Stray, the recently released cyberpunk cat adventure from developer BlueTwelve Studio, has a stuttering problem on PC. The game is a console launch exclusive for PlayStation, and as you can read in our Stray review, it runs like a treat on consoles. PC is a different story, as shader complication causes stuttering throughout the experience.
I downloaded and played through the first couple of hours of the game, testing various fixes along the way. Although none of them get rid of stuttering completely, they can limit how frequent and severe it is, at least until we wait on a post-launch patch to fix the issue.
The devs of new game Stray confirmed that its PC version currently has shader compilation stutter issues and sent me a statement: "The team is planning a post-launch patch to fix a number of issues. They hope to be able to handle this at that time if possible." No time estimate. https://t.co/0uOYIfOfJw
Shader compilation is when the game takes all of the human code that goes into shaders and compiles it into code that can be read by your graphics card. Some games, like Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands and Call of Duty: Vanguard, handle this process when you first launch the game to avoid stutters. Others, like Stray, attempt to compile the shaders in real-time.
In a game like Stray where you’re seeing unique environments constantly, the engine has to compile shaders at a breakneck pace, which causes a brief moment where your GPU is busy: a stutter. These stutters are frequent, but you can make them a little less severe with a few fixes, at least until a patch is available.
How to fix stuttering in Stray on PC
I played through the first couple of hours of Stray on a machine equipped with an RTX 30-series GPU, and I had quite a few stutters in the open sequence of the game. They became less severe as the world opened up, but transitioning into buildings or new areas still resulted in a sudden jolt. The back hour of my playtime was after I implemented fixes, which didn’t completely solve the stuttering issues but made them much less severe.
For AMD, open Radeon Software and click Check for updates in the box on the right. You can also download drivers from AMD if you want to make sure you have the latest version. The latest AMD driver is 22.6.1 and the latest Nvidia driver is 516.59. Neither of them comes with official support for Stray.
Although Stray doesn’t call for a big driver update like F1 2022, you should still update. Drivers change how shaders are compiled, and the latest driver usually has the best performance for recent generations of graphics cards.
Set a frame rate limit
Setting a frame rate limit won’t get rid of stuttering, but it can make is less noticeable. Stray has a frame rate limiter built-in that tops out at 60 fps, and switching it on massively cut down on perceivable stuttering. If you have a high refresh rate monitor and want a few more frames, you can set a frame rate limit outside the game.
If you have an Nvidia GPU, open the Nvidia Control Panel, click Manage 3D settings, and scroll down to Max frame rate under the Global settings tab. AMD is just as easy. Open up Radeon Software, click Settings and then Graphics, open up the settings with the Advanced button, and look for Frame rate target control. You can also set a frame rate with the Radeon chill setting in the same menu.
Based on my time in the game, Stray is far from stable in the frame rate department. I suggest being conservative with your limiter, as new areas and outdoor scenes can cause big drops.
Flush your shader cache
Finally, you can open up your shader cache to make stuttering less severe in Stray. Nvidia GPUs have an option to give the shader cache as much room as it needs, which you can do in the Nvidia Control Panel. Open it up, click Manage 3D settings, and under Global settings, set Shader cache size to Unlimited.
AMD users don’t have the same option, but you can still flush your shader cache to give more room to Stray. Open Radeon Software and navigate to Settings > Graphics > Advanced and look for the Reset shader cache option. Select it and hit Apply.
The Steam Deck is absolutely stuffed with features, settings, and configuration options, and you might not know about all of them. I’ve pulled together nine Steam Deck tricks and tips that you can use to get around the machine faster, save battery life, and make the most of of Valve’s handheld gaming PC.
Pull up Steam Deck shortcuts
The Steam button will quickly become your best friend with the Steam Deck, but it does more than open your menu. Hold it down for a couple of seconds longer to pull up a list of Steam Deck shortcuts that show you how to take a screenshot, force quit a game, and more.
You’ll find the full list of shortcuts by holding down the Steam button, but here they are for quick reference:
Steam + B (long press): Force game shutdown
Steam + X: Show keyboard
Steam + L1: Toggle magnifier
Steam + R1: Take screenshot
Steam + L2: Right mouse click (this is correct, believe it or not)
Steam + R2: Left mouse click
Steam + Right joystick: Joystick mouse
Steam + Right trackpad: Trackpad mouse
Steam + Right trackpad (click): Left mouse click
Steam + Left joystick up: Increase screen brightness
Steam + Left joystick down: Decrease screen brightness
Steam + D-pad right: Enter key
Steam + D-pad down: Tab key
Steam + D-pad left: Escape key
Customize your controls
You have access to four back buttons on the Steam Deck, but they don’t do anything by default. You can customize your controls in any game by launching it and pressing the Steam button. Scroll to the right and select Controller settings to rebind any of the buttons on the Deck, browse community layouts, and create your own layouts. Valve even includes several controller templates to get you started, regardless of if a game supports controllers or not. You can’t do that on a Nintendo Switch.
Swap over to your full library and press the X button to select Filter by Verified and playable. Countless titles work perfectly well on Steam Deck but don’t have full verification due to a pregame launcher or a minor configuration issue. Although you should explore your full library, I recommend starting with the best Deck Verified games first.
Change your keyboard theme
The default Steam Deck keyboard theme is boring. Head to the Settings menu and select Keyboard to change it. You’ll have a few themes by default, plus an extra if you have a 512GB model, and Valve sells more themes in the Steam points shop. There aren’t a ton of options now, but I expect we’ll see a lot more keyboard themes in the future.
Turn on half-rate shading in pixel art games
The Steam Deck now supports half-rate shading, which can massively improve your battery life. Half-rate shading basically cuts the resolution of pixel shaders in half. Although half-rate shading is available in every game, I recommend using in pixel art games in particular.
Open up a game like Civilization VI, and you’ll quickly see the problem with the size of the Steam Deck’s screen. Thankfully, you can use the Magnifier to zoom in on areas that may be hard to read. To use it, hold down Steam and L1 and use the right joystick to select the area of the screen you want to zoom in on. Let go and it’ll stay there. You can turn off the Magnifier by using the same Steam + L1 shortcut.
Finally, longtime Battlefield fans can sink their teeth into EA DICE’s latest release, Battlefield 2042. While several kinks and hiccups still need ironing out, the game delivers on its promise of being a groundbreaking multiplayer experience (at least on current-gen). Players are eager to jump into the semi-post-apocalyptic action. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started in Battlefield 2042, including the best settings to use, which specialists are top-tier, and how to farm XP quickly and efficiently.
Initial settings to change
Off the bat, you’ll be prompted to turn cross-play on. Turn it on and keep it on, especially on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Turning it off effectively slashes your player pool by two-thirds, making for long wait times between games. Some players, scarred byCall of Duty: Warzone’s rampant cheater problem, elect to turn cross-play off to avoid hackers altogether. They, along with the rest of the community, can rest assured knowing Battlefield 2042 implements Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC), the same anti-cheat used in Fortnite and Apex Legends. With cross-play on, let’s talk about some visual settings to change in Battlefield 2042.
To change your settings, open the Options menu after you’ve selected your game mode. Then, make the following changes:
Under the General tab, set the Camera Shake to 50 (the lowest it can go). Other than creating a more immersive experience, there’s no reason to let your camera shake out of control when things are blowing up all around you.
Under the Display tab, you can change your FOV and Motion Blur. Set your FOV somewhere between 80 and 100. You can always tinker around with it if you’re having difficulty seeing enemies with a broader FOV. At the same time, set your ADS FOV to on. Then, set your Motion Blur to zero, and bump the brightness up somewhere around 65.
We’ve put an extensive controller scheme guide together already, but here are a few general tips to keep in mind. Battlefield 2042 lets players completely remap their controllers. Bumper-jumper players will have to toy around with the controller mapping to find the right fit. When it comes to fine-tuning your sensitivity, it’s best to start low and work your way up. This is especially true for higher magnifications, as lower sensitivities give you much more control.
Test your settings in solo mode
When you’re making those fine tunings, it’s best to test your settings in solo/co-op mode against bots. For the most realistic results, set the bots to the hardest difficulty. The Battlefield 2042 maps are massive, so we don’t recommend using solo mode to explore them. You’ll end up spending days fighting bots and still won’t venture to every corner of Orbital or Hourglass.
The best settings to test in solo mode are your pilot settings. Set the bots to the easiest difficulty, and spawn in a helicopter or jet. This works for two reasons. First, bots won’t take vehicles from you. Secondly, easy bots aren’t smart enough to shoot you down with anti-air rockets. Flying in Battlefield 2042, especially helicopters, is like using both sides of your brain. You’ll never get the chance to test different settings online as everyone scrambles to pilot their favorite aircraft.
That being said, helicopters and jets work off the same control scheme. We’ve put together a solid control setup that works well for both vehicles.
Top 3 specialists
With ten specialists to choose from, players may feel overwhelmed when learning how each plays a different role in Battlefield 2042. Furthermore, two specialists, Paik and Mackay, are locked when you first start the game. Matches can last upwards of 30 minutes if it comes down to the wire, but you still may not get in enough engagements to learn how each specialist works. Thankfully, we’ve done it for you. Here are our top three specialists in Battlefield 2042 (excluding the ones you have to unlock).
So far, we’re having the most fun with Constantin “Angel” Anghel in Battlefield 2042. This Romanian engineer acts as the all-around support specialist since he can heal downed teammates, supply ammo and armor, and call in loadout crates. Whenever he heals an ally, they also gain armor. You’ll earn a decent amount of XP for each heal and an overall medic bonus ribbon at the end of each match. However, Angel’s loadout drops make him the most useful specialist in Battlefield 2042. Here’s why.
Unlike previous games, there are no resupply points in Battlefield 2042. Players must rely on specialists like Angel to supply ammo and armor during each match. However, Angel can’t drop you more M5 Recoilless Rocket ammo or homing missiles, at least not directly.
When you interact with Angel’s loadout drop, you can choose the same class you were already using to refill on all ammo types, including rockets and grenades. You’re effectively selecting a new class; you just happen to be choosing the one you were already using. Hovercrafts are taking over the Battlefield 2042 landscape. Players will need all the explosives they can to take them out.
Angel’s loadout drop works like the One Man Army perk from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Whenever you find yourself saying, “I wish I had my sniper,” you’re in luck! Call in a loadout drop and change to your sniper class.
You’re earning 50 XP for every assist in Battlefield 2042. Even if Boris’ sentry gun shoots an enemy once, you’re still getting 50 XP if that enemy dies. You’ll also earn XP for defending objectives, which is Boris’ primary function. Offensively, Boris isn’t doing much more when he’s not near his sentry gun.
Kimble “Irish” Graves is a valuable blend of offense and defense if you know how to use him. When moving towards an objective, Irish can quickly place his fortification system in an open area. These shields can take a severe beating, but their best feature is their transparency. Irish can see who’s shooting at him without taking any damage. Since his shields are waist-high, he can pop up, fire back, and duck back down for cover. When the bullet storm calms for a moment, Irish can pick the shield up, run forward, and place it down again when an enemy pops up.
You will have to be quick to place his shields, so using them to advance on an objective will take practice. We found this trick worked best when moving across the center chip (Sectors D and C) on Discarded.
Defensively, Irish’s shields work well. But his APS-36 Shootdown Sentinel (aka Trophy System in Call of Duty terms) will intercept incoming grenades and rockets. Find a chokepoint, place a shield in front of you and a Sentinel nearby, and have fun defending.
The best gear in Battlefield 2042
Outside of specialist-specific gadgets, players have a handful of gear options to choose from. We don’t have many standard grenade options at the moment, although Sundance does come with several unique grenades for her specialist ability. We’ve found smoke grenades to be the most useful, especially when playing the medic role.
Every Battlefield 2042 map is full of open space. Traversing that space without the cover of smoke is a death sentence. Frag grenades have come in handy but not as handy as smoke grenades. You’ll unlock EMPs at level 30 and incendiary grenades at level 42. We can see EMPs taking over the grenade meta, as most players rely on their tech in Battlefield 2042. Heck, even our optics connect to the wi-fi!
The Medical Crate is the best piece of gear in the game. Instead of interacting with it, the medical crate creates a healing circle that’ll keep healing you as long as you’re standing in it. Since there is no way to self-heal outside of Falck’s healing pistol and Med Pens (which you’ll unlock at level 26), the Medical Crate is your most consistent option.
For anti-vehicle purposes, we like the M5 Rockets over the AA Missiles. The AA Missiles require an aircraft target lock, so you’re just carrying extra weight if nobody is flying overhead. An attentive pilot will always deflect your first rocket. Thankfully, you have two. If you can lock back on and fire your second shot, the enemy pilot won’t have enough time to recharge their countermeasures.
M5 Rockets can be free-fired, making them useful against infantry and vehicles alike. They travel incredibly fast and suffer from minimal drop, so don’t overcompensate when aiming at a moving target.
XP farming tips and tricks
We’ve touched on a few ways to farm XP already, so here are a few more XP-farming tips and tricks to use outside of Battlefield Portal. We say outside of Portal because XP-farming servers are currently taking over, putting unsuspecting players on bot-filled teams with nothing but defibrillators to defend themselves.
When the match begins, hop in a vehicle and drive to the nearest objective. Continue bouncing between early objectives to accumulate about 375 free XP for capturing each one. Once everything is captured, drive around the map to the furthest enemy objective. If you’ve got a full hovercraft, you’ll be in for some easy kills and XP; this objective won’t be well defended.
Playing a pure medic is a great way to farm XP. Since Angel can revive players and resupply them with ammo, equipping the Medical Crate and smoke grenades will turn him into an XP farming machine. You won’t even have to kill a single enemy if you focus solely on playing the support role. Of course, make sure you’re paying attention when you have to defend yourself.
Battlefield 2042’s most unique new feature is the attachment swap mechanic. As you unlock attachments, you can create what we’ll call a loadout-within-a-loadout. You’ll assign different attachments to the allotted number of slots (three in most cases) for each area of your weapon, ammo, optic, barrel, and underbarrel. The best strategy is to fit your gun with the attachments necessary for three different setups, long-range, close-range, and stealth.
Always keep a silencer handy and ready to go. They’ll keep you from appearing on the mini-map, which is most useful when you’re outnumbered and trying to capture an objective. Long-range and short-range barrels are self-explanatory. Finally, the difference between muzzle brakes and compensators is how they affect either horizontal or vertical recoil. At close range, you’ll want to keep your horizontal recoil control in check. For long-range fights, it’s better to increase your vertical recoil control.
Your understanding of the situation tells you what attachments to equip and when. For example, when you’re moving through a building, it doesn’t make sense to keep your 3x scope attached. Instead, change to a close-range optic for better results.
Set your loadouts
We don’t find the quick-swapping pre-spawn UI to be user-friendly. Instead, we’re having an easier time building four different loadouts and switching between those and our specialists. Since every specialist can use every weapon, building loadouts is pretty easy. There are only three you need to build with one extra left over for fun.
Your primary loadout comes with your favorite weapons and gear. This is the setup you’ll be using for most of the game and the one you feel most comfortable with. This shouldn’t feature a weapon you’re trying to level up, though.
Everyone loves to snipe in any Battlefield game. Mix and match this loadout with the different operators to see who you prefer to snipe as. Casper may be wearing a ghillie suit, but that doesn’t mean he should be your default sniper specialist.
Here’s where you’ll equip whatever weapon you’re trying to level up (other than your sniper rifle). You can either dedicate the entire game to this class or only switch to it when the opportunity to grind kills presents itself. For example, if your squadmates are in the thick of a heated battle over objective C, spawn in with the gun you’re trying to level up and get as many kills as possible.
The fourth loadout slot is entirely up to you. This can be another leveling loadout or another primary loadout if you like to bounce between ARs, SMGs, and LMGs.
Want to learn how to get the most from your Mac? Or perhaps you’ve run into a problem with your Apple computer and aren’t sure how to fix it. Regardless, our Mac user guide is here to help with our expert tips and tricks for Apple’s Mac laptops and desktops.
If you want to learn how to use MacOS and take your knowledge to the next level, we’ve grouped everything you need into categories, helping you discover more secret tips and helpful tutorials. You’ll be a Mac expert in next to no time.
Great features on your Mac
Over the years, Apple has built a lot of killer features into its Macs. These are things you won’t get on any other computer, from the ease and convenience of Apple Pay to the productivity power of Focus mode and Split View. Some of these features are unique to MacOS Monterey, the latest version of MacOS, so make sure you download and install it first.
How to use Focus mode in MacOS Monterey
Tired of being distracted? Apple’s Focus mode lets you set customizable rules that block annoying apps and signal to others that you’re busy. It’s perfect for keeping you in the zone, no matter what you’re doing. Here’s how to use Focus mode in MacOS Monterey.
How to use Shared with You in MacOS Monterey
Over time, you will collect a lot of shared photos, links, documents, and more that have all been sent to you by your contacts. Instead of searching through your apps to find this content, just use the Shared with You section, which groups everything together. Here’s how to use Shared with You in MacOS Monterey.
How to use Live Text in MacOS Monterey
Live Text is a clever new feature that lets you copy text from any picture on your device. It also works when you point your camera at text in front of you. That can then be copied and used in your documents. Here’s how to use Live Text in MacOS Monterey.
How to use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac
Why get a separate Wacom tablet or drawing pad if you already have an iPad? After all, Apple’s Sidecar feature lets you use an iPad as a second screen or drawing tablet for your Mac. It’s super easy, too. Here’s how to use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac.
How to use iCloud
The beauty of Apple’s ecosystem is that everything is connected, so you can access your files on any Apple device. The key to that is iCloud, which has a ton of great cross-platform features. Here’s how to use iCloud.
How to use Siri on a Mac
Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, has improved every year since its inception. Now, it’s an excellent helper whatever you want to do, with many different uses for different situations. Here’s how to use Siri on a Mac.
How to use Apple Pay
If you carry your phone everywhere you go, it makes sense to use it to pay for purchases, right? That’s just what Apple Pay enables, giving you a secure way to pay with your phone. Here’s how to use Apple Pay.
How to use Notification Center widgets
Widgets are handy mini-apps that display quick bits of info, such as the upcoming weather forecast or your latest emails. They’re a great way to see what you need when you need it on your Mac. Here’s how to use Notification Center widgets.
How to use Control Center
The more you use your Mac, the more you find yourself diving into System Preferences to change some settings. Instead of rooting around for them, Control Center puts them at your fingertips in your Mac menu bar. Here’s how to use Control Center.
How to use Split View
Multitasking is made much easier with Split View, which gives you straightforward window management tools to display your apps how you want. Here’s how to use Split View.
How to get emoji on your Mac
Think emoji are just for mobile devices? Think again, as you can use them to your heart’s content on your Mac too. Here’s how to get emoji on your Mac.
Personalization and tweaks
Getting your Mac just right is key to using it efficiently. Once you’ve followed the tips below, you’ll be able to tweak and tune it the way you like it. And once that’s the case, you won’t have to contend with annoying settings that don’t work the way they should, meaning there’s less getting in your way.
How to change your username
You’re not stuck with the username you created when you first set up your Mac. A few quick clicks and you can customize it how you want. Here’s how to change your username.
How to turn off notifications
There’s no doubting that notifications can be annoying, especially if they’re constantly going off. Rein in the chaos with our handy guide. Here’s how to turn off notifications.
How to allow pop-ups
There are times when you want to see a pop-up window when browsing the web. If your Mac automatically blocks them, we’ll show you how to enable them once again. Here’s how to allow pop-ups.
How to install fonts
Fonts are a key way to customize your Mac and can be useful for all kinds of projects. Luckily, installing them is simple and straightforward. Here’s how to install fonts.
How to change where screenshots are saved
Taking a screenshot on a Mac simply requires a three-button shortcut. But did you know you can change where screenshots are saved by default? Here’s how to change where screenshots are saved.
How to disable the Touch Bar on a MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar has many uses, but sometimes its position means it can be accidentally pressed. That can be annoying if it launches processes you don’t want to run. Here’s how to disable the Touch Bar on a MacBook Pro.
Documents and apps
Apps are the beating heart of any Mac, so learning how to use some of the ones that come you’re your Apple computer is important. The same goes for documents — each Mac has some handy tricks that can make document creation and management a lot easier. Note that some of the features below only work in MacOS Monterey or later, so make sure you download and install MacOS Monterey before getting started.
How to change your Mac’s default apps
Apple likes to set the default apps that open certain file types, but you’re not stuck with the company’s choices. If you’d rather set your own default apps, here’s how to change your Mac’s default apps.
How to force quit an app
It’s a fact of life: Sometimes, an app will freeze on your Mac. But occasionally you can’t quit a frozen app in the standard way. Fortunately, there’s a solution thanks to the force quit command. Here’s how to force quit an app.
How to master Safari tabs in MacOS Monterey
MacOS Monterey brought an all-new Safari design, and tabs are a key element of that. Here’s how to get to grips with the new design and features. Here’s how to master Safari tabs in MacOS Monterey.
How to use Reminders to stay on track
Are you forgetful? There’s help at hand in the form of Apple’s Reminders app, which is packed full of features to help you remember the important things in your life. Here’s how to use Reminders to stay on track.
How to use FaceTime’s SharePlay feature in MacOS Monterey
What’s better than watching a great movie? Watching it with friends. The new SharePlay feature in MacOS Monterey lets you do just that. Here’s how to use FaceTime’s SharePlay feature in MacOS Monterey.
How to disable FaceTime
Apple’s FaceTime app is the default for Mac video calls, but it’s not for everyone. If you’d rather it didn’t get in your way, you can disable it. Here’s how to disable FaceTime.
How to turn off iMessage
The little blue blobs in iMessage, Apple’s texting app, are ubiquitous. If it’s causing you problems on your Mac or you simply don’t want to use it, it can be turned off with a few quick clicks. Here’s how to turn off iMessage.
How to use Apple Maps’ globe view in MacOS Monterey
MacOS Monterey’s Maps app gives you a great way to view the world. Zoom out and you see the earth at a distance. Here’s how to use Apple Maps’ globe view in MacOS Monterey.
How to create Apple Maps Guides
Got a collection of great places you want to visit? Store them together in Apple Maps using its Guides feature, newly added in MacOS Monterey. It’s a great way to share local info with friends. Here’s how to create Apple Maps Guides.
How to use Shortcuts in MacOS Monterey
A lot of Mac tasks can become repetitive if you do them a lot. Save the pain and tedium with Shortcuts, which automates complex tasks at the click of a button. Here’s how to use Shortcuts in MacOS Monterey.
How to print a PDF
There are many times when you might want to print a PDF on your Mac, but what if it’s not immediately obvious how to do it? Just follow our guide and you’ll be ready to go. Here’s how to print a PDF.
How to annotate a PDF
At first glance, you might not know you can annotate PDFs on your Mac. Yet there are actually a few ways to do it and add notes to your files. Here’s how to annotate a PDF.
Owning a computer sometimes means getting down into the nitty-gritty like backing up your files and uninstalling apps. Macs are no different, and there are a lot of useful tools under the hood, like those that let you zoom in on any part of the screen or take a screenshot of any app or screen section. Here’s how to put them all to good use.
How to back up your Mac
No one wants to lose their precious data, yet that can happen if you don’t back it up. It needn’t be complicated though, and backing up your Mac can be a lot simpler than you might think. Here’s how to back up your Mac.
How to forget a network
Network problems are not uncommon, and it can be frustrating when you can’t connect to a network. Sometimes, getting your Mac to forget a troublesome network can be the solution. Here’s how to forget a network.
How to delete a user
If you have user profiles on your Mac that are no longer used, there’s no need to have them littering your computer any longer than is necessary. Here’s how to delete a user.
How to uninstall apps
Got some apps that you no longer use? Instead of having them taking up precious storage space, it’s best to uninstall them. Here’s how to uninstall apps.
How to take a screenshot
On a Mac, you can take a screenshot that is automatically saved to a location of your choice. It’s really quick and simple but has plenty of everyday uses. Here’s how to take a screenshot.
How to record your screen on a Mac
Whether you want to show a friend a gameplay clip or work out what is going wrong on your Mac, recording your Mac’s screen can help. Instead of using a phone, though, it’s best to record it directly from your computer. Here’s how to record your screen on a Mac.
How to record a video
Recording a video of yourself with your Mac webcam can be a fun way to send a message to friends and family, record a vlog, or create a segment as part of a larger video project. The good news is it’s easy to do. Here’s how to record a video on your Mac.
How to zoom in
Apple is well-known for its commitment to accessibility. If you struggle to see small details on your screen, you can zoom in for a closer look. Here’s how to zoom in.
How to password protect a folder
Sometimes, you might want to keep the contents of a folder safe from prying eyes. To keep things under lock and key, you can password protect it. Here’s how to password protect a folder.
How to enable picture-in-picture for YouTube
A lot of people like to have a video open while working, but that might normally require you to switch between windows. When you’re watching YouTube on your Mac, though, you can pop the video out into its own small window. Here’s how to enable picture-in-picture for YouTube.
How to right-click
It might sound odd, but some Mac mice and trackpads lack a right-click button. But don’t worry, there are other ways to get the same functionality even if you don’t have this button. Here’s how to right-click.
Cross-platform: Connecting and sharing with your devices
One of the great things about having a Mac is the interconnected ecosystem that comes with it. If you own any other Apple devices, they will all play nice with your computer, allowing you to do things that no other system can do. Here are our favorites.
How to run iOS apps on an M1 Mac
One of the great benefits of Apple’s M1 chip is that it can run iOS apps without issue. That opens up a whole new world of apps on your Mac. Here’s how to run iOS apps on an M1 Mac.
How to connect AirPods to a MacBook
Apple’s AirPods are some of the best wireless headphones in the business, so it’s natural you’d want to use them with your Mac. As you’d expect with Apple, connecting them couldn’t be easier. Here’s how to connect AirPods to a MacBook.
How to access your iCloud Photo Stream from your Mac
If you use iCloud and have enabled iCloud Photo Stream, any photos you take on your iPhone will be synced to your Mac. It’s a great way to keep your photo collection up to date wherever you are. Here’s how to access your iCloud Photo Stream from your Mac.
How to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows
MacOS and Windows are two very different systems, but they can still work together. That’s true if you want to use an external hard drive with both operating systems, but you’ll need to make sure you take a few key steps first. Here’s how to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows.
How to share your Apple Music library on Mac, iOS, and more
Want to share your Apple music library with other people? It’s easy to do with Apple’s Home Sharing feature. Here’s how to share your Apple Music library on Mac, iOS, and more.
Installing MacOS and fixing problems
Everyone occasionally has to fix problems with their computer, and Macs are not immune. But don’t worry, there is help at hand in the form of our tutorials and guides, which will take you through everything you need to do to get your Mac up and running again.
How to install MacOS Monterey
Apple’s latest Mac operating system is called MacOS Monterey, and it comes with a raft of new features and tools. If you want to download it, there are some steps you need to take. Here’s how to upgrade to MacOS Monterey.
How to stop your Mac from freezing
Every once in a while, the chances are your Mac will freeze. It doesn’t have to keep happening, though, and you can fix it by taking action in a few different ways. Here’s how to stop your Mac from freezing.
How to speed up your Mac
No one likes a slow computer. But just because your Mac has lost its zip, that doesn’t mean you need to get rid of it. A few tweaks here and there can make a real difference. Here’s how to speed up your Mac.
How to check the storage space on your Mac
No one likes running out of space on their Mac. The best way to prevent that is to work out how much space you have left and clear out unnecessary files once you’re in the know. Here’s how to check the storage space on your Mac.
How to free up space on your Mac
It’s difficult to upgrade your Mac’s storage space after purchase, so if you’re running out of room, you’ll want to know how to free up as much space as possible. Here’s how to free up space on your Mac.
How to fix problems with your Mac’s Wi-Fi
Sorting out your Wi-Fi connection can be a finicky business, but there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. We’ve put together our best tips in a single guide to help. Here’s how to fix problems with your Mac’s Wi-Fi.
How to fix audio issues in MacOS
Tired of your Mac’s audio causing problems? Not to worry, we’ve got some top suggestions no matter what is going wrong. Here’s how to fix audio issues in MacOS.
How to restore a Mac to its factory settings
Restoring to factory settings means putting everything back to the way it was when you first got your Mac — as it was when it came out of the factory, in other words. If you’re struggling to fix recurrent problems, this can be a good solution. Here’s how to restore a Mac to its factory settings.
Common MacBook Air problems and how to fix them
The MacBook Air is an incredibly popular laptop, but that doesn’t make it immune from problems. If you’re suffering, don’t worry, as there’s help at hand. Here are some common MacBook Air problems and how to fix them.
Common MacBook problems and how to fix them
MacBook Pro or MacBook Air — both of Apple’s laptop flavors can be beset by problems. Here are the most common ones and how to put them right. These are the most common MacBook problems and how to fix them.
How to reset your Mac’s PRAM and SMC
Every modern Mac uses Parameter Random Access Memory (PRAM) and a System Management Controller (SMC). Occasionally, these can cause problems with your Mac, and giving them a quick refresh can help to solve otherwise intractable problems. Here’s how to reset your Mac’s PRAM and SMC.
Are you ready to ride? Ubisoft’s massive extreme sports game Riders Republic has launched onto the scene with more options on how you want to bomb your way down the mountain than any other game. No longer do you have to choose between a skiing and snowboarding game and a mountain bike or, heck, even wingsuit game. This open-world experience lets you do them all, and sometimes even all at once! With so many different methods to jack up your heart rate, it might feel a little overwhelming to learn how to properly race with each of the options available.
Unlike in real life, there are a few universal mechanics worth learning that can apply to all, or at least most, of your extreme sport of choice in Riders Republic. The game itself wants you to experiment and explore, which you will spend plenty of time doing, but at the same time may gloss over some of the essentials you will want to keep in mind. Whether you’re trying to reach the top of the podium, or just hit a satisfying line from the peak of the mountain all the way to the base, here’s some tips and tricks to get started in Riders Republic.
Learn to brake
Just like learning any real sport, the first thing you should master in Riders Republic is how to brake. Now, we’re not saying you’ll want to actually stop during a race, but braking is essential to make it around tons of tight corners and turns in all categories of races. Even wingsuit and jetpack races will have moments where just trying to hold top speed will end up with you falling behind as you skid off-course.
Anticipate what’s coming ahead in a race. If you know a sharp turn is coming up, it can be wise to cut back on your speed early, brake around the turn, and cut it as close as possible. Winning a race isn’t about hitting top speed, but rather having the most consistent run. It can feel counterintuitive, but trust us, the brake is your most powerful tool.
Start out using Racer style
When you first load up into Riders Republic, one of the first options you will be presented with is what style you want your character to use. Your choices are Racer or Trickster, but don’t sweat this decision too much. Racer style essentially makes your character, and the camera, easier to control, but sacrifices your ability to directly choose what tricks you can do. You can still pull tricks off, but this style is clearly intended for making downhill and race events easier.
Trickster is, well, the opposite. Instead of face buttons relating to tricks, you can use the analog sticks to pull off more intricate and creative tricks for way higher scores in trick events. But, with the stick now used for tricking, you won’t have that camera control.
Racer is a good choice when first learning the game since not having that camera control can feel quite awkward. However, once you get to grips with the game, you might want to experiment with Trickster more. Aside from some of the higher-level trick events, Trickster isn’t necessarily required for any events. Thankfully you can swap back and forth between styles easily via the menu.
Master the manual landing
By default, Riders Republic will have an auto-landing system turned on. What this system does, when left on, is correct your rider after a trick to make sure they will land safely. Sounds good, right? Early on, maybe, but you will quickly want to ditch it and learn to land yourself to be able to pull off way more dangerous and extreme stunts. The more you can risk in a trick, the higher your score, after all.
This will take some adjustment, but if you switch it off right away you will quickly feel out and learn how to land after hitting a trick or spinning. Failing your landing will lead to some wipeouts, but that’s all part of the experience. Playing it safe with auto-landing will only end up handicapping you as your skills grow.
Avoid the pack
A cluster of racers is one bad, or intentionally bad, move away from becoming a massive pileup of bikes, skis, or what have you. Through no fault of your own, you could end up eating a face full of snow or dirt because you couldn’t avoid the domino effect of all the racers around you losing control. Falling not only slows you down in the moment, but forces you to start from scratch again to build up all that speed you had, which can feel agonizing. This is most important in Mass Races, where the number of competitors is highest.
If you have to choose, hang back a little from the pack. Keep your eye on those ahead and wait for the inevitable crashes to thin out the pack, or moments where you’re safe to squeeze ahead. Those ahead are also more likely to drain their sprint meters faster, letting you swoop in at the tail end of the race for an upset. Don’t sweat being behind for a while in a race. The ones who start out in first almost never remain in first all the way to the end.
Experiment in the practice area
This is mainly for people who want to get into the trick events and online trick battles. There are a lot of tricks in Riders Republic, and pulling them off isn’t easy. Once you’ve turned off auto-landing, you will want to master the execution and timing for as many tricks as you can before heading into these events. The practice area is perfect for learning all the aspects of how tricking works for all the different sports you can hit. Try diving in and mastering one sport at a time rather than switching too much early on. You’ll find a lot of the skill will carry over from one sport to the next, but the differences can make it hard to get the basics down if you swap too frequently while trying to learn.
Don’t mess with first person
One really cool aspect of Riders Republic is the ability to go into first person at any time. You should by all means play around and feel the vertigo of racing down the mountain from this terrifying perspective, but when it comes to actually competing, lock yourself in third person. For one thing, any time you do a trick, the camera will automatically pull out to third person to show off the trick, which can be massively disorienting as you are shoved out and back into perspective. Needless to say, you’ll have a very bad time in first person doing any trick events.
For races, first person can be exhilarating, but you’re so much more limited in awareness compared to third person. You won’t be able to see other racers on your flanks, and it can be much more difficult to see the track ahead of you, as well as accurately determine how far away you are from hazards. Play with it all you want when exploring the map, but if you want to be competitive in either event type, you’re only putting yourself at a disadvantage in first person.
Keep an eye on your compass
Finally, don’t ignore your compass. Until you’ve done a race multiple times, which will probably be a while considering how many different courses there are in Riders Republic, you probably won’t know what’s coming up ahead. Courses are hard to predict, which is why your trusty compass will tell you what direction the upcoming checkpoint is in even when you can’t physically see it yet. Following its direction will keep you from veering off in the wrong direction on some of the more open races.
With that, you have all the basics you need to hit the massive open world of Riders Republic and shred, fly, and ride your way to victory.
Overthrowing the government of the fictional island nation known as Yara in Far Cry 6 will be no simple task. Under the oppressive rule of the dictator Anton Castillo, who is already in the process of educating his son Diego to follow in his brutal footsteps, the people need a hero to free them from his grasp. Dani Rojas, who can be either male or female depending on your choice, decides to lend their skills to the rebels in an attempt to free the people of Yara and overthrow the government that treats them so poorly.
You will be given free rein of the entire world of Yara, after a short introduction, which can quickly be overwhelming. Like with previous Far Cry games and other traditional Ubisoft titles, Far Cry 6’s world is jam-packed with missions, side quests, activities, bases, animals, random encounters, and more to pull your attention. While it doesn’t do much to change the core gameplay the series has been known for since Far Cry 3, there are a few key new systems that you will need to learn in order to be an effective rebel soldier. To help you become the hero the people of Yara so desperately need, check out the tips and tricks in this beginner’s guide to Far Cry 6.
Dress to impress
In every past Far Cry game since 3, part of the experience of the game was, well, earning experience to level up. Each game had different skill trees with different perks and abilities you could unlock as you leveled up. Far Cry 6 ditches that entire system. Now, rather than earning skills by investing points into yourself, upgrading your character will all come down to what gear you have equipped. You will still get XP and level up, don’t be confused, but that is mainly used to tell you what missions you should be doing and which to avoid until later and trickle in new Supremo and Resolver weapons to craft.
Unlike many other games, specifically single-player shooters, what you wear in Far Cry 6 does more than just change how you look. You have five slots to equip different types of gear, such as headgear, chest, waist, leg, and footwear. Gear can come in sets that give similar bonuses, like sets that focus on giving you scavenger bonuses, but you should feel free to mix and match depending on your play style and the mission at hand. These bonuses range from increasing your stamina, ammo capacity, and defense while sprinting, to more situational perks like automatically collecting items while driving vehicles.
While it might seem like a strange choice for a first-person game to have so many types of gear with different looks and stats, you do actually see your character in specific areas and cut scenes. Also, who doesn’t like dressing up your character? The fact that you can change the appearance of any piece of gear to any other that you’ve found should be a relief to all you fashion-focused players out there who want to look good but still get the benefits you want.
Don’t worry about being stealthy
Far Cry games have light stealth elements, but they’ve never been quite as light as they are in Far Cry 6. Outside of specific missions where stealth is mandatory for some portions, you are never required to do anything without being detected. The stealth features of the game — like the awareness meter that builds as you are noticed, silenced weapons, and distraction tools — may make you want to play it like a first-person stealth game. While you certainly can do this, it isn’t exactly the ideal way to play.
By all means, start off with a silent approach. Take out a few key targets, maybe disable some alarms, but when things inevitably kick off, embrace the chaos of going loud. Far Cry 6 is at its most interesting, and unpredictable, when you just let things go off the rails. There are way more systems and potential for explosive excitement by tossing your plans out the window and just unleashing destruction however you can. You’ll be dead quick if you are reckless, don’t get us wrong, but that shouldn’t stop you from at least trying to embrace the sandbox the game is built on.
Scout out bases
To help keep you alive, whether you take our advice to get loud every now and then or not, always take the time to scout out any base you’re planning on raiding. By whipping out your trusty camera, you can identify and mark all the enemies inside, plus where alarms are, to better plan out where and how you should attack. The data you can get on what enemies are around, what armor they’re wearing, any vehicles they may have access to, if there’s medics around, and general positions will play a major part in how you plan your attack and prioritize targets depending on the situation and what you have equipped in your current loadout.
You do get an idea of where enemies are without spotting them with your camera via the minimap, but only as a general zone rather than a precise location. You also won’t know how many enemies are in that red zone, only that the darker red the circle, the more enemies are there. If you still see red splotches on your minimap in an area, spend a little extra time scoping the place out to get as much info as you can.
Finally, you will also learn how tough the enemies you’re about to face off with actually are. If enemies are high above your current level, they will have red health bars and won’t even go down from a single headshot. If they’re way above your level, then they will also be indicated with a skull icon. Now, you can absolutely brute force your way through fights like this, but it will not be easy.
Design your loadout
While not at the level of a looter-shooter, there are still quite a lot of weapon choices in Far Cry 6 to experiment with. There are normal weapons, which you can mod and upgrade, unique weapons that can’t be modded but have special properties, resolver weapons, and more. Play around with what weapon types you like early and make a build that is versatile.
Modding weapons can change how a gun functions in many different ways, and you should mix up what types of mods you give different weapons you take out into battle. You can change a gun’s ammo type to be armor-piercing, explosive, incendiary, and more. Generally, you will want to prioritize having something armor-piercing and another explosive for taking down the tougher enemies and vehicles that can really soak up your ammo if you’re using the wrong kind.
Adding silencers, extended mags, and other bonuses should be a priority for your favorite guns. Those unique guns mentioned are fun to play around with, and if they fit a role in your ideal loadout, great, but they are by design way less versatile. Generally speaking, customizing your own guns will be more useful than using one set in stone.
Aside from your traditional firepower, you also have your Supremo. This backpack gives you a different special ability, kind of like an ultimate, depending on the one you have equipped. These are all balanced pretty well, so while you should spend time gathering materials to get new ones, don’t feel bad about sticking with the early ones. They’re all good from start to finish, so just pick the one you like best.
Finally, don’t spend money on buying a new gun unless you’re desperate. Guns are quite expensive and you can always find them somewhere on the map for free. Cash takes a while to build up and is better saved to use on other things if you have the choice.
Bring an Amigo along
The wild animals in whatever region a specific Far Cry game takes place in have been a major gameplay element for just about the entire series. Predators will attack you as you explore, and can be used against enemies, and in Far Cry: Primal, you were able to tame certain beasts. Far Cry 6 takes things a step further with your animal Amigos. There are five unique animal buddies you can lead into battle, plus two more as DLC. While you may not feel the need to bring help along, these buddies can really make a difference.
Each Amigo has its own uses, strengths, and weakness, but can also be upgraded in a sense. If you check them in your menu, you can see specific objectives tied to that buddy that, if completed, will further power them up. Guapo the crocodile, for example, normally regenerates health and can revive himself if he goes down. If you power him up, he will also restore health on kills, have more defense on low HP, and regain more HP after using his self-revive.
Just bringing them along is fine, but to make the most of them you should give them orders in battle. Unlock them all and call upon the right animal for the right job. Chorizo is a great stealth buddy, helping scout and tag enemies, while Guapo is better suited for assaults.
Talk to the locals
After liberating a camp, don’t just check the box off your list and carry on so quickly. Once the rebel forces move in, there will almost always be someone there with a new quest or bit of useful intel to give you. Aside from side missions, they can point out things like supply drop locations. If you’re short on crafting materials in particular, these quick diversions are well worth pinging on your map.
Side quests are also not too long, but can have payouts that you’ll want to spend some time getting. Gear is the most valuable reward these tend to give, and you never know when you might get that new piece of equipment that completely changes your experience for the better. If nothing else, you might just like the style of it and want to glamor your current perks onto it.
Upgrade your camp
There are multiple bases you will establish in Far Cry 6, and they can all be upgraded via the Construction Desk by talking to the foreman at that location. This is a new system to the Far Cry series, and while it may seem like busywork you won’t want to engage with much, the benefits you get from it can make your running and gunning far more enjoyable. There are six options for upgrades at your bases:
Hideout Network: This should be one of your first priorities to upgrade. This will give you the use of the extremely fun wingsuit, but also let you buy more hideouts around the map that serve as fast travel points. Yara is a massive place, so having faster ways to get around the map, especially if you’re hunting collectibles or cleaning up side quests, will cut down on your downtime by a substantial amount. Each new addition can also be upgraded after you build them to be even more effective.
Guerilla Garrison: This upgrade places special Recon Laptops around the map to point out the best locations to get a view on enemy bases, and makes any rebel fighters around the map a bit stronger and more capable. This isn’t too essential, but is nice to have if you want to know where you can go to easily mark basically everything at a base from one spot.
Fishing Hut: If you enjoy the fishing aspect of Far Cry 6, this hut will give you another spot to cast your line.
La Cantina: This is another great one to get early. This gives you a vendor at your camp to whom you can turn in any meat you hunt for temporary buffs to your character.
Bandidos Barracks: If you’re short on materials, building this barracks will let you hire some locals to gather various resources on your behalf while you do other, more important, things. It also sells some movement-related gear to speed up your character or increase stamina to run longer.
Hunter’s Lodge: For you hunters out there, this lodge opens up a shop that specifically caters to hunting equipment, as well as shows you new hunting locations on your map to make tracking down specific game easier.
Scan vehicles you like
Aside from traveling on foot, via wingsuit, and on horseback, vehicles are probably going to be your go-to option for covering long distances quickly. Cars can be found, or taken, around the map, but you also can request ones you’ve collected to be brought to you. There are two ways to add a vehicle to your list of available rides. First is to find said vehicle and drive it back to a specific vehicle pickup area, which can be a pain, take you out of the way, and even get you killed in a bad situation. Instead, with the exception of military vehicles, you can simply scan any car you like with your phone to effectively “capture” it and make it available to request.
It’s worth collecting military vehicles too, especially flying ones like helicopters. Horses, for whatever reason, also fall into this category and need to be manually dropped off. Considering how strong these are, especially tanks, they’re worth being able to pull out when you need some serious firepower.
If you’ve just upgraded to Windows 11, you’ll soon find out that the new operating system brings many new features and enhancements. In case you’re wondering, there are a few hidden settings that you can enable to get the most out of your new Windows 11 install.
There are cover folders on Start, the ability to move the Taskbar location, and a lot more. We put our favorites together for you in one place.
Move the Taskbar and Start Menu to the left
One of the biggest differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11 is the location of the Taskbar and Start Menu. On Windows 10, the Taskbar and Start Menu are off to the left of the screen. Windows 11, though, changes that by moving both to the center. If this annoys you, then you can easily change it back.
Just hit Windows Key + I to open up the Settings app. Then, choose Personalization and Taskbar. From there, choose Taskbar behaviors and click Left under Taskbar alignment. This should make Windows 11 feel a bit more like Windows 10.
Bring back folders on Start
Another complaint from a lot of people who upgraded to Windows 11 from Windows 10 is the inability to pin folders to the Start Menu. Well, Windows 11 does have an in-built setting that can show folders next to the power button on the Start Menu — but only system ones.
To show core system folders on the Start Menu, hit the Windows Key + I on your keyboard, then choose Personalization. After that, choose Start and then Folders. You can then flip the switches to On for the various system folders you want to see on the Start Menu. The selection includes Settings, File Explorer, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, Network, and your Personal Folder.
Hide the Recommended files in favor of suggested apps
Another core Windows 11 feature is the Recommended section, which is powered by Microsoft 365. You’ll see your most commonly opened or recently opened files in this section of the Start Menu. A lot of people don’t like this, however, and opt to turn it off, leaving an empty space in the Start Menu. This isn’t exactly easy on the eyes, which is why we typically disable it in favor of showing recently added apps, so as not to waste the space. Here’s how to do it.
First, hit Windows Key + I on your keyboard, then click Personalization followed by Start. Toggle the switch for Show recently added apps to on and the switches for Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer to off. Keep in mind that if you opt to do this, you’ll no longer see file recommendations in File Explorer, as this setting is universal across Windows 11.
Turn off Widgets and Chat
The Widgets and Chat features are two of the core new features in Windows 11. These let you keep in touch with the people and things you care about the most. However, if you’re not a fan of these features, you can turn them off and save yourself some Taskbar space. Here’s how.
First, hit the Windows Key + I on your keyboard, then choose Personalization. From there, choose Taskbar and look for Show or hide buttons that appear on the taskbar. You can then toggle the switches for Taskview, Widgets, or Chat to off.
Change the way the touch keyboard looks
Windows 11 brings many changes that make the operating system more friendly on touch devices like the Surface Pro 8. One of those changes is the ability to tweak the touch keyboard. You can customize it to look and feel the way you want — and not just use the system default white or dark keyboard.
To do this, choose Windows Key + I on your keyboard, then click Personalization, followed by Touch Keyboard. From here, you can choose various themes and keyboard sizes. There are a total of 16 preset themes, but you also can create your own custom theme, change the key sizes, and so much more.
It’s also worth noting that Windows 11 still features some of the same keyboard shortcuts as Windows 10. The shortcuts for copying, pasting, the emoji picker, and screenshots are all the same. We talk about these in a separate post.
Type with your voice in Windows 11
One of the cool features in Windows 11 is the voice-typing feature. You’re probably used to this on your iPhone or Android device, but Windows 11 also has voice typing built-in. Hit the Windows Key + Hon your keyboard when you’re in a text box and start turning your voice into words. You’ll need to select the mic button in the pop-out menu to start using the feature. You can then customize it to your liking by clicking the settings icon and tweaking the voice typing so that it can insert auto punctuation based on the pace of your voice.
Bring back the legacy right-click menus
Windows 11 brings a new, more simplified right-click menu, with common controls for copying, pasting, and renaming files front and center. If you’re a power user, though, you might want to consider a new shortcut to bring back the legacy right-click menu that’s hidden under Show more options. You can simply click on top of an item as usual and then hit Shift+ F10 on your keyboard to bring up the legacy right-click menu with the full list of options.
Back 4 Blood pits you and three other players against unending waves of bloodthirsty zombies — and staying alive in this post-apocalyptic world isn’t easy. Featuring a complex Card System and a variety of deadly Special Ridden, there’s no shortage of ways in which the game will test your mettle.
If you’re just getting started with your Back 4 Blood career, here are a few tips and tricks to help you stay alive. From playing as a team and pinging points of interest to using tool kits and conserving bandages, these 11 beginner tips make it easy to reach the next safe house without breaking a sweat.
Change your field of view
Before you jump into the zombie-infested world of Back 4 Blood, you’ll want to take a few minutes to explore its available options and settings. The field-of-view option, in particular, is one you should adjust — regardless of whether you’re playing on PC or console. Increasing your FOV will provide you with a better view of your surroundings and help alert you to any zombie movement in your peripheries. This becomes a huge advantage when you’re being swarmed by dozens of Ridden, as you can easily determine which directions are safe to run toward and which ones you’ll need to put down suppressing fire.
Be smart with your bandages
Bandages and medkits are incredibly scarce, and you’ll need to be strategic with how you use them. If you’re nearing the end of a level, it might be best to hold off on healing your wounds — you’ll often find health stations in safehouses that allow you to replenish your HP at no cost. Keep an eye on your teammates, too, as your bandages might be better served to help a friend whose health is running low.
Stick with your team
Left 4 Dead veterans understand the importance of sticking together, and that holds true in Back 4 Blood. Becoming a lone wolf and venturing out on your own is a recipe for disaster — not only will you be swarmed by opportunistic zombies, but you’ll put the rest of your team in a bad situation as they try to rescue you. Staying together, planning ahead, and moving slowly through each level are the keys to success. If you’re hoping to tackle the game on its highest difficulty, you’ll need to become a master at both slaying zombies and communicating.
Tool kits are more important than you think
Tool kits consume a precious inventory slot in Back 4 Blood, but they’re often worth their weight in gold. These utility items can be used to quickly open locked doors and give you access to otherwise restricted areas of the map. Some of these locations are loaded with high-end weapons, medkits, and boxes of ammo — and unless you or someone in your crew has a tool kit, you’ll be locked out.
Communication is key to your success, and Turtle Rock makes this easy with an intuitive ping system. Not only can you pull up a wheel that gives you a variety of alerts, but you can also aim at any point of interest and press the ping button (assigned to LB, L1, or Q on your respective platform) to highlight specific weapons, Ridden, and more. While you should still be talking with your team and communicating verbally, the ping system is useful for players without mics or to quickly alert everyone to a nearby weapon without disrupting the conversation.
Claim the high ground
Each level in Back 4 Blood is packed full of zombies — and it’s not uncommon to have multiple swarms of enemies rushing toward you and your teammates. In these moments, finding the proper vantage point to survive the onslaught is your top priority. And while barricading your entire team in a small room or hiding around corners might work in some instances, your best bet is to find the high ground. Most of the foes you’ll face off against are surprisingly fleet of foot, but they struggle when it comes to climbing. Because of this, clambering on top of cars, trucks, bookshelves, or any other object will give you a few extra seconds to react as enemies close in on your location.
Master the card system
Cards offer a unique way to personalize your playstyle. Want to become a melee powerhouse? Load your deck with skills that restore health for melee kills or improve your overall stamina. Prefer to take on the role of a medic? Seek out cards that provide you with better healing abilities or grant an extra life when being revived. Of course, finding the right cards is only half the battle — you’ll also need to figure out the best order to play them. Typically, you’ll want your best cards at the front of the deck and less critical ones at the end. Cards are drawn in the order you slot them, and it only makes sense to draw your favorites as soon as possible.
Test your kit in Solo Mode
Speaking of cards, be sure to take advantage of Solo Mode. This game mode populates your party with bots and removes the ability to earn supply points — but it does unlock every card in the game. Because of this, it’s the perfect place to test new decks and experiment with cards and playstyles you’d otherwise skip.
Don’t forget about melee weapons
Shotguns, assault rifles, and LMGs might be the flashiest weapons in Back 4 Blood, but don’t forget about melee weapons. Since ammo is such a prized resource, having a melee weapon in your back pocket gives you the ability to take down enemies without wasting your bullets. Specifically, the machete is excellent for slicing down zombies that get too close and can even be used to carve your way through crowded corridors. Using a melee weapon during less-tense scenarios helps conserve ammo for when a horde rears its ugly head — or when multiple Special Ridden come stumbling around a corner.
Keep enemies away using bash
Even if you’re not a fan of melee weapons, you’ll need to make liberal use of your bash mechanic if you’re hoping to stay alive. This attack can be performed while holding just about every weapon in the game and is perfect for pushing back approaching zombies. It doesn’t deal much damage, but it’ll create some breathing room between you and your enemies that’ll help keep you out of harm’s way. Best of all, you can use the move without interrupting your reload.
Scavenge the entire map
Ammo, bandages, powerful weapons, and a variety of other secrets are scattered around every single map in the game. If you find yourself struggling to make it through a difficult section, don’t be afraid to backtrack and search a new area — you’ll often find supply crates or ammo caches tucked away in a dark corner or up a random flight of stairs. Keeping your inventory fully stocked — and finding new weapons — is the best way to stay alive, and scavenging every inch of every map is an easy way to accomplish that goal.
The incredibly popular Monster Hunter franchise is coming once again to the Nintendo Switch and PC with Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. This offshoot combines the world of Monster Hunter with the creature-collecting and turn-based battling of Pokémon, in a story-driven RPG. Gamers play as a Monster Rider, adventuring across the world and finding new monster companions known as Monsties as they seek to unravel the reason why Rathalos the world over have begun to disappear.
We’ve hunted the monsters, forged the equipment, and ventured into the unknown to bring you the information you need to be a successful Monster Rider. Here are 10 essential tips and tricks in Monster Hunter Stories 2.
Carry one of each weapon type
You can equip three different weapons to your character. The most versatile option is to equip one weapon from each type. Monsters and their parts will have weaknesses and resistances to different weapon types. During battle, you will see on-screen indicators telling you what is and isn’t working. Having one of each weapon type equipped means you can always use the most effective tool for the job.
Switch your Monstie to match the attack type you want
Your Monstie companion is largely autonomous, but that does not mean they attack at random. Pay attention to the attack style of your Monstie, and match that up to the monsters you are fighting. Bring out a speed type Monstie to fight a monster using power attacks, a technical type to fight a monster using technical attacks, and a power type to fight a monster using technical attacks. Not only will this allow them to win head-to-head battles, but it sets you up for double attacks. These attacks do significant damage, interrupt the enemy monsters mid-attack, and give a giant boost to your kinship gage. This can make or break tough battles.
Upgrade gear early and often
Your character levels up over time by accumulating experience points, but you can create much more immediate boosts by investing in your equipment. Monster parts accumulate very quickly in Monster Hunter Stories 2, much faster than in the classic Monster Hunter series. There is no need to hoard the parts. As the game progresses, the quality of gear you can make increases quickly, so upgrade frequently.
Egg color and pattern tell you more than you think
Did you know you can tell exactly what Monstie you will get before the egg even hatches? Every monster type in Monster Hunter Stories 2 has a unique combination of colors and patterns on its shell. That means you have all the information you need about what type of monster will hatch the second you pick up the egg. When you raid a Monster nest, you can typically try pulling an egg multiple times. Want Velocidrome? Find a blue egg with orange spots. Fancy a Paolumu instead? Grab that white egg with pink zebra stripes. Once you hatch an egg, all the info goes in the Monstiepedia section of your Field Guide, so you can easily see what will hatch from an egg.
In a traditional turned-based RPG, lower health is a sign that you need to heal your character, or you risk game over. That is not necessarily the case in Monster Hunter Stories 2. Enemies are kind enough to telegraph their targets. Not only do you not need to heal when you aren’t the target, but you are often better off attacking when the opportunity presents itself. The damage dealt obviously helps, but the real reward is increasing your kinship gauge. Filling that allows you to ride your Monstie, which fully refills your health and sets you up for a devastating kinship attack. That’s a much better combination than spending potions and drawing out the fight.
Learn to be sneaky
Sure, you may be riding an enormous fire-breathing dragon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be sneaky. Watch the other monsters while you are out in the overworld. You can initiate battle by running into monsters, but if you do it while their backs are turned, you are rewarded with a Back Attack. This gives you an entire round of free attacks, with no risk of reprisal. Free damage and kinship gauge? Yes, please.
Don’t immediately use your Kinship Attack when you are riding
We know, you worked hard during the battle to fill up your kinship gauge, and now you want to reward yourself with a flashy super move. But there are good reasons to wait before activating your Kinship Attack. Standard attacks performed while riding hit hard and follow the same power-beats-speed-beats-technical-beats-power rules, with one important difference. Successfully winning head-to-heads while riding increases your kinship level, which powers up the inevitable super.
In addition, if you have a companion, waiting for them to ride their Monstie will activate a team attack. The damage is tremendous, and it will knock down the monster. All subsequent attacks will be critical hits, dealing bonus damage, until the monster stands back up. What more do you want from your most powerful move?
Visit Rare Dens, even if you aren’t looking for new Monsties
Monster dens are everywhere in Monster Hunter Stories 2. Many players will start skipping them after a while. That’s not necessarily a problem in areas that you’ve visited before. The exception is in the Rare Monster Dens. Sure, you may have already captured every type of monster in the area, but new companions are not the only reason you need eggs. Rare Monster Dens are much more likely to contain monsters with rare or boosted traits. Collecting these genes is the key to taking advantage of the Rite of Channeling.
The Right of Channeling allows you to take the gene from one monster and transfer it to another. You give up the donor monster in the process, but this allows you to increase the strength and stats of the recipient. Each monster has a 3×3 genetic grid, and they receive bonuses for multiples of the same gene, and a “bingo” bonus for three in a row.
Plan your Monstie party with overworld abilities in mind
Riding different Monsties in the overworld gives you access to different abilities. Some allow you to jump, climb, or smash your way to different areas. Others can scare away smaller enemies, or detect certain types of crafting ingredients. All are useful in their own way, but particular favor should be given to the traversal abilities. These are often necessary in order to reach chests. That is useful everywhere, but doubly so in the Everdens. These areas contain red chests that hold bottle caps, a special currency that can be traded for powerful weapons, armor, and items.
Learn to make Monsties retreat
You have the ability to try and force monsters to retreat to their dens at the end of battles. This is useful when you encounter a new type of monster and want to add one to your team. First, start a battle with the monster. Once you’ve gotten the creature to low health, use Paintball from your item menu. If you defeat the monster quickly after that, then there is a high likelihood (but no guarantee) that it will flee. Follow it back to the den, and all of the eggs will match the monster.
If you ever wanted to play Monty Python and the Holy Grail the video game, now’s your chance! Chivalry 2 is a massive multiplayer sword and shield game featuring 40- and 64-player lobbies. On par with the scale of modern Battlefield titles, Chivalry 2 is a nuanced game with a low-skill floor and a high-skill ceiling.
New players will be able to jump in, current players can continue to hone their skills, and soon-to-be veteran players can show off their flashy cosmetics and abilities on the battlefield. We’ve put together a list of 10 tips and tricks to getting better at Chivalry 2.
Play the tutorial
First and foremost, players must play through the tutorial. Thankfully, it comes equipped with some funny voice lines and animations to keep you entertained as you learn the base mechanics of Chivalry 2. The tutorial gives you the option to skip sections after a few failed attempts, but it’s best to keep trying until you can master it.
The most crucial tutorial stages to master are dragging and defending. We’ll touch on the different ways to protect yourself later on. Dragging, however, is the best way to defend yourself offensively when another player is swinging at you.
Hitboxes in Chivalry 2 take some getting used to. As soon as you start swinging your weapon, it will damage anybody or anything it comes in contact with. That’s why dragging left or right is imperative to hit your opponent before they hit you. It’ll interrupt their attack and open them up to a follow-up strike.
How does Initiative work in Chivalry 2?
Speaking of follow-up strikes, let’s talk about the most important mechanic in Chivalry 2, Initiative. When two players attack each other, whoever lands their attack first will interrupt their opponent’s attack and deal damage. They’ve now gained the upper hand and can launch a follow-up attack. Their opponent only has two options, dodge or block. Trying to attack back after being hit will only get you hit again.
Blocking an incoming attack will give you Initiative, so follow up a block with an attack of your own. This is where ripostes come into play. In short, if you get hit, defend yourself. If you land a hit, swing again.
There are some exceptions to this rule when it comes to weapon speed. Let’s say you hit your opponent with the Messer, a high DPS weapon with a slow wind-up. They happen to be using a Short Sword, a low DPS weapon with quick attacks. Even though you have Initiative after landing your first attack, they can still hit you with proper dragging techniques. While they won’t deal much damage, they’ll gain Initiative back by interrupting your second attack. You may need to eat an attack when going up against quick weapons, but blocking and riposting will put the ball back in your court.
Damage vs. Speed
So which weapons are better? Fast ones or high-damage ones? It depends on the situation, class, and player. For 1v1s, whoever has the quicker weapon is most likely going to win. However, they still have to defend themselves and use Initiative to their advantage. A bad player with a fast weapon will still get one-shotted by a half-decent player with a battle axe.
You will want a larger weapon when taking on two enemies at once, even if one of them is an A.I.-controlled bot. These bigger weapons will allow you to keep your distance, attack while backpedaling, and launch wide sweeping attacks to hit anything within range.
Of course, some classes are limited when it comes to weapon choice. Their quick weapons, like the short sword and cudgel, don’t put out enough damage to compete with battle axes and longswords, even if they’re faster.
So which weapons come with decent speed and good overall stats? The falchion, mace, morningstar, and Dane axe all fall into that category. Use them wisely, though. The only weapon getting you out of a tight situation in that bunch is the Dane axe, and that’s still with a little bit of luck.
Basic combat tips
Chivalry 2 is a nuanced game when it comes to honing your combat techniques. Master these basic pointers and use them to master your playstyle.
Don’t get surrounded
First and foremost, you should always avoid being outnumbered. It’s possible to survive a 2v1 with the right weapon and skills, but getting surrounded in Chivalry 2 will mean certain death. However, if you find yourself surrounded, working toward the left or right can turn a 3v1 or 4v1 into a brief 1v1. The window to take one of your opponents out is small but doable.
Aim to kill A.I.-controlled bots first in these group settings. They’re easy to spot by their base cosmetics and poor playstyle.
Find the 1v1s
Seek out the 1v1s when possible to sharpen your timing and combat skills. Make sure to pick those 1v1s wisely, though. Don’t bring a knife to a battle axe fight. That being said, knowing each weapon’s advantages and disadvantages can aid you in a fight. An enemy with a halberd is more likely to use stab attacks rather than slash. This makes for more accurate and predictable counters.
Take advantage of 2v1s
For easy kills, seek out enemies currently deadlocked with one of your teammates. Charging an attack and hitting them in the back will make for an easy kill. Your teammates will still be credited with the takedown as long as they dealt some damage.
Change attack direction
There is a way to change the direction of your attack in Chivalry 2. Doing so will prevent team damage, especially when trying to attack an enemy already fighting another teammate. To change the direction of your attack, hold the block button and launch an attack. Instead of swinging from the right, you’ll swing from the left.
Combo, combo, combo
If the tutorial didn’t hammer it into your head enough, combos are essential to winning fights in Chivalry 2. Because opponents have to aim their blocks, changing up your attack will force them to focus more on defending your different attacks than countering or attacking themselves. Combos are the best way to launch rapid attacks even with the heaviest weapons, as long as you get the timing down. Furthermore, it’s the best way to not get countered. Button mashing is a big no-no in Chivalry 2. You’ll wind up whiffing more attacks than you land, leaving you open to incoming damage.
How to handle Archers
When staring down an Archer, don’t be afraid to throw your primary weapon at them before they have a chance to shoot you. Charge in with your secondary and finish them off. On the flip side, be prepared to pull out your Archer’s secondary weapon when an opponent comes charging in.
Archers can’t penetrate your shield. So if you have one equipped, charge at them full force and punish them for even trying to shoot you.
Parry, riposte, or counter?
A good defense makes for a better offense. It’s true in sport, and it’s true in Chivalry 2. Learning and understanding the defensive mechanics of the game are arguably more important than understanding offensive mechanics like dragging and throwing your weapon. Defense is broken down into three categories, parries, ripostes, and counters. But which is best for any given situation?
Parrying in Chivalry 2 means blocking. However, you can’t just hold the block button and expect to defend against every attack thrown your way. Instead, you have to aim your block as if you were fighting in real life. Your block has to line up with the opponent’s swing. So, if you block while looking at their feet, and they launch an overhead attack, you’re not going to be holding onto your helmet much longer.
The riposte is the most versatile means of defending yourself in Chivalry 2, and here’s why. A successful riposte, in a nutshell, will grant you I-frames. This auto-blocks incoming attacks in a very short window and is crucial for surviving when fighting two or three people at once.
To riposte, launch an attack of your own immediately after parrying an attack. Doing so launches a quicker attack than usual and can hit your opponent if they don’t immediately block themselves. Be aware of the counter-riposte and switch up your attack timing to keep your opponent on their toes. Holding a charged attack might get them to let their guard down if they’ve gotten into an attack-block rhythm.
Counters are ideal in 1v1s. To counter, you need to launch the same attack as your opponent before you block their incoming attack. If successful, you’ll block their attack and hit them for damage. You’ll also gain Initiative and can go on the offensive.
This is where feinting comes into play as well. It’s easy to tell what sort of attacks are coming at you for most weapons in Chivalry 2. Some weapons, like spears and javelins, are a little harder to tell as the slash animation looks an awful lot like a stab. Feinting can confuse a counter-happy enemy. Remember, you can feint-counter if you make a mistake, but such moves are reserved for the high-skill ceiling.
Trying to counter outside of a 1v1 is going to get you killed more times than not. The riposte is still your best friend in those situations. Be careful when blocking, though. Blocking too many attacks, and holding blocks in general, will drain your stamina. Run out of stamina, and your weapon will break in your hands.
Man the Ballista
Find Ballistas atop the walls of Team Objective modes like Escape from Falmire or the Slaughter of Coxwell. They’re giant mounted crossbows that will fire insta-kill bolts at unlucky enemies trying to lay siege. Manning these is crucial to taking out multiple incoming enemies.
The best way to use the Ballista is to fire it into a group of three to four enemies. It’s tough to hit solo players, but you’re bound to get someone when aiming at the group. Doing so also has the chance for multi-kills. Of course, this only makes Ballistas useful to the defending team. When attacking, make sure to destroy them if you can get in close enough.
Some Ballistas can be turned on the defenders, so don’t be afraid to mount one while on the attacking side and spin it around.
Other ways to heal
There are several ways to heal in Chivalry 2 other than using bandages. Of course, bandages are the best way to heal on the fly. If you’ve got one, you should use it. If you find yourself without a Band-Aid, here are some alternative methods of healing.
If you come across a well or garden patch, you can grab food to either eat or throw at enemies. Of course, hitting an enemy with a flopping fish is more comical than practical. Eat food by pressing the battle cry input (double-tapping the square on PlayStation). This is a helpful way to heal if you find yourself damaged and alone near a well or garden.
During team objective games, there will be plenty of areas in each section to resupply ammo. Resupplying also gives you another bandage if you’ve already used yours. If you find yourself in need of healing, head to a supply cart, apply your bandage, and immediately pick up another. Don’t ever head into battle without a bandage if you can help it.
Trumpets and Banners
Several subclasses in Chivalry 2 will feature the Trumpet or Banner as their signature ability. The Trumpet will heal allies in range and line of sight of the person blowing it. It’ll also heal the Trumpeter themself. Banners act like healing beacons placed in the middle of combat. Standing near one will slowly heal you and is better than wasting your bandage on a flesh wound. Place Banners where enemies won’t easily destroy them. Banners are best behind the front line, so your allies can retreat to heal.
On the other hand, Team Objective can last as long as 15-20 minutes if the attackers can push to the end. Players will have to work together to succeed in Team Objective; this means attacking the necessary points, operating catapults and Ballistas, and pushing Siege Towers to their final destinations. Racking up the most kills doesn’t mean anything if your team ultimately loses in the end.
How to build ladders
While on the subject of Team Objective, let’s talk about building ladders. When attacking, especially during the Siege of Rudhelm, you’ll find ladders lying on the ground. However, you can’t pick them up until you find the missing piece. You’ll find those pieces in the carts nearby.
Approach the cart and pick up the ladder piece like you would any other intractable object. Walking up to the rest of the ladder will attach it automatically, and the ladder will rise to the top of the wall. You can then climb it to flank your enemies as they focus on the brunt of your team coming up the Siege Tower.
On the defensive side, it’s equally important to knock those ladders down like you’re defending Helm’s Deep. The same can be said for ramps; however, ramps don’t have to be built by attackers.
Catapults are fun if you know how to use them properly. Next to each catapult is a wagon full of rocks. First, you must cock the catapult back like you would the Ballista. This takes much longer but is well worth the wait. Release once it’s charged, and the catapult will hold in place. Then, grab a rock from the cart and place it on the catapult. Re-man the catapult, aim it, and launch the rock. It’s tough to predict where the rock will land. Make sure to aim the catapult where you believe a large group of enemies might be.
When defending on The Fall of Lionspire, let a few rocks rip right at the start to take out the approaching Mason army. Unfortunately, there’s no way to compensate for collateral damage. Use catapults when attacking to take down large doors.