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Review: Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War Season 2: Reloaded

Jesse Hoyt

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Two days ago the mid-season update for Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War rolled out with some new multiplayer maps and zombie areas. The official name of this update is Season 2: Reloaded and it includes some balancing adjustments as well. Cold War is the newest installment in the long-running Call of Duty series that released in 2020. It was met with decidedly mediocre reviews for feeling like a step down from Modern Warfare’s smooth animations, stellar weapon designs, and newer-looking engine. Cold War continues on trying to improve and live up to the experience given from its predecessor.

Since Modern Warfare’s release, Call of Duty has switched to more of a “drip-feed” style of releasing content with small updates that usually only include one or two maps for 6v6 gameplay. Cold War has been no different with this mid-season rollout only having a single 6 versus 6 map that’s actually just a slightly different version of a map that came with the base game. Miami Strike is basically the same Miami map that was there on launch, except they’ve changed it to daytime and added some extra cars in the middle lanes. This is admittedly an improvement but still feels very lacking for a content drop. It is a marked improvement in the flow and experience though. It’s not nearly impossible to see enemies anymore and I definitely prefer Miami Strike over the original Miami map. I couldn’t help but feel let down when I saw the only 6v6 map we were receiving though. Many players (including myself) were hoping for some original arenas for 6v6, but it’s not happening in this update. 


More substantially is the brand new Golova map. It’s designed for large-scale battles and even includes a new 40 player hardpoint game mode which is full of chaos, fun, and just a little bit of rage. It’s essentially fireteam with 3 hardpoints dispersed throughout the map. This game mode was the most engaging portion of the multiplayer maps. The design however feels like it can’t decide between a generic Warzone area or a bonafide combined arms map. That map plays fine, but it’s just so wildly similar to other large-scale maps, even across different Call of Duty titles, that it’s entirely forgettable. 

A new Gunfight/Face-Off map called mansion as well which is decent but not really what players were asking for. A couple more maps were finally added into the Prop Hunt game mode providing a little bit more diversity in the location pool.

A brand new sniper is also being added into the mix called the ZRG 20mm. You can earn the ZRG by completing its in-game challenge or purchasing the Jackpot bundle in the store.

Multiplayer received a few balancing changes as well. The Krig 6 got improved ADS visibility, a rework on accuracy, and weapon movement. The FFAR 1 received a 12.8% buff on ballistic speed. The Groza was given a significant boost (40%) on maximum damage range as well. SMGs ended up with a greater number of changes with the Milano 821 receiving an increase in damage, damage range, sprint-out speed, weapon raise speed, and ADS speed. Additionally, there was a complete tune-pass on any underbarrel and muzzle attachments that affect recoil.

There was also a new locale added to the Outbreak game mode called Sanatorium. It has a brand new bike for players to find as well as a secret objective that players can have a good time discovering. A new Dead Ops Arcade bonus map named Slideshow is now available to play. A plethora of fixes, balancing, and general improvements were added into the Zombies section of Cold War as well. Most ended up being glitches and bugs relating to map design like getting stuck or falling straight through the map. Otherwise, there weren’t many major additions to Zombies on PC. As a result of Activision’s exclusivity deal with Sony, PlayStation received a new game mode called Onslaught where players fight off hordes of zombies in claustrophobic Gunfight maps. PC and Xbox won’t be able to play this new game mode until November of this year, likely after the release of Cold War’s successor.


Treyarch still hasn’t addressed the extremely annoying issue with the menu being slow and unresponsive which has resulted in me spamming the continue button as I try to exit matches. Many fans are hoping that they can reprioritize PC performance and fix some core stability issues. This Season 2 update feels more like a glorified patch extravaganza that still misses the mark on important issues. It felt especially lacking with only a single 6v6 map. Golova and Mansion are ok, but the majority of the player base is spending most of its time in 6v6. The Zombies additions are welcomed but more insignificant than the multiplayer changes and the exclusivity deals continue to split the player base and become increasingly grating as times go on. 

After turning away from professional cooking, I refocused my efforts on something I love: writing. I can’t get enough of it. Copywriting, content writing, novels? Count me in. I have quite an array of writing interests, but right now I’m loving gaming and virtual reality, and I can’t wait to do more.

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PlayStation 5 vs Xbox Series X: Spec Comparison

Jesse Hoyt

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It’s time to ask the age-old question once again. Which is better PlayStation or Xbox? The console wars have been raging on for the better part of two decades. We could argue about the user interface, customizability, price, and exclusive games, but today we’re here to look at one thing: technical specifications. 

CPUs

The CPU (or central processing unit) is essentially the “heart” of a gaming console. In short, what it does is execute vital calculations to run apps and games. It’s a necessary component and the most important as well. 


The Xbox Series X receives the edge in this category. Both consoles feature processors with Zen 2 microarchitecture, but Microsoft has opted for a 3.8GHz variant which essentially means that the Series X can run smoother and faster. In short, it has really great performance.

PlayStation isn’t too far behind though. They went ahead and outfitted their new console with a 3.5GHz processor. You’ll still get solid performance, and truth be told, you probably won’t notice too much of a difference.

Still, the Series X will beat PlayStation in benchmarks and FPS (frames per second).

GPU

Graphics processing units are used to accelerate graphics rendering. They’re a specialized processor that are extremely important when it comes to video games and other graphically demanding applications like video editing software.

Again, the Series X has the edge on paper. They have utilized a 12 TeraFLOP GPU which means surprisingly not too much as far as comparisons go. In fact, the Xbox One has more TFLOPs than the Xbox Series S, but the latter offers much better performance. This is possible because it’s more so about how the system uses the GPU power.


PlayStation features slightly less at 10.28 TFLOPs. Xbox has a statistical advantage, but PlayStation’s practical application beats Xbox by utilizing a variable clock speed. As a result, PS5 can operate at 2.23 GHz while Xbox is locked at 1.825.

The win goes to PlayStation this round.

Storage and Memory

As far as RAM goes, the PS5 and XBSX are identical with 16 GB of RAM for both consoles. 


One of the biggest debates going on between fans of both consoles was about the SSD or solid-state drives of each console.

The Xbox Series X features a 1TB SSD. The Xbox One had a 500GB version as well as a 1TB version. One terabyte is a pretty good amount of space and should hold plenty of games, especially with the lack of new games coming to next-gen consoles.

The PlayStation lacks the same amount of space with a respective, but lesser 825GB storage device. There’s plenty of space, but it just doesn’t stack up to the new Xbox. 

But if you’re a PS5, don’t fret. The PlayStation 5 absolutely smokes the Xbox Series X when it comes to retrieving files and loading games. It’s akin to the instantaneous start-up of older “plug-and-play” consoles. Theoretically anyway, since comparisons have shown that performance is pretty similar which has become somewhat of a trend in this console generation.


If we’ve learned anything this generation, it’s that these consoles are both pretty powerful and strikingly similar. The real test is going to be the console exclusive titles.

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The 5 Most Disappointing PlayStation Games We’ve Played

Jesse Hoyt

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PlayStation has had plenty of hits but is no stranger to absolutely dropping the ball occasionally. This list is a collection of games that were on PlayStation (not exclusives) that really made you feel like you wasted your money. They’re not all complete trash, but they definitely missed the mark, mislead fans, or were actually downright bad.

5. Killzone: Shadowfall

It’s not a real console launch without an overhyped game release that somewhat tarnishes a well-regarded series. Shadowfall just didn’t feel quite right. It was missing a decent story. It was fine for what it was but nothing worth coming back to. Shooting and movement also felt…less than ideal. It was a pretty slow and unsatisfying mixture of gameplay elements. Although, Shadowfall did have some incredible graphics for the time.


4. The Order: 1886

The Order 1886 is another PlayStation exclusive guilty of one of the worst gaming sins you can think of: it’s boring. You’ll find clean graphics and a thick ambiance, but that’s about it. These elements put a little gleam on monotonous and soulless levels accompanied by uninspired gameplay and a mediocre story that cuts off as soon as it looks like anything of merit would come up. The graphics were what was holding it up, but now as we move into the PS5 era even those couldn’t be a reason to revisit this title. 

3. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness

We had to reach way back in the vault to bring this game up. The Angel of Darkness came out almost 19 years ago and I still have the bitter taste of disappointment in my mouth. This time around the story wasn’t a problem. The graphics were fine too. But the controls? Unforgivable. The response was insanely slow and made for a game that was way too difficult as a result of these terrible controls. That’s not even mentioning the camera, which might as well have been actively working against you as you made your way through the game.

2. Duke Nukem Forever

This was supposed to be an epic comeback for Duke Nukem, but like many other series reboots, this game fell flat. It seemed stuck between trying to be modern and old-school at the same time and it just didn’t pan out. The humor was just not great and made me want to mute the game sometimes. It’s just corny and obviously not adapted well to how comedy has evolved. With that said, it’s not horrible to play all the way, but it’s not worth picking up in the first place.

1. Cyberpunk 2077

Well, who didn’t see this coming? This is easily the most disappointing game of the generation. It might even be in a couple of “all-time” lists. People were promised so many insane features and incredible depth. Instead of a solid RPG representing the tabletop game, we had an extremely lackluster game that was completely broken on PS4 and Xbox One. It was incomplete, a mess, and borderline unplayable. It was such a shame that the dev studio went from the Witcher 3 to this.

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The Best Indie Games on PlayStation in 2021

Jesse Hoyt

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Everyone loves a good independently developed game here and there. Some have even become some of the most well-regarded games of all time. These games can be surprisingly well polished and full of heart and the best part is that there’s no shortage of them on PlayStation. Read on to see the best indie titles PlayStation has to offer(in no particular order).

5: Hotline Miami 1&2

The Hotline Miami series is a frenetic top-down shooter with buckets of blood with an intense, droning electronic soundtrack. Pink and light blue hues fill your screen as you play as a mysterious hitman that takes out his foes with a variety of weapons and different rubber animal masks. The pixelized art style lends itself well to this excellent game. The sequel was pretty much on par with the first as well. 


4. Hades

If you’re looking for a polished rogue-lite, Hades is your game. It’s filled with deep lore and smooth gameplay that makes you want to play over and over again. You find yourself playing as Zagreus, the son of Hades, trying to find your way through the underworld to get to the surface. Each character is fleshed out with unique dialogue options after each death. There’s plenty to do in Hades like unlocking weapons and upgrading abilities to fortify you for your next run.

3. Return of the Obra Dinn

Pirates, insurance agents, and a murder mystery. What else could you want? Return of the Obra Dinn has you, the player, become a pirate ship insurance agent trying to deduce what went down aboard the Obra Dinn. This is a game full of discovery and one of the best investigative games you can play right now. 

2. Disco Elysium

It might not be the game for everyone, but what it set out to do, it achieves with panache. You’ll find yourself in the dilapidated city of Revachol investigating the lynching of a mercenary tasked with controlling union protests. The only thing is that you don’t really know who you are to start out. You’ll discover your identity and beliefs as you play this philosophically intense RPG. Be ready to read though since this game has about as much reading as a small novel.

1. The Outer Wilds

No, not the Outer Worlds. This is an indie game about exploring space and discovering how an ancient race of aliens lived and died out, on the surface anyway. There’s not a game out there that quite captures the wonder of space travel and horrifying ways you can go out. Every 22 minutes, you restart just to do it all again, or maybe you go somewhere else to learn something new. Just try to piece it all together. The beauty of this game isn’t just on the outside, it’s mirrored with a barebones narrative, but an extremely poignant message of doing things just to do them. You won’t find something nearly as touching, at least for a very long time. Well maybe until the expansion coming out later this month!

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