Disclaimer: We were provided with a copy of the game and had no obligation to write a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and not influenced by Activision, and/or its affiliates, in any way.
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to check out the latest instalment in the Call of Duty franchise, Vanguard, and after finishing the single-player campaign, here are my thoughts on the game. Firstly, I have to give credit to Sledgehammer Games for optimizing the game - on my desktop, which struggles to play CoD: Warzone at a decent frame rate, I could run Vanguard perfectly. Sure, it was on performance mode at 1080p, but it looked and ran a lot better than the CoD battle royale. I was able to finish the whole game with no issues or slowdown in performance. It was that well optimized.
Now onto the game itself - it's been a while since I last played a CoD campaign (if I'm not mistaken it was probably the 2010 Black Ops or older) so it felt refreshing to jump into a story-driven shooter again. The story kicks off right in the thick of things - hijack a train that is on its way to Hamburg to steal some files. As usual, things quickly escalate and you find yourself embroiled in a plan to put an end to the Third Reich. I won't spoil the rest of the story, but let's just say it's nothing out of the ordinary regarding World War 2 and Nazis.
Throughout the campaign, you'll get to play backstory/introductory missions as each of the characters, which eventually cumulates into the present day where you use everything you've learnt to complete the final task. As Arthur Kingsley, the British leader of the group, you get to play a typical FPS with a special ability to command your allies to attack designated hotspots. Wade Jackson, the American pilot, you get to fly a plane and a special detection mode that slows enemies down and shows their outline wherever they are. Polina Petrova, the Russian sharpshooter, is great with a sniper rifle and has the ability to move quickly while crouched. Lastly, as Lucas Riggs, the Australian demolitions expert - you get to blow up a lot of things.
I'm no history buff so I can't tell you how accurate the various battles and locations were - but seeing how Vanguard is a game and not an army simulator, it shouldn't be of much concern. With the unique gameplay elements of each character and mission, the game felt fresh from start to end without overstaying its welcome. I played the game on Regular difficulty and felt it was challenging enough - most of the game was a breeze but there were sections I had to replay quite a few times before figuring out what to do.
The worst part of the game was the plane mission. I don't know if this was intended to convey how difficult it was to fly and shoot at the same time, or me being terrible with plane controls, but it was the only mission where I felt glad when it was finally over. The rest of the campaign was typical CoD: shoot enemies, run to cover, collect ammo/weapons, rinse and repeat. The only difference is how you accomplish those tasks. Not complaining here - people expecting a CoD game won't be let down.
The final mission was a fun and short excursion which ended a bit too soon (it also wraps up in the most convenient way possible) but I guess it's a good way to introduce people to multiplayer before they can get burnt out by the game. I tried a single match of Free For All multiplayer and was quickly reminded why I stopped playing multiplayer shooters in the first place - I don't have the reflexes that I used to for these kinds of games. Overall, CoD: Vanguard was a decent way to spend six and a half hours of my weekend.
In conclusion, CoD: Vanguard's single-player campaign is nothing groundbreaking in terms of its story or mechanics, but it is an entertaining ride. Treat it like an introduction to the multiplayer component of the game - where I believe most CoD players will be spending their time. Based on the official road map, there's tons more content to come so this can be a game that you play for a whole year. Props to Sledgehammer for the graphical optimization - hopefully, we can see that tech carried over to Warzone one day.
Last week, Blizzard sent over some beta keys for Diablo II: Resurrected and since I haven't played the game in over 20 years, I thought I'd give it a shot. I played Diablo II back in high school so I figured it would be a fun nostalgic trip. I had fond memories playing the game with my friends over LAN, spending hours running through the world, slaying monsters, occasionally each other, and having a blast. While I never had the patience to finish the original game (Act 3 wore me out, damn Fetishes!), I played enough of it for it to be still etched in my memory.
I registered the beta key to my battle.net account, installed the game, booted it up on a Saturday evening and had a terrible time - mostly because of the unstable connection I had to the game's servers. I'm sure it's a beta-only issue, with everybody flocking to play over the weekend and stressing out their servers but it caused a lot of problems for me.
Most of my attacks weren't registering - it wasn't a gameplay issue because I was still in the first act (those enemies were supposed to be pushovers) and putting points into dex didn't help at all. I couldn't pick up loot, my character would teleport around the screen randomly, and there was once I had half the screen not load (all I saw was blank white space). To solve the attacking issue, I played the game with a Druid (I tried Barbarian at first). With the Druid, I could overcome my clicks not registering since my summons could attack enemies with no problems, all I had to do was run around in the vicinity and stay alive - not a fun way to enjoy the game.
If the game was playable offline, I'm pretty sure I would have had a better time but unfortunately, the beta doesn't have that "feature". After taking up 25 gigs of space on my hard disk you would think they could let us run the whole game offline. I wouldn't mind if we had to select an option for a "singleplayer-only" character.
I tried playing the game again on a Monday evening, and while the connection was more stable, there were the occasional spikes and very perceivable delays between attacking and seeing the enemies health bars go down. On the plus side, I didn't get disconnected from the server every few minutes so that made the experience better than on Saturday.
Technical issues aside, this Diablo II remaster has taught me one thing - action RPG games have come such a long way since Diablo II was released in 2000 and a lot of them have made many quality of life improvements since then. While playing Diablo II: Resurrected, I found myself getting annoyed by the game and its shortcomings: tiny inventory space that can be easily flooded by your potions, gems and scrolls, having to identify items, no auto-sort, only one slot for your active secondary abilities, having to manage your potions manually - and the list goes on.
The visuals were a huge improvement over the original Diablo II - but that seems to be the only thing going for it. I know that it's probably unfair to judge the remaster based on a few hours with its beta, but if I had the opportunity to play the final game with no connection issues or technical problems, I would pass on it. There's a reason why games in the genre have evolved over the years - and unless Resurrected becomes the only way to officially play Diablo II *cough*Reforged*cough*, I see no reason to pick up this game over "newer" similar titles already in the market. Even Diablo II's own sequel, Diablo III, has changed up the formula and it came out 9 years ago.
If you feel like taking a trip down memory lane to revisit the world of Sanctuary again, you have been warned - those rose tinted glasses might not be opaque enough to conceal Diablo II's flaws. Check out the Blizzard site for more info on the open beta.
Online games have been on the rise for the last few years, with millions of people playing titles like PUBG, Fortnite, and Overwatch every day.
These games are different from traditional single-player games in many aspects, but probably the biggest among all is their reliance on a solid internet connection.
No matter how powerful the CPU and graphics card you have in your PC, there will be lags if you have high ping and latency.
For those who don't know, lag is the time duration between a player's actions in a game and the reaction of the game server based on those actions.
The signal your computer sends to the game server for communication is called ping, and the time it takes for your PC to send a ping to the game server and receive it back is called latency. This round-trip is calculated in milliseconds.
Although ping and latency are different terms, most people use them interchangeably. And for the sake of simplicity, we'll do the same here.
Although ping requirements vary from one game to another, most of them are unplayable beyond the 200ms mark. The 100-200ms is what's considered poor ping. You'll be able to compete with this ping, but there will be frequent lagging.
The 50-100ms ping is acceptable, but only for RTS and MMO games. For fast-paced FPS titles, you should aim for the 20-50ms ping.
In case you're experiencing high ping, below are some of the ways you can improve it.
The first thing you should try is restarting your computer. You'll be surprised to know that many programs occupy tiny space in the RAM even after they've been closed. These small memory leaks can accumulate over time, causing your PC to slow down after continuous usage and subsequently increasing your latency.
To avoid this situation, you should restart your PC at least once a day as it will clear your system cache and flush the RAM.
There are a lot of background programs running on your PC at any time. You won't necessarily notice, but many of them eat your internet bandwidth in small chunks continuously.
Therefore, you should force-close apps like Skype and Google Chrome using Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del) before playing any online game.
Enabling Auto-Updates for Windows OS is a good step in improving your PC's security as you get updates and patches as soon as possible. But these updates can also consume a lot of your internet bandwidth, causing your game to lag.
That's why you should temporarily disable Windows and other software updates when starting a gaming session.
WiFi is the preferred internet connection type these days because of its convenience. But it also comes with many downsides such as signal interference, dependency on router's range, and security risks.
The WiFi router's range is crucial because the farther you move away from it, the lesser internet speed (and subsequently high ping) you get. To avoid this, you should place the router in a central location of your house.
In case you're using a single-band 2.4GHz router, make sure to change your WiFi channel as your WiFi signals can get interference from other routers in your area. Ideally, you should select any one among channels 1, 6, and 11, as these are only non-overlapping WiFi channels on the 2.4GHz band.
If you use a dual-band or tri-band router, you can switch to 5GHz, which is much less cluttered and provides faster data transfer.
Some other things you can try are removing less important devices from your WiFi network, restarting your router, and using QoS to prioritize gaming traffic in your network (only available in high-end routers).
If you've tried the above settings to your router and are still experiencing high latency, you can try using an ethernet connection. These connections provide faster data transfer than WiFi internet, have no risk of signal interference, and are also more reliable.
You can also try a hybrid solution where your PC/console is connected directly to the router through an ethernet cable. And your other devices, such as smartphones/tablets, are using the WiFi connection.
The physical distance between your computer/console and the game server also plays a huge role in deciding how high/low latency you'll get. For example, if a game server is in the US, then a US-based player will have lower latency than a SEA-based player.
Therefore, you should switch over to a server that's closer to your location physically to improve the ping.
Many times your frame-rate can drop due to non-optimized in-game settings. Features like Ray-Tracing, Motion Blur, and Anti-Aliasing can make the in-game graphics even more stunning but will also put a heavy load on your graphics card and processor.
That's why you should tone down these settings a little and then retry playing your game.
If you have tried all the above tweaks and still experience unusually high ping, then it's your ISP's fault. Try contacting your ISP regarding this issue and ask them whether it can be solved by upgrading your internet speed.
This guest article was written by PCBuilderz.com.
This article is part of a weekly blog series by our eGG-steemed writers, to share our progress playing your favourite games not only for fun but also to level up our mastery and understand your love for the game.
Well, guys, this is my last Getting Good post for PUBG Mobile at eGG Network, though my colleagues will eventually pick up where I left off today. And lo and behold, PUBG Mobile released its biggest update yet with 1.5 (Project Ignition) last week - perfect timing to write my final learnings from it. Time will tell which features of PUBG Mobile 1.5 will remain later, but for now, they do spice up the meta - well, as spicy as black pepper is - that keeps Tencent Games' mobile battle royale fresh. Finally, something to top off my venture into PMNC 2021 Solo.
Here's my personal experience of PUBG Mobile 1.5 with Blog Entry #8:
Mission Ignition's Erangel (which can be accessed from Evoground) boasts a plethora of new features. The most obvious one is the futuristic infrastructures erected in several key areas across the classic map, as well as the LRT, I mean, HyperLines (the map's first-ever public transportation) and Air Conveyors, allowing players to make long yet quick rotations.
First things first, the super clean and high tech structures in Transit Center (formerly Pochinki), Georgopol, Tech Center (formerly School), Security Center (formerly Military Base), Logistics Agency (formerly Yasnaya Polyana) and Energy Center (formerly Mylta Power) consist of expansive corridors and delicious good loot.
New areas are almost always hot spots, but they're even hotter this time with the top-tier gear they hold. Plus, unlike the narrow space in most buildings in Erangel, these futuristic ones hold vast hallways with little cover, making them riskier to fight in for both you and your enemies - truly high-risk high-reward places to drop into.
Nothing ruins one's fun than having to trek halfway across the map just to be in the safe zone, which is where the HyperLines and Air Conveyors come in. The former literally act like trains, with designated stops across the map with its own schedule. The first time my buddies and I got on one, we were enthralled by how cool it was. You can also shoot out the side windows of the HyperLines to pick off any helpless passersby you come across, though I didn't have the chance to do that. (sad reacts)
The Air Conveyors are similar to what we experienced in Season 18's Hundred Rhythms mode, which catapult you as high as 600 metres before dropping. It's half the height of jumping from the plane, but you can still travel a much farther distance quickly if you don't have any vehicle.
Speaking of transport, the Mission Ignition mode also includes Tesla cars in PUBG Mobile. There's supposedly a Tesla Gigafactory on Erangel that allow you to build a Tesla car, though I didn't manage to find it in my hours of playtime. Nevertheless, my gaming buds did get to drive the Tesla Model Y after I (tragically) died and it was extremely quiet. I'm not sure if driving it near enemies will alert them via sound and in-minimap indicator, but if it doesn't, all the more reason to assemble one and surprise your enemies.
I got to try out the all-new 5.56mm assault rifle, the ASM Abakan. And let me tell you, this gun is such a banger. Its gunshots are the loudest I've heard in PUBG Mobile, especially when you fire it rapidly so the volume builds up. Alas, I tried the ASM Abakan before knowing it had three firing modes (single, burst, auto), and this feature has definitely made this my current favourite assault rifle, giving you the option to either spray or shoot more accurately as you please. The spawn rate for the ASM Abakan is pretty high, so you'll surely pick those up much easier than the previous new gun, the Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle.
Finally, I applaud the new quality-of-life improvements that PUBG Mobile now possess. The new Jump Markers (which you mark on your map) will now appear as columns of light, making it much easier to know your destination. On top of that, you can enable Auto-Jump based on the Markers you or your teammates' place, so if you've been worried about your jumping skills, you can now play PUBG Mobile without worrying about it. Make sure not to put your own Marker if you're following your friend, because you may accidentally fly towards your own Marker instead.
And that's all there is to it! It's been fun detailing my PUBG Mobile journey for the past few months, and I hope you find my reads informative and/or entertaining. I know I've learnt to be a better PUBG Mobile player, and have been thoroughly entertained playing with old friends as well as competing in an esports tournament. GGWP, everyone!
The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Southeast Asia Cup (MSC) 2021 kicked off earlier this week and after 3 days of intense action, the 12 teams have been whittled down to just 8. As expected, the favorites are still in the tournament, with the Philippines taking up 2 slots in the upper bracket (Blacklist International and Execration), Malaysia (RSG MY) and Indonesia (EVOS Legends) filling up the other 2. In the lower bracket, we have Indonesia (Bigetron Alpha), Malaysia (Todak), Cambodia (Impunity KH), and Singapore (EVOS SG) remaining. Thailand (IDNS), Laos (Nightmare Esports), Vietnam (Cyber Exe) and the other Singaporean team (RSG SG) have been eliminated.
Since the remaining teams have proven themselves to be the best of this tournament, the final weekend is going to be an exciting clash of titans. Here are the matchups and our predictions:
RSG MY vs BLCK: While we're confident in the skills of our Malaysian boys, we feel that they are going to have trouble closing out the match against the very experienced MPL-PH S7 winners, Blacklist International. Perhaps they'll drop down to the lower bracket to fight their way back up to the grand finals again. Either way, we think it's going to be a close one, 1-2 in Blacklist's favour.
EVOS Legends vs EXE: The Indonesians have been on fire this tournament, and so have Execration but they haven't been truly tested yet. Since EVOS Legends won MPL-ID convincingly, while Execration were runner ups at MPL-PH, we'll give the edge to the former. Our prediction: 2-1 to EVOS Legends.
BTR vs TDK: Both teams had rough group stages, with Bigetron Alpha due to their lineup/position change and Todak taking their time to find their footing. It's going to be a matter of who shows up this Friday, but we have faith in our Malaysian boys. Todak should move forward 1-2.
IMP KH vs RSG SG: Impunity KH are probably the only underdogs remaining in the tournament and have been picking up steam across the 3 days, so it's going to be interesting to see how well they do against Singapore's best. If they can keep their aggression in check and respond to RSG SG's macro movements, the Cambodians stand a chance, but we think RSG SG are going to emerge victorious, 1-2.
This article is part of a weekly blog series by our eGG-steemed writers, to share our progress playing your favourite games not only for fun, but also to level up our mastery and understand your love for the game.
Yes, I did say I was going to hang my Mini 14 in my last blog to instead cover Free Fire. But, I was truly in awe watching the majestic Titans - or kaiju, as I prefer calling them - in cinema (thankfully before MCO 3.0 happened), so I just had to try out PUBG Mobile's latest collaboration event with Godzilla vs. Kong, featuring the titular monsters themselves.
However, does the current special Titan Strikes mode live up to its awesome kaijus? Let's find out in Blog Entry #6:
To be honest, the PUBG Mobile Titans Strike mode doesn't add much variety to its gameplay like its previous Hundred Rhythms mode, though it's better than just lazily rehashing the same formula. Aside from a new type of utilities (Titan Crystals) and Apex camps that house decent enough loot, there's not much to shout about in terms of amping up the gameplay, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for PUBG Mobile purists.
After many hours of playing, I finally managed to try out Godzilla's Titan Crystals in Erangel, which are pretty much sci-fi frag grenades so they're equally devastating. I managed to instantly knock out (or kill, since it was solo mode) an enemy with a single Crystal, which was my proudest moment yet; apart from the cool blue explosion, there isn't anything else to it.
I didn't get the chance to obtain Kong's Crystals in Sanhok, but my friends did tell me it was pretty fun using them, because they could run much faster and leap at great heights - it was chaotic fun battling other players when everyone is roided out.
On the other hand, I hate the small monsters settlements. The crabs are bullet sponges that are excruciatingly difficult to kill off, even in easy monster settlements and they prove to be a huge hindrance when they crash the party (a.k.a. an ensuing gunfight between you and human opponents).
Granted that shotguns would be more effective against them, but let's be honest, how often do we carry a shotgun sans early game? Then again, that's the point of it? Even if you do defeat them they don't carry anything noteworthy and you end up wasting too much ammo. So, it's probably best to just avoid them altogether and loot the old-fashioned way.
Hearing how fun Kong's Titan Crystals are, I'm eager to try them out eventually, as long as I don't die before that. And with the arrival of Mechagodzilla in Livik on Thursday (20 May), his(?) Titan Crystals sound similar to the Hundred Rhythms' Recon Armband, so I'm looking forward to that too.
Follow eGG Network on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see how my PUBG Mobile adventure will unfold. Or you can check out my friend's blog series on Wild Rift, in which he recently reached Bronze tier!