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Gaming

realme narzo 20 review: Unlikely power from affordable sources

A real good gaming device for those on a budget

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One untapped segment of most smartphones today is the budget gaming smartphone. At first, you wouldn’t think something like this is possible, all things considered. But it’s 2020 after all, a time when pretty much anything is possible now. Just ask realme themselves, especially with their latest offering.

Introducing the realme narzo 20, the company’s take on a budget gaming smartphone. It comes with gaming-ready hardware, plus a big battery to keep you gaming for long. All of this within an affordable price, what else could you want, right?

Well, for starters, here’s what you are getting with the realme narzo 20:

It has a 6.5-inch Mini-drop display

realme narzo 20

It comes with a 48MP Triple AI Camera at the back

The back cover of the device is in realme’s signature V Design

realme narzo 20

It comes in two colors: Silver Sword or Blue Blade

realme narzo 20

As far as regular performance goes, it’s pretty good

The realme narzo 20 comes with a gaming-focused Helio G85 mobile processor and 4GB of RAM. By most budget smartphone standards, this is pretty decent hardware to have. Applications load smoothly and rather quickly, with realme UI optimizing the whole experience.

For most tasks, the device holds up pretty well even while multitasking. I didn’t experience any jitters while shifting through different apps, although adding games affected it slightly. Still, as a budget smartphone, I don’t recommend opening way too many apps with this device.

Although, don’t expect FHD videos to play when using this device. Due to the limitations due in part to its budget makeup, YouTube videos up to 720p are most viable. It’s not exactly great that there is such a limitation, but it may slip your mind if you’re using this device to game full time.

Gaming performance was astonishingly great

What makes this device ultimately stand out is in its gaming capabilities. Based on my initial run through of most games, I can confidently say that this device holds up quite well. While frame drops were expected — mostly because of the internet connection, gameplay was smooth on this device.

League of Legends: Wild Rift on 60 FPS showed almost no signs of lag throughout my playthrough. I’m surprised this device could handle all the textures and effects, especially during intense moments in the match. Unfortunately, it won’t play any higher than High settings, but that’s not such a bad thing.

Other games like Call of Duty Mobile, PUBG Mobile, and even some sports games like NBA Live Mobile play well on this device. I know that for the most part, some FPS games do require using most of the RAM. Even so, these games didn’t slow down during prolonged gameplay.

realme narzo 20

This battery is big, lasts long, and charges up fast

This phone comes with a whopping 6,000mAh battery inside, which realme claims is a first within budget smartphones. Using the device normally got me to more than a full day’s worth, with about 20 to 25 percent left. When playing full time across a variety of games, I was able to get about 12-13 hours.

Looking at these numbers, I think this is a huge deal for a budget smartphone. Even when you’re doing so many things with your phone, you wouldn’t need to reach for your charger as much. Also, this even helps you with the fear of overcharging your phone overnight since now, you don’t have to do that.

Another reason why is because the phone also comes with Quick Charge support. The 18W USB-C charger charges the phone in about two and a half hours, which plays around most fast-charging devices. This just reinforces that you don’t have to keep charging your phone overnight anymore.

It’s not a perfect smartphone, but don’t expect it to be

It’s pretty obvious at this point that most budget smartphones come with compromises. The realme narzo 20 is no exception to this, and the most obvious trade-off was in camera quality. Yes, it comes with a triple lens, AI-powered rear camera but it leaves much to be desired.

Nature shot

 

Up close using the Triple AI Camera

 

Selfie with beautification turned off

Image quality on this camera isn’t too bad, but the sacrifice on detail is obvious. Sometimes, images turn up a little oversaturated or lacking in detail when zooming in. It doesn’t have to be Leica-levels of quality, I get it; it’s just something you already expect.

Also, it would have been interesting to see a 6GB RAM variant for this smartphone. In some cases, 4GB isn’t enough to keep running games past 30 FPS. I get that this may be impossible for budget smartphones, but it’s something worth exploring.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 7,990, the realme narzo 20 gives you the most viable option for a gaming smartphone. It crams in decent mobile gaming hardware to provide a great overall gaming experience. Plus, with a big battery inside, it will keep you gaming all day, or all night long. All of this stored in a package with a unique design to boot.

You can use it like any other smartphone for social media, watching live streams and Netflix shows. However, due to its budget category, some things had to be sacrificed like the cameras and higher RAM options.

For what it’s worth, the realme narzo 20 is a definite pick-up for those on a tight budget. It shows off some incredible power without burning your wallet.

Gaming

Players finally meet as HoYo FEST kicks off in SEA this November

It’s a grand meetup!

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hoyo fest

miHoYo, the global interactive entertainment developer and publisher behind hit multiplayer games such as Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact, announced that HoYo FEST is coming to Southeast Asia this November.

The interactive festival shall be held in six countries: Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

The annual celebration will allow for fellow players to finally convene and meet each other off their screens and in real life, allowing for an opportunity to relive memorable, happy, and touching moments in the game together.

Gaming world-themed cafés

All HoYo FEST-related events will be held at collaboration cafés themed after Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact between November 5 and December 14.

These specific cafés will offer special set menus on dine-in, takeout, and delivery options. Ordering via takeout and delivery also gives customers an additional printed tote bag and cup sleeve.

The interiors will be furnished in the styles of Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact in order, which is accompanied by photography zones.

That way, fans and players will be able to enjoy exquisite foods and immerse themselves in a real-life feel of the game worlds while bonding with new friends they’ve only previously met in-game.

Mystery gifts and exciting merchandise

Ordering collaboration combos or spending a certain amount of money at a café also entitles guests to an exciting mystery gift box.

The pop-up stores found only at specific cafés will also sell a variety of exclusive Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact merchandise, to be distributed only by the staff of the collaboration cafés.

Preparations for the celebration are underway, so Captains, Travelers, and Attorneys should brace themselves for upcoming surprises.

Festival Schedule

  • Honkai Impact 3rd: November 5 to November 16
  • Tears of Themis: November 19 to November 30
  • Genshin Impact: December 3 to December 14

Collaboration Cafés

  • Singapore: Aniplus Cafe
  • Malaysia: my Burger Lab
  • Thailand: NANA Coffee Roasters Ari
  • Philippines: Moon Rabbit Café + Restaurant
  • Indonesia: Warung Koffie Batavia
  • Vietnam: To Be Announced

For more event details and pandemic precautions, please visit the miHoYo official website: https://mhy.link/686SLBA6.

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War journalists use Call of Duty Vanguard to capture life-like photos

A one-of-a-kind collaboration and experience

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For me, Photo Mode is a wonderful thing to have when doing game reviews every now and then. Honestly, I would prefer setting the mood for those insane game shots instead of just screenshoting them from the device. For Activision, however, they wanted to take this concept to the next level with Call of Duty: Vanguard. With this one, they enlisted some experts in the field of war photojournalism.

Activision revealed a collaboration with renowned war photojournalists Alex Potter and Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini. As a refresher, these two photojournalists have vast experience in taking photos of some of the most gruesome battles in war-torn countries. In this special collaboration, Activision gave them access to the game’s engine through a virtual camera console.

As seen in the trailer, the two photojournalists were inside Activision’s motion capture studios as they grab images straight off the game engine. From the explosion of tanks to the banging gunfire during World War II, these two captured photos that depict the reality of war. In the end, they were at awe at the stunning details and the level of immersion the game brought.

Call of Duty: Vanguard will be available on November 5, 2021 for both current and next-generation consoles and PC.

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Gaming

Hot Wheels Unleashed review: A childhood dream realized

It’s action-packed and rather nostalgic

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Hot Wheels Unleashed

As a kid, I wanted all kinds of toys whenever we went to toy stores in the city. One of the very first toys I had an obsession over was Hot Wheels. From collecting cars to building tracks in the living room, it became the quintessential set of toys that got me into racing games all this time.

When Hot Wheels Unleashed was released, I instantly knew that this was a game I didn’t want to miss. As someone who plays a ton of racing games, this one felt right at home next to Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. Unlike CTR:NF, the nostalgia I felt for this game was more on the side of “playing my toys on a virtual screen” type of thing.

However, if you’re looking for another game to help you pass the time, is this a game worth considering?

A racing game at its core

As with most games involving toy cars, Hot Wheels Unleashed feels right at home as a racing game. It even comes with some of the most standard game modes you can think of for any racing game, so you won’t necessarily miss out if you’re a racing game fan. Where this game sets itself apart is in its easy-to-grasp game mechanics.

Usually, all you have to do is drive around the course and win 1st Place by outspeeding and outsmarting (in some situations) your opponents. You still do that but with some key differences, particularly towards boosting. Honestly, I like the fact that boosts are activated by button pushes and accumulated by drifting. To me, it’s friendly even to new players getting into racing games.

Hot Wheels Unleashed

The other thing I like is the fact that each Hot Wheels toy car comes with its own cart stats, and not just a general one all throughout. This also gives you an incentive to try and get every available model in the game and try them out for yourself. Furthermore, you can even upgrade these stats using Gears, and customize their Livery to however you like.

Creativity and originality in track design

Every racing game needs some interesting tracks to race around, especially with something like Hot Wheels. In Hot Wheels Unleashed, you have access to 5 main backdrops, each with about 8-9 different tracks that come with their own surprises. From high-arching loops to acid pits, each track will have you doing things a bit differently each time you race.

In fact, the first thing I noticed was that the elements in the tracks are quite similar to the actual models in those track builder sets. The designers did an incredible job with maximizing the entire backdrop to produce tracks with enough twists and turns along the way. Also, I would even argue that these tracks let you play around with the driving mechanics.

Now, I have some good news and bad news for you on these tracks. The bad news is that when you start the game, most of the tracks are locked as in-game transactions. If you wanted to unlock them the easy way, just pay a few bucks to get in-game currency and buy them.

However, the good news is you can unlock them by completing the Hot Wheels City Rumble mode. Although it will be an immense grind on your part, but I honestly think it’s worth it!

Wait, you can make your own tracks?!

Yes, you read that right: Hot Wheels Unleashed also allows you to create your own tracks to race on with your friends online. See, one unique mode to the game is the Track Builder, and I guess the name is self-explanatory. To be honest, this game mode was the best and it actually brings me back to my childhood.

Once you start the game mode, you basically have a blank canvas to work with, depending on the main backdrop you choose. After choosing your desired backdrop, you have a variety of track builder pieces to choose from and customize. Also, it even comes with your set of obstacles and boost pads to add some flavor to your tracks.

I absolutely enjoyed going on Track Builder as someone who collected Hot Wheels track sets before. Basically, you can create some of the most death-defying tracks that your younger self could not afford to before. Seriously, Hot Wheels track builder sets are expensive, and this game basically lets you experience this without spending a hefty amount.

Some low points

Much like most racing games, this one doesn’t come with its own set of shortcomings. To no one’s surprise, this game comes with a Hot Pass that allows you to earn more cars, tracks, and track builder sets. The good thing about it is, well, it’s more content at your disposal. At the time of writing, they’re currently running one with Batman vehicles as the main rewards,

The thing I don’t like about it is that you have to pay for it. I genuinely feel that this is something that would have been better off as a Battle Pass-type of package instead of paid DLC. I mean, it’s additional content that people also want to try out but with a rather hefty price tag. Maybe if they did it this way, people would continue to grind out the game.

Another thing that felt lacking in my eyes was the Basement, particularly the customization aspect.

I get it, it’s another main backdrop for your tracks and you can work with a ton of elements when creating your own. However, I didn’t like that the customization was limited to just the exterior design. Honestly,  I was looking for more customization options like moving the furniture around.

A roaring good time

Hot Wheels Unleashed is a racing game that feels right at home with the best of them. From a vast selection of carts to creative and unique track design, it feels fresh to anybody trying to get into racing games. Also, if you grew up playing your Hot Wheels car collection, this takes you back to simpler times.

Again, it’s not perfect and hopefully with upcoming patches, the game does get better. However, they missed out on some opportunities to make it a worthwhile game to play for any occasion. Sure, if you had money to burn, this wouldn’t be an issue; for others, however, they want a lot more without spending too much.

Overall, this game will give you a roaring good time, especially when you just need some down time from all the stress. What made it even more special for me was that this game pretty much made one of my childhood dreams a reality!

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