Gaming

NBA 2K20 Review: A Worrisome Upgrade

Welcome to the next… best thing to an update

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I have to be honest: I felt the hype in the few months leading up to NBA 2K20’s release. I felt the changes coming; from the updates to popular game modes to the arrival of the WNBA. I even went on ahead and pre-ordered the Legend Edition — mostly because of the cover.

But I guess even the hype dies little by little. As I loaded the game into my PS4, I was just as excited as I was when I first got my expensive console. Give it an hour or two to download content, and I finally got a chance to see whether that hype was real. But unlike all the previous NBA 2K games, this one literally just takes you to the main menu.

No demo game of the NBA Finals the previous year. No scrimmage between the two finalists — in this case the Golden State Warriors sans Kevin Durant and the Toronto Raptors sans Kawhi Leonard. I can already tell that we’re in for some real big things ahead.

It’s the same modes, the same interface, the SAME gameplay

Every NBA 2K game comes with the same set of game modes to choose from. Nothing much changed through the years, with the exception of the “Play WNBA” mode. I felt that it was only right to separate the NBA from the WNBA teams, unless you’re interested enough to make the Lakers and Sparks face each other. Other than that, no other feature was ground-breaking.

Another staple with the NBA 2K franchise is its gameplay, which I believe to be a great representation of NBA basketball. I will admit that getting used to a slightly improved shot meter takes a little bit of time. If this is the first ever NBA 2K game that you will play, the learning curve is decent. However, throughout the weeks that I’ve been playing the game, I did notice a bit of input lag — especially when jump ball starts.

One change I had mixed reactions for were the changes made to the all-time and historic teams. I do like that the 2K design team stepped up from just the team logos to now the actual players or superstars per team. But do we really need to keep switching historic teams every year?

You get to set your potential as an NBA superstar

One of the game’s biggest upgrades from last year is an improved MyPlayer. The pre-release feature allows you to build your own player from scratch, allowing you to set his stat limits and physical build. Every possible setting available is adjustable to fit your ideal player for the position you want to play in the lineup. And perhaps the most important choice you will make involves your Takeover ability.

Not only that, but you also get to test your build when fully maxed out. You can play for your favorite team and see how your player fits within that lineup. I personally found this a great feature to have, especially if it’s your first time playing. Although I do recommend that you walk through MyPlayer with a friend of yours who plays NBA 2K a lot. Oh, also you can use your phone to scan your face for your MyPlayer. That’s great for people like me who don’t own a PlayStation Camera.

But your career starts out a little too shallow than before

Don’t get me wrong: when it comes to career modes in sports games over the last few years, NBA 2K kills it with their storylines. Apart from having control of your own NBA career, past NBA 2K games touched on the story behind your legend. Basically, you get to follow your path from unheralded prospect to NBA champion.

NBA 2K19 saw you go from an undrafted prospect making waves in China, chasing an NBA dream that seemed miles away. You take a literal full route towards your dream of making it to any NBA team, instead of just being drafted outright. From the streets of Shanghai to the farms in Indianapolis, your story takes every twist and turn. But it all pays off in the end.

Meanwhile, in NBA 2K20 you go the usual route most NBA talents go through. You get through your senior year in college, build on your stock, and take a few invites and an NBA Combine. All of that will happen before you get drafted by an NBA team of your choosing (technically). And the only life obstacle you ever come across with is your former college coach who cut one of your buddies in the team. 

The storyline feels a little shallow compared to the previous iteration of the game. Sure, I still put in the same work I did in terms of upgrading my stats and notching triple-doubles whenever possible. And sure, the end goal is still the same — play for an NBA team. But in NBA 2K20, it doesn’t even feel like the journey was truly worth it when it’s all said and done.

The final verdict

I know I said earlier that we were in for some big things from NBA 2K20, and honestly the upgrades were big. I welcomed the MyPlayer upgrade with open arms and pretty much had fun with it in the process. Adding in the WNBA rosters gave more variety for old and new players alike — and it’s also a sign that maybe we shouldn’t just focus on the NBA too much.

But it is an NBA 2K game after all. It’s still the same game of basketball, the same approach to creating your own career. Even with all the big changes, gameplay remains the same even with minor adjustments. MyCareer still rocks a great storyline, but feels less fulfilling than before.

Overall, NBA 2K20 still peaks as an overall great basketball video game. But honestly, it felt like the game welcomed me to the next big NBA 2K upgrade — and that worries me.

Gaming

Alienware m15 arrives in the Philippines

Leaner and stronger

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Here’s an alien that’s more than welcome in this part of the world. Dell is bringing a new breed of Alienware to the Philippines — the Alienware m15.

This Alienware is leaner, more advanced and more powerful than its predecessor. Weighing under 4.7lbs, this is the brand’s slimmest and latest gaming rig. This is for gamers who prioritize mobility without compromise to performance.

You’ll get the best of Intel processors and NVIDA GeForce GPUs along with either a 144Hz or 240Hz refresh panel.

It also has the latest Alienware Cyro-Tech 3.0 that brings optimized thermal module design to improve cooling performance, increasing airflow by 20% over the previous generation of the m15.

Additional design features include an all-magnesium chassis, smooth-edge, narrow-bezel design, re-engineered keyboard, precision-point glass touchpad, SSD-only storage, and per key RGB LED AlienFX lighting.

There’s also a hyper-efficient voltage regulation or VRM feature. The VRM allows the system to hold GPU and CPU performance high for a longer sustained time than typical gaming notebooks.

The Alienware m15 will also come with the Alienware Command Center. It’s the central hub that allows gamers to customize all aspects of their experience including system and peripheral lighting, power management, thermal control, audio, and content organization.

This lean, mean gaming machine starts at PhP 149,990, and will be available on the week of October 2019.

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Gaming

Dell’s G series gaming laptops are now sleeker

Looks subdued but has plenty of power

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Oversized gaming laptops are slowly starting to fade away. In its place are slimmer versions with slightly less gaming cues. The same is true for Dell’s G series. Introduced in the Philippines today are the new Dell G3, G5, and G7.

The Dell G7 15 (7590) is slim and powerful

Nothing personifies Dell’s new approach better than the G7 15. At 19.9mm, it’s one of the thinnest gaming laptops in the market.

It’s made with a three-piece metal construction making sure it stays strong despite its thin profile. Completing the look is a palm rest with brushed metal finish.

It’s also equipped with a quick-charging 60 or 90WHr battery to make sure you can continue gaming on-the-go.

The G7 15 will be available in Abyss Grey.

The Dell G5 15 & G5 15 SE (5590) won’t leave you wanting for ports

Next on the line are the Dell G5 15 and G5 15 SE. They follow the same sleek design without sacrificing performance.

Despite the slimmer profile, it’s not lacking in ports. The Dell G5 has a full-size HDMI 2.0 port that can plug into external monitors and supports up to 4K. There’s also Single-cable docking for video, data, and power with the laptop’s SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports. This laptop comes with a 60Whr integrated battery.

It is available in Deep Space Black color with blue accents. A special edition in Alpine White is also available.

The Dell G3 15 (3590) is a great value for getting started

Dell’s G3 15 delivers plenty of power and performance at a competitive price point. It has the new Game Shift feature enables maximum fan speed for optimal processor performance.

It has an S-curve thin-and-sleek design and narrow borders to accommodate larger component ports near the back. At 21.6mm thin, the G3 comes with a 51Whi integrated battery.

It is available in Eclipse Black.

No compromises

As far as specs go, here’s what you’re getting with the redesigned G series laptops.

All three models will have the 9th Gen Intel Core mobile CPUs, up to i7. That’s desktop-caliber performance delivering up to 5.0 GHz Turbo, 8 cores, and 16 threads to play demanding AAA games or complete taxing, creative workloads.

They also have NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX graphic cards up to 1660Ti. Graphics card options are GeForce GTX 1660Ti and RTX 2060 and 2070 graphics options.

All three sport a15-inch FHD anti-glare display screen with three-sided narrow borders, and wide-viewing angles with up to 240Hz refresh.

These gaming laptops also offer up to 512 GB NVMe PCIe SSD and can be expanded to dual storage as needed. The G Series are embedded with complete ports options, including HDMI 2.0 port, Superspeed USB 3.1 ports, Standard SD/MicroMedia card slot, wedge lock slot and headphone/mic port.

Dell G5 desktop also announced

If gaming on-the-go isn’t your thing, there’s the new Dell G5 Desktop.

It’s designed to offer game-ready power, graphics and features in a compact, upgradeable form. Up to i7K-Series CPUs and VR-capable NVIDIA GeForce GTX® and RTX graphics, high-fidelity visuals and split-second responsiveness for superior 1440p gaming experience.

Pricing and availability

All the G series laptops are already available right now. Pricing are as follows.

  • Dell G3 15 (3590) price starts at PhP 46,990
  • Dell G5 15 (5590) price starts at PhP 68,990
  • Dell G7 15 (7590) price starts at PhP 113,990

The Dell G5 desktop starts at PhP 57,990, and will be available end of November 2019.

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Gaming

Epic Games just destroyed Fortnite with a literal black hole

There’s an in-game reason, though (maybe)

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Are you currently wondering if (and why) Fortnite is down? If you’re trying to play the world’s biggest battle royale game, you’ll drop in on a strange sight — a black hole. To answer your first question, the game is currently down. However, Fortnite’s curious status is not because of server maintenance or a glitch. Instead, Epic Games has purposely shut its most profitable game down for the day.

Hours ago, Fortnite ended its tenth competitive season. Like most online multiplayer games today, Fortnite creates months-long periods — called Seasons — wherein gamers can rank up and subsequently gain prizes at the end of the period. However, unlike most games, Fortnite holds in-game events that significantly change the gameplay experience. For example, one of the earliest in-game events was a meteor that destroyed part of Fortnite’s map.

That said, Fortnite’s tenth season ended in a literal black hole that sucked up the entire map. Currently, the game will not start in the same lobby or map. Instead, the game only drops gamers into a front-seat view of the black hole. Fortnite is down. (Epic Games has also shut down the game’s official channels.)

For what it’s worth, the game is still churning out “some” content for viewers. Throughout its existence, the black hole has been broadcasting strange numbers for people patient enough to watch. The first set of numbers — 11, 146, 15, 62 — led viewers to a beach full of crabs when put into Google Maps. It’s a direct reference to crab raves, a meme popularized by the game’s popular Twitch streamers. Since then, the black hole released more numbers — 87, 14, 106, 2, 150. Currently, the new set doesn’t mean anything.

Further, gamers can also input the infamous Konami Code — Up, Up, Down, Down, B/O, A/X, Start/Enter — to access a Galaga minigame featuring a pizza and enemy burgers.

For now, Fortnite fans are stuck with this until Epic Games releases a more definitive conclusion. Most likely, the black hole will usher in a new era for the popular game. This might include an entirely new map or new gameplay elements.

Regardless, Fornite’s black hole is a huge gamble on Epic Games’ part. The developer has purposely shut down its biggest revenue stream for an event. It’s currently unheard of for an industry that values maximum efficiency.

SEE ALSO: Sony finally opens cross-play for Fortnite for the PS4

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