The Game Awards 2019 have finally come to an end, and there’s usually a lot of chatter and banter to get through before you get to the good parts, which is the awards themselves. Of course, let’s not forget the reveals and announcements as well.
2019 was an alright year for gaming we think, nothing quite took the world by storm, but we had some big reveals, that’s for sure. We finally got a look at the new Xbox, the Series X, which will be coming with a new flagship game, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2. There’s also a new MMO in the works, set in the Magic: The Gathering universe. Oh, and more games from Riot, which suddenly features a whole lot more than just the one game.
Coming back to the awards themselves, there are quite a few awards to go through, and we’ll list all the winners down below. Surprisingly, Disco Elysium, well actually, that’s not so surprising, but the indie game walked away with four trophies, which was the highest at this years awards. At a close second was Death Stranding, which won three, including Best Game Direction. Neither of the two won Game of the Year though.
We were quite upset when we found out that Red Dead Redemption 2 wasn’t coming to PC when it first launched. We didn’t have reason to believe it would, considering the first Red Dead Redemption never did. Boy, are we glad that it did make its way to the superior gaming system. One of us even begrudgingly nominated the game for Game of the Year, despite slogging it out on the PS4. So we knew it was good, but how good is it on PC? Let’s find out.
In typical Rockstar fashion, Red Dead Redemption 2 features a looong story. There’s a lot of talking to get through. It’ll take you 40+ hours just to rush through the main story, imagine that. Rockstar thinks we’ve all got a lot of free time, don’t they? If you’re a completionist, you’re easily looking at over 60 hours. This isn’t really a bad thing, like we mentioned on the console review, this isn’t a game you want to rush, you will get burned out. Just take it as it comes.
Speaking of the main story itself, it ranges from doing absolutely mundane tasks like shovelling sh!t to epic action sequences like train heists. If variety is the spice of life, this game is as spicy as it gets. As for the plot, you’re in the boots of Arthur Morgan, part of a ragtag gang of people under Dutch van der Linde, trying to live a free life away from the constraints of civilization, by any means necessary.
If you thought the attention to detail was insane on console, you have to play the game on PC. The detail is mind-boggling. The way the world reacts to Arthur for one, people notice if you’re covered in blood and are visibly repulsed and vary of you, similarly, they will take note if you’re covered in mud and steer away. You enjoy friendly banter with your companions, or sing to yourself when you’re alone. Rockstar have populated the world plenty of activities and small mini games, where Arthur further showcases the depth to his character with little quips and reactions. Random events also keep things fresh, like suddenly being stopped and robbed at gunpoint, or walking in on a kidnapping in the process. There’s no fixed approach to take, you’re free to take whatever course of action you please.
Arthur Morgan is a masterpiece of a character. The world reacting to Arthur is one thing, but the way he reacts to the world is another. You can feel his pain, his sadness. Every beautiful sight you see has a sad tinge to it, because through Arthur’s eyes, that’s what you stand to lose. His very way of life. The world of Red Dead Redemption 2, though already gorgeous and amazing, is made even more so, thanks to Arthur. The man writes a diary ffs, complete with scribbles and everything.
Not much has changed here, same old same old. The only difference being now you can use a keyboard and mouse and it’s SO much easier to aim and shoot. Even though consoles had aim assist, there’s nothing quite like keyboard and mouse when it comes to pointing and shooting at stuff. There were however, a lot of stability issues on launch. During the first week, there were lots of crashes, issues with the new launcher, it was not pretty. They managed to tone that down after the first week. You’d think after taking this long to port the game to PC, it wouldn’t be this broken, but that was the sad state of things.
Rockstar has created one of the best open worlds gaming has ever seen. We played the game on medium to low settings on an Nvidia GTX 1060 @ 1080p, if you’re looking to enjoy the game on Ultra settings though, you’re going to need a beefy rig, at least an RTX 2080. Due to optimisation or otherwise, you won’t get a constant 60 fps at 4K on a 2080 Ti too. Then again, this is a very graphic intensive game, that was to be expected. One annoyance here is that Rockstar have thrown in so many settings to tinker around with, and you have no choice but to mess around with them at the start, because of the constant crashing and need for tuning. What we discovered was that you’ll want to just keep MSAA, volumetric lighting, and parallax occlusion mapping off. While they affect performance, they don’t really have a massive visual impact. The rest is up to you and your GPU.
Much like GTA Online, RDR2 can be A LOT of fun. There’s a stupid levelling system in place though, which basically locks stuff behind absurd xp requirements. Why do that Rockstar? Oh right, money of course. If you don’t want to grind, Rockstar has provided an alternative which involves spending money for the premium currency, Gold, to unlock items. How nice of them.
It’s quite annoying, seriously. Mundane stuff which you should get right away – even a fishing rod?! – are locked behind levels. It’ll take you a few days worth of playing to grind up the levels. Once you get past that though, it can be incredibly fun playing RDR2 with friends. You can get up to some random shenanigans together and feel like real cowboys in the wild wild west.
Verdict – Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is hands down the best Western simulator there is. That is in addition to having one of the best open-worlds gaming has ever seen and mind-boggling levels of attention to detail. The characters have depth, none quite as much as the protagonist himself, Arthur Morgan, who is easily one of the gaming’s most memorable characters. Save for the abysmal launch week, RDR2 has been fun.
MOAR! Publisher: Rockstar Games Developer: Rockstar Games Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Played on: Microsoft Windows Price: Rs. 3,999 Rig: 16GB RAM, Nvidia RTX 2080 Super, Core i7-4790k Processor
When Ghost Recon: Wildlands dropped two years ago in 2017, it deviated from the usual Ghost Recon formula. The linear level based design was swapped out for an open-world, sprawling with things to do as you attempted to take out a drug cartel. The world was accurate and gorgeous too, so nobody could really complain. However, there were the various issues the game had at launch, such as the numerous bugs and the incompetent AI teammates. Despite everything though, the game did pretty well, and fans enjoyed the game. Ubisoft has taken things even further in this direction, giving Ghost Recon: Breakpoint quite a few RPG-like elements. Ubisoft seems to be doing this with a lot of their IPs of late it looks like. Look at Assassin’s Creed for example. Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey look and play nothing like the Assassin’s Creed games of old. Sure, they’re good games, but they – Odyssey especially – don’t necessarily feel like Assassin’s Creed games anymore.
The main reason for this line of thought is the introduction of weapon and gear levels to the game. You now have to keep an eye out for better gear as you play the game, looking to keep upgrading and updating your gear to keep your overall gear level good and high. Even enemies have gear levels, which basically means that at higher levels they’ve got better armor and gear, and will detect you faster. You get a warning when you’re going into a high gear level area. Just the warning, nothing stopping you from continuing. You and your friends can attempt and challenge yourself but it’s going to be hard. Now a cause for concern here is that in a tactical game like Ghost Recon, we can’t have bullet sponge enemies. Headshots are meant to be one-shot, one kill. According to Ubi this is still the case in Breakpoint. No matter the enemy gear level, a shot to the head will kill them. One shot if they aren’t wearing a helmet, and two if they are, one to take the helmet off. This applies to all human enemies. Unfortuantely, thanks to the game’s plot setting, you’re going to have to deal with a lot more than just humans, including but not limited to murder-hungry mechs and drones.
The reason for the gear level system, according to Ubisoft, is that the data they collected from Ghost Recon: Wildlands showed that players were sticking to one gun for the entire duration of the game. So we guess this way players are “encouraged” (read:forced) to switch guns when they come across a better one. We don’t get this decision. It goes against the concept of what’s supposed to be a hardcore tactical skill-based shooter. Wouldn’t you ideally want to stick to a single weapon and get fully used to its ins and outs? Master it’s recoil, its bullet drop, rate-of-fire and all that? People got attached to their favourite weapons in Wildlands, and customised them how they saw fit, and spruced them up with all the cosmetic goodness that Ubisoft has to offer, and we didn’t see an issue with it. We still don’t. While you can still upgrade and mod your weapons extensively in Breakpoint, it will eventually fall off and affect your overall gear level.
We’ve got to say, gameplay feels very crisp and satisfying. Gunplay and stealth (when it worked, we probably just suck) felt good. We didn’t really get to experience co-op. There seemed to be issues teaming up on day one of the closed beta, we didn’t really attempt co-op after that. They’ve done away with AI in the game, we’re thinking because of how abysmal they were in Wildlands at launch, however, they plan to patch them soon after the game fully releases, by popular demand. In the closed beta we got to play two main story missions and a whole bunch of side-missions. If you’ve watched the game’s trailers then you probably already have a good idea of what the story is. If you haven’t, basically, the ghosts have been betrayed by ghosts, but the bad ghosts are wolves, and now you’ve gotta take the wolves down.
Like we mentioned above, there’s extensive modification that can be done, both to your weapons and gear. We didn’t get much into it, because we kept coming across better weapons and didn’t know whether we should bother investing resources into them or not, and whether we could carry them over to the new weapon or not. If it does so automatically, that’s great, if it doesn’t, we see that being a pain-in-the-behind. There are four ghost classes to choose from in Breakpoint – Medic, Assaulter, Sharpshooter and Panther. Basicaller a healer, frontline, sniper and sneaky class. They come with their own abilities, which basically compliment their class. Healers can res themselves, Assaulters can get tanky, Panther’s have stealth, Sharpshooters can shoot through walls. The skill trees have also been touched up a bit. Nothing too complicated.
We encountered a few issues every now and then, which is to be expected in a closed beta, nothing game breaking though. Opening stuff is a pain sometimes, your character refuses to angle the right way and you have to hold the key down instead of just tapping it. Traversing is fine for the most part, except when you get stuck in uneven terrain. The ability to turn the HUD on and off is great, really improves immersion.
Speaking of immersion, the game also offers a no guidelines mode, where you have to figure out where to go without any assistance from markers and such. You’ll have to actually go through intel you acquire in order to progress. However, it can be turned on and off with ease, so you can flip it on and off on the fly.
The game’s taking place on a remote island this time around, we didn’t really get to take in the sights, so to speak, but whatever we saw looked pretty good.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint Preevu – Conclusion
To put it bluntly, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint feels like a traditional (that’s a thing now, we’ve made it a thing) AAA ubisoft game, with all the features you’d expect in one. You’ve also got the huge map with the collectibles and the question marks sprinkled all over it. Heck, it’s even a good game. Fun too. We really enjoyed the gameplay. We did get to try out some co-op before the closed beta and that was also fun. But it’s beginning to feel less like Ghost Recon and more like the Division at this point. Getting better gear of higher rarity and seeing your gear levels going up is still fun, especially paired with good gameplay, however, we’re losing the essence of Ghost Recon.