The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Infinite Mirai and The Special Milestone: A Ten Year Anniversary, Reflections on Positivity, Resilience and Community

“Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

A decade is a nontrivial amount of time, and in response to this classic question, my response is always the same: I see myself becoming sufficiently versed in the systems I work with such that I have the confidence and expertise to determine how to manage teams using the same systems and deliver a product of unparalleled quality. Outside of the occupation setting, ten years is enough time for someone to finish their undergraduate education, go for graduate studies and still have enough time left over to find satisfaction in their career, reach financial stability and be at peace with who they are. When this blog began its journey on a cold October evening ten years ago, I was an undergraduate student: I’d just survived the worst year of my university career and had been on track to getting things back in order. I originally intended this blog to be for short blurbs about various bits of anime related news, to supplement my old website, but over time, it became apparent that WordPress provided features and capabilities far surpassing my old web host. During this past decade, Infinite Mirai has a total of 1377 posts and 3.5 million words (excluding this one). There’s now some 1.7 million page views, and 1.1 million unique visitors. The blog has proven resilient beyond my initial expectations: for the past five years, I’d always noted that there might come a point where I’d stop writing for this blog. Each and every time, I’ve been proven wrong. The reason for this is two-fold: firstly, writing is a form of catharsis for me. I am afforded a place to gather my thoughts, to reflect on both what I am sharing and where my life is. However, the second is by far the larger contributor to this blog remaining active even now; this is a consequence of my becoming a part of a larger community, one that encourages discussion, creative thinking and contrary opinions. Whether it be friendly commenters, the subset of amicable and civilised Twitter users or the Jon Spencer Reviews community, having a chance to speak with others and learn of their perspectives has been most insightful: it is worth writing just to kick-start discussions with people and learn of how their experiences shape how they approach something. In this way, knowing there are interested readers with a plethora of unique thoughts of their own is a powerful incentive to write, and similarly, knowing that there is even a single reader curious about what I made of something makes it worthwhile to continue running this blog. Without you, the reader, none of this would’ve been possible, so before continuing, I would like to give my heartfelt thank you to all readers who’ve stopped by, whether you’ve been around since the days I was still finding my style, or if you’ve started reading more recently. Thank you for all of your support!

At this decade anniversary to Infinite Mirai, I’ll share ten of my favourite moments for this blog below (in no particular order). Before I get to that, it is worth taking a look at the sorts of things that I do to find the motivation, and inspiration, to write: a lot of bloggers start their party, but over time, whether it be a shift in circumstance or waning interest, the blog dies out. Others continue to thrive, on virtue of having new writers replacing old ones, or similarly to myself, their main author continues to keep the blog going. Over the years, I’ve found that there are two secrets to keeping a blog running for a long time if one is the only author. The first is simply to write at one’s own pace. Many bloggers adhere to a schedule and push themselves to publish consistently, and while this is especially important for content creators, casual bloggers like myself are not bound to a schedule. As such, rather than writing a certain amount every week, I tend to just stick to my own schedule. When the material is there, I write more often. When life is busy, or there is little inspiration, I simply write less. This approach is essential to preventing burn-out, which I’ve found to be a leading reason for why authors become inactive: when there’s nothing to write about, bloggers might become antsy about putting something out and write something not to their liking. Eventually, maintaining a blog becomes more of a chore than a hobby, and the positive feedback loop can sap one of their motivation. Conversely, by writing at one’s own pace and of one’s own volition, one has the choice to write when the best ideas or arguments come to mind. The resulting post ends up becoming something to be proud of, and one can even engage the community with their best. The second secret is to be fair to both the works one writes about, and one’s readers. This fairness entails listening to what feedback one is given, and making an honest effort to understand why other people might have a different opinion of things. The resulting discussions then become amicable, measured and rooted in understanding, rather than conflict. I’ve similarly seen blogs go under because they wrote in a confrontational, hostile tone, and when the comments or feedback elsewhere were correspondingly unfriendly, these individuals would feel blogging was too challenging to continue with. Raising controversy and picking fights might be good for traffic, but it also attracts individuals who are looking for a fight, and constantly fighting internet wars grows tiresome. As surprising as it sounds, these two things (“write when you want“, and “be nice to readers“) are the secret to maintaining any blog for long periods of time without burning out.

Infinite Mirai: Top Ten Moments Countdown

  • Writing the post that put me on the map: I’d only used this blog as a place for blurbs and anime news for the first two years of its life, and consequently, traffic around these parts had been quite low. This changed one January afternoon: it’d been the start of a new term, and after spotting a 2chan post about the Ooarai School Ship’s dimensions compared to other vessels, I realised it would be fun to both render the comparison in English, as well as compare Ooarai’s School Ship to the most-talked about ship of the time: the UNSC Infinity. That particular post exploded, and the number of visitors allowed my blog to begin climbing in search engines. Over the years, the chart I’d hastily made became the de facto source for the carrier’s length, and the YouTube Channel, Metal Ball Studios, even linked to me as the source for their Watercrafts Comparison video.

  • Writing my first-ever large postGundam Unicorn was a series of personal significance because it coincided with the length of my undergraduate career, and when the sixth episode became available, I was just getting ready to complete my Honours Thesis oral defense. A year later, the finale aired, and left me with a definitive, satisfying close to the Gundam series that had accompanied me throughout university. There was a lot to cover, and the resulting post marked the first time I’d written something of that length. Unlike my old web host, which had numerous constraints, WordPress had no such limitation, and even for a post of that length, I had no trouble keeping track of things. The post for the Gundam Unicorn finale demonstrated decisively that WordPress would be my tool of choice for writing, and the resulting discussions generated also began to encourage me to engage with the community more.

  • Putting together the Sora no Woto charts: A few summers after I finished watching Sora no Woto, I embarked on a journey to remake the speculation charts with the intent of replacing the ones Tango-Victor-Tango linked to. This project allowed me to see a side of Sora no Woto that I hadn’t previously, and to my surprise, the charts were welcomed by the Sora no Woto community. It turns out that the new charts had made their way to the Sora no Woto Wikia, and their admin stated that there had been plans to replace the 4chan charts because of factual errors, but no one had the time to do so. The community ended up with cleaner and more informative charts as a result.

  • Figuring out how to use photogrammetry, Google Maps and the Oculus Quest to drive location hunts: With the current global health crisis still affecting the world, travel is off the table, and this made location hunting a difficult endeavour. However, virtual travel remains viable, a consequence of reliable and stable technology, as well as the know-how to use them. I first used photogrammetry techniques to locate Taki’s apartment for Your Name, and since then, those learnings have allowed me to have a phenomenal time of sifting through Google Maps’ Street View imagery to find spots that have appeared in anime. These exercises show just how sophisticated technology has become: when I started this blog, things like the Oculus Quest-powered location hunts wouldn’t have been possible.

  • Learning that a Japanese English studies guide used content from my GochiUsa location hunt post as an example exercise: I was browsing through the books at a local bookstore a few years ago, when my phone suddenly began lighting up with notifications. It turned out that some folks from Japan had noticed my location hunt talk on Colmar and utilised the text in that post for a Japanese English study guide. People were wondering if I’d consented to my text being used in this way, and my response was simple: I certainly had no objection and was happy that people of all kinds found my content helpful in some way. It is a little strange to see my blog’s words on a printed page, though.

  • Reaching a thousand posts and a million views in the same year: By 2018, my blog had hit two milestones that, when I started writing, never crossed my mind. In April, I saw the millionth visitor open a page, and then later that year, I published my thousandth post. Neither milestones would be impressive for a professional blog, but for me, this is a side-project, something I work on in my spare time, and seeing these numbers were more of a reminder of how long I’d been in the game for. With this being said, I have previously stated that even if I only had one reader who found my content worthwhile, I would’ve done my job as a blogger: for me, the most fun I have in blogging isn’t watching the follower count or views increase, but rather, hearing from readers who may have different things to share.

  • Reading comments from folks who found my writing useful, and learning from them when they share their own experiences and knowledge: Some of my favourite blogging moments come from reading the different comments that readers have left here over the years. I’ve had everyone from US Navy veterans to published authors, and even folks from Japan swing by, each adding their insights to the discussion. What I write is from the one perspective of the world I know (i.e. my own), so being able to see what others bring to the table is always invaluable. I always welcome a good dialogue, and that means people are free to completely disagree with what I write.

  • Publishing my first-ever collaborative post with Dewbond on Yosuga no Sora: Until last year, Infinite Mirai was a one-man show, and while I’d entertained the idea of guest-blogging at other places or inviting people over to write guest posts, this never really materialised. However, this changed when I spoke with Dewbond of Shallow Dives in Anime about Yosuga no Sora. I first watched this anime some seven years ago, and while I really enjoyed it, the anime covered topics that were difficult to discuss with people. Dewbond has no reservations and shows how things like love and jealousy can be covered in a mature and analytical manner. This collaborative post ended up being very enjoyable, and I’ve rather enjoyed bringing new voices over here. Folks looking to collab (or if they wish to get in touch for me to write a guest post) are always welcome to do so.

  • Becoming a part of the Jon Spencer Reviews community, participating in things like Jon’s Creator Showcase and AniTwit Watches: On the topic of collaboration and community, one of the biggest wins I’ve had with this blog was becoming a part of a community. In the last five years, user engagement has gone up, but it was only really a few years ago where I started participating in the community to a larger extent. Whether it’s hosting blog highlights to showcase the fact that the anime blogging community is thriving, or making wisecracks when I find the time to join the crew on their latest group watch, it’s fun to kick back and enjoy anime with others. This community also challenges me on the way I approach things, and encourage me to be a better blogger. For this, I am thankful.

  • Looking back through the blog and seeing how many memories I’ve made over the years: Ten years is a lot of time, and this blog accompanied me through most of my undergrad, all of my graduate studies, right through to the present. Many summers ago, I lamented that I never did anything fun, but strictly speaking, this isn’t true: I’ve travelled, tried a plethora of fun foods and done the sorts of things that I’m happiest doing. Reading through my old posts makes me count my blessings, and provides me the encouragement to always strive for a better tomorrow.

Having now shared some of my favourite Infinite Mirai moments, I’ll wrap up by thanking readers again: your support means the world to me, and has been the key contributor to keeping the lights on here. This time around, I won’t be so bold as to suggest that I intend to close off my blog at any point in the future (which, I’m sure, frustrates the living daylights out of those who do have a quarrel with my blog). However, there are certain realities that I must also address: I’m no longer a student, and there are things in my life that require my attention. For instance, I am moving house in the next little while, and therefore, will need to tend to things associated with a move. As such, I will note that with respect to the future, I still plan on blogging where I can, and readers can reasonably expect me to still swing by and write. Similarly, I will also do my best to continue engaging with the community. All of this will simply be with a reduced frequency compared to how I’ve been writing and interacting over the past few years. Sitting here now on ten years of Infinite Mirai, it suddenly strikes me as to just how much has happened in the past decade. There’s been ten different iterations of iOS, and for better or worse, social media now controls almost all discourse on most everything. Precision medicine is becoming more powerful thanks to improvements in gene sequencing, and electric vehicles are now more viable. AI is now an everyday part of our lives, from managing voice-based digital assistants to helping us hunt down similar restaurants in our area. Internet connectivity and computer storage have seen explosive growth, and smart phones went from being novel gadgets to essentials. Consequently, it would be quite exciting to keep up with this journey and see what the next decade brings with readers. I may not be the most well-known blog out there, I certainly don’t get the most comments, like or follows, and I certainly am not the most controversial, but there is one thing I am singularly proud of: I’m part of the best community, with the best fellow writers and readers. Now you know how I feel: I will be more than happy to write for all of you wonderful readers about anything, any time and anywhere.

The Aquatope on White Sand: Review and Impressions After Fifteen

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” –Steve Jobs

It turns out that Fūka and Kukuru are now neighbours, with Fūka having looked ahead to see where Kukuru had moved to before returning. On her first day, Fūka apologises to the director for arriving late, and is promptly assigned as an attendant, where she is to work alongside Chiyu in her duties. Meanwhile, spurred on by Fūka’s return and her determination to ace a test Chiyu tasks her with (memorise the name of all the African Penguins in their exhibit), Kukuru resolves to do her best to and set up the logistics for a behind-the-scenes tour. Despite running into some hiccoughs with the penguin exhibits (Chiyu doesn’t feel the penguins are ready to be shown, since they agitate easily and need time to adjust to their new homes). After Fūka aces the test and demonstrates to Chiyu that she’s serious about excelling in her role, she suggests that certain measures can be taken to keep the penguins happy and go ahead with this segment of the tour. On the day the behind-the-scenes tour opens, only a single family shows up. While Tetsuji is disappointed with the results, the tour had actually gone very well. Later, Tetsuji sets Kukuru up with the goal of quickly designing an exhibit, and to her surprise, approves of the proposal to exhibit sea slugs. While sea slugs are tricky to look after, Kukuru does her best in trying to put the exhibit on, driven by her own passion for aquatic life. One of the species proves especially tricky, and despite orders to go ahead despite not knowing what this species’ diet consists of, Kukuru decides to keep these sea slugs out back until they can figure things out. In the process, Kukuru clashes with Kaoru Shimabukuro, one of the more senior attendants, but once the two get their feelings into the open, it’s clear that the two have more in common than they first thought. Realising this, Kaoru invites Kukuru to check out a section of the shore in search of the food source for the remaining sea slugs, and Kukuru enthusiastically accepts. After I hastily rushed out a talk for The Aquatope on White Sand two weeks earlier, things have settled down a little now as Kukuru and Fūka begin really learning the ropes of their new positions at Tingaara, supporting one another as they had previously at Gama Gama.

While Fūka’s rapidly adjusting to the pace at Tingaara, Kukuru has had a tougher time so far – despite her undeniable passion, drive and devotion, she continues to clash with Tetsuji and other members of the staff as she struggles to delineate her personal and professional worlds. For Kukuru, marine life and aquariums are a part of her as much as it is a job, and consequently, in her eyes, every fight is her fight. However, the exchange she has with Kaoru marks a turning point of sorts in The Aquatope on White Sand; while Kaoru is able to clearly articulate her respect for the ocean and commitment to Tingaara’s success through conservation and education, at her core, she believes in the same things that Kukuru believes in. The only difference is that Kukuru is a bit more raw about how she feels, and is a ways more impulsive: aside from the disparity in how she expresses herself, Kukuru and Kaoru are more similar than unlike, and for Kukuru, spotting this means better being able to empathise with the attendants while at the same time, balancing her duties for the marketting team. Up until now, Fūka and Kai had been Kukuru’s main source of emotional support, and both have already gone above and beyond in reassuring Kukuru, looking after her and giving her a chance to regroup. To see Kukuru slowly realise that there are other people like her, working towards the same long-term goal, then, is to suggest that over time, Kukuru will be able to confidently stand of her own accord. The past two episodes have also shown that Kukuru and Tetsuji most certainly do not get along – Tetsuji is purely concerned with growth and customer retention, values that impress a board during quarterly meetings, while Kukuru is very hands-on and wants to give customers the best possible experience so they’re inclined to return and learn more about aquatic life. While the way Kukuru and Tetsuji express things is drastically different, at their core, Kukuru and Tetsuji actually do have the same objective: bring people to Tingaara so they can learn more about marine biology, and become longtime customers to keep Tingaara’s doors open. Having found common ground with Kaoru, The Aquatope on White Sand suggests that with people she can lean on, learn from and be encouraged by, Kukuru will find ways to strike a balance between reducing customer turnover and doing the hands-on work she’d loved about Gama Gama: knowing P.A. Works, Tetsuji and Kukuru will certainly come to understand one another better, in keeping with what The Aquatope on White Sand has strived to convey thus far.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Having impulsively pushed out a post a few weeks earlier, I return to the usual schedule with this week’s talk on The Aquatope on White Sand, which sees Kukuru pleasantly surprised that Fūka is her neighbour. Of everyone, Kukuru is the most honest with Fūka and confides with her that she was having second thoughts about how things turned out. However, now that Fūka’s back, Kukuru is encouraged and resolves to rise up to the challenge. When the second half of The Aquatope of White Sand was about to air, people speculated that the series was going to purely focus on Kukuru, and some even suggested they’d quit watching, here and now, if Fūka weren’t present.

  • While it is true that Fūka is integral to The Aquatope on White Sand, such a statement is indicative of people who are predisposed towards jumping to conclusions. Admittedly, this is why episodic write-ups are always a challenge: since one doesn’t have the full picture in mind, certain things within the moment may not make sense until more context is provided. Here, Akari speaks to Kukuru about Fūka and is surprised the two know one another. While Tetsuji might be about as friendly as a winter storm, The Aquatope on White Sand shows that both Akari and Karin get along with Kukuru well enough.

  • I’ve been where Kukuru was: working with the American computational oncology company put me in contact with a backend team based out of Winnipeg, and said backend team were among the most unfriendly group I’d worked with. In spite of this, I overcame my hurdles precisely by focusing on my tasks and delivering what was asked. As such, The Aquatope on White Sand‘s portrayal of how Kukuru handles Tetsuji is mostly accurate: while she may be dismayed at his unreasonable expectations and lack of empathy, she’s learning how to focus on her duties and deliver what’s asked of her.

  • Meanwhile, since Fūka has been assigned to be an attendant, Chiyu decides to test her ability to pick up new information. A part of me wondered if this was Chiyu attempting to haze Fūka, but this is likewise an unfair assessment to make: generally speaking, the attendant position is more formally an aquarist, and for the most part, people in this field must possess at least an undergraduate degree in zoology or marine biology on top of having field experience with animals and communication skills. For safety reasons, aquarists must also have certification in CPR and scuba diving. The position is a demanding one, and the average pay hovers around 30500 CAD per year in Canada.

  • The behind-the-scenes tours might’ve been delayed, but now that the other departments have had a chance to catch up, Tetsuji determines that the time has come to give guests these tours; Kukuru is given the task of organising the tour and coordinating with the different departments to ensure the tours go smoothly. Fortunately, she also has Karin in her corner, although things mean that Kukuru can come across as a bit immature at times. This is, of course, a part of her growth, and folks like Karin understand what Kukuru is going through; Karin had previous work experience, and the things that cause Kukuru to melt down are going to be just another problem with a solution for her.

  • With Fūka back, the Gama Gama crew can really get together and celebrate now. Kukuru’s foul mood persists into the evening until Karin reminds her that tonight is about welcoming Fūka for the next stage of her journey. The Aquatope on White Sand makes it clear that Fūka is a tonic of sorts for Kukuru: seeing Fūka buckle down and give her best inspires her to do the same. The synergy about the two can only be thought of as how very close friends and close siblings can encourage one another. Tsukimi ends up serving this party, and the group are thoroughly impressed with the food at Ohana.

  • Fūka initially struggles to memorise all of the penguin’s names based purely on their tags and any distinct identifying traits. This brings to mind the sort of work I did for my courses during university: I recall memorising the Hiragana and Katakana for Japanese, as well as all twenty of the amino acids (along with their structures). Back then, absorbing information by brute force was my preferred way of doing things; I’ve never really been good with memory tricks or mnemonics. In industry, experience replaces memorisation: I know some systems sufficiently well to apply shared principals for novel problems.

  • Despite her initial struggles, Kukuru’s managed to get the behind-the-scenes tour organised, save for penguins. While Tetsuji is okay with skipping over the penguins for now, and Chiyu has justification for why, Kukuru believes that there is merit to adding this to the tour. Tetsuji reluctantly allows Kukuru to try, and while Chiyu still holds objections, her coworker, Maya, is more receptive to the idea. With everything that’s been shown so far, it really looks like that Tetsuji and Chiyu will be the people that Kukuru must figure out: Maya is friendly, accommodating and more than happy to help make the penguin exhibit a successful part of the behind-the-scenes tour.

  • With her exam upcoming, Fūka still has a few birds left to memorise, and it is with Kukuru’s help that she’s able to get the last few nailed down: Kukuru suggests that in order to really memorise something, Fūka must learn to stop relying on her notes and only count on them to check an answer. Being able to see the penguins for herself also helps Kukuru to understand why Chiyu had been so adamant about not running the tour with penguins: they’re still adjusting to their new home, and visitors would likely only disturb them more.

  • Seeing how Kukuru treats her friends and adversaries alike gives insight into her character as it is now. Since treating people professionally and equally is a part of maturing, this is something that Kukuru will (hopefully) have a chance to work towards. Fūka has undoubtedly been a major asset for Kukuru, helping to keep her spirits up, but their friendship is one of give-and-take: for everything Fūka has done, Kukuru is more than happy to help her out where she needs it. This dynamic is why Kukuru and Fūka had gotten along particularly well during The Aquatope on White Sand‘s first half, so seeing this return for the second half means this particular theme is particularly important to the series.

  • On the day of Fūka’s exam, she aces things. It is here that Kukuru makes one final bid to have Chiyu approve of showing the penguins to visitors as a part of the behind-the-scenes tour, and after some concessions are made, Chiyu finally accepts so long as Kukuru is true to her word. When the tour does begin, Kukuru and Akari are surprised to learn that there’s only one family: Kukuru had been so busy preparing that she’s had precious little time to advertise the event. Since she is on a team, one would imagine that Tetsuji would’ve had the foresight to assign someone else to spread the word and build some excitement.

  • Despite his 牙刷刷 manner, Tetsuji is not infallible. In spite of this oversight, Tetsuji holds Kukuru accountable when it was his failure to assign someone to the task of advertising that resulted in the low turnout. As I saw it, the behind-the-scenes tour was an unqualified success, and the family that does show up come away impressed with both Tingaara’s facility and staff. While Kukuru is still learning the basics surrounding big picture decisions, when it’s time to put boots on the ground, she excels with detail-oriented tasks.

  • I don’t think I’ve mentioned this until now, but The Aquatope on White Sand had mentioned that these are African Penguins. These flightless birds are found in South Africa and primarily feed on fish found in the pelagic zone. Moreover, Fūka did mention that there was a happily-married couple: it is definitely true that African Penguins are monogamous. The choice to have African Penguins at Gama Gama and Tingaara is a logical one: unlike penguins found in Antarctica, African Penguins do inhabit cold regions and therefore, can adapt to warmer conditions quite readily compared to their Antarctica counterparts. Although it is never mentioned in The Aquatope on White Sand, African Penguins are colloquially referred to as “Jackass Penguins”, too.

  • While I count Tetsuji as 牙刷刷 (jyutping ngaa4 caat3 caat3, an obscure Cantonese slang that cannot be literally translated and whose meaning is “arrogant”), I am not going to say that I dislike his character: P.A. Works introduces difficult characters for a reason, and it would be most immature to simply develop hatred of a fictional character when said fictional character clearly has a role to play in advancing the story to some capacity. Had Tetsuji been an accommodating and understanding leader, there’d be no conflict: this might be appropriate for something like Koisuru Asteroid or Houkago Teibou Nisshi, but since interpersonal relationships, specifically, dealing with adversity and conflict management, are central to The Aquatope on White Sand, it makes no sense to put Kukuru on easy street.

  • Moreover, the lack of conflict amongst characters would mean that there’d be no chance to showcase Kukuru’s funny faces. In response to whatever Tetsuji asks of her, Kukuru can be seen rocking P.A. Works’ best funny faces since the Shirobako days, and admittedly, I miss them quite a bit; making the characters expressive allows a given series to tell viewers the emotional tenour of a moment without utilising dialogue or other audio-visual cues. Kukuru opens the fifteenth episode dissatisfied with the fact that she has to produce written reports. While they can be tedious, having a paper trail has been shown to save a lot of trouble in the long run.

  • During lunch hour, Kukuru and Fūka enjoy what appears to be shrimp tacos and fries from a local food truck. While Kukuru is so distracted she’s not enjoying her meal, a few words from Fūka gives Kukuru the spirit to slow down for the moment and tackle her latest problem from a new angle. It’s been two years since I’ve been to a food truck, and I fondly remember the days when food trucks would show up on campus with things that couldn’t be had anywhere else: from the legendary “smoked meat hash”, to fried chicken poutine and pulled pork poutine, the food trucks in my city largely contributed to my becoming a poutine connoisseur.

  • As soon as the current fourth wave dies down, I am almost certainly going to go out for poutine with my friends again. Until then, I’ll sit tight and return to The Aquatope on White Sand, where Kukuru is now spurred on to really get creative in finding ways of creating an all-new project that is intended to bring more people to Tingaara. While the assignment had initially stumped her, once she gets into the swing of things, Kukuru is unstoppable, and even works extra hours to create an array of proposals for Tetsuji to review.

  • Tetsuji is the sort of individual who perpetually seems dissatisfied, although in the end, he concedes that Kukuru’s proposal for sea slugs might have merits and approves it. There’s a host of reasons why people are like this, ranging from communication faults to insecurity. I personally give credit where it is due, and even where something might have obvious flaws, I also comment on what was done correctly, as well as what else could be done to improve things, on top of noting the reality of the situation. This approach allows me to cultivate a reputation of fairness, and then when it is necessary, I can be frank with my criticisms without people misinterpreting my intentions.

  • Karin, Akari and other staff in marketting are impressed that Kukuru managed to get something passed. Their pufferfish hats here stand in stark contrast to Tetsuji’s severe manner, and one would suppose that, under a more light-hearted leader, the marketting department at Tingaara would be a pleasant place to work. Kukuru is beginning to hit her stride and approach problems as I do: no matter how unpleasant a leader might be, I’ve found that sticking to one’s assignment and doing a well enough job so that there is no room for large criticisms is fulfilling one’s responsibilities in a satisfactory manner.

  • I’ve not seen Kukuru this happy since the earliest days of The Aquatope on White Sand: with sea slugs being the theme now, Kukuru is allowed to go out and gather species for the exhibit. It was here that The Aquatope on White Sand really begins to solidify what is possible given Kukuru’s skills. Unlike Karin or Akari, Kukuru’s knowledge of marine biology is extensive, and she is therefore able to bring ideas to the table, having an awareness of what would be required to get something implemented. For Kukuru, these sorts of assignments also put her back in her element.

  • Earlier, Eiji had spotted Kai speaking with Kukuru and conjectures that Kai’s got feelings for Kukuru. Drawing analogies to other marine organisms, who signal their desire for a mate in obvious ways, Eiji suggests that Kai be direct with Kukuru, as well. While Eiji is a stoic individual who finds marine biology more relatable than people, he’s actually turning out to be very personable, and his graduate degree allows him to put his knowledge to good use in ways not directly related to his duties. The Aquatope on White Sand has a varied cast, and like Angel Beats!Hanasaku IrohaTari Tari and countless of P.A. Works’ previous shows, this series similarly aims to slowly unveil the characters, who become more likeable as more of their story and nature is revealed to viewers.

  • A few days ago, I spotted a promotion on Twitter from the The Aquatope on White Sand‘s feed, which showed Fūka and Kukuru together with Hitomi, Kohaku, Manaka and Miuna. It turns out this is a special collaborative art exhibition to be held in Tokyo and Osaka in November 2021 and January 2022, respectively. The theme that these three anime share in common is their portrayal of the ocean: this is easy enough to spot for The Aquatope on White Sand and Nagi no Asukara, but for The World in Colours, I imagine that the “ocean” acts as a metaphor for the world within our minds.

  • With this in mind, it would appear that The Aquatope on White Sand is a project that brings the workplace piece from Hanasaku IrohaSakura Quest and Shirobako together with the ocean themes of Nagi no Asukara, and the idea that magic comes from within, which was a big part of The World in Colours: thanks to its 2-cour runtime, The Aquatope on White Sand has had plenty of time to explore a wide range of themes. Here, both Fūka and Kukuru are disappointed that the last remaining sea slugs have not been eating at all. The Aquatope on White Sand has evidently done their homework: sea slugs is a broad group of gastropods informally referred to as opisthobranchia: this is not a monophylic classification, a result of the fact that sea slugs are extremely diverse.

  • When Kukuru’s concern for these sea slugs causes her to be late for a behind-the-scenes tour, she and Chiyu almost get into another fight. Fortunately, Fūka is on hand to prevent escalation, and before the tour continues, Kukuru is content to give Chiyu a dirty look, adding another funny face to my growing collection of Kukuru moments. It typifies Fūka’s ability to resolve conflicts that nothing more happens, and I imagine that Fūka will play a role yet where Chiyu and Kukuru are concerned.

  • A close look at Kukuru’s screen finds that she’s rocking Windows 10, but the machine is evidently that of a 2017 21.5-inch iMac: this is made possible by Bootcamp, which is a software that comes with MacOS and allows one to easily partition their hard drive and dual-boot between Windows and MacOS. Back during graduate school, I ended up using Boot Camp for my thesis work: Unreal Engine and Unity ran much more smoothly with Windows than Mac, making it easier to build and run more complex 3D visualisations. I imagine that for P.A. Works, having Tingaara run MacOS Monterey would’ve run afoul of Apple, so they elected to display a genericised version of Windows instead, and here, Kukuru reacts in response to an email from the latest version of Microsoft Outlook.

  • When Kai takes a brief break from his shift, he’s surprised to see Kukuru still going at things, and brings her some salted coffee, a beverage with origins in the US Navy. It’s said that the salt came from the fact that desalination units on WWII-era ships weren’t a hundred percent effective, and some salt remained anyways. Coupled with the fact that salt takes the bitterness from a cup of joe, the tradition stuck. Kai isn’t able to express how he feels about Kukuru to her here, but he does manage to give her some stress relief, allowing her to continue on with her work.

  • Whereas Kukuru is adamant that the remaining sea slugs be properly fed, Kaoru notes that Kukuru’s idealism is interfering with their actual work and in the long term, would be more harmful to the organisms and their ecosystems; by taking organisms from their natural habitats, the aquarium has already subjected the animals to confinement, and the hope is that a few organisms will take one so the knowledge gained can be used to better preserve species in their habitats. This flies over Kukuru’s head, but realising that Kaoru respects nature as much as she does causes a change of heart. Similarly, while Kukuru might not have a post-secondary background in zoology or marine biology, Kaoru comes to see that Kukuru is no different than she is. This argument brings both Kukuru and Kaoru’s feelings out into the open, resolving one conflict.

  • In the end, Kukuru and the attendants determine that they can run the exhibit while the remaining sea slugs are held in storage until their food source can be determined. For visitors, this proves satisfactory, but Tetsuji takes Kukuru to the woodshed for this decision. As the viewers, however, we are deliberately shown that the visitors are satisfied with the exhibit, and even experience the same feelings Kukuru does about the sea slugs, finding them more adorable and interesting than repulsive and dull. I contend that for someone like Tetsuji, it would be important for him to put boots on the ground and see what the customers are saying before jumping to conclusions: understanding the customers’ feelings and desires is how an organisation improves over time.

  • One wonders how I’d deal with someone like Tetsuji, and the answer should not be too surprising. I believe that the work comes first, and as I did with the Winnipeg team, I never complained in front of them. Instead, I did precisely what was asked of me and documented everything extensively, making sure all of my bases were covered. Now that I think about it, three years earlier, we’d be getting very close to the day where I was given approval to submit the completed app to the App Store and Google Play for review. Both ended were accepted, and that brought one chapter of my life to a close. At that point, The World in Colours was also under way, and I found myself really falling in love with the world that was presented.

  • The Aquatope on White Sand has succeeded in capturing my attention for different reasons than The World in Colours, and here at the end of fifteen episode, Kukuru is all smiles after Kaoru invites her to check out a cool place on the shores of Okinawa: the bags under her eyes evaporate immediately, signifying the return of her old energy. Life at Tingaara for Kukuru is full of ups and downs, and right now, Chiyu and Tetsuji are the biggest challenges she faces. Given the themes of previous P.A. Works series, I imagine that Kukuru is no different than Ohana, Aoi or Koharu: while yes, challenges set her back and yes, there are things she doesn’t agree with, her own tenacity and enthusiasm will help her to learn the ropes and work well with the team, as well as bring her own unique set of skills to the table in a manner beneficial to Tingaara. The Aquatope on White Sand continues to impress, and I imagine that in the last quarter of the series, Tingaara will face down the sort of adversity that will force the team to unify; things like these have occurred in P.A. Works’ previous series, and it was really here that a given series’ main themes are presented.

So far, where given the opportunity, Kukuru has begun to meld what she’s learning about large-scale operations together with her own experiences in running things at a more personal level. The idea for a sea slug exhibit demonstrates how Kukuru is very driven, determined to make things work, and Tingaara’s director evidently spotted this in Kukuru – while she had longed to be an attendant, placing her in marketting allows Tingaara to have someone who knows their stuff to guide the others in creating compelling exhibits, special events and promotions to drive interest. Because Kukuru has satisfactory knowledge about marine biology, she is able to come up with exhibits that are feasible, and at the same time, really showcase what about a species or phenomenon is worth studying. Once Kukuru is allowed to do this, her old energy truly begins returning to her – it is fair to say that one can take Kukuru out of Gama Gama, but it is hardly possible to take the Gama Gama out of Kukuru. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and having now seen Kukuru acclimatise to the requirements of her position on top of bringing in her previous experience to make things work as best as she can, it is clear that The Aquatope on White Sand intends to present how people adjust to their work, make the most of things and in time, come to take on a newfound appreciation for what they’re doing. While Kukuru’s got her own challenges, the former Gama Gama staff appear to be doing their best to adjust to life at a larger aquarium. In particular, Kai appears to get along quite well with Eiji, who encourages him to be upfront with his feelings for Kukuru. Similarly, Marina and Fūka are also on friendly terms. The beginnings of new friendships (or at least, improved relationships among coworkers) is beginning to manifest – early on, Karin hears faint rumours that Gama Gama’s former staff are very tight-knit and uptight, but after fifteen episodes, this clearly isn’t the case. As Gama Gama’s old staff adjust to working with the remainder of Tingaara’s staff, new relationships are formed, as is an increased understanding and appreciation of what everyone contributes. The resulting empathy sets the stage for improving communications, and this is where The Aquatope on White Sand could become superbly exciting.

DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part I and Weathering The Coming Storm

“Improvise, adapt and overcome” –Clint Eastwood, Heartbreak Ridge

After defeating the Khan Maykr, the Doom Slayer inadvertently given the dæmons a chance to continue their incursions into all dimensions. To combat this threat, the Doom Slayer and Samuel Hayden enlists help from the UAC to liberate a being known as the Seraphim. After locating the Seraphim’s containment unit at the Atlantica facility, the Doom Slayer learns that Samuel Hayden is the Seraphim, and moreover, is suffering from a transfiguration curse which can only be countered with a Life Sphere located in the Blood Swamps. Although the Doom Slayer is able to passes the Trial of Maligog and secures the sphere, he chooses to destroy it instead and retrieves a Life Sphere holding the Dark Lord’s essence: if the Dark Lord is resurrected and defeated while possessing a corporeal form, then the dæmons outside of Hell will also be obliterated. Returning to Urdak, the Doom Slayer fights his way to the Luminarium with the aim of reviving the Dark Lord. However, the Seraphim confronts him, and succumbs to transfiguration, rendering him a monster that the Doom Slayer subsequently defeats. The Father appears and teleports the Seraphim away before the Doom Slayer can kill him, and warns that once the Dark Lord is allowed to take a physical form, he cannot be banished again. Undeterred, the Doom Slayer continues anyways with the ritual, and is surprised to find that the Dark Lord greatly resembles him. This is the first expansion to DOOM Eternal‘s The Ancient Gods storyline, an extension of the story that provides players with additional content. As I jokingly stated, buying DOOM Eternal‘s Deluxe edition gave me the Reiko version of DOOM Eternal, which provides a more complete experience compared to the Koguma version (i.e. the standard edition) – now that I’ve finished the first part to The Ancient Gods, playing the additional missions has given me something that was quite unlike what DOOM Eternal‘s main campaign had provided and extended my enjoyment of the game in a way that justifies the costs of admission.

It goes without saying that The Ancient Gods‘ first part is brutally challenging – players are now denied access to the Crucible and its ability to one-hit kill anything, and super-heavy dæmons are much more common than they had been in DOOM Eternal‘s main game. Seeing a Doom Hunter spawn in together with a pair of Flameborne Barons or a possessed Tyrant fighting alongside a standard Tyrant is not uncommon, creating situations where players can be rapidly overwhelmed by foes before they even have a chance to react. New enemies further extend the challenge: Spirits can possess common enemies, turning them into unstoppable monsters, and even after these dæmons are killed, the spirits will linger and find a new host unless they are hit with the plasma rifle’s microwave beam. Spectre Whiplashes can sneak up on players and cannot be locked onto. Blood Maykrs are invulnerable to all attack thanks to their powerful energy shields, and have access to a range of attacks that hurt and impede the Doom Slayer. In the Blood Swamps, one segment of the game entails the Doom Slayer being surrounded by a damaging, impenetrable fog. However, while these mechanics can be intimidating to fight at first, much as how DOOM Eternal had sought to remind players that success was only found by making full use of one’s arsenal, The Ancient Gods‘ restrictions on players brings about new creativity. Since arenas now feature pillars that can absorb BFG orbs, and since the Crucible is gone, the Unmaykr and ice bomb become the Doom Slayer’s greatest asset in buying breathing room during the toughest fights and in the overwhelming encounters with super-heavy dæmons: six to seven shots from the Unmaykr, followed by a Blood Punch, and a few Super Shotgun blasts will fell a Flameborne Baron or Tyrant on short order. The Spirits mean the plasma rifle, an otherwise unremarkable weapon, suddenly becomes an asset to look after, since its microwave beam is the only tool to utilise against Spirits. The new aspects in The Ancient Gods forces players to re-evaluate their strategy, and consider how to make use of different combinations of weapons to find victory.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Of all the missions in The Ancient Gods‘ first part, the UAC Atlantica Base was the most familiar in design: it’s a facility set on an ocean platform, and the overall aesthetic of this mission was absolutely on point. Although it’s barely visible here, players will have noticed that I’m now rocking the Dæmonic Slayer skin. The cosmetics do not affect gameplay in any way, but admittedly, they are cool to have. The slickest looking skin in the whole of DOOM Eternal is probably the Gold Slayer skin, which is only unlocked of one beats the game on ultra-nightmare without any deaths at all.

  • This is a feat that is well above my skill level, so I’ve opted to take a more relaxed approach to things and focus on beating the game for the story experience: it is not lost on me that at my age, my reflexes are no longer what they were say, back when I was still a university student. Back then, I was speedier, but these days, I count on knowledge to help me react to and plan for situations instead. In this way, while DOOM Eternal is overwhelming, I never felt that I was at too much of a disadvantage, since I was able to think out solutions to problems.

  • The Ancient Gods gives players full access to the Doom Slayer’s upgraded arsenal and Prætor suit upgrades, plus all of the base runes and perks. A big part of DOOM Eternal had been slowly working towards a fully-upgraded set of gear over the missions: by completing challenges and using the weapons, one would gain a very solid understanding of what every weapon and mod’s purpose in combat is. To have everything handed to the player out of the gates would usually represent a disadvantage: this is analogous to life where people who grow into a good circumstance tend to do better than those who are handed that circumstance for free.

  • However, The Ancient Gods does this because it was meant for players who’ve already likely mastered the basics and have completed the base campaign. By giving players everything maxed out from the start, The Ancient Gods hints at the fact that they will be shown no mercy: right out of the gates, The Ancient Gods throws Flameborne Barons at the players like there’s no tomorrow, and while it was possible to trivially destroy them in DOOM Eternal with the Crucible, the Crucible is no longer available here, forcing players into what can be a protracted firefight against some of the game’s toughest foes, which can take a direct hit from even the BFG 9000.

  • This sounds intimidating, but players still have two important tools in their arsenal: the Unmaykr and a bit of creativity. The Unmaykr, being an automatic energy weapon that fires orbs of Argent Energy, is oft-overlooked in DOOM Eternal because the Crucible is better for killing a single powerful target, and the BFG 9000 is purpose-built for room-clearing. Arenas in The Ancient Gods are filled with pillars that block the BFG 9000, blocking the orb from travelling far and really doing damage. With other tools taken away, the Unmaykr takes on new importance now: freezing a super-heavy dæmon with the ice bomb, hitting it with six to seven rounds from the Unmaykr, and then following up with a super-shotgun blast or Blood punch is super effective. A Flameborne Baron will die to this combo, while the Tyrant and Arch-vile can then be killed with explosives or any combination of one’s choosing.

  • The intensely stormy weather of the UAC Atlantica mission brings to mind a memory from five years ago this day: back in 2016, Brave Witches had just started, and the remnants of Typhoon Songda slammed into the Pacific Northwest, coinciding with when an anime blog renowned for its emphasis on military-moé and fanservice, and whose author was from the Pacific Northwest region, suddenly stopped being active. This left me to write about Brave Witches at my own pace: that particular blogger didn’t like being corrected and supposedly deleted any comments linking to my blog, which had happened when one of their readers pointed out Saunders is fielding a C-5M Super Galaxy rather than a generic C-5 Galaxy. On this anniversary to Typhoon Songda, five years after that particular blog fell silent, there is much to consider, but also much to be thankful for – today, the weather’s been pleasant, and over a delicious Baja grilled chicken melt whose flavours remind me of a hot summer’s day, I reflected on how I’ve been lucky enough to continue to be able write about and sharing the things I enjoy most.

  • After the UAC Atlantica facility suffers from heavy damage, the storm effects become even more pronounced as fires are whipped about by the rains, and lightning splits the skies in two. It is amidst these ruins that the Doom Slayer pushes forwards to the next segments of the level, which is set on the sea floor: the Doom Slayer heads underwater with a set of aqua-lungs and enters the underwater facility: even the Doom Slayer doesn’t have the power to breathe underwater, but fortunately, oxygen pickups are common. Sharks can be seen in these segments, but as far as I can tell, they won’t bother players.

  • It turns out this was the segment of the game that the real-time ray-tracing was demoed with: in computer graphics, real-time ray-tracing means that rather than pre-rendering scenes, effects are computed on the fly by casting rays and continuously updating the visuals based on the results. Because rays operate on the same principals as those of photons, the resulting calculations are accurate to real life and create highly compelling visuals. My aging machine is unable to properly do ray-tracing (the GTX 1060 line can carry out the calculations for ray-tracing, but the card itself lacks to hardware to do them efficiently), so I am considering an upgrade once GPU prices start dropping.

  • The biggest surprise in the Atlantica facility was when a Tyrant spawned into one of the narrow hallways, and the doors behind me slammed shut. Normally, one could slice a Tyrant in half with the Crucible, and some Tyrants spawn in the arena encounters, where there’s space to dodge them. The corridors offer no space to manoeuver, and the lack of a Crucible means that one has no easy way out. However, this isn’t a problem for anyone with a bit of creativity about them: the Tyrant can be destroyed by freezing it, following up with six to seven rounds from the Unmaykr and then finishing off with a Blood Punch, before backing up and hammering the remains with rockets and super-shotgun rounds.

  • In this way, I finished the first mission, which contained a part where I had to fight Tyrants and two Marauders concurrently. The Ancient Gods‘ idea of a challenge was to take DOOM Eternal‘s most powerful foes and send them all after the player at once, so when I finished these arenas and earned my checkpoint, I was exhilarated. Throughout The Ancient Gods, I strove to find all of the collectibles: secret encounters provide cosmetics, and completing Slayer Gates provides access to Support Runes, which further provides a boost to the player’s abilities.

  • Speaking candidly, the Blood Swamps was probably my least favourite of The Ancient Gods‘ levels: it’s set in a dank, festering swamp where new foes are introduced. While some, like the giant Tentacles, can easily be destroyed, the most irksome of the new arrivals are called Spirits: they possess dæmon and increase their health, damage and attack speed by a considerable amount. Once possessed dæmons enter the battlefield, they can deal massive damage until they are killed, and then, players only have a short window of time to break out the plasma rifle’s microwave beam in an effort to finally destroy them, but this effort also leaves players vulnerable to attack.

  • The effect is surprisingly similar to that of Ghostbusters, and since the spirits are incorporeal, it makes sense to use an electromagnetic radiation-based weapon on them: the EMR the plasma rifle fires presumably disrupts whatever energy the spirit is composed of, overcoming the forces keeping it intact and forcibly dissipate it. However, just because there’s an explanation for how things work doesn’t make it any easier, and I found that in general, I would attempt to whittle down the other dæmons around first before taking on the possessed dæmon.

  • The overall aesthetic in the Blood Swamps is typical of what has been seen in the Dark Realm, being a hellish landscape of vast ancient constructs. The map is largely circular, and the Doom Slayer’s goal is to complete the Trials of Maligog, something that sounds like it was sourced straight from the World of Warcraft or Warhammer 40k legendariums. These trials proved immensely challenging and tested my skills in ways that even the trickiest fights in DOOM Eternal did not.

  • These exploding pustules are a new environment hazard introduced in the Blood Swamps: they expand when players get too close and shower the immediate regions in a flammable, noxious compound. Reading around, I’ve heard people speak of how The Ancient Gods was near-impossible to play, and how earlier this year, the gameplay was adjusted so encounters would be more balanced. Assuming this to be the case, it would explain why I was able to come out of some firefights alive where people a year ago could not – the number of dæmons have been dialled back some, for one.

  • Even with these adjustments, The Ancient Gods‘ first part is no walk in the park – it takes everything one’s got to keep up with the fights: the encounters themselves are doable in the Blood Swamps, but the trials themselves are borderline insane, even post-patch. Of note during these trials are the Carcasses. In DOOM Eternal, they could project a shield that deflects some attacks, and while these shields can be dropped by hitting it with plasma fire, the problem in the trials was the fact that these shields can impede movement. This can be circumvented with a Blood Punch, although large numbers of Carcasses can project enough shields to block off vital escape routes.

  • As such, the Blood Punch becomes an even more valuable asset than it had been in DOOM Eternal: capable of outright killing lesser dæmons, damage weak points and when upgraded, emits a powerful shockwave that damages nearby foes. For the first while, I also ran with the Desperate Punch support rune, which doubles the damage a Blood Punch deals when one’s health is below 75. I ultimately ended up unlocking all of the Support Runes through playing The Ancient Gods, and I found that Break Blast is probably the most useful, since it causes a shockwave to be emitted whenever a weak point on a dæmon is destroyed.

  • The Rune system in DOOM Eternal is not as sophisticated as that of DOOM‘s, but the addition of things like Secret Encounters and Slayer Gates more than makes up for this: in The Ancient Gods‘ first act, the Secret Encounters must be fully completed in order to unlock a special cosmetic, while the Support Runes are earned by completing Slayer Gates. Pushing through the Blood Swamps, one mechanic that threw me off was the fact that at some points, a thick fog will envelope players and deal damage. A spirit wolf will also appear, and the trick here is to follow said wolf until the fog dissipates.

  • Having grown accustomed to seeing the Maurader’s spirit wolf act as a deterrent for unnecessarily firing on its shield, I was a little confused and initial shot the wolf, which appears green rather than orange. DOOM Eternal does a reasonable job of walking players through new mechanics, but there are times when players must figure things out for themselves in order to advance, and one mechanic I found interesting was the fact that if one were to fall off a ledge or platform into an endless pit below, the game will allow players to start nearby with a small health or armour penalty, rather than second them all the way back to their last checkpoint.

  • Conversely, dying in a fight means restarting it: the trials were particularly challenging for this reason, since any mistake would undo one’s progress. It was fortunate that spawn patterns are fixed in these fights, and since they are deterministic, it means that over time, one could learn these patterns and formulate a strategy for beating them in the most efficient way possible. Highly dedicated players have shown what the combination of memorising certain patterns and developing a profound understanding of game mechanics can do: in some impressive videos, players can do things that come closer to replicating what the Doom Slayer can pull off in lore than anything I could do.

  • The last challenge players face in the Blood Swamps is Trial of Maligog proper; the Doom Slayer fights a floating eyeball protected by a metal cube, and once enough damage is done, the eyeball becomes stunned, allowing it to be punched into the shield containing the artefact the Doom Slayer needs to advance. The cubes must be punched from a specific point on the outside within a timeframe, otherwise, the eyeball rises back into the air and must be disabled anew. I found the Ballista was most useful for this, and numerous Pinkies and Hell Knights that spawn will be a distraction, making it imperative to manage one’s targets accordingly.

  • The Holt gave my rig no shortage of troubles: while it’s a beautifully-designed area reminiscent of Silvermoon Forest in World of Warcraft, for one reason or another, my machine kept blue-screening here. I ended up discovering that my memory pool settings were modified (probably after a driver update), and the game was attempting to access more VRAM than I had available. This in turn created problems for my machine. I ended up identifying the issue after realising that my custom settings were unchanged, and after selecting this, The Ancient Gods gave me no further problems.

  • The fact that my now eight-and-a-half-year old machine is still able to run DOOM Eternal smoothly is an encouraging sign, although the fact that the CPU utilisation is consistently 100 percent means that current-generation games are requiring more processing power than I’ve got. This machine’s had a very impressive run: when I originally built it, I intended it to be used for playing the most intensive games of the time (Battlefield 4 and Crysis 3). The fact that it has held out admirably for everything up to and including DOOM Eternal is a sign that I spec’ed out this build quite nicely back then.

  • As such, I intend to hang onto this machine for at least a little bit longer (say, until I settle into the new place a little): for older games and general computing, the rig still runs perfectly. Moreover, since I am in software development, I have two extra MacOS machines floating around, and while they’re not spec’ed for gaming, they run fine, as well. For now, I think I’m okay to continue on with The Ancient Gods‘ second part: after the aforementioned fine-tuning of video settings, the blue screens appear to have subsided, and indeed, I had no more issues continuing on through the Holt.

  • Like the Blood Swamps, the Holt challenges players to every fibre of their being by throwing everything DOOM Eternal has at the player. This third and final mission of The Ancient Gods‘ first part introduces the Blood Maykr, which are corrupted Maykrs protected by an energy shield immune to the Doom Slayer’s entire arsenal. They will, however, lower their shields to attack, and when their shields are down, a single headshot from the heavy cannon or Ballista will be enough to take it out of the fight permanently. On death, Blood Maykrs drop ammunition, so they’re a great way of topping off after a fight.

  • The challenge that Blood Maykrs add to DOOM Eternal is the fact that their attacks can slow players down, and in a firefight with fast-movers, this can be a death sentence. Thus, players must decide whether or not to avoid the Blood Maykrs and clear the arena out first, or wait for the Blood Maykrs to drop their shields and strike them, but at the expense of leaving oneself open to attack from other foes. There is no right or wrong way to approach this problem: as long as it works for the individual, this is all that counts.

  • On an unrelated note, my copy of Yama no Susume: Official Design Works arrived in the mail today. This artbook book originally released in December 2018, and was re-printed in May 2019 and May 2021. However, its popularity made it near impossible to purchase: I ended up paying an arm and a leg for this artbook, although the book is worth the price of admissions for Yama no Susume fans (it provides unparalleled insight into the design and aesthetic choices in both the characters and settings). The artbook covers everything right up until season three, and back in 2019, I heard that Yama no Susume is also getting a fourth season that is supposed to air somewhere in 2022.

  • Throwing a possessed Tyrant at players, on top of a Tyrant and a Doom Hunter, exemplifies how The Ancient Gods‘ first act can be seen as overwhelming. I beat this fight by focusing on taking out the normal Tyrant out first using the ice bomb/Unmaykr combo, then dealt as much damage as I could to the possessed Tyrant, destroyed the Doom Hunter’s sled by means of two consecutive Blood Punches, and then pounded it with remote detonation rockets, capitalising on the blast radius to also damage the Tyrant as it drew near.

  • While challenging, the fight is not insurmountable, and here, I hit the Spirit with the plasma rifle’s microwave beam: with no more foes around, it became a matter of simply firing the beam until the Spirit dissipated, bringing what was probably the toughest fight yet to an end. The Holt also has two areas where there are Blood Punch pickups available, and it becomes very clear as to why these are needed: hordes of dæmons appear, and while they’re not super-heavies, their numbers can be overwhelming. The fact that Blood Punch pickups are available means having a chance to really let loose and punch everything to pieces.

  • With the rest of the map cleared out, and every secret collected, I thus walked into the final area of the game. After being met with health pickups and a fresh power supply for the BFG, I knew that I was in for a fight. BFG pickups are considerably rarer in The Ancient Gods, but I never once ran below a single shot for the BFG 9000 (or 30 shots for the Unmaykr): by looking ahead and planning out my fights, I was able to make my way through most areas without needing to rely heavily on these weapons. As it turns out, the final fight of The Ancient Gods‘ first part is against Samuel Hayden himself: he’s become corrupted by the transfiguration curse and turns into a monster of sorts.

  • There are a few segments to the fight, and while the Samur Maykr is unshielded, he can freely teleport. The first section of the fight is straightforward, but the Samur Maykr will summon two Spirits to power his shields in the second phase, and again during the fourth phase. It takes patience and a sure aim to win this boss fight, which lasted longer than I had anticipated. I note here that the BFG 9000 and Unmaykr aren’t particularly useful, so players must fall back on everything they know in order to survive. Once the Samur Maykr is defeated, it would appear that I’ve weathered this storm successfully. Thus, The Ancient Gods‘ first part comes to an end, and I look forwards to starting the second act soon.

The sum of the new gameplay elements in The Ancient Gods creates an experience that is unfair, utterly frustrating, and paradoxically, superbly enjoyable – after DOOM Eternal, players feel accomplished at having beaten the latest DOOM instalment, and had The Ancient Gods opted to go with a more conventional route, players would have no trouble melting through everything. Instead, by adding new elements, The Ancient Gods completely throws players off. Fights with Spirits and Blood Maykrs completely alter the dynamic of each fight, forcing players to prioritise what part of the encounter should be dealt with first, and not knowing how many super-heavy dæmons each encounter will send a player’s way means being more cautious than before about using one’s ice bomb. The change in pacing is such that DOOM Eternal‘s developers outright state that this is designed to test players, and that it might even be necessary to step the game’s difficulty down to get a feel for things first. The rationale behind going in this direction for The Ancient Gods is therefore easy to spot: players who’ve mastered every last detail in DOOM Eternal are not looking for more of the same, and in this regard, The Ancient Gods delivers – it forces players to cultivate a new play-style and step out of their comfort zone in order to earn their victory. The Ancient Gods‘ first part was designed for the most die-hard fans of DOOM Eternal, and in offering something overwhelmingly challenging, it has succeeded in creating an all-new experience that sets the first set of expansion missions apart from the main campaign. While the missions were indeed difficult, unlike anything I’d faced in DOOM Eternal‘s main campaign, there was definitely a sense of pride from having beaten some of the most unfair fights to date, which includes fighting two Marauders at the same time, and a possessed Tyrant together with another Tyrant and Doom Hunter. Having now beaten the Samur Maykr, Samuel Hayden’s transfigured form, I’ll need to take a bit of a breather before continuing on to the second half of The Ancient Gods.

Tawawa on Monday 2: Review and Reflections After Three

“Impressive! You’ve upgraded your armour! I’VE MADE SOME UPGRADES OF MY OWN!”
“Sir, it appears that his suit can fly.”
“Duly noted.”
–Obadiah Stane, JARVIS and Tony Stark, Iron Man

On the commute to work, Ai explains to the salaryman that she’s got two buttons to give him this Monday because she and her sister had been imitating a scene out of Laputa: Castle in The Sky and totalled their shirts, before mentioning that her younger sister is beginning high school, too. Later, while the salaryman leaves home, he’s envious of a neighbour who has a loving wife; it turns out that he’s a teacher, and when one of his students fell in love with him, did what he could to conceal the fact that he returned her feelings. After she graduates, the pair are no longer teacher and student, and the teacher finally agrees to go out with her. During a business trip, the well-endowed junior employee makes no end of trouble for the senior employee, but the two manage to succeed in their trip’s aims and end up buying some sake to celebrate on return, although returning through the airport, the junior’s forgetfullness means that she leaves some keys in her pocket, setting off the metal detector and embarrassing her senior. This is Tawawa on Monday 2, a continuation of the 2016 ONA that adapted Kiseki Himura’s distinct blue-monochrome illustrations, which Himura stated as being done to encourage people in the workforce and students alike at the beginning of every week. The first season had been done by Pine Jam, but Yokohama Animation Laboratory is producing this second season, which opens off in a manner that immediately brings to mind the first: the shorts are snapshots into Ai et al.’s everyday experiences. Through these gentle interactions, the unusual combination of humour and mild embarrassment creates a sense of catharsis that clears the mind and ostensibly adds a spring to one’s step, letting them face a new week with vigour. I can speak to the efficacy of what Himura proposes from personal experience, and it is clear, from both the fact that Himura has continued drawing Tawawa on Monday to the present, as well as the fact that there is a second animated series, others also concur with this sentiment.

While Tawawa on Monday primarily deals with those inevitable moments of embarrassment that are simultaneously tender and heartwarming, there are some stories that are particularly well done (especially considering the short length of each episode). In Tawawa on Monday 2, the second episode serves as this example: a student’s feelings for her teacher lingered for the full three years she was in high school, and this teacher managed to maintain his sense of professionalism about him, doing his best to keep that distance and stopping his own feelings from getting the better of him despite how forward this student is. In the end, once the two are no longer teacher and student, the teacher is able to be truthful about how he feels, and indeed, the two end up getting married. There has always been something about this kind of love that I’ve always found immeasurably touching; while people might know one another for long periods of time, they may not always interact with and learn more about one another, or are otherwise constrained by circumstance. Tawawa on Monday had a similar story, where a salary man encounters a girl from his old high school years later; she now works at the local convenience store, and while she had a crush on him back then, he never really noticed. The feelings of yearning for what could have been permeate these stories, and really creates this feeling of emptiness about the characters who never noticed those around them. I particularly relate to this; hindsight is flawless, after all, and looking back, I may (or may not) have left a small pile of broken hearts in my wake as I strove to pursue my career and professional development without stopping to consider the feelings of those around me. If and when I’m asked about what I’d do provided a second chance, I would not be so foolish and take things up this time around; my circumstances now are rather different, and I now have the time (and resources) to do the sorts of things I couldn’t previously.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Since I opened with Ai’s smile when I first wrote about Tawawa on Monday, I’ll do the same for this introductory post to Tawawa on Monday 2. I remember that when I first heard of Kiseki Himura’s illustrations, I struggled to understand what たわわ meant. It turns out this is a bit of slang for someone who’s got a lot out front. I’ll also get this off my chest before delving further into discussions of  Tawawa on Monday 2Tawawa reminds me a great deal of Wawanesa Insurance, a Winnipeg-based mutual insurance firm named after an unincorporated community in Manitoba with a population of 594 as if 2016.

  • Because of how I process information, I sometimes mistakenly refer to Wawanesa Insurance as Tawawa Insurance. After meeting with the salaryman on the train, Ai recounts how on the weekend, she got into a bit of a flexing contest with her younger sister, who, while pretty stacked, loses out to Ai. I’d never thought I’d see the ripped-shirt contest from Laputa: Castle in The Sky in something like Tawawa on Monday, and especially not in this format. For this post, I had originally decided to go with a quote from Steven Chow’s Forbidden City Cop, but my written Cantonese isn’t of a level where I could quote Chow’s character for the relevant scene, so I’ve fallen back on an old classic from the MCU, referring to how Ai’s bustier than she had previously been.

  • Ai’s mother subsequently remarks that it’s on her to mend her own shirts after this performance. This post admittedly comes out of the blue: I hadn’t been intending to write anything today, since yesterday, I spent a nontrivial amount of time on the Battlefield 2042 open beta discussion. I slept in a little today, spent the morning reading through manga, and then sat down to a delicious homemade burger. As the afternoon progressed, however, I did notice that my old Tawawa on Monday post was rapidly climbing in views.

  • I thus decided to shoot through the first three episodes to gain a measure of what they were about and write about the series; it is clear that there is interest in Tawawa on Monday 2, and I’d figured that this was likely what people are popping in to read about: for the most part, I write according to my own schedule, but if the metrics suggest a demand for something, I have no problems obliging and providing readers with what they seek. Formerly a first year, Ai is now a second year, and is seen looking over the classroom assignments before her friend shows up and cops a feel, causing all of the people in the surroundings to blush and stare.

  • The character designs are noticeably different now that Yokohama Animation Laboratory has taken over from Pine Lab: while the contents and atmosphere remain the same, it does feel like that Yokohama Animation Laboratory is still finding their feet with respect to how the characters look. At the time of writing, I prefer the designs from the first season more, but I imagine that as this series continues, I’ll acclimatise all the same.

  • The precise relationship between the salaryman and Ai is never explicitly defined, and in fact, the salaryman’s eyes are never shown, either. This was a deliberate choice, so viewers could imagine themselves in the salaryman’s place, and is a decision that brings to mind the reason why most first-person shooter protagonists (e.g. Half-Life 2Halo and DOOM) are unspeaking: it’s so the player can better immerse themselves in the world. In Tawawa on Monday, the salaryman is a stand-in for us viewers whenever it’s Ai’s turn for a story, but there are other stories featuring different characters.

  • The second episode is such a story, following a high school girl’s determined  one-sided crush on a male teacher. This sort of thing is more common than I imagined, and I certainly wasn’t immune to this, either, having developed a bit of a crush on my first-year science instructor and yearbook club advisor. Before readers go off and imagine anything, nothing happened. I did go out of my way to put in extra effort and do well in those classes, but that’s about it. While the ceaseless flow of events in life meant I probably would’ve forgotten these things, I still have the awards for that science class and yearbook hanging around to remind me.

  • The time for dealing out or receiving a kokuhaku in a classroom as the sunset is long past now, and I suppose the only way to have such an experience will be in my dreams or respawns. With this being said, realising one were in love with someone else all along isn’t bad, either. I’ve not experienced love in the sense that poets, writers and singers have expressed, but compared to the me who wrote about Tawawa on Monday five years earlier, I think I’ve got a better measure of what I’d like out of a relationship. Besides the trust, faithfulness, openness and cooperation, one thing I greatly value is someone who can be full of pleasant surprises.

  • One of my favourite songs, Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes, speaks precisely to the sort of love I seek. In this song, Holmes speaks of a man who’d grown to find his lady unremarkable and dull, so he ends up writing an ad in the paper’s classified section describing what he’s looking for next. To his surprise, the man ends up getting a hit, and with a twinge of guilt, goes off to meet the woman who answered his ad. When he gets to the café, he is blown away by the fact that the lady meeting him happens to be his current partner.

  • Although the song sounds like it could be encouraging infidelity, the actual point of the song is to show that the people we fall in love with can find a way to surprise us even years later. The man and woman in the song have their love rekindled, surprised that there had been a side of their partner they never knew about. Whenever this song comes on the radio, I always have a smile on my face, and as a bonus, this song featured in The Guardians of the Galaxy. Having done what I’ve done, and seen what I’ve seen, nothing brings me more joy than falling in love with something all over again, and it is such an encouraging thought that all it takes is a change of perspective to experience this anew.

  • Robert F. Young’s short story, The Dandelion Girl, is another example of such love. With a bit of help from time travel, the married protagonist falls in love with a younger girl who turns out to be his current wife. Discovering new things about the familiar is something I am very much fond of: whether it be finding a new footpath in a park I’ve visited since childhood, or learning that an old game of mine has AI bots, thus allowing it to be played now even though the servers are offline, it’s always a thrill to rediscover things as though it were my first time. This part of me has carried over to what I look for in a relationship, although it’s not a must-have.

  • For the high school girl, there is a melancholy as the episode indicates how her feelings for her teacher never waver throughout all of high school: she had promised to conquer his heart before graduating, and despite her efforts, which range from trying to seduce him the same way Sayu had tried in Higehiro, to suggesting that she wants to go out with someone else in order to elicit a reaction, nothing seems to be effective. Even after the graduation ceremony, the teacher appears to have steeled his heart and walk a future without her, despite signs that he has come to reciprocate her feelings.

  • It’s a bit of a tearful moment for both the teacher and former student after the latter learns that he had indeed reciprocated her feelings, but otherwise never exhibited any sign of interest out of professionalism. Fiction oftentimes speaks to the idea that miracles can happen, even against established rules, so it is refreshing whenever something like Tawawa on Monday shows how happy endings can be found without violating any laws (although I imagine folks who are sticklers about things adhering to reality are left disappointed because this deprives them of something they can complain about).

  • For comedy’s sake, it turns out the former student also recorded the teacher returning her feelings as a bit of a momento. Anime often poses the question of whether or not someone is worth dating even if they’ve got a few eccentricities about them, and my personal answer to this question is an old standby: “it depends”, and then, within moderation. Hensuki is such an anime, and overall, I’m a Sayuri fan first and foremost, with Mizuha taking second place. Of everyone, Sayuri and Mizuha’s respective things are not troublesome at all (especially compared to Yuika). Of course, answering the question at all gives insight into the sort of person I am, and I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader, as to whether or not one’s opinion of me changed.

  • The third episode focuses on a senior salaryman and his energetic, but sometimes careless junior as they go on a business trip to pitch something for their company. I’ve not been to an airport for two-and-a-half years now; the last time would’ve been when I went to F8 2019, and passing through US Customs is probably the trickiest part of my travels. Watching people going about their business normally in things like anime is admittedly a little weird, and unfortunately, it looks like for the present, normalcy is still a ways away in reality.

  • In any series where ecchi elements are present, I’d have to resort to using animated GIFs to fully portray what’s happening on screen. This is something I’ve never considered doing over the course of my blog’s run, since animated GIFs are bandwidth intensive, distracting, and quite frankly, annoying – repetition has never been witty for me. As they say, a joke is never as funny the second time one hears it, and the reason for this is because an effective joke depends on timing and context. This is why I despise memes and never use GIFs as a response to something someone might say: it’s a sign of respect to reply properly.

  • After boarding their flight, a flight attendant asks if the senior and junior need any help stowing their luggage, but struggles with the latch. The ensuing hassle eventually leads the senior to step in and secure things himself. A part of the humour here comes from watching the senior worker’s expressions while things are going down: even though the men in Tawawa on Monday are presented without any eyes, they are still quite expressive, at least, enough for us viewers to pickup on what’s going on.

  • Tawawa on Monday 2 appears to have improved the background art compared to its predecessor, and after a successful presentation, both junior and senior alike decide it’s time to go ahead and celebrate with a drink or two. In the event such occasions come up, I typically order whatever non-alcoholic options are available. While fiction would suggest that I’m a wet blanket, it turns out that the variety of non-alcoholic options out there is mind-boggling. There are non-alcoholic beers and wines, on top of soft drinks, juices and the like, to the point where I could grab a ginger beer and still partake without getting hammered. My personal disinclination to drink isn’t on any moral grounds: I light up like a Christmas tree and then fall asleep if I’ve had one too many.

  • Unfortunately for the junior office lady, after she comes out of the shower with naught but a towel wrapped around her, the senior worker suddenly loses all inclination to go out, and the next day, he ends up buying a bottle of alcohol for her in place of things. The topic of office romances is one that poses challenges for companies, since it creates tension among coworkers, lowers productivity and in the worst case, create nightmares for human resource. In the realm of fiction, office romances are employed almost entirely for comedy. Tawawa on Monday, being fiction, falls squarely into the realm of comedy.

  • Upon returning through a security checkpoint, the junior’s forgotten about her keys again, and here, I’ll pointlessly reminisce about the fact that, for the past year, I’d been wondering what one of the keys on my key ring were for. As it turns out, this “mystery” key is for my dōjō. With this post in the books, I think that folks coming here for Tawawa on Monday 2-related discussions will have finally have something to read, and now that this unexpected post is in the books, I’ll return next time with a scheduled post for The Aquatope on White Sand.

While Tawawa on Monday has never been the most world-changing or insightful series about relationships, life lessons or the human condition, their ability to endure is a consequence of speaking to people’s desires to love and be loved, to experience warmth and a sense of belonging. Tawawa on Monday‘s first season had aired in late 2016, and I wrote about the series briefly in early 2017; the fact that a second season is running now, five full years after the first, speaks to the fact that this out-of-the-way series is doing well enough to warrant a continuation. I rather enjoyed the first season, and Tawawa on Monday 2 is off to a solid start. The characters here look a little different than their 2016 counterparts, a consequence of Yokohama Animation Laboratory taking over for Pine Jam, but other than that, it does feel as though I never left: Tawawa on Monday 2 is looking quite enjoyable, and I am curious to see what sorts of experiences that the salaryman, senior employee and others will have throughout this series run. It should be clear that nothing crazy happens in Tawawa on Monday, and a part of the magic in this series is precisely because it teases what could happen, rather than outright depicting it. I will note here that I’d originally been planning to write about Tawawa on Monday 2 after the whole series had finished airing later this year, but I do pay attention to my site metrics, and it appears that there’s been a considerable uptick in interest for my old Tawawa on Monday posts. Thus, for the readers’ sake, I’ve opted to write about this series earlier than scheduled so folks have a chance to hear about what my thoughts on this continuation are.

Battlefield 2042: A Reflection on the Open Beta

“This strength test is all about what Battlefield 2042 does to your computer, and not what your computer does to Battlefield 2042.” –J. Neilson, Forged in Fire

Entering the Battlefield 2042 open beta, the biggest question on my mind was whether or not my aging rig would even be able to run DICE’s latest Battlefield title at passable frame-rates. The minimum requirements had called for an Intel i5-6600k, which overall, has about a five percent edge in terms of performance over the nine year old i5-3570k I’m currently running. The open beta represented the best way to, without charge, test whether this CPU stood any chance of opening Battlefield 2042, and after I finished my preload in Tuesday night, I went about the remainder of my week as usual. When I was granted access to the open beta on Friday, I promptly opened my client after the day’s work hours ended, and immediately found myself faced with sluggish, choppy performance: after joining a match and parachuting over to the rocket hangar at capture point bravo, I came under fire from some enemy players. I ducked away into cover, then got the jump on one of my pursuers as they turned away, and after aiming down the M5A3’s iron sights, I dumped the magazine into my foe to earn my first kill of the beta. All of this happened at around 24 FPS, and it became clear to me that my eight-year-old machine had hit its limits. I subsequently headed over to a remote corner of the map, away from the combat, set all of the visual effects down to medium, and was met with a surprising result: Battlefield 2042 began running at a still-choppy, but playable 40-50 FPS (dropping to about 30 FPS on a small handful of moments). I thus finished my first match and went on to unlock a range of weapons to experiment with. During my play-testing, I found that my GTX 1060 was at around 60 percent usage, but my CPU was struggling the entire time in-game: the k-line of i5 processors have a feature called “Turbo Boost”, which kicks in whenever the CPU requires additional horsepower. The hardware automatically overclocks the CPU, raising the clock speed to give this extra performance while at the same time, keeping the assembly within safe temperatures. However, running Turbo Boost for prolonged periods still places a bit of a strain on a CPU that is eight years old, and it is clear that either this build of Battlefield 2042 still needs to be optimised before launch, or the time might be approaching where I will need to build a new rig. While my machine did encounter difficulties with the Battlefield 2042 beta (I suffered two blue screens in total), I was otherwise very impressed that the beta ran at all, with the frame rates that it did. Overall, my rig survived: this is equivalent to a blade taking on a few rolls during the infamous strength test on Forged in Fire, but otherwise, remained intact. My machine passes the strength test, although whether or not it will KEAL is a different matter entirely (albeit one that I’ll have to wait until after launch to find out about).

Because of periodic performance drops, my own experiences with Battlefield 2042‘s open beta are not complete or wholly representative of my performance in the game. Lag led me to miss shots, fail to respond quickly enough in a firefight, or even waste ammunition on what I thought was a player (but was actually a player model that hadn’t been updated properly). In spite of this, the beta was still immensely enjoyable. The first thing I noticed was that the scale of battle is larger than ever. It makes sense as to why Battlefield 2042 would require more CPU power to fully experience: the chaos of 128-player maps is a massive step up from the 64-player maps of previous games, corresponding with an increase in the processing power needed to calculate and keep track of everything. Moreover, gun-play was satisfying, and weapons handled very consistently: after getting used to their recoil patterns and learning to position myself better in firefights, I began rediscovering my old enjoyment of tap-firing down a distant foe. Every kill is satisfying, and Battlefield 2042 appears to have altered things so the kill system is more similar to Battlefront II’s, where dealing appreciable damage to an enemy is rewarded the same amount of points as scoring the kill itself. Similarly, the movement system was relatively smooth: features from Battlefield 1 and V, like crouch-sliding and vaulting return, creating more options for moving around the map and escaping otherwise deadly situations. The core mechanics of Battlefield 2042 appear to work well for the game. However, it is clear that this is a three-month old build: the UI is unwieldy, and critical features did not work in the beta. I was unable to issue squad commands, thank players for reviving me or open the map at all. These issues are something the team indicates that the release build will address. The specialist system is a larger issue for Battlefield 2042: during my games, I noticed that teamwork was practically non-existent: the lack of dedicated medics and support players meant no one was topping off health or ammunition, and there was no incentive to do so. The lack of restrictions on weapons and gadgets allows a sniper to constantly top off their own ammunition, and assault players can easily heal themselves. One possible fix for this would simply be to restrict gadgets to certain specialisations, and similarly, every specialist should have access to one unique weapon class, and subsequently, there can be all-class weapons, much as how Battlefield 3 and 4 had done so. The specialist system is ingrained in the game, but if these minor adjustments aren’t too tricky to implement, their addition would define specialist roles more clearly and return team-play elements to the game. One element that currently is a deal-breaker is player visibility: this was an issue in Battlefield V and favoured campers. Battlefield 2042 has not addressed this issue, but this time, players can blend into their surroundings even when actively moving. Moreover, the lack of clear team indicators introduces new problems: I found myself shooting at teammates in some firefights because there hadn’t been anything to show they were teammates. While I’m very much in the minority who thinks this way, I find that the return of 3D spotting would be helpful. Players should always be able to spot for themselves, and then recon players can spot for their teams as a class perk. The inclusion of 3D spotting would reward players for thinking tactically ahead of a firefight, and force players to consider how they move around a map, as well. Overall, while Battlefield 2042 shows promise, it is still early to be determining if DICE has properly learned from the aftermath of Battlefield V.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • If there were a single screenshot to sum up my experiences with Battlefield 2042‘s open beta, this would be it: a stunning view of the Guiana Space Centre as a storm rolls in. Battlefield 2042‘s theme is climate change and its impact on conflict, but unlike its predecessors, which featured a single-player campaign, Battlefield 2042 will launch without a campaign, with its story being told by the maps’ design. The large-scale effects of climate change means that Battlefield 2042‘s maps can be set across the world and need not be tied to any one region, as with previous Battlefield maps.

  • The first kill I got in Battlefield 2042 came with the M5A3 assault rifle, a fictionalised version of the SIG MCX series that is chambered for the 6.8mm SIG cartridge. I ended up choosing a different screenshot for my first kill because that moment had been too dark, and because I am a little superstitious in games, I believe that I’ll have a better experience in a given open beta if I get my first kill before my first death. In practise, the M5A3 has a good firing rate and high accuracy, especially when equipped with the extended barrel, Cobra vertical grip and the Maul Hybrid 1.5-3x sights.

  • I didn’t have too many opportunities to play armoured vehicles in the open beta; pilots were being much too aggressive, and the lack of teamwork meant that shoulder-fired anti-air weapons weren’t too effective at taking them down. Land-air balance has always been an issue in Battlefield games: good pilots can single-handedly control entire matches, and some design choices in previous Battlefield games, like the Ilya-Muromets, were downright broken. Modern settings means a wider range of anti-air options, and Battlefield 2042 will need to give players more options against air vehicles in order to balance things out.

  • The infantry combat is generally my favourite aspect of a given Battlefield game, and here, I help the team to defend against capture, capitalising on the high-ground to mow down a player running along the catwalk below. Orbital is the map featured in the beta, and despite being a very large, open map, there’s enough variety in the map design so all weapons can be effective, depending on where one is. The M5A3 is probably the most versatile weapon available in the open beta, having enough accuracy to pick off enemies at range (especially if one tap fires and runs the right attachments) and enough firing rate to react quickly to someone at close quarters.

  • During matches, the rocket on the launchpad will sometimes launch, creating a particularly impressive visual spectacle for players, comparable to the rocket launch of both Five Centimeters per Second and Hathaway’s Flash. I’ve seen my favourite Battlefield YouTubers attempt to board the rocket, and they ended up phasing through the geometry before learning that the rocket tops out at an altitude of five kilometres. This resulted in many laughs. For me, I didn’t have anything quite so exhilarating: I witnessed two rocket launches during my run of the Battlefield 2042 open beta, and after dying to a sniper during my first launch, I decided to take cover so I could view the second launch in peace.

  • Battlefield 2042‘s hitmarker system is quite unlike anything I’d previously seen: they appear to be much more subtle and difficult to spot. However, every kill was satisfying to earn, especially those longer-range shots. One nifty feature about Battlefield 2042 is that the Maul Hybrid optic has an integral red dot sight attached to the main optic, making it easy to switch between 1.5x magnification and 3x magnification with the push of a button. The dynamic attachment system reminds me a great deal of how Crysis handles things, and I imagine in the completed game, players will unlock multiple attachments, and then pick four they want to carry into battle at any given time.

  • Since we’re now back in the modern era, a wide selection of effective LMGs are finally available again. The only LMG available in the open beta was the LCMG, a fictionalised version of the Knight’s Armament Company LAMG; in reality, this was meant to be a lightweight and modular LMG that could adapt to a variety of situations. Despite its promise, the LAMG never saw any military use, although I have seen this weapon before in The Division 2, where it is called the Stoner LAMG and was one of my favourite weapons in the endgame, at least until the Hunter’s Fury gear-set became available.

  • I’ve always had a fondness for LMGs in Battlefield: early in every Battlefield game I play, I am not so familiar with the recoil patterns on assault rifles, and tend to waste my ammunition hitting air in firefights. However, with their larger ammunition capacity (offset by a longer reload time), LMGs are a bit more forgiving and allow me to lay down sustained fire. More rounds in the air means an increased probability something will hit my foe (i.e. “spray and pray”). The LCMG can be customised with AP rounds to increase its efficacy against light vehicles: one of the stranger design choices in Battlefield 2042 is the fact that weapons can have different ammo types. While cool in theory, I’ve actually never felt any need to switch out the standard ammunition.

  • Here, I score a kill with the Kriss Vector, known as the K30 in-game. The K30 resembles its counterparts from other games in that it has a high rate of fire and therefore, is particularly well-suited for CQC. The base K30 comes with a 20-round magazine, but DICE was nice enough to provide the extended magazine option, which allows for a total of 40 rounds per magazine. I ended up scoring a pair of kills in the rocket hangar with it while making my way to the top. The scale of the buildings in Battlefield 2042 are immense, and capture point bravo is a particularly fun one to fight over, since the rooftop is open to helicopters, and the team holding it must be cautious of players sneaking in from below, as well.

  • Ribbons finally make a return in Battlefield 2042: DICE had gotten rid of them in Battlefield V, but they had been present in earlier Battlefield games as an incentive for teamplay, as well as rewarding players for doing well. I’ve had a fondness for ribbons, since accumulating them gave insight into what kind of tendencies I had as a player. Medals were also fun to earn, although I also remember that the big frustration with them comes from being killed while attempting to take a screenshot after earning one: because of the way my key mappings are set up, I need to either take my hand off the mouse or keyboard in order to capture said screenshot.

  • While I’d never been effective with anti-armour weapons in Battlefield 3 and 4, after Battlefield 1 and V, I’ve become much more comfortable with equipment in this category: a little bit of teamwork can mean that, even on foot, vehicles are not unstoppable threats. Battlefield 2042‘s brings back the M2 Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle from Bad Company 2 as the main anti-vehicle option. It has a very slow reload, but can devastate light vehicles and even take a third of a tank’s health away in a single shot. I imagine that more anti-vehicle weapons, like the RPG-7, SMAW and AT4 could be available in the full game.

  • Here, I score a kill on someone calling themselves “Shizuka_hiratsuk”, evidently named after Oregairu‘s Shizua Hirasuka, using the DM7 (the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 in real life) marksman rifle. This semi-automatic rifle reaches out a little further than the M5A3 and is a solid precision weapon that fits my play-style. Although the ACOG sight and its chevron reticule was a bit tough to use, the weapon can nonetheless deal excellent damage at range, making it a solid option. Players with anime names have always stood out to me in multiplayer first person shooters, especially when they get the upper hand over me.

  • However, this never happened once in Battlefield 2042: normally, after dying to another player, their name is clearly displayed for me to check out, and Battlefield also indicates how many times we’ve gotten one another. However, the UI meant I never got around to seeing names in prominence, and moreover, I never found myself antagonised by a single player because of the fact that maps are so large. Rather than facing 32 players, I’m now facing 64, so it’s less likely to run into the same person twice. The larger player count has had one additional side-effect on my gaming, and I’m actually a lot more relaxed when I’m being beaten by different people.

  • I’m not anywhere as competitive as I was seven years ago, which was when I was really getting into Battlefield 3, but a part of me still enjoys getting back players who got me. In one entertaining moment during the beta, I was killed by a sniper at capture point alpha. Realising he was chilling on one of the geodesic domes, I promptly changed my kit out for the SWS-10 and managed to shoot him in the head. I’m rocking the recon specialist here, which comes with a spotting drone, C4 and my personal favourite, a passive radar that indicates whether or not there are any hostiles nearby.

  • The assault specialist is equipped with a grappling hook for getting around quickly: like the Q-Claw from Agent Under Fire, the grappling hook is a fantastic tool for ascending buildings and gaining a vantage point quickly. If memory serves, the assault specialist’ perk is being able to have more mobility compared to the others. This high-mobility play-style means that one might actually be better served running with a PDW or shotgun for close-quarters dominance. On the topic of Agent Under Fire, Thanksgiving Long Weekend has proven to be the perfect time to dust off the old GameCube and enjoy some old-fashioned humans vs AI bots on Town and Castle. Unlike yesterday’s blue skies and sunshine, today’s been grey and snowy, making it perfect for gaming, and since the global health crisis kicked off, I’ve been doing a lot more with the GameCube, so we actually ended up faring moderately well against the AI bots on maximum difficulty.

  • Had the open beta come out in October 2018, I probably would’ve been happier for it: by October, the Xamarin project had been deemed ready for release, pending a few bug fixes and tests. Conversely, back in September, the Xamarin project was in dire straits; there’d been a large disagreement about what constituted as HIPAA compliance, and it was put forth that HIPAA compliance demanded a 26-digit alphanumeric code that was given to users on sign in. In the end, the firm’s CEO stepped in, determined that the 6-digit code I was proposing was still compliant and allowed me to continue with my work. The resulting sign-in and onboarding became an order of magnitude simpler for my troubles, and I returned home just in time to spend a few days on the Rotterdam map in Battlefield V‘s open beta.

  • My experiences in Battlefield V‘s beta led me to pick the game up in November 2018, and by that time, I’d received an offer for a new iOS developer position, allowing me to leave behind my first start-up’s woes and its connection to the computational oncology firm in the US. That time period was characterised by relief to be setting aside work that was beginning to tax me more than it excited me. Out of vain curiosity, I decided to take a look to see what became of the app I finished, but as it turns out, the app has been stricken from both the App Store and Play Store.

  • While the computational oncology firm has advertised that mobile app would be a major part of their ecosystem, it is a little disappointing to see no advancements on the mobile side of things in the past three years. Reminiscing about these moments makes me immensely thankful that with the Battlefield 2042 open beta, I am afforded time to enjoy the beta without worrying about whether or not the JSON responses coming from the backend would arbitrarily change without warning: this time around, my main concern was whether nor not my machine could even run the open beta, speaking to its age.

  • One of the most exhilarating and terrifying moments I had during the entire beta was when I saw my first tornado: I had spawned on a squad mate, but the tornado changed direction and immediately headed for us. The tornadoes that strike Battlefield 2042‘s maps appear to be EF0 (or EF1s at most): while they’re capable of lifting vehicles into the air and easily carry players, the tornadoes don’t do any appreciable damage to the map’s buildings, creating a bit of inconsistency (a tornado capable of throwing vehicles would also uproot trees and shred roofs from houses, which is EF3-level). However, as a gameplay mechanic, I’ll let this one slide and note that here, as I seemingly glide towards my death, a bolt of lightning also strikes very close to my position, creating a surreal moment.

  • Lightning strikes in Battlefield 2042 have EMP effects and will disable vehicles, as well as scramble the player’s HUD; this is a clever effect that speaks to the dangers of how relying on complex electronic systems can leave one in a tough spot should said systems go down. Fortunately for me, I ended up steering myself away from the tornado, which also changed course at the last second, and after landing on the ground, I immediately set about trying to help my team turn around a losing match even though it’d been too late.

  • In a different match, I’ve switched over to the support specialisation and are running with the PBX-45, a copy of the LWRC SMG 45 that actually proved to be unexpectedly effective and fun to use. The SMG 45 was first introduced in 2015 and entered production in 2019. Firing .45 ACP rounds, the SMG 45 is a newer weapon and accordingly, has not appeared in many games. Battlefield 2042‘s PBX-45 marks the first time the SMG 45 appears in Battlefield (previously, the SMG 45 was in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare as the Striker 45).

  • In the days of Battlefield 3 and 4, PDWs and SMGs were hipfire machines whose small size made them laser-accurate and perfectly suited for close-quarters combat. In fact, during my Battlefield 3 days, once I unlocked the MP5K, it became my default go-to weapon: with the laser sight and extended magazines. Battlefield 1 featured SMGs as the primary for the assault class, and by Battlefield V, SMGs were the default weapon for medics. Although their applications have changed, all Battlefield SMGs (and PDWs) retain excellent hipfire performance.

  • The PBX-45 is a remarkably entertaining weapon to use, and one more thing that I’m particularly fond of its the reload animation: if one isn’t reloading from empty, the operator will pull the old magazine out and swap it for a new one, but keep the old magazine in hand to stow it. However, if reloading from empty, the old magazine is discarded. Cool reload animations have been a part of Battlefield since Hardline, where DICE really began having fun with the reload animations, but in Battlefield 1 and V, DICE upped their game by providing unique reload animations based on a weapon’s ammunition state.

  • I managed to capture this beauty of a lightning bolt while a tornado was tearing up the far side of the map here. In reality, taking stunning lightning photos is a skill and requires familiarity with the techniques. Professional weather photographers like Warren Faidley have taken some of the most iconic pictures around, and as a child, I was always fond of checking out weather books from the library to admire these images. In games like Battlefield 2042, lightning lingers on the screen for a fraction of a second longer than it does in reality, and that means so long as I hit the screenshot button quickly enough, I’ll have myself nice photo.

  • The weather patterns in Battlefield 2042 aren’t anywhere nearly as disruptive as the snowstorms of Battlefield V, and while visibility lowers whenever a storm blows in, it’s not bad enough to interfere with gameplay: even though the screen does get covered in water droplets from the rain, visibility isn’t severely degraded. Having said this, the tornado can be quite disruptive, and once the novelty wears off, it’ll become something that can negatively impact a match for players: the tornado locks down a large section of the map, and under the right circumstances, might even disrupt things enough for the other team to mount a comeback, meaning that the outcome of a given match can come down to chance rather than skill.

  • Here, I quickly reload the G57 pistol after drawing it and scoring a kill to save myself from certain death. Modern shooters tend to provide players with a sidearm as their secondary, a weapon to switch over to it when their primary runs dry. I imagine that the G57 is modelled after the Heckler and Koch Glock G17 (evidenced by the grooves on the slide’s rear. Battlefield has historically treated the Glock line of pistols as a fast-firing, moderately hard-hitting and reliable pistol. Pistols can be customised on the fly, as well, although during the open beta, there was no option to attach a suppressor.

  • While I only had six hours in the open beta, I did put in enough time to unlock the M44 Revolver, which looks like the Model 44SS6 .44 Magnum. Unlike the G57, whose strength lies in its accuracy, ease-of-handling and rate of fire, the M44 kicks like a mule and hits like a truck, dealing massive damage when it lands a successful hit. During the height of my Battlefield days, I used to run with the MP-412: this revolver still dealt excellent damage, but had a slightly faster firing rate than the .44 Magnum, meaning it could be counted on in a pinch.

  • Altogether, I played twelve rounds of conquest during the open beta, and of these twelve rounds, I only won three of them. I’m not sure what the story is, but even though I was playing the objective each and every around, I was more likely to wind up on the losing team than the winning team. However, I will note that 12 games is too small a sample size to draw meaningful data from. During earlier Battlefield games, some days, I’ll go on the most ridiculous lucky streaks where I’d play three winning games in a row, and then after a break, come back to play two more victorious matches.

  • Then, on other days, I could go and play three losing matches in a row. The law of large numbers states that over time, my victories and losses will trend towards an average and approach 50 percent from either the left or the right. However, my tendency to play the objective meant that in general, I always won slightly more often than I lost. In Battlefield 2042, outside of determining if my machine could run the game at all, my other goal had been to try as much of the infantry firearms as I could. Because of the way the Battlefield 2042 beta worked, I was able to get a very good idea of what the different weapons handled like, and here, I’ve brought the LCMG back out.

  • Owing to the haste of my deployment, I dropped right into a firefight and didn’t have time to change out my optics or underbarrel options. In spite of this, I managed to score a few kills while pressing forwards with my team into the hangar. In modern military shooters, I’m fond of equipping optics right away, since having a red dot sight or ACOG can make target acquisition much easier. However, I found that in moments where I only had iron sights, I was having considerably less trouble with them than I had before. This is like a consequence of the fact that playing so much Battlefield 1 and V in the past five years has meant that I’ve become accustomed to using iron sights for tracking targets.

  • Back in Battlefield 1, most weapons were actually better off without the crude sights available in a WWI setting, and some weapons had highly clean posts that made finding targets straightforward. Similarly, some weapons in Battlefield V had decent iron sights that could be used without much trouble. Since iron sights no longer bother me, when I play through other games like Call of Duty, I can be comfortable trading off the sights for other attachments. Of course, where sights are available, I’ll still use them: here, I’m running the PBX-45 with the K8 holographic sight, which is clear and easy to use.

  • Just for kicks, I ended up switching over to my M5 Recoilless rifle and shot a player with a rocket, since they were out of my PBX-45’s effective range. Had I attempted to engage them at this range, they would’ve noticed me throwing rocks at them and ducked for cover. Conversely, by expending a M5 round on them, I was assured of the kill, which I’m sure would’ve been a shock. I used to do something similar in Battlefield 1: since the assault class’ SMGs didn’t have much reach, I would use the AT rocket gun to pick off foes that I couldn’t otherwise reach without alerting them to my intentions.

  • Here, I managed to headshot a player calling themselves Gryphin2004 (a Family Guy reference, perhaps?) using the PBX-45, at a range that I didn’t think the weapon would work at. This particular player had killed me several times in a row by camping in the building, and it was with great satisfaction I managed to get him back one before the match ended. There weren’t many frustrating moments during the beta, but if I had to name one, dying to this camper was one of them. I’ve long disliked players who camp, since it shows excessive concern for one’s KDR over the team results, and in fact, campers are only second to cheaters in my books, when it comes to players who shouldn’t be in the game.

  • Here, I managed to score a double kill with the M5 Recoilless Rifle on a tank below: by the end of the beta, I was right at home with the M5. Players also have access to an anti-air weapon similar to the FIM-92 Stinger, and while I never got much use out of these weapons, developers have indicated that to balance them, they might make them a one-hit kill against air vehicles. If this is true, this would be a boon for folks on the ground: air vehicles are an annoyance, and in every match I played, enemy pilots went unchallenged, while for the most part, pilots on my team were not anywhere nearly as effective. Knowing that anti-air weapons could swat them out of the skies in a single hit would force pilots to play more cautiously: aircraft are equipped with countermeasures, but they have a cooldown, so a part of the skill in flying would include knowing when to back out of a fight.

  • Out of curiosity’s sake, I also ended up giving the AK24 a shot. This weapon appears to be the AK-12, a modernised AK-47, and in Battlefield 2042, hits harder than the M5A3. On the flipside, it also has a much larger recoil: I found the weapon to be quite uncontrollable when the Maul Hybrid sights were equipped. On the other hand, the iron sights, K8 and Fusion Holo sights don’t accentuate the recoil too much, making them my preferred choices for combat. Overall, however, I did prefer the M5A3 over the AK24: the M5A3 is laser-beam accurate with the right attachments, and I’ve had success with this rifle at ranges I didn’t think possible: one of my most exciting moments was burst-firing down a foe at over a hundred metres with the M5A3.

  • My experiences in the beta suggests that weapons of Battlefield 2042 are going to handle in distinct ways, and then the attachments will further accentuate a weapon’s strengths (or mitigate its weaknesses). The ability to switch attachments out on the fly is actually a pretty clever mechanic, since players with foresight can add to their inventory the attachments that they feel will work for them, and then in between matches, they might be able to customise their inventory to fit a particular play-style. Unfortunately, because of where this beta was, no deeper customisations were shown.

  • Since DICE has advertised that Battlefield 2042 will have a deeper progression system than that of Battlefield 1 and V, I am hoping this translates to something that was more similar to that of Battlefield 3 or 4‘s: Battlefield 3 had the perfect amount of unlocks, while things in Battlefield 4 felt a bit overwhelming. Documentation from DICE indicates that players will have unlocked everything they need to be successful by level 100. At the time of writing, I have no idea how long this journey would take: with earlier games, it took me about a year to get everything unlocked, and this was assuming an average of two to three hours of play every week.

  • During one match, I spawned onto the hangar rooftop at capture point bravo and decided to equip the SWS-10 for some sharpshooting. This is the TRG M10 in real life, a bolt-action rifle manufactured by the Finish company SAKO. Chambered for the .308 Winchester round, the TRG M10 can also fire .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum rounds, as well: the M10 is an upgraded, modular design that was introduced in 2011, and one of its most noteworthy features is that the toolbox for changing out the rifle’s barrel, bolts and handguard is built into the weapon itself, allowing it to change between different calibres with ease.

  • In Battlefield 2042, veterans have reported that the sniping is a little off, but during moments where long-range shots connect, it is immensely satisfying: I managed to pick off foes on the ground below from up here, and it felt incredible to fire a shot, watch it sail over to the target and strike them in the brainpan. Unfortunately, Battlefield 2042 doesn’t display the distance a headshot was made from in its beta, but these shots were incredible to land. It took me a few shots to get a feel for how the SWS-10 handled, especially with respect to bullet velocity and drop, but one thing I did find strange was the fact that the weapon appears to already have a straight-pull bolt, removing the need to scope out and chamber a new round in after one round was fired.

  • In a later match, I ended up running into a player called “not_alexus_marie” and promptly pasted their pate several times into the ground: curiosity got the better of me after I collected these screenshots, and I’m now wondering if this is the small-time Twitch streamer from Illinois that I wasted so casually. Battlefield 2042‘s lack of scoreboard, and an unusual UI in the death screen meant that during this beta, I remember those whom I’ve felled more vividly than those who outfoxed me in combat. While some gaming journalists are suggesting that some players are already using cheats in the beta, I never once felt that my foes were using software to gain an unfair advantage over others. Any time I died was a consequence of my own lack of spatial awareness, poor positioning, or the fact that my reflexes are no longer what they used to be.

  • On occasions where players looked like they one-shotted me or shot me through walls, it became apparent that my aging hardware might’ve created that discrepancy. Indeed, when I began playing more cautiously, I found myself staring at the spawn screen with a much lower frequency, and here in the beta, I do not believe I’ve run into any cheaters during the course of my six hours. DICE has stated that Battlefield 2042 will use Easy Anti-Cheat, a well-known and robust system which, in conjunction with its in-game reporting system, and an implementation of both an IP and hardware ban, should be enough to deter cheaters, which have run rampant in games like Battlefield V and Call of Duty: Warzone.

  • Cheaters were responsible for my increasing disinterest in Battlefield V, more so than any other shortcomings of that title (whether it be the poor enemy visibility, inconsistent TTK/TTD decisions, decision not to visit iconic WWII Theatre in favour of obscure ones), and what was baffling was the fact that players on my own team would adamantly refuse to acknowledge that they were playing against a cheater, despite said cheater going 120-1 five minutes into the match. In this day and age, the desire to cheat in a multiplayer game is a consequence of a desire for notoriety, for a bit of extra internet fame.

  • By yesterday evening, I’d become quite familiar with all of the open beta’s weapons and had a passable idea of how the mechanics had worked, enough to be scoring consistently well. In the last full game I played, I ended up 19-19 despite having fallen into a 2-10 hole early in the game. The team I was with was still defeated, but my own personal performance suggests that, if the time allows for it, I could probably still have a good time with Battlefield 2042‘s main game modes. Towards the end, I began running with the engineer specialisation, which brings with it an automated turret for locking down certain areas by creating a distraction.

  • During the chaos of one firefight, I ended up accidentally switching off my M5A3 for a SWS-10, and since players were swarming the capture point, I was able to pick a few off with headshots. Observant readers and players who participated in the open beta alike will have noticed that Battlefield 2042 has sectors that must both be held before it can be considered to be under one team’s control. This approach would be a fantastic way to improve team play, although speaking truthfully, the lack of a working command system meant that in the end, I lone-wolfed things for the entire duration of the beta.

  • While my approach means that any squad will make short work of me, I was a little surprised to find individual players running around the map without any support, such as this individual here. I found them on their lonesome and proceeded to make short work of them before they even got a single shot off. In a squad with good communications, as soon as one member is fired upon, the squad can move in to defend one another, secure the area and revive anyone that was downed. I’ve only ever played Battlefield once with friends during an office team building event five years earlier, but I still remember how effective we were: we topped the scoreboard, was the best squad and ended up carrying our team to victory despite none of us being particularly exceptional FPS players.

  • One of the biggest challenges I faced in the beta was with the gunner seats in vehicles: they were extremely jittery, and it was nearly impossible to get a good shot off on a target. During one of my final matches, I spawned into an Apache attack helicopter’s gunner seat and manned the 30 mm cannon with gusto, helping to clear the ground for my team in a round my team had no hope in heck of winning. I’ve never been much of a pilot myself, but I do have a fondness for manning the gunner seats in vehicles. With a good pilot, I am able to really do damage in the gunner’s seat.

  • It suddenly strikes me that the more recent Battlefield releases have all coincided with a milestone in my life: Battlefield 4 launched after I graduated from the Bachelor of Health Sciences programme, and Battlefield 1 released after I finished graduate school and begun the transition over into industry. Battlefield V launched right as I got a new job, and Battlefield 2042‘s launch date is going to be very close to my possession date. At the time of writing, there’s a few more things I have to tend to ahead of this, but I am very excited about things.

  • Truth be told, I am surprised that things had happened as quickly as they did; even back in August, I’d only been house hunting and never thought that a property meeting all of my requirements would become available on the market this soon. A lot can happen over the course of a year, and while 2021 saw its share of challenges, the year also saw numerous positive changes. I’ve been incredibly lucky in many regards, and this is something I am immensely thankful for. If I were making decisions on the basis of emotion alone (as opposed to reason and logic), Battlefield 2042 would be an easy purchase simply for the fact that it coincides with a major life event, much as how Battlefield 41 and V did.

  • However, this isn’t how I roll: instead, whether or not I end up buying Battlefield 2042 will be determined by how well the game runs at launch and whether or not Battlefield Portal fulfils my requirements. Provided the game can run well, and Portal offers what I am looking for, then Battlefield 2042 will be worth the cost of admissions. The game has most certainly been fun during the open beta, and here, a solitary kill with the LCMG marks the last one I got before the servers shut down; I had just started a match, but it was getting late, so I decided to call it quits after getting one more kill.

Having put a total of six hours into the Battlefield 2042 beta, the main deciding factor now as to whether or not I’ll pick up the game after it launches, or if I will wait, is determined by a few things. The first is whether or not DICE does indeed optimise the game so it’s not pushing my CPU to 100 percent utilisation for extended periods. I’ve heard that people with more recent CPUs still experienced the same issues, so it is possible that building a new PC might not be the solution to this. Waiting to hear from early-adopters who buy the game will allow me to gain more information before making a decision. Similarly, the open beta has only shown one game mode (Conquest) on one map (Orbital). Battlefield 2042‘s biggest feature is Battlefield Portal, a full-scale sandbox mode that allows players to have full control in designing games for themselves. On first blush, this mode appears even more enticing and immersive than Battlefield 2042 proper. Depending on what is available and possible within Battlefield Portal, this alone could be worth the price of admissions (assuming my machine can run things smoothly). Finally, the open beta evidently is an incomplete build of the game that is not production-ready: numerous issues do need to be addressed, from UI layout, functionality and performance before DICE can have a smooth, satisfying launch. Historically, DICE’s records with launches are mixed: Battlefield 4 was a disaster, but Battlefield 1 was exemplary. Overall, my position now is simple: I will wait until around the holiday season to determine whether or not Battlefield 2042 joins my library. Building a new PC is straightforward enough, and my current machine still runs Battlefield 2042 in a satisfactory manner, so the main deciding factor now is going to be primarily seeing how well Portal works in practise. The prospect of being able to play bots on a private session to experiment with outrageous scenarios (like how well a single M1A2 fares against 20 Tiger I tanks), or join servers with outlandish game modes designed for relaxation rather than competition, is most enticing. Similarly, I am getting up there in the years to be squaring off against youth with faster reflexes: the ol’ fingers and brain no longer move as quickly as they did when I was a university student. Gone are the days where I could survive a firefight against an entire squad, so on days where I don’t feel like fighting real players, having the choice to mess around in Battlefield 2042 maps and modes at a more relaxed pace would also be welcomed. As such, this Battlefield 2042 open beta has been very informative for me: I know my rig can (just barely) run Battlefield 2042, the setup is still fun enough for me, and once I have a little more information on things like features and Battlefield Portal following the game’s launch, I’ll be able to make a more informed decision on things.