Tag Archives: battle royale

Call of Duty Mobile Is Fun Even For Hardcore Players

Call of Duty: Mobile is an addictive multiplayer game that even the most casual mobile player can enjoy, but also one that even hardcore console players like myself might find to be surprisingly compelling.

Developed by Tencent’s TiMi Studios, Call of Duty: Mobile launched worldwide on October 1 as a free-to-play game for Android and iOS devices. Personally, I was skeptical of the replay value. How much would I really play a mobile Call of Duty when I already spend so much time on the console versions?

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I admit I’ve never really had much interest in mobile gaming. Most of my attempts at gaming on the go have ended after only a few matches. I’ve downloaded and uninstalled the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds twice after only a match or two. Friends recommend mobile games to me, and I almost never make it through the tutorials. None of the games were bad, I just never really cared to play anything on my phone.

However, I’m a sucker for good fanservice, and I found myself enjoying the first few matches of Call of Duty: Mobile. The game contains a mashup of fan-favorite maps, modes, and characters from the older Dutys. There are classic maps like “Crash” and “Killhouse” from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and “Nuketown” from the Black Ops series. There’s even a battle royale mode to compete with PUBG Mobile. It’s completely different from Black Ops 4’s Blackout map, but also boasts a mix of new and classic Call of Duty locations.

The iconic maps also look great on mobile. I played on my Samsung Galaxy S9, and it definitely beats the graphics of PUBG Mobile, but I expected Call of Duty to take that win. Sorry, PUBG.

In addition to the warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia, the controls are surprisingly good for a mobile experience. I expected to be really clumsy-thumbsy with my movement, but there’s a decent tutorial and several options to tweak your controls. Of course, you can be fancier than me and play Call of Duty: Mobile on a PC with the help of an emulator. A keyboard and mouse will probably make your experience even better than mine.

Mobile Call of Duty feels pretty padded with bots in the early levels, making this an easy game to pick up for really casual players or mobile noobs like myself. Once I gained more confidence aiming with the touchscreen, I moved from standard multiplayer to a ranked playlist, which seems to pair me up with more human players than bots.

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Call of Duty is known for being an arcade-style shooter that is easier to pick up and play than most others in the genre, so it seems smart that the mobile version also caters to a wide range of skills. Call of Duty: Mobile even gives you the option to play solely against bots, and since you can select the “simple” hip-firing aim, even your cool, non-gaming grandma might be able to reach some major killstreaks.

Unsurprisingly, Call of Duty: Mobile is an absolute grind, a free-to-play game packed full of seriously outlandish microtransactions. There are several camos just for grenades, and I’m not totally sure why anyone would want camos for grenades or tactical equipment. You only see the equipment in your hand for a mere second or two before you throw it. Thankfully, you don’t need to pay anything to enjoy the game. You can just dodge all the offers to buy additional cosmetics or level progression with COD Points, Call of Duty’s digital currency.

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Slow progression might make the battle royale fanatics antsy, as you have to reach level 7 before unlocking that mode. It also takes forever to just to reach level 33 and unlock a third weapon loadout for multiplayer. Call of Duty: Mobile wants you to become impatient, open your wallet, and speed things up by buying COD Points in bulk just to progress faster.

Don’t have many guns, but I did get this pretty backpack.

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The weapon variants in Call of Duty: Mobile are mostly just pretty cosmetics. I do have some that offer a perk for slightly faster sprint or reload times, but I haven’t witnessed any guns with unreal stats like unlimited range or a huge fire rate increase. Stat-based weapon variants of that caliber would make the playing field extremely unbalanced, and would kill my desire to play this game.

For me, it seems to be nostalgia paired with the slow and steady grind that keeps me playing. I complete challenges and level up the same way I’ve enjoyed the progression in Black Ops 4, without spending anything extra to level up. It’s been a full week since launch, and I’m still playing the multiplayer and battle royale modes on a daily basis. This is the longest I’ve ever stuck with a mobile game.

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I’m definitely not the only one jumping on the mobile hype. Reuters has already reported that the mobile version of Call of Duty has pulled in 100 million downloads in just the first week. This early success greatly overshadows the numbers of the competition, as the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds brought in just over 26 million in week one, and Fortnite only earned 22.5 million downloads in its first week on mobile.

Call of Duty: Mobile is a battery-draining juggernaut that is making a splash in the world of mobile shooters, especially in the battle royale realm. The game is definitely worth the download, especially for fans feeling the burnout from a year of Black Ops 4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare releases on October 25, at which time my focus will likely shift back to console multiplayer, but I think it’ll still offer a good fix for my battle royale cravings.

Source: Kotaku.com

Apex Legends Is Getting Its First New Map

Apex Legends is about to kick off its third season next week with a new character, Crypto, and an overhaul to the game’s Ranked mode. But there’s also a pretty big surprise waiting for players when Season 3 launches on October 1: A new map, called World’s Edge.

Announced in the Season 3 launch trailer, the map seems to have a strong fire-and-ice theme, in keeping with the season’s “Meltdown” title. Since the trailer is an animated cinematic and not actual gameplay, it remains to be seen what the map will actually be like. However, the trailer does suggest it’ll have a moving train. I’d be into that.

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Like all previous seasons, Meltdown will come with an all-new battle pass with new Legendary skins and Apex packs, and according to EA, more is coming “all season long.”

Source: Kotaku.com

PUBG Is Bringing Back Dynamic Weather

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds used to have spooky weather like heavy fog and drizzling rain back before the game’s official launch in December 2017. When launch came, weather effects were axed for the game’s stability. They’re back now, bringing a random variable to matches that will complicate engagements and breathe a bit more life into all the battles royale.

In addition to a few new maps, a major focus for PUBG since launch has been improving stability and giving the game’s older maps a new coat of paint. The original forest map Erangel recently received a major redesign, and it’s now been announced that previously cut features like fog are returning to the game. The announcement came via a YouTube Patch Report, and I couldn’t be happier.

PUBG’s always been a more tactical and complicated battle royale with a slow pace that emphasized moment-to-moment tactics over raw gunplay. Bringing back fog that obscures vision or rain that makes it harder to to hear footsteps is a great way to add variety to matches. It’s also, if I might brag, pretty fantastic to, say, nail an enemy 400m away in the rain with only a Kar98, holo sight, and some grit:

Bringing back dynamic weather is just another step to adding some new excitement to PUBG. After losing out to games like Fortnite and Apex Legends, PUBG’s been quietly chugging along and improving. Players are returning, and little touches like this are a reminder of what made PUBG the game that popularized one of gaming’s freshest (if not somewhat oversaturated) new genres.

Source: Kotaku.com

Fallout 76 Is Getting A New Battle Royale Map And Cooperative Vault Raid

At QuakeCon 2019, Bethesda announced some new content coming to Fallout 76 later this year, including a new map for the Nuclear Winter mode and new raids. They also released a new updated roadmap for summer 2019.

Nuclear Winter, Fallout 76‘s 52-player battle royale mode, is getting a new map. It is based on the area of Fallout 76 called Morgantown and it will include more verticality and will be set in a more urban environment. The current map is more rural, filled with trees and barren hills. The new map is coming in September alongside some quality of life improvements for the mode.

Bethesda’s Fallout 76 panel.
 

Coming sooner is a new Vault raid. Set in Vault 94, the new raid will feature three missions that will rotate weekly and will support 4 player groups. Completing these missions will reward players with new armor and social rewards. Bethesda also confirmed they are working on another raid, but didn’t give any specific details on that raid.

Beyond these two bigger pieces of new, Bethesda shared a bit more information about the upcoming Wastelanders update. This is the update that will add NPCs into Fallout 76. It was confirmed at the panel today that players will talk to these NPCs using dialogue trees that are, according to Bethesda, more like Fallout 3 than Fallout 4. Bethesda is planning on releasing the Wastelanders update in November of this year.

Bethesda also teased private servers coming to the game “sooner than you think.” What does that mean? I have no idea. I didn’t expect them anytime soon, so that really doesn’t mean anything to me. But who knows, maybe next month private servers will be supported in Fallout 76? But probably not.

Source: Kotaku.com

The New Mode In Ghost Recon Wildlands Is A Small-Scale Spin On The Battle Royale Formula

Ghost Recon Wildlands is getting a sequel later this year, so most fans and Ubisoft will move on to that next game. But before that happens, Ubisoft has released one last major update for the game which added a brand new competitive mode called Mercenaries. It blends different elements of Wildlands into a small, focused battle royale-like mode that mostly works.

I haven’t played Wildlands in over a year, so coming back to the game to check out this newest and last update was strange. But once I got comfortable with the controls again, I jumped into Mercenaries and ran right into the mode’s biggest problems: Loading screens and errors. It took me three-game restarts to find a match due to server issues. Once I did find a match, the loading times felt long.

After getting through all that, I was plopped into a match of Mercenaries. The mode pits 8 players against each other in a cordoned-off area of the main map. In this mode, players start with no weapons or gear. So, like in every other battle royale, you have to scrounge around looking for weapons, ammo, grenades, and armor. Unlike other battle royale modes, however, in Mercenaries players can respawn and keep their weapon. On the one hand, this makes death feel less annoying, but it also makes kills feel less satisfying. But due to the lower player count and map size, respawning feels like a necessity. And even with players coming back after death and continuing to explore the map, I still had matches where I felt like I was playing alone.

The main goal of Mercenaries to exit via helicopter. To do this players need to search the map and find three transmitters. These aren’t marked, however, so instead players find intel on the map. These are more plentiful and show up on the map as you get close. Once you have some intel you can use it to find a transmitter. Activate three of these and the helicopter will come to pick you up after a few minutes. But every player is alerted to this and can also activate transmitters and find the location of the pickup before the chopper arrives. So the pace of matches can vary greatly.

One match, I never encountered any players and nobody got the helicopter activated for quite some time. It was a laid back match. The next match, someone got the helicopter activated in like three minutes and suddenly everyone was rushing around the map, running into each other at transmitters and intel locations.

Compared to other battle royale modes, Mercenaries feels less punishing but it can also feel less social. You don’t really interact with other players that much, especially if your match is filled with people who aren’t using vehicles or hitting intel locations regularly. There are AI enemies on that map, but they are easy to avoid and don’t add much to the experience.

Something that is annoying in this new mode is how tanky players can feel. At one point a player got the drop on me, I took a ton of damage, but was able to run up to them and bash them twice with my knife and win the fight. After killing my attacker, I didn’t feel like that was fair. On the flip side, I would sometimes shoot enemies with dozens of rounds and they could get away. Considering players can respawn after death, making players so tough feels like a mistake.

Mercenaries might not bring a lot of players back to the aging Wildlands, but as a send-off to the game before the next entry in the franchise, it feels nice. Sure the map is a bit too large and the time-to-kill might be too high, but the mode mostly works well. For players who have sunk months into Wildlands and want something new to play while they wait for the sequel, Mercenaries might be the perfect time killer.

Source: Kotaku.com

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Just Got A Completely Bananas Backstory

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the 2017 Early Access hit that kicked off gaming’s battle royale craze, has never really had a backstory. Why bother? The appeal was immediate: You’re thrown from a plane with 99 other people onto an island full of weapons. This being a video game, everyone is going to try and kill one another. It’s an immediately compelling concept, the appeal of which is even clearer with every new battle royale mode that’s announced in other games.

So perhaps the biggest change in PUBG’s forthcoming fourth season is the fact that it now has a backstory—and it is absolutely bonkers.

The premise debuts in a new trailer set on the game’s first map, Erangel, where a boy is the lone survivor of some unspecified conflict. That boy grows up to be a man obsessed with survival, and so he now organizes the entire battle royale. For his…entertainment, I guess? It’s pretty twisted!

This sudden, shocking revelation brings all sorts of questions. How does he recruit people? Is this man’s battle royale a publicly known thing? What conflict wrecked Erangel and turned this kid into a monster? Are there people out there trying to bring him down? Are the goofy outfits his idea?

There’s so much we don’t know! What we do know is that Season 4 is bringing some changes to the Erangel map that are now live on the game’s PC test server, according the 4.1 update. The biggest changes are to Erangel. The map is getting lots of adjustments meant to give the island a better sense of history and perhaps allude more to this new backstory.

The update also comes with a new Survival Pass and a long list of weapon and item balance changes. There’s also playable turntables. They look like this.

Just thought you should know.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Season 4 is live now on the PC test server and coming to consoles later this summer.

Source: Kotaku.com

A Noble Stranger Stayed By My Side While I Died In Fallout 76

Screenshot: Kotaku (Fallout 76)
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

You do not want me in your Nuclear Winter squad. I have a penchant for switching my drop location at the last second, landing on the map hundreds of meters away from my teammates. I’m never on mic. And I’m terrible at staying hidden. But none of this stopped another player, let’s call him Bill, from trying his hardest to save my goddamn life anyway.

I used to feel like there were too many battle royale games. Then Bethesda added one to Fallout 76, and I realized how the little details that differentiate each battle royale from one to another can make all the difference. For me, that meant returning to Fallout 76’s Forest region as it was being engulfed in flames. You can drop nukes in Fallout 76. You can drop nukes in Fallout 76’s battle royale mode. But no nukes have filled me with the same amount of dread and sadness as I felt while I watched a house burn to a crisp around me as I fumbled with a door knob to get back to the hallway and escape. Behind me, everything was destroyed. In front of me, my randomly assigned squadmate Bill.

I’m not sure if he was looking for me, because I sure as hell wasn’t looking for him, but having been reunited on the verge of another apocalypse, I decided to stick with him. We were only two, our other teammates already killed. My only strategy in Nuclear Winter consists of hiding as close to the storm as possible and then getting outnumbered in the final circle of fiery hell. Bill had a much higher Overseer Rank, as well as a gatling gun, so I decided to follow his lead. There were only about a dozen players left by this point. Maybe Bill would miraculously lead me to my first Nuclear Winter win. Instead, I led him to his death.

We were on the main road just south of the New River Gorge Resort when I spotted something moving up ahead. Unable to communicate with Bill (no mic, remember?), I took out my sniper rifle to try and pin the the stranger down. I was quick enough to snag his arm before he could dive back behind a tree, but not quick enough to stop Bill from getting riddled with bullets. As Bill fired back from the road, I tried to flank our mystery vault dweller. I don’t know which one of us killed him, but I do remember being giddy with excitement about it. This was going to work. With Bill’s help, anyway.

I had no armor, though, and little confidence in my own abilities. Bill was armed to the gills, so I dropped him my last stimpak so he could heal up. Small acts of kindness between strangers breed disproportionate amounts of goodwill, in my experience, and Bill, though he couldn’t communicate, seemed to be genuinely taken aback by the generosity, especially following my initial status as the selfish renegade on our team. He flipped me a thumbs up, or maybe a heart, or maybe I’ve invented that memory because of how I imagined her felt., Either way, he was my new best bud. At least for a few more seconds.

I was standing in a bush while Bill did whatever Bill does. But it’s hard to see things while you’re in bushes, and even more boring just to be stuck standing there. While Bill went to check on a Scorchbeast corpse, I ran ahead looking to see if I could find any loot caches beneath the nearby transmission tower. But I never found any. All I heard was the crack of laser gun. The next thing I knew my insides were fried. Eventually, as I lay bleeding out, Bill came running. I still haven’t been able to fathom why. I was in an open field overlooked by an embankment of trees. He didn’t have a chance. And yet his selfless act of bravery, futile as it was, is still with me weeks later. Next time, Bill, I promise to wait in the bushes.

Source: Kotaku.com

There’s A Flappy Bird Battle Royale Game Now, And It’s Good

Flappy Royale, released today in beta on mobile and PC by game designers Orta Therox, Em Lazer-Walker, and Zach Gage, seems like a lot of things: clever, opportunistic, a joke. But it’s also fun.

Inspired by the 2013 mobile sensation Flappy Bird, Flappy Royale has you compete against 99 other poor souls to see who can survive the longest against a maze of deadly pipes. You can customize your look, and each level begins with all of the Flappys dropping in off a bus. Like in the original game, you tap the screen to make Flappy fly higher, or do nothing to watch him sink, all as part of an elaborate dance to avoid obstacles. Hit the ground, or anything else, and you’re dead.

But, unlike in the original game, you don’t die alone. In Flappy Royale, you die alongside an anonymous mass of other Flappys who are also desperately trying to cling to life. It feels more affirming. Even after the 20th straight failure without making it past the fourth pipe. Even if most or all of the other players aren’t actually real people (it’s not entirely clear). And honestly, how would you even be able to tell?

The battle royale genre is often a dark one. Fortnite might be full of colors, costumes, and goofy dances, but that’s all in service of a zero-sum struggle over limited resources that ultimately leaves all but one of its participants dead. As a result, Fortnite and other games like it are seen by some people as a cynical way of monetizing societal angst in the face of impending environmental collapse.

A sense of futility is pervasive in Flappy Royale as well, but it’s counter-balanced by the fact that everyone is doomed together. Or, at least, almost everyone. Some Flappys are really good at Flapping, and who knows what happens to them as they fly out of sight beyond the fifth and sixth pipes. Like Mario Royale (RIP), Flappy Royale is refreshing and entertaining despite its simplicity, in part because no one’s competing directly against each other. The sound effects are also really funny, and seeing all of the Flappys doing their best against impossible odds is heartwarming as hell.

The game’s currently available to check out on iOS, Android, and in your web browser over on itch.io.

Source: Kotaku.com

Someone Turned Mario Into A Battle Royale, And It’s The Best Thing

Battle royale is one of the most dominant gameplay forms of the last few years, and Tetris 99 showed that you could apply the battle royale concept to anything. Mario Royale turns the classic NES game into a 75-person death race that’s some of the most fun I’ve had all year.

Mario Royale, which can currently be played in web browsers, is the creation of a YouTuber and programmer named InfernoPlus and pits 75 players against each other in a race through one world of Super Mario Bros. or The Lost Levels. Players can’t directly interact with each other⁠—a Mario can’t stomp on another Mario⁠—but power-ups like fire flowers and invincibility stars do allow players to take each other out. That’s not really the point, though; Mario Royale is a sort of collective race to the finish. Only the first three players to make it to the end of four levels will end up on the winner’s pedestal. The real challenge is making sure your platforming skills are up to par and that you can avoid goombas and clear jumps amidst all the chaos.

At one time, I might have felt like the idea of battle royale is worn out, or that it’s a fad games need to stop chasing. Mario Royale proves there are still creative ways to approach mass competitive modes like battle royale. The experience of playing a Mario Royale match is unique, and adjusting to incoming koopa shells or ducking under fireballs is as intense as dodging enemy gunfire on PUBG or Apex Legends.

And because Mario Royale is partially a race, there are all sorts of ways to play. Do you try to get items and destroy the competition? Do you speedrun through levels? Do you take it steady and win through careful progress? These are all viable options. There’s a silliness here that makes each option a wacky spectacle, even as each option is also a worthwhile strategy. It only takes a handful of minutes to play a match, but you always walk away with a cool story.

Unfortunately, Nintendo is notorious for issuing takedowns of fan projects, and this game might be in danger of that as well. (InfernoPlus acknowledges as much in his announcement trailer, which folks have called my attention to after publication and is unfortunately colored with some memelord racist trash about drawing Miyamoto’s ire. Seriously, what the fuck, InfernoPlus?) Major works like the Metroid 2 remake AM2R and the procedural exploration game No Mario’s Sky fell victim to DMCA takedown requests from Nintendo when they were out, and now that word of mouth is spreading about this game, too, it’s hard to say how long Mario Royale will last.

That’s a shame, because Mario Royale is such a fun blast of competitive energy, and it’s approachable for players of all skill sets. Everyone should have a chance to play it. Give it go while you can, and enjoy one of the silliest games of 2019 before it needs to be rebranded as “Generic Hopping Man Royale.”

Source: Kotaku.com

Alcatraz Island Proves Call Of Duty Blackout Works Great In Close Quarters

Alcatraz Island has arrived in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. It’s based on a Zombies map, but this version is for the Blackout battle royale mode. You wouldn’t think it, but the smaller map makes for an intense, close-quarters battle royale experience.

Alcatraz, a free map, is currently available on PlayStation 4, with Xbox One and PC to receive the content on April 9. This version of Alcatraz is a remastered revival of Black Ops 2’s Mob of the Dead prison, which we also see as Blood of the Dead in Black Ops 4’s Zombies. You’ll encounter zombies in the Blackout map too, but their locations seem pretty limited. I didn’t run into any undead in the buildings at the outskirts of the prison. It’s also a nice touch to see gun “wall buys,” guns hanging on the wall for the taking, much like the guns you would typically grab in a match of Zombies.

Guns on the wall aren’t special and there’s tons of loot everywhere, but it’s nice to see an homage to Zombies. The “wall buys” don’t cost anything and they’re always in the same spots, so you could strategically drop down on a gun that’s a sure thing. These weapons also respawn every 30 seconds.

Alcatraz Wall Buy Gun

Initially, I thought Alcatraz would feel too cramped with all the tight prison corridors and tunnels, but Treyarch opened up a lot of buildings outside the prison. Given the size of Alcatraz Island, there are a surprising number of places to land, and many points offer verticality with some high rooftops and a lighthouse.

Alcatraz is only available in Quads mode, and has a 40-player cap, so other players aren’t dropping all over you at the start of the match. However, dead players can redeploy after 30 seconds with up to five respawns, assuming someone in their squad is still alive. I think redeploy was the right call for this smaller map; limiting the player count and implementing the redeploy feature allows the matches to keep the action going without being overwhelming for the map size. The Nova Gas circle is more ominous now in such close quarters, and the collapse feels faster than traditional Blackout.

Much like Al Capone, I’m enjoying my time at Alcatraz. Hopefully, we’ll see solo and duo matches added at some point. I love seeing map variety, and with some thoughtful redesign, Treyarch proves a Zombies map can work for battle royale. There’s also a free access promotion for Blackout, running from now until April 30 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. If you don’t own Black Ops 4 yet, this might be a great time to try the battle royale. Anyone can download the free demo and play Blackout.

Source: Kotaku.com