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Valorant PC Game Review- Why This Game is Worth Sinking Hours Into

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Valorant PC Game Review

What is the reason why you play games? For most people, they want to have fun. For some, they want to be competitive and try their skills against other players.

No matter what your reason is, looking for fun and exciting titles to play is quite common. If you are looking for one, read further to find out why this newly released game is worth it.

This is the Valorant PC Game Review.

What is It?

Valorant is a 3D first-person shooter. If I were to describe the game in its entirety, it would be a combination of both Counter-Strike and Overwatch.

It is similar to CS:GO because there is a buying phase at the start of the round. It is also the same as Overwatch in the sense that all of the characters have unique abilities.

At the time of writing this article, the game is released with 10 characters, though you can expect new characters and maps in the future.

You can start playing with 5 characters and you can unlock the additional ones by just gaining XP. The game seems to be borrowing one of Overwatch’s rules in the sense that you can only use one character per team.

The Agents

Valorant PC Game Review 2020

All of the characters that you can choose in the game are called ‘Agents’ and there are four different types.

The first is the Sentinel which are agents that have skills that can help fortify locations. The next are Controllers that mostly have AoE abilities that are meant to disrupt enemies from pushing toward the objective.

Then, there are the Initiators. Think of them as scouts as their abilities allow you to see enemy movement, as well as form tactics to combat them in the most effective way.

Lastly, you have the duelist. Think of them as the all-around killing machines. Their abilities are perfectly suited for pushing and driving enemies away from a point.

Why Team Tactics Are Important

Unlike Overwatch where character HPs are higher, Valorant is somewhat similar to CS:GO in the sense that you can be one-shotted by enemy snipers and whatnot.

The key to winning this game is overall communication. This means that it is imperative you communicate with your teammates either through in-game commands or discord.

The current available game mode is Demolition Man and if you have played CS:GO, you should be quite familiar with this particular play.

Basically, there will be two teams. One team will be tasked to defend different bomb sites and the other team will do their best to plant a bomb.

To win the game, either team must be able to get a total of 13 wins. When your team is defending, it is important that the opposing team doesn’t plant a bomb. If that happens, the only way for you to win the round is if any of your teammates can defuse it.

It is also worth noting that it also employs a similar style of play like CS:GO. Every round, you have money to buy whatever it is that you need. The more agents you’ve killed in the previous round, the more money you get in the buying phase.

The Arsenal

At the beginning of every round, you will have the option to buy one primary weapon and a sidearm. For primaries, you get to choose either a machine gun, a shotgun, SMG, rifle, and a sniper. You also have a total of 5 different sidearms you can choose depending on your preference as well.

There was this long-standing notion in Counter-Strike games before that when you just wield a knife, that your movement speed will be much faster than wielding a gun.

Many players have reported that to be true, while others refute it and say that it is just a placebo. You may or may not believe it, but it is just interesting to point that out.

The Playables

What makes this game interesting is that you can choose any of the 10 characters that will be playable in the game. As mentioned earlier, 5 of them would be playable right off the bat while the other 5 will have to be unlocked just by playing the game.

Below are the five current playable characters in the game:

1.Sova

Valorant Sova

If scouting enemy positions is your thing, then Sova is the best character for you. As you may have already guessed, Sova is an initiator and his tracking abilities are amazing.

Here are his skills:

  • Owl Drone– A cool flying drone that allows you to mark enemies using darts. Marked enemies are tracked which means that your teammates can also see them, even behind walls
  • Shock Bolt– This ability lets Sova shoot electrically-charged arrows to an area or player. Keep in mind that although this is a great dispersing mechanism, it has the potential to damage your teammates as well
  • Recon Bolt– The Recon Bolt is Sova’s signature ability and it is where he fires arrows that can tell your teammates the enemy’s position. What’s cool is that you can do this through walls too. Although it is a cool ability, bear in mind that enemies can destroy the arrows, thus nullifying their effect
  • Hunter’s Fury– Sova’s ultimate ability, this is where he fires a laser arrow to your opponent for good amounts of damage. It can shoot through walls and you have about three charges. When one of your arrows hits the enemy, they will be marked for a brief period of time

2.Phoenix

Valorant Phoenix

Named after the mythical creature that can be reborn using its own powers, Phoenix is a Duelist and is great for pushing thanks to his ability to get back to life.

  • Blaze– Phoenix can create a wall of fire that not only damages enemy players passing through it but it can also create a barrier that is hard for them to see. The good thing is that you can also manipulate the wall so that you can block out different corners and angles
  • Curveball– A fireball projectile that can be hurled towards the enemy, leaving them blinded for a couple of seconds when it hits
  • Hot Hands– Phoenix throws a firebomb that creates a small area of fire. Enemies who are caught in it will be given a damage-over-time (DoT) debuff
  • Run It Back– Just like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, this ultimate ability allows him to come back to life. He does this by placing a particular marker and once that is placed, a cooldown timer commences. Once Phoenix is killed or once the timer expires, Phoenix will be reborn in the same spot as the marker.

3.Brimstone

Valorant Brimstone

People that want to prevent enemies from getting to specific areas would definitely love Brimstone. He is a Controller-type character that can do aerial assaults and throw grenades that can hinder enemy movement.

  • Steam Beacon– Brimstone lays down a beacon on the ground that can provide a buff called ‘Rapidfire’. As the name implies, this buffs you and your teammates’ rate of fire by 10%, as well as weapon swap and reload speeds.
  • Incendiary– The good old fashioned ‘Fire in the Hole!’, Brimstone uses a grenade launcher to hurl grenades to a specific area. Aside from the immediate blast, it can also cause damage over time in a small radius as well. Keep in mind that that small area can also damage friendlies, so be mindful of it
  • Sky Smoke– By using Brimstone’s gadget, you can deploy smoke bombs at key locations in the map
  • Orbital Strike– Have you seen the movie, Independence Day? Brimstone’s orbital strike is quite similar to that of the Alien’s laser in that movie. The laser does area of effect damage- the closer the opponents are, the bigger the damage they will receive

4.Sage

Valorant Sage

Considered a godsend by many, Sage is a Sentinel-type character that has the ability to heal and resurrect allies, as well as creating barriers to prevent enemy movement in key locations.

  • Barrier Orb– If you’ve played Overwatch’s Mei, this should be right up your alley. This is where Sage can put up a barrier- effectively blocking anyone’s entry in specific locations. The barrier can also act as a damage soak and that is why it can be an effective tool to use if you want to protect your allies in battle
  • Slow Orb– Sage throws an orb that creates an area that can slow down enemy movement
  • Healing Orb– Her signature ability, Sage can hurl an orb to a teammate, thus providing them with a Heal-over-time buff
  • Resurrection– When you think about it, you can say that Sage is both a combination of Mei and Mercy’s abilities. As the name suggests, this is where you can revive a fallen ally

5.Jett

Valorant Jett

If you like fast-moving characters, then you will definitely love Jett. A duelist that specializes in quick movements, you can easily use her to flank and kill enemies in succession.

  • Cloudburst– Provides cover for Jett’s allies by hurling a sphere that may impede enemy vision once it collides with something (either a player or surface)
  • Updraft– Gives Jett the ability to jump to greater heights. A great ability that allows you to flank enemies with ease
  • Tailwind– This is akin to Tracer’s signature ability, Jett can quickly dash forward in the same direction she’s moving
  • Bladestorm– Jett’s ultimate ability conjures up 5 throwing knives that can instantly kill any opponent. Once it kills an enemy, a charge will be given back

There are five more characters that can be unlocked just by playing the game. Rack up XP points to get your favorite ones.

Valorant Tips and Tricks

Aside from communicating with your teammates, it is essential that you know the ins and outs of the game to give you an advantage over your opponents. Here are some essential tips and tricks:

  • Know Your Agent– It is best that you familiarize yourself with the different characters. Once you’ve found one that suits your playstyle, read their abilities and put them to mind. Be particular about the range, the effects, the damage, and so on
  • Practice Makes Perfect– Of course, knowing what your favorite agent can do is just one part of the equation- you must also practice a lot with the same character. Once you’ve locked down on a particular agent, practice him/her and no one else until you’ve mastered everything that he/she has to offer
  • Get Better at Aiming– I think this should be common sense if you are playing a first-person-shooter, but it cannot be overstated. Always practice your aiming so that you get proficient in killing enemies. The good thing is that there is an option in-game where you can train for that, so do utilize it until your aiming improves
  • Remember Your Role– Every character fills a very important role in the team. Sentinels are the ‘eyes’ of the team. Duelists should drive opponents away or push toward enemy territory. Initiators should know perfect positioning to provide them with better angles to pick apart enemies and Controllers should be aware of their surroundings as they can give cover to allies or impede enemy movement and vision
  • Choose Wisely– In the buying phase, you can choose which weapon you want to get. You have one primary and one sidearm. It is important that you know the characteristics of each weapon and you have to choose one that fits your playstyle
  • Hug the Corners– One thing that you can do to kill enemies safely is to hug the corners. Pick a corner where you can get a perfect line of sight and shoot your enemies down. Controller-type characters are adept at this as they can employ traps that may block the enemy’s vision- hindering them from peeking to see if there are enemies behind walls, etc.
  • Always Communicate– No matter how good you are, always remember that this is a team game. Your success is largely dependent upon how well your team communicates with each other. That being said, you can use the game’s ping system to give certain call-outs. It is also a good idea to use discord or any other chat application for better overall communication
  • Walk It Out– When you are running, you effectively give away your position as your footsteps can be heard by your enemies. However, when you are just walking around, that won’t produce any noise whatsoever. Just walk slowly to help you get behind enemies and kill them without knowing
  • Run and Gun Don’t Work– Despite the game being fast-paced at times, always bear in mind that slow and low wins the game. What I mean is that moving while shooting is not effective and may just lower your accuracy by a lot. What you should do is find an enemy, aim down your sights, and kill them. Strafing won’t do you any good in this game, so if it means that you change your style of play, then do it
  • Be Prepared to Battle It Out– Each Valorant match is long. How long? Well, since a single match can get up to 13 rounds, you could be playing for 30 minutes to an hour just to finish one. Be prepared for long gaming sessions
  • Use a Headset– You may be using a really good sound system, but I still recommend that you use a gaming headset as it can help you immensely, especially since you can hear enemy footsteps more readily than your standalone speaker
  •  Don’t Be Stingy with Your Ultimates– If you were saving an ultimate in Overwatch, you can be forgiven. However, Valorant is different in that even small wins can be the difference between winning or losing. If you can see that your ult can kill, do not be stingy and cast that thing!
  • Get Good Gaming Peripherals– Although this is quite optional since player skill takes precedence over good gaming gear, I would still recommend that you get some nice peripherals. Aside from headsets, I would also urge you to buy a gaming keyboard and a gaming mouse that has good ergonomics and mouse sensor.

Valorant

Conclusion

Valorant is a really action-packed game that combines both strategy and player skill to win. The game has just recently left beta so its game modes and character selection are still sparse, but it is very enjoyable nonetheless.

There are some games where it can be dragged out and tedious, but for the most part, you can spend a lot of time on this one without you noticing about it.

Therefore, I can say that Valorant is truly a game worth sinking hours into.

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Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router Review- The Gaming Router to Get in 2020

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Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review

The gaming industry is one of the most popular niches now in that there are tons of products that you can buy that are great for gaming purposes.

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is touted as a ‘gaming’ router, but does it have what it takes to help eliminate lag and provide a better overall experience than the other routers that you can find on the market?

Design

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review 2020

When you look at the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router, you will probably think of a lost starship from the infamous Death Star from Star Wars as its design is quite similar to those ships.

It has two ‘wing’ antennas that actually house a total of four antennas on the inside. This will provide maximum performance and throughput and it also helps increase the router’s range as well.

Because this is a WiFi 6 router, you can enjoy all of the features that the new WiFi technology provides, most especially OFDMA for better reliability in terms of giving internet connectivity to multiple users at any time.

On the top and at the bottom sides of the router, you will find that this thing has plenty of air exhaust vents and they are quite useful, especially considering that this is one of the more power-hungry networking solutions on the market today.

At the back, you will find all of the ports that you need. What’s interesting here is that you will find that two of the four gigabit Ethernet ports can be combined (via the router’s software) for better throughput. This is what you’ll want to use on your gaming PC so that you can virtually eliminate lag while you play.

There are also two USB 3.2 ports so you can plug in your printer and other USB-powered devices, and you will also find a power button, as well as an LED on/off switch as well.

Performance

Netgear Nighthawk AX12

Since this is a ‘gaming’ router, how well does it perform in such scenarios? In my testing, I’ve used World of Warcraft, one of the best MMORPGs out there, and Overwatch as both of these games not only have a built-in latency indicator, but they are also quite challenging in terms of latency in some parts of the day.

Normally, I would get 120ms on World of Warcraft and about 100ms on Overwatch for most of the day using my usual router, but the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router performs really well as I am able to get 100ms on WoW and a little over 70ms on Overwatch.

It is worth noting that I’ve used the combined port (which should be indicated on the back of the unit) for better performance, though using the other ports yielded only a slight performance penalty of roughly 10-15ms.

Being a WiFi 6 router, it is also important to test its capabilities on this front. So, I’ve connected multiple devices at one time and each of them is connected to Youtube for continuous streaming.

All of them do not have any buffer issues at all and they all got consistent speeds. But, this was done within a 10-meter radius near the router.

So, to test its mettle in terms of how far the WiFi signals can go, I went to the second floor (the router is on the first floor) and I was still able to get about 70% of my network speed (my internet connection is 120mbps, so in this instance, I was able to get roughly 84mbps).

I went a step further and went inside my room (which is also on the second floor), albeit this time, I did it with the door closed. Although the speed dropped a bit, I was still able to get 68-75mbps for the most part which is pretty good overall.

How about the speed of the USB ports in terms of file sharing? The performance is quite impressive as well. This is so much so that I can say that you can use it as a NAS drive because it is that good.

Software

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Gaming Router

I am surprised that the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router doesn’t use the DumaOS that can be found in the company’s other ‘Nighthawk’ line of networking equipment, but I am still pleased with the router’s GUI overall.

The menus are outlined neatly and you can get to the specific settings that you want quickly and easily. The GUI is so intuitive that a layperson could easily navigate through the different settings without any problems.

You get your usual options such as the ability to prioritize different applications via QoS, setting up your router’s username and password (to access the GUI and for the SSID), and you can even do some port forwarding for your other applications as well, among many others.

It is interesting to me that there is no option for packet prioritization which can be found in Netgear’s other routers, but this is usually not something that people would touch anyway, so I am okay with that.

Just a reminder: Once you fire up this thing for the first time, it is generally a good idea to update the router’s firmware. This is to ensure that you will get all of the latest improvements, as well as some security patches.

Verdict

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is a pretty good WiFi 6 router. Its performance is quite consistent across the board and you will have no issues when it comes to its WiFi connectivity.

It is one of the most power-hungry routers on the market, though, but the good thing is that it has plenty of air vents to exhaust hot air effectively.

This gaming router costs $400 and although it is quite steep, getting a high-quality product is a worthwhile investment anyway, so I would still recommend this thing for people that want to get a pretty competitive WiFi AX router.

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review- The Best Mainstream Gaming CPU in 2020

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review

Ever since the launch of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs, more and more people are recommending the R5 3600 for people that want to build a budget gaming PC. It is pretty sad that Intel chips are not getting recognition, but that is going to change with the release of the Intel Core i5-10600K.

Today, I am going to review the said chip. Find out why I think it is the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020 by reading the rest of the article.

Comet Lake Architecture

Intel Core i5-10600K Review 2020

The 10th generation Intel Processors is part of the ‘Comet Lake’ family that uses a much-improved architecture than Skylake (where it’s derived from).

While the i9-10900K is definitely a beast of a chip, the Intel Core i5-10600K is surely something that most people are going to want to look at.

Competition is very important, especially to us consumers. When AMD released their Ryzen line of processors, Intel had to respond in kind to stay in the game. 

Back then, you normally wouldn’t find i5 chips to have hyperthreading, which is essentially the same as the SMT or simultaneous multi-threading feature that is present in AMD’s CPUs. But now, the 10600K not only has one, but the core frequency is clocked higher as well.

Here is a rundown of the Intel Core i5-10600K’s specs:

  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • Base clock: 4.1GHz
  • Peak Turbo (single-core): 4.8GHz
  • Peak Turbo (all-core): 4.5GHz
  • L3 Cache: 12MB
  • TDP: 125W
  • PCIe Lanes: 16

As you can see, thanks to hyperthreading being enabled, you get to have two times more threads than an i5 chip of yesteryears. This means that you get considerably better performance across the board, especially for multi-core/multi-threaded workloads.

But, where the 10600K really shines is through its gaming performance and I will talk about this in the next section.

Performance

Intel Core i5-10600K

When you ask people what CPU you want to compare the 10600K to, it would be the AMD Ryzen R5 3600. That is because they have the same core and thread counts but there is a huge difference when it comes to their clock frequencies.

You see, the R5 3600 has a base frequency of 3.6GHz and a boost (all-core) frequency of only 4.2GHz. The 10600K, on the other hand, has a base frequency of 4.1GHz with an all-core boost of 4.6GHz.

Because Intel has added a new boost algorithm wherein the best core inside the CPU boosts higher than others, you get a clock frequency of 4.8GHz maximum on the said core, giving you even more performance.

Now, how does this translate into the real world? Well, in most multi-core benchmarks, the Intel Core i5-10600K performs so much better than the chip that it is compared to. Seriously, I would recommend this Intel chip for anyone who engages in productivity workloads on the side.

When it comes to gaming performance, there is no question that the 10600K beats the R5 3600 by a lot. That is due to the combination of the architecture, as well as the higher core frequencies of each core of the said chip.

Overclocking

Intel Core i5-10600K Box

What makes Intel chips appealing to the overclocking community than AMD Ryzen processors is the fact that you can eke out even more performance by setting the clock frequency of the cores higher than their rated specs. This is possible if you have a ‘K’ series chip (which the Intel Core i5-10600K is) and a compatible Z490 motherboard as well.

In most cases, people can set the frequency to 4.8GHz all-core with the single-core frequency (the best one) set to 5.1-5.3 GHz depending on the silicon of your particular chip. This provides even better performance across the board which is pretty nice.

I do have to caution you to not overclock the processor until you get one of the best CPU coolers on the market.

Because of the higher core frequency and because of the fact that you add more voltage to the chip just to make it stable, overclocking will result in higher heat production than usual. You will need a very competent cooler to keep things at relatively good temperatures.

Verdict

The Intel Core i5-10600K is way better than its predecessors- both in terms of architecture and performance.

Its rival, the Ryzen 5 3600, doesn’t come close to its performance thanks to the Intel chip’s higher clock frequency and better boost algorithms.

This is not to say that the AMD CPU is bad because there are some cases where it is more warranted than the 10600K.

For instance, if you are really on a tight budget, the Ryzen 5 3600 makes sense because it already comes with a cooler out of the box and its performance is still quite good for the price (currently at $160 compared to the i5-10600K’s $280 price tag).

The money that you can save by getting the Ryzen chip could be budgeted towards a better graphics card or faster storage, so there is still value that can be had when you go this route.

However, if you are okay with spending $280 and if you want a processor that can comfortably last at least 3 years competitively, then the Intel Core i5-10600K is indeed a much better option.

All in all, the Intel Core i5-10600K is definitely what I would consider to be the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020.

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review- A Comfortable and Great-Sounding Headset for $100

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review

Back then, I never would recommend any of Razer’s gaming headsets because they often sound muddy due to the obvious preference towards the lower frequencies, but the company has changed its stance ever since.

The Razer Blackshark V2 is shaping up to be one of the best gaming headsets that are priced competitively in the market. Should you get one of these or look for something else? Read on to find out.

Design

Razer Blackshark V2 Review 2020

The ‘Blackshark’ line of headsets is nothing new because there is one that was released so many years ago. However, the Razer Blackshark V2 is a pretty polished iteration that I think would warrant the people’s attention.

Its design is quite similar to its predecessor, albeit there is a noticeable volume control dial located on the left ear cup.

Usually, Razer would put leatherette ear cups on its gaming headsets, but the Blackshark V2 actually comes with mesh foam ear cups instead.

In terms of comfort, I would prefer these over leather ear cups any day, but some people would want the feel of the leatherette material. So, to each his own.

The headset itself is quite simple-looking, although the aviation-style aesthetic might not appeal to some. I especially do not like the green wire that is exposed on each ear cup as you could potentially damage it if you are not careful.

Also situated on the left ear cup is the port for the removable boom microphone. I like the fact that you can completely remove it as it will not impede your vision when you are not using it.

Now, I’ve heard of some reports that the clamping force of the Razer Blackshark V2 makes this headset uncomfortable, but I beg to disagree.

If anything, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the most comfortable gaming headsets that you can find on the market.

I do have to point out that, being a large person myself, its clamping force is a bit on the stronger side, but it is still relatively comfortable for me to wear even during prolonged gaming sessions.

The Razer Blackshark V2 connects to your game console or PC either via 3.5mm headphone jack or with the use of its included USB soundcard (the latter is only usable on the PC, however).

Audio Performance

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset

The company has come a really long way when it comes to audio quality. Gone are the days where the soundstage gets muddied by the lower frequencies as everything sounds pretty balanced right from the get-go.

Razer has partnered with THX to provide you with a better surround sound gaming experience and if you use the included USB soundcard, its 7.1 surround sound implementation is so much better than what the company used to offer.

Once you plug this thing in using the said USB connector, its drivers will get installed on your PC and you can use it to your heart’s content.

You can use the Razer Synapse 3 software to tweak the EQ settings or choose from a variety of different presets.

Personally, the default sound quality is already pretty good as it is quite balanced overall. Of course, you could add more kick to the bass by tinkering with the necessary settings, but I find that the default soundstage is already good for most use-cases.

Whether you are playing MMORPGs, fast-paced games like Overwatch and CS:GO, or even just listening to your favorite tunes, I am blown away by the sound quality that the Razer Blackshark V2 provides.

It is worth noting, however, that because of the mesh foam material of the ear cups that you will experience some sound leakage as a result. This is important to keep in mind, especially if you want to play games as you do not want to disturb the people around you.

Microphone

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset Microphone

While I am impressed by the audio quality of the Razer Blackshark V2, I am disappointed with the boom microphone.

It just doesn’t sound well. My voice is tinny, it is not full-bodied, and for the most part, the volume could definitely be improved.

Even when using the USB soundcard, nothing changes for the betterment of the said gaming headset. You should be using its 3.5mm connector instead as I find it to be considerably better.

Because it is a cardioid microphone, it should be able to get your voice really nicely, right? Well, that is talking from a theoretical standpoint, but in reality, it can still pick up unwanted background noise so I am really disappointed with the microphone of the Blackshark V2.

Verdict

So, what do I think about the Razer Blackshark V2? If we are talking purely from an audio standpoint, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the best out there. This is especially true if you are going to use the included USB soundcard and wire this to your PC.

However, I am really disappointed with the microphone quality. The output is not full-bodied at all and you are better off using a third-party standalone microphone instead.

Do I recommend the Razer Blackshark V2? Well, as I’ve said, if you are okay with its mediocre microphone quality, then this product is definitely one of the best out there. However, if you are looking for a complete package, you are better off finding something else.

The Razer Blackshark V2 costs $100.

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Valorant PC Game Review- Why This Game is Worth Sinking Hours Into

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Valorant PC Game Review

What is the reason why you play games? For most people, they want to have fun. For some, they want to be competitive and try their skills against other players.

No matter what your reason is, looking for fun and exciting titles to play is quite common. If you are looking for one, read further to find out why this newly released game is worth it.

This is the Valorant PC Game Review.

What is It?

Valorant is a 3D first-person shooter. If I were to describe the game in its entirety, it would be a combination of both Counter-Strike and Overwatch.

It is similar to CS:GO because there is a buying phase at the start of the round. It is also the same as Overwatch in the sense that all of the characters have unique abilities.

At the time of writing this article, the game is released with 10 characters, though you can expect new characters and maps in the future.

You can start playing with 5 characters and you can unlock the additional ones by just gaining XP. The game seems to be borrowing one of Overwatch’s rules in the sense that you can only use one character per team.

The Agents

Valorant PC Game Review 2020

All of the characters that you can choose in the game are called ‘Agents’ and there are four different types.

The first is the Sentinel which are agents that have skills that can help fortify locations. The next are Controllers that mostly have AoE abilities that are meant to disrupt enemies from pushing toward the objective.

Then, there are the Initiators. Think of them as scouts as their abilities allow you to see enemy movement, as well as form tactics to combat them in the most effective way.

Lastly, you have the duelist. Think of them as the all-around killing machines. Their abilities are perfectly suited for pushing and driving enemies away from a point.

Why Team Tactics Are Important

Unlike Overwatch where character HPs are higher, Valorant is somewhat similar to CS:GO in the sense that you can be one-shotted by enemy snipers and whatnot.

The key to winning this game is overall communication. This means that it is imperative you communicate with your teammates either through in-game commands or discord.

The current available game mode is Demolition Man and if you have played CS:GO, you should be quite familiar with this particular play.

Basically, there will be two teams. One team will be tasked to defend different bomb sites and the other team will do their best to plant a bomb.

To win the game, either team must be able to get a total of 13 wins. When your team is defending, it is important that the opposing team doesn’t plant a bomb. If that happens, the only way for you to win the round is if any of your teammates can defuse it.

It is also worth noting that it also employs a similar style of play like CS:GO. Every round, you have money to buy whatever it is that you need. The more agents you’ve killed in the previous round, the more money you get in the buying phase.

The Arsenal

At the beginning of every round, you will have the option to buy one primary weapon and a sidearm. For primaries, you get to choose either a machine gun, a shotgun, SMG, rifle, and a sniper. You also have a total of 5 different sidearms you can choose depending on your preference as well.

There was this long-standing notion in Counter-Strike games before that when you just wield a knife, that your movement speed will be much faster than wielding a gun.

Many players have reported that to be true, while others refute it and say that it is just a placebo. You may or may not believe it, but it is just interesting to point that out.

The Playables

What makes this game interesting is that you can choose any of the 10 characters that will be playable in the game. As mentioned earlier, 5 of them would be playable right off the bat while the other 5 will have to be unlocked just by playing the game.

Below are the five current playable characters in the game:

1.Sova

Valorant Sova

If scouting enemy positions is your thing, then Sova is the best character for you. As you may have already guessed, Sova is an initiator and his tracking abilities are amazing.

Here are his skills:

  • Owl Drone– A cool flying drone that allows you to mark enemies using darts. Marked enemies are tracked which means that your teammates can also see them, even behind walls
  • Shock Bolt– This ability lets Sova shoot electrically-charged arrows to an area or player. Keep in mind that although this is a great dispersing mechanism, it has the potential to damage your teammates as well
  • Recon Bolt– The Recon Bolt is Sova’s signature ability and it is where he fires arrows that can tell your teammates the enemy’s position. What’s cool is that you can do this through walls too. Although it is a cool ability, bear in mind that enemies can destroy the arrows, thus nullifying their effect
  • Hunter’s Fury– Sova’s ultimate ability, this is where he fires a laser arrow to your opponent for good amounts of damage. It can shoot through walls and you have about three charges. When one of your arrows hits the enemy, they will be marked for a brief period of time

2.Phoenix

Valorant Phoenix

Named after the mythical creature that can be reborn using its own powers, Phoenix is a Duelist and is great for pushing thanks to his ability to get back to life.

  • Blaze– Phoenix can create a wall of fire that not only damages enemy players passing through it but it can also create a barrier that is hard for them to see. The good thing is that you can also manipulate the wall so that you can block out different corners and angles
  • Curveball– A fireball projectile that can be hurled towards the enemy, leaving them blinded for a couple of seconds when it hits
  • Hot Hands– Phoenix throws a firebomb that creates a small area of fire. Enemies who are caught in it will be given a damage-over-time (DoT) debuff
  • Run It Back– Just like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, this ultimate ability allows him to come back to life. He does this by placing a particular marker and once that is placed, a cooldown timer commences. Once Phoenix is killed or once the timer expires, Phoenix will be reborn in the same spot as the marker.

3.Brimstone

Valorant Brimstone

People that want to prevent enemies from getting to specific areas would definitely love Brimstone. He is a Controller-type character that can do aerial assaults and throw grenades that can hinder enemy movement.

  • Steam Beacon– Brimstone lays down a beacon on the ground that can provide a buff called ‘Rapidfire’. As the name implies, this buffs you and your teammates’ rate of fire by 10%, as well as weapon swap and reload speeds.
  • Incendiary– The good old fashioned ‘Fire in the Hole!’, Brimstone uses a grenade launcher to hurl grenades to a specific area. Aside from the immediate blast, it can also cause damage over time in a small radius as well. Keep in mind that that small area can also damage friendlies, so be mindful of it
  • Sky Smoke– By using Brimstone’s gadget, you can deploy smoke bombs at key locations in the map
  • Orbital Strike– Have you seen the movie, Independence Day? Brimstone’s orbital strike is quite similar to that of the Alien’s laser in that movie. The laser does area of effect damage- the closer the opponents are, the bigger the damage they will receive

4.Sage

Valorant Sage

Considered a godsend by many, Sage is a Sentinel-type character that has the ability to heal and resurrect allies, as well as creating barriers to prevent enemy movement in key locations.

  • Barrier Orb– If you’ve played Overwatch’s Mei, this should be right up your alley. This is where Sage can put up a barrier- effectively blocking anyone’s entry in specific locations. The barrier can also act as a damage soak and that is why it can be an effective tool to use if you want to protect your allies in battle
  • Slow Orb– Sage throws an orb that creates an area that can slow down enemy movement
  • Healing Orb– Her signature ability, Sage can hurl an orb to a teammate, thus providing them with a Heal-over-time buff
  • Resurrection– When you think about it, you can say that Sage is both a combination of Mei and Mercy’s abilities. As the name suggests, this is where you can revive a fallen ally

5.Jett

Valorant Jett

If you like fast-moving characters, then you will definitely love Jett. A duelist that specializes in quick movements, you can easily use her to flank and kill enemies in succession.

  • Cloudburst– Provides cover for Jett’s allies by hurling a sphere that may impede enemy vision once it collides with something (either a player or surface)
  • Updraft– Gives Jett the ability to jump to greater heights. A great ability that allows you to flank enemies with ease
  • Tailwind– This is akin to Tracer’s signature ability, Jett can quickly dash forward in the same direction she’s moving
  • Bladestorm– Jett’s ultimate ability conjures up 5 throwing knives that can instantly kill any opponent. Once it kills an enemy, a charge will be given back

There are five more characters that can be unlocked just by playing the game. Rack up XP points to get your favorite ones.

Valorant Tips and Tricks

Aside from communicating with your teammates, it is essential that you know the ins and outs of the game to give you an advantage over your opponents. Here are some essential tips and tricks:

  • Know Your Agent– It is best that you familiarize yourself with the different characters. Once you’ve found one that suits your playstyle, read their abilities and put them to mind. Be particular about the range, the effects, the damage, and so on
  • Practice Makes Perfect– Of course, knowing what your favorite agent can do is just one part of the equation- you must also practice a lot with the same character. Once you’ve locked down on a particular agent, practice him/her and no one else until you’ve mastered everything that he/she has to offer
  • Get Better at Aiming– I think this should be common sense if you are playing a first-person-shooter, but it cannot be overstated. Always practice your aiming so that you get proficient in killing enemies. The good thing is that there is an option in-game where you can train for that, so do utilize it until your aiming improves
  • Remember Your Role– Every character fills a very important role in the team. Sentinels are the ‘eyes’ of the team. Duelists should drive opponents away or push toward enemy territory. Initiators should know perfect positioning to provide them with better angles to pick apart enemies and Controllers should be aware of their surroundings as they can give cover to allies or impede enemy movement and vision
  • Choose Wisely– In the buying phase, you can choose which weapon you want to get. You have one primary and one sidearm. It is important that you know the characteristics of each weapon and you have to choose one that fits your playstyle
  • Hug the Corners– One thing that you can do to kill enemies safely is to hug the corners. Pick a corner where you can get a perfect line of sight and shoot your enemies down. Controller-type characters are adept at this as they can employ traps that may block the enemy’s vision- hindering them from peeking to see if there are enemies behind walls, etc.
  • Always Communicate– No matter how good you are, always remember that this is a team game. Your success is largely dependent upon how well your team communicates with each other. That being said, you can use the game’s ping system to give certain call-outs. It is also a good idea to use discord or any other chat application for better overall communication
  • Walk It Out– When you are running, you effectively give away your position as your footsteps can be heard by your enemies. However, when you are just walking around, that won’t produce any noise whatsoever. Just walk slowly to help you get behind enemies and kill them without knowing
  • Run and Gun Don’t Work– Despite the game being fast-paced at times, always bear in mind that slow and low wins the game. What I mean is that moving while shooting is not effective and may just lower your accuracy by a lot. What you should do is find an enemy, aim down your sights, and kill them. Strafing won’t do you any good in this game, so if it means that you change your style of play, then do it
  • Be Prepared to Battle It Out– Each Valorant match is long. How long? Well, since a single match can get up to 13 rounds, you could be playing for 30 minutes to an hour just to finish one. Be prepared for long gaming sessions
  • Use a Headset– You may be using a really good sound system, but I still recommend that you use a gaming headset as it can help you immensely, especially since you can hear enemy footsteps more readily than your standalone speaker
  •  Don’t Be Stingy with Your Ultimates– If you were saving an ultimate in Overwatch, you can be forgiven. However, Valorant is different in that even small wins can be the difference between winning or losing. If you can see that your ult can kill, do not be stingy and cast that thing!
  • Get Good Gaming Peripherals– Although this is quite optional since player skill takes precedence over good gaming gear, I would still recommend that you get some nice peripherals. Aside from headsets, I would also urge you to buy a gaming keyboard and a gaming mouse that has good ergonomics and mouse sensor.

Valorant

Conclusion

Valorant is a really action-packed game that combines both strategy and player skill to win. The game has just recently left beta so its game modes and character selection are still sparse, but it is very enjoyable nonetheless.

There are some games where it can be dragged out and tedious, but for the most part, you can spend a lot of time on this one without you noticing about it.

Therefore, I can say that Valorant is truly a game worth sinking hours into.

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Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router Review- The Gaming Router to Get in 2020

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Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review

The gaming industry is one of the most popular niches now in that there are tons of products that you can buy that are great for gaming purposes.

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is touted as a ‘gaming’ router, but does it have what it takes to help eliminate lag and provide a better overall experience than the other routers that you can find on the market?

Design

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review 2020

When you look at the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router, you will probably think of a lost starship from the infamous Death Star from Star Wars as its design is quite similar to those ships.

It has two ‘wing’ antennas that actually house a total of four antennas on the inside. This will provide maximum performance and throughput and it also helps increase the router’s range as well.

Because this is a WiFi 6 router, you can enjoy all of the features that the new WiFi technology provides, most especially OFDMA for better reliability in terms of giving internet connectivity to multiple users at any time.

On the top and at the bottom sides of the router, you will find that this thing has plenty of air exhaust vents and they are quite useful, especially considering that this is one of the more power-hungry networking solutions on the market today.

At the back, you will find all of the ports that you need. What’s interesting here is that you will find that two of the four gigabit Ethernet ports can be combined (via the router’s software) for better throughput. This is what you’ll want to use on your gaming PC so that you can virtually eliminate lag while you play.

There are also two USB 3.2 ports so you can plug in your printer and other USB-powered devices, and you will also find a power button, as well as an LED on/off switch as well.

Performance

Netgear Nighthawk AX12

Since this is a ‘gaming’ router, how well does it perform in such scenarios? In my testing, I’ve used World of Warcraft, one of the best MMORPGs out there, and Overwatch as both of these games not only have a built-in latency indicator, but they are also quite challenging in terms of latency in some parts of the day.

Normally, I would get 120ms on World of Warcraft and about 100ms on Overwatch for most of the day using my usual router, but the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router performs really well as I am able to get 100ms on WoW and a little over 70ms on Overwatch.

It is worth noting that I’ve used the combined port (which should be indicated on the back of the unit) for better performance, though using the other ports yielded only a slight performance penalty of roughly 10-15ms.

Being a WiFi 6 router, it is also important to test its capabilities on this front. So, I’ve connected multiple devices at one time and each of them is connected to Youtube for continuous streaming.

All of them do not have any buffer issues at all and they all got consistent speeds. But, this was done within a 10-meter radius near the router.

So, to test its mettle in terms of how far the WiFi signals can go, I went to the second floor (the router is on the first floor) and I was still able to get about 70% of my network speed (my internet connection is 120mbps, so in this instance, I was able to get roughly 84mbps).

I went a step further and went inside my room (which is also on the second floor), albeit this time, I did it with the door closed. Although the speed dropped a bit, I was still able to get 68-75mbps for the most part which is pretty good overall.

How about the speed of the USB ports in terms of file sharing? The performance is quite impressive as well. This is so much so that I can say that you can use it as a NAS drive because it is that good.

Software

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Gaming Router

I am surprised that the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router doesn’t use the DumaOS that can be found in the company’s other ‘Nighthawk’ line of networking equipment, but I am still pleased with the router’s GUI overall.

The menus are outlined neatly and you can get to the specific settings that you want quickly and easily. The GUI is so intuitive that a layperson could easily navigate through the different settings without any problems.

You get your usual options such as the ability to prioritize different applications via QoS, setting up your router’s username and password (to access the GUI and for the SSID), and you can even do some port forwarding for your other applications as well, among many others.

It is interesting to me that there is no option for packet prioritization which can be found in Netgear’s other routers, but this is usually not something that people would touch anyway, so I am okay with that.

Just a reminder: Once you fire up this thing for the first time, it is generally a good idea to update the router’s firmware. This is to ensure that you will get all of the latest improvements, as well as some security patches.

Verdict

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is a pretty good WiFi 6 router. Its performance is quite consistent across the board and you will have no issues when it comes to its WiFi connectivity.

It is one of the most power-hungry routers on the market, though, but the good thing is that it has plenty of air vents to exhaust hot air effectively.

This gaming router costs $400 and although it is quite steep, getting a high-quality product is a worthwhile investment anyway, so I would still recommend this thing for people that want to get a pretty competitive WiFi AX router.

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review- The Best Mainstream Gaming CPU in 2020

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review

Ever since the launch of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs, more and more people are recommending the R5 3600 for people that want to build a budget gaming PC. It is pretty sad that Intel chips are not getting recognition, but that is going to change with the release of the Intel Core i5-10600K.

Today, I am going to review the said chip. Find out why I think it is the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020 by reading the rest of the article.

Comet Lake Architecture

Intel Core i5-10600K Review 2020

The 10th generation Intel Processors is part of the ‘Comet Lake’ family that uses a much-improved architecture than Skylake (where it’s derived from).

While the i9-10900K is definitely a beast of a chip, the Intel Core i5-10600K is surely something that most people are going to want to look at.

Competition is very important, especially to us consumers. When AMD released their Ryzen line of processors, Intel had to respond in kind to stay in the game. 

Back then, you normally wouldn’t find i5 chips to have hyperthreading, which is essentially the same as the SMT or simultaneous multi-threading feature that is present in AMD’s CPUs. But now, the 10600K not only has one, but the core frequency is clocked higher as well.

Here is a rundown of the Intel Core i5-10600K’s specs:

  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • Base clock: 4.1GHz
  • Peak Turbo (single-core): 4.8GHz
  • Peak Turbo (all-core): 4.5GHz
  • L3 Cache: 12MB
  • TDP: 125W
  • PCIe Lanes: 16

As you can see, thanks to hyperthreading being enabled, you get to have two times more threads than an i5 chip of yesteryears. This means that you get considerably better performance across the board, especially for multi-core/multi-threaded workloads.

But, where the 10600K really shines is through its gaming performance and I will talk about this in the next section.

Performance

Intel Core i5-10600K

When you ask people what CPU you want to compare the 10600K to, it would be the AMD Ryzen R5 3600. That is because they have the same core and thread counts but there is a huge difference when it comes to their clock frequencies.

You see, the R5 3600 has a base frequency of 3.6GHz and a boost (all-core) frequency of only 4.2GHz. The 10600K, on the other hand, has a base frequency of 4.1GHz with an all-core boost of 4.6GHz.

Because Intel has added a new boost algorithm wherein the best core inside the CPU boosts higher than others, you get a clock frequency of 4.8GHz maximum on the said core, giving you even more performance.

Now, how does this translate into the real world? Well, in most multi-core benchmarks, the Intel Core i5-10600K performs so much better than the chip that it is compared to. Seriously, I would recommend this Intel chip for anyone who engages in productivity workloads on the side.

When it comes to gaming performance, there is no question that the 10600K beats the R5 3600 by a lot. That is due to the combination of the architecture, as well as the higher core frequencies of each core of the said chip.

Overclocking

Intel Core i5-10600K Box

What makes Intel chips appealing to the overclocking community than AMD Ryzen processors is the fact that you can eke out even more performance by setting the clock frequency of the cores higher than their rated specs. This is possible if you have a ‘K’ series chip (which the Intel Core i5-10600K is) and a compatible Z490 motherboard as well.

In most cases, people can set the frequency to 4.8GHz all-core with the single-core frequency (the best one) set to 5.1-5.3 GHz depending on the silicon of your particular chip. This provides even better performance across the board which is pretty nice.

I do have to caution you to not overclock the processor until you get one of the best CPU coolers on the market.

Because of the higher core frequency and because of the fact that you add more voltage to the chip just to make it stable, overclocking will result in higher heat production than usual. You will need a very competent cooler to keep things at relatively good temperatures.

Verdict

The Intel Core i5-10600K is way better than its predecessors- both in terms of architecture and performance.

Its rival, the Ryzen 5 3600, doesn’t come close to its performance thanks to the Intel chip’s higher clock frequency and better boost algorithms.

This is not to say that the AMD CPU is bad because there are some cases where it is more warranted than the 10600K.

For instance, if you are really on a tight budget, the Ryzen 5 3600 makes sense because it already comes with a cooler out of the box and its performance is still quite good for the price (currently at $160 compared to the i5-10600K’s $280 price tag).

The money that you can save by getting the Ryzen chip could be budgeted towards a better graphics card or faster storage, so there is still value that can be had when you go this route.

However, if you are okay with spending $280 and if you want a processor that can comfortably last at least 3 years competitively, then the Intel Core i5-10600K is indeed a much better option.

All in all, the Intel Core i5-10600K is definitely what I would consider to be the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020.

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review- A Comfortable and Great-Sounding Headset for $100

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review

Back then, I never would recommend any of Razer’s gaming headsets because they often sound muddy due to the obvious preference towards the lower frequencies, but the company has changed its stance ever since.

The Razer Blackshark V2 is shaping up to be one of the best gaming headsets that are priced competitively in the market. Should you get one of these or look for something else? Read on to find out.

Design

Razer Blackshark V2 Review 2020

The ‘Blackshark’ line of headsets is nothing new because there is one that was released so many years ago. However, the Razer Blackshark V2 is a pretty polished iteration that I think would warrant the people’s attention.

Its design is quite similar to its predecessor, albeit there is a noticeable volume control dial located on the left ear cup.

Usually, Razer would put leatherette ear cups on its gaming headsets, but the Blackshark V2 actually comes with mesh foam ear cups instead.

In terms of comfort, I would prefer these over leather ear cups any day, but some people would want the feel of the leatherette material. So, to each his own.

The headset itself is quite simple-looking, although the aviation-style aesthetic might not appeal to some. I especially do not like the green wire that is exposed on each ear cup as you could potentially damage it if you are not careful.

Also situated on the left ear cup is the port for the removable boom microphone. I like the fact that you can completely remove it as it will not impede your vision when you are not using it.

Now, I’ve heard of some reports that the clamping force of the Razer Blackshark V2 makes this headset uncomfortable, but I beg to disagree.

If anything, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the most comfortable gaming headsets that you can find on the market.

I do have to point out that, being a large person myself, its clamping force is a bit on the stronger side, but it is still relatively comfortable for me to wear even during prolonged gaming sessions.

The Razer Blackshark V2 connects to your game console or PC either via 3.5mm headphone jack or with the use of its included USB soundcard (the latter is only usable on the PC, however).

Audio Performance

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset

The company has come a really long way when it comes to audio quality. Gone are the days where the soundstage gets muddied by the lower frequencies as everything sounds pretty balanced right from the get-go.

Razer has partnered with THX to provide you with a better surround sound gaming experience and if you use the included USB soundcard, its 7.1 surround sound implementation is so much better than what the company used to offer.

Once you plug this thing in using the said USB connector, its drivers will get installed on your PC and you can use it to your heart’s content.

You can use the Razer Synapse 3 software to tweak the EQ settings or choose from a variety of different presets.

Personally, the default sound quality is already pretty good as it is quite balanced overall. Of course, you could add more kick to the bass by tinkering with the necessary settings, but I find that the default soundstage is already good for most use-cases.

Whether you are playing MMORPGs, fast-paced games like Overwatch and CS:GO, or even just listening to your favorite tunes, I am blown away by the sound quality that the Razer Blackshark V2 provides.

It is worth noting, however, that because of the mesh foam material of the ear cups that you will experience some sound leakage as a result. This is important to keep in mind, especially if you want to play games as you do not want to disturb the people around you.

Microphone

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset Microphone

While I am impressed by the audio quality of the Razer Blackshark V2, I am disappointed with the boom microphone.

It just doesn’t sound well. My voice is tinny, it is not full-bodied, and for the most part, the volume could definitely be improved.

Even when using the USB soundcard, nothing changes for the betterment of the said gaming headset. You should be using its 3.5mm connector instead as I find it to be considerably better.

Because it is a cardioid microphone, it should be able to get your voice really nicely, right? Well, that is talking from a theoretical standpoint, but in reality, it can still pick up unwanted background noise so I am really disappointed with the microphone of the Blackshark V2.

Verdict

So, what do I think about the Razer Blackshark V2? If we are talking purely from an audio standpoint, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the best out there. This is especially true if you are going to use the included USB soundcard and wire this to your PC.

However, I am really disappointed with the microphone quality. The output is not full-bodied at all and you are better off using a third-party standalone microphone instead.

Do I recommend the Razer Blackshark V2? Well, as I’ve said, if you are okay with its mediocre microphone quality, then this product is definitely one of the best out there. However, if you are looking for a complete package, you are better off finding something else.

The Razer Blackshark V2 costs $100.

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