Xbox) – SG $620

There are also booster packs for users to be able to customize the headsets with headbands and metallic color speaker plates of their choice.

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Gaming

Final Fantasy XVI producer reveals game details in interview

Things just got more exciting

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Final Fantasy XVI

Ever since the announcement of Final Fantasy XVI a few years back, enthusiasts have been on the edge of their seats in anticipation how exactly the latest installment in the popular video game franchise would look like.

Now, no less than producer Naoki Yoshida is teasing us all with even more details for what is there to expect before FFXVI releases officially in the summer of 2023 exclusively on PS5.

Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights of his latest interview regarding FFXVI.

FFXVI won’t be traditional open world

Unlike previous iterations of Final Fantasy, the upcoming video game is going in a different direction as it will not be open world, surprisingly.

Instead, it will be an “independent area-based game design”. Still, Yoshida did give away that it will take a lot of inspiration from “triple-A open world RPGs” to allow players to experience the game on a “global scale”.

Clive’s got company — making battles more interesting

Prior to Yoshida’s interviews, players have been expecting FFXVI’s protagonist, Clive, to be a solo fighter which meant that the game would have been a single-player type for the first time.

But apparently, Clive’s got company — other characters who will fight alongside him but will be AI-controlled, according to Yoshida.

Something that will also resonate uniquely with players will be the Eikon-versus-Eikon battles. Players will be able to control an Eikon in real-time and engage with another Eikon.

Yoshida recalled the original Final Fantasy in making XVI

Citing the importance of making each of Final Fantasy’s releases true to its essence, Yoshida mentioned that he went to as far as thinking about the original Final Fantasy and remembering how it felt like while playing the lead role.

He said that he “wanted to recapture that feeling in XVI”, plus the advancements in technology and modern game design.

This is something Yoshida hopes could turn into reality for people to look forward to.

The game is almost ready as of the moment

Yoshida also mentioned that in terms of progress, the game is “fully playable from start to finish” already. 

As it stands, it looks like voice-overs in different languages are currently the focus as of the moment, as well as finetuning to make sure there are no bugs or glitches.

Since FFXVI is full of action, it is only natural for the developers to have it undergo several tests to ensure smooth gameplay.

A third trailer will drop later in 2022

Lastly, a third trailer that will succeed the “Dominance” trailer released a month ago will drop this fall.

That will surely excite players even more as they get closer and closer to Final Fantasy XVI’s launch next year.

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