Gaming

NBA 2K19: A complacent champion

Needs a legit challenger

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NBA 2K has absolutely dominated the NBA simulation video game space for the better part of the decade. It’s been the undisputed champion year after year and the same is true with its latest version — NBA 2K19. As is the case with any multi-year champ, it’s hard to keep the pedal to the metal when you know you’ve basically left your competitors biting your dust.

This is where the NBA 2K franchise is at. If it were an NBA team, it has been a champion for years. Let’s keep things a little interesting by breaking down different sections of the game as if they were players of a champion team.

Face Scan: Last year’s sixth man but fell out of the rotation

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, somewhere between 2K18 and 2K19, the face scan stopped working like it’s supposed to.

This was the result of my face scan back in 2K18, after just a few attempts.

This is my face scan in 2K19 after many, many attempts. And this was the best one.

Here’s me side-by-side with the face scan along with a player I created from scratch.

I think the images speak for themselves, but I’m just going to come out say I don’t know what on earth happened and face scan needs to go back to how it was in 2K18. I ultimately decided to forego face scan altogether and just create a character that looks like he’d fit the story in MyCareer.

MyCareer: X-Factor starter

NBA 2K invests heavily on this mode. It’s understandable because it’s safe to say that anyone who enjoys this game and the game of basketball in general has dreamed of being a star, carrying a team to the promised land, and hitting that game-winning shot.

MyCareer lets players experience all of this. It takes the player into some sort of hero’s journey as a young baller looking to prove that he belongs in the big league. It can get boring, so what 2K has done is to incorporate some kind of story. In 2K19, it looks like they went all out.

In a lot of ways, MyCareer in 2K19 is going back to its roots. In the previous two or three iterations of this game mode, the player was positioned as a star prospect. A good number of my friends who played the game weren’t too happy about it. They loved the idea of being someone unknown taking the league by storm.

This underdog story is flanked by a star-studded cast led by Anthony Mackie (recently appeared on film as Falcon in Avengers: Infinity War). This goes to show that 2K is going all in on the cinematic RPG route in this year’s version of MyCareer. The cutscenes can get pretty long, though. Adding a few more quick time events would have helped with the pacing.

So that’s essentially what MyCareer is to NBA 2K. You never really know what you’re gonna get. However, when it’s on point, it takes the game over the top and makes something good even better.

MyGM: Solid rotation guy

MyGM in 2K19 has also gone the storytelling route. It picks up where 2K18 left off. You’re a player who suffered a career-ending injury and now you’ve built your reputation as a headstrong general manager.

There are a fair number of people who would like to try their hand at running an NBA team’s front office. NBA Twitter talks about trade scenarios all the time and that’s a huge part of what makes this game mode appealing. Being able to build a roster according to your liking and taking it all the way to the championship; that’s a challenge people like taking on.

There aren’t a lot of new things on MyGM. The story has you working with a new team owner while also managing your relationship with the previous one you worked with.

The new story makes it mildly more interesting, but at its core, MyGM is what it has always been: a solid feature on a game that delivers the kind of experience players hope to get.

Gameplay: Star Player

This is what it all comes down to. This is the reason why NBA 2K has been the champ that it is. The gameplay is the undisputed star player of the game. It’s the reason why people continue to play it. It’s the reason why time and time again, people line up for the game.

In 2K19, the gameplay doesn’t feel that much different from 2K18. There’s a huge difference between how both games felt at launch. When 2K18 first came out, the gameplay still seemed a little weird, with players looking like they’re floating on the court as opposed to running on it. There’s none of that in 2K19.

What you’ll experience is a refinement of what was already a good product. Some animations and shots make more sense this time around. The way players transition from dribbling to a shot feel more real, and there are a few subtle improvements here and there that when combined, sum up to a basketball simulation experience that appears to still be ahead of its competition.

As long as NBA 2K keeps this type of gameplay on their side, they will continue to hold the number one spot. However, they can’t rest on their laurels. EA Sports’ NBA Live is creeping on their turf and appear to be a few adjustments away from legitimately contending for the top spot once more.

Some notes from the assistant coach

We still don’t have notable players like Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley, Rasheed Wallace, and Gilbert Arenas in this game. The 2K community has clamored for their inclusion but this is really more the mentioned players’ willingness to be included in the game more than anything. Here’s to hoping they change their minds soon.

There are a few classic teams I personally want to see. On top of that list is the ‘09-’10 Lakers that beat the Big Three Celtics. While a version of Kobe is already in the game, I badly want to play with Black Mamba #24 when he played with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum as he hunted down his fifth NBA title.

If this is the game that finally makes you want to buy a PlayStation 4, consider getting the NBA 2K19 PS4 bundle. In the Philippines, it retails for PhP 20,490 which will net you the following: One jet black 500GB PS4, one DualShock 4 controller, the NBA 2K19 Blu-ray disc, one premium decal sticker, a badass poster featuring Giannis Antetokounmpo, and a PS4 one-year extended warranty. Not a bad deal!

Final evaluation

As a team with a solid lineup that’s been winning for years, it feels as though NBA 2K still hasn’t reached its peak. While it has been amazing, there’s another level that it can go to. As it is now, NBA 2K19 is still the basketball video game to beat. I have mixed feelings about both the MyCareer and the MyGM modes, but as long as the gameplay takes over when it needs to and until the competition puts up an actual fight, this game will continue to get an overall grade of A.

SEE ALSO: Marvel’s Spider-Man Review: Spidey in all his glory

Gaming

We’re getting a Star Wars game from Ubisoft

It’s a story-driven open-world adventure

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Star Wars Ubisoft
Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

May The Force be with Ubisoft! The company just announced that it is collaborating with Lucasfilm Games on a new story-driven open-world video game set in the beloved Star Wars galaxy.

The game will be developed using next gen tech including the Snowdrop engine. There aren’t any specific details yet as to what the game will be about exactly. The companies involved — Ubisoft and Lucasfilm Games — have expressed excitement over the project.

“The vast Star Wars lore is an incredible source of inspiration for our teams,” said Yves Guillemot, co-founder and CEO of Ubisoft. “This is the beginning of a long-term collaboration with Disney and Lucasfilm Games, and we are pleased to be working hand-in-hand to build upon the incredible legacy of Lucasfilm to create a game that we know Star Wars fans will love.”

“We are inspired by the passion and talent of the team at Massive, and together we share a vision for the type of original stories we want to tell with our players in this expansive galaxy. They have the creativity, experience, and community understanding to bring awe-inspiring authenticity, depth and innovation to this new Star Wars game,” said Douglas Reilly, VP, Lucasfilm Games.

More information about the game and the release date will be shared at a later stage.

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Gaming

CD Projekt Red publicly apologizes for Cyberpunk 2077

Promises fixes for 2021

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Though it was one of the most hyped video games in recent history, Cyberpunk 2077 became the most polarizing game of 2020. Especially on older consoles and lower-end PCs, the game suffered endless bugs — some of which were game-breaking. So far, CD Projekt Red, the game’s developers, released three hotfixes to fix the most outstanding bugs. Now, Marcin Iwiński, CD Projekt Red’s founder released an apology video for Cyberpunk 2077.

In the video, Iwiński personally accepted all responsibility for the fumbled launch. The launch unsurprisingly didn’t meet the developer’s expectations. Game stores like Sony and Xbox have offered full refunds for dissatisfied customers. According to the founder, CD Projekt Red focused too much on high-end PCs, causing errors to go undetected on other consoles.

As such, besides the apology video, CD Projekt Red released a timeline for upcoming updates. Later this year, the game will get two definitive patches — 1.1 and 1.2 — for major improvements and fixes. After which, the developer will keep outing “multiple updates and improvements” including free DLCs and a free next-gen console update.

Though the game is already out on Xbox Series S/X, the PlayStation 5 is still expecting to get Cyberpunk 2077 sometime this year.

SEE ALSO: Cyberpunk 2077 PC review: Looks can be deceiving

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CES 2021

New Legion laptops, accessories announced at CES 2021

Plenty of gaming goodies to look forward to!

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Legion

Lenovo Legion is going all out for gamers at CES 2021. They’re coming out with the latest in AMD and NVIDIA processors, high-resolution 16-inch displays, AI-driven frame rates and exciting upgrades.

Lenovo Legion 7

The Lenovo Legion 7 sports the latest mobile processors for PC gamers — up to the latest AMD Ryzen 9 5900H Mobile Processors and up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPUs.

It comes with the new 16-inch 165Hz IPS display with 16:10 aspect ratio, 2560 x 1600 resolution, NVIDIA G-SYNC, 100 percent sRGB color accuracy, 90% screen-to-body ratio, 11% more screen estate (vs conventional 15.6-inch screens), and Dolby Vision.

The Lenovo Legion AI Engine optimizes system performance via machine learning to deliver the highest possible framerates whether your game is CPU or GPU-intensive. For 16 of the most popular triple-A gaming titles, the Lenovo AI Engine will run them at finely-tuned settings for maximum frame rates.

Legion TrueStrike Keyboard

The Legion TrueStrike Keyboard features innovative soft-landing switches that deliver deeper strokes with equal force on every strike. This enables you to strike enemies with extreme precision, hair-trigger speeds and satisfying keystrokes.

The full-sized keyboard with number pad is also illuminated in over 16 million colors via Corsair iCUE support with a glass trackpad that is 23% larger than previous generations. You can easily launch the Lenovo Vantage software with the dedicated Super Key to custom-calibrate your system.

The Coldfront 3.0 thermal management system packs an intelligent intake system that features turbo-charged dual-fans and quad-channel exhausts with vapor chamber technology.

Nahimic Audio drastically improves your gaming experience with its immersive 3D audio. Experience crystal-clear communication with teammates with background noise suppression. If you have additional Bluetooth speakers, you can connect them to your Legion laptop to create a surround sound field.

For privacy, the Legion 7 offers a 720p integrated webcam with E-shutter which allows you to cut off power to the webcam and prevent camera hacking with the switch located on the side of the laptop.

Available from Q1 2021.

Lenovo Legion Slim 7

The Legion Slim 7 is the successor to the world’s lightest 15-inch gaming laptop with NVIDIA RTX graphics released in 2020, and now comes with AMD’s latest processors.

At under 1.9kg, this ultra-svelte beauty is a perfect fit for any boardroom or tournament setting with unbridled performance under its magnesium cum aluminum chassis in the Shadow Black hue.

It is powered by up to the latest AMD Ryzen 9 5900H Mobile Processors and up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with Max-Q Design GPUs. Its key features include: Legion TrueStrike Keyboard, Nahimic Audio, Webcam physical shutter, among others.

Available from Q1 2021.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

The Legion 5 Pro offers the same 16-inch 16:10 QHD display as the Legion 7 and is powered by up to the latest AMD Ryzen 9 5800H Mobile Processors and up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPUs.

Its key features include: Legion TrueStrike Keyboard, Nahimic Audio, Webcam physical shutter, among others.

Available from Q1 2021.

Lenovo Legion 5

The Legion 5 brings the balance of style and savage power to gamers in 15” or 17” sizes. It will also be available in two hues — Phantom Blue or Stingray White.

It is powered by up to the latest AMD Ryzen 9 5800H Mobile Processors and up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPUs. Its top features include: rueStrike Keyboard, Nahimic Audio, Webcam physical shutter, among others.

Available from Q1 2021.

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass for PC

Every Lenovo Legion gaming laptop comes with a complimentary one-month Microsoft Xbox Game Pass for PC, unlocking hundreds of great games for non-stop gaming. Play over 100 high-quality PC games for one low monthly price with XBOX Game Pass.

Lenovo Legion S600 Gaming Station and H600 Wireless Gaming Headset

The new Lenovo Legion S600 Gaming Station has an always-on charging capability that solves multiple power problems at once.

It features hang-to-charge technology for the new Lenovo Legion H600 Wireless Gaming Headset and a Qi-enabled base that charges compatible smartphones (up to 10W output) and other supported devices such as wireless gaming mice.

The station’s modern-looking stand is lightweight at just 919 grams and features two USB-A pass-through ports on the bottom for high-speed connectivity and device charging.

Available from Q1 2021

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