Gaming

A non-Potterhead’s verdict on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Use your phone, Harry!

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More than a week has passed since the global release of the mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and we’re ready to give our thoughts. As the title states, I’m not into the franchise that much although I’m a big Pokémon Go player. It basically has the same gameplay as they’re under the same developers — Niantic, Inc.

That being said, I won’t be diving too much on the lore and will instead focus more on gameplay and its overall experience.

For those unfamiliar, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a location-based AR game that requires you to go out of the house in order to get more experience points, unlock special items, and advance in the game. The same goes for Pokémon Go and the game before that, Ingress. While PoGo, in the real world, has PokéStops that give out PokéBalls, HP:WU has Inns that you get Spell Energy from. This is then required so you can cast spells and return Foundables to their rightful place and time (the game’s version of catching different Pokémon in the wild).

ALSO READ: A beginner’s guide to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

During the first day of release and being curious as to how the game works, I went out and tried to “catch” as much Foundables as I can and just like PoGo, it gets you in the momentum of just wanting to go around and get as much as you can. I initially noticed the wider array of different “species” you can come across with on HP:WU as compared to when PoGo first launched. I remember all I did back then was to catch Pidgey and Rattata because that was pretty much everything that was available. This was also the main reason why most players quit back then.

You get to choose your house, profession, and design your wand

Back to Wizards Unite, the similarities it has with PoGo made it easy for me to get a grasp of its general gameplay even though I have no idea who most of the characters are. The idea is to basically level up by grinding for experience points in the most efficient way. This means planning where to go and making sure the place is populated by in-game stops and spawns — usually parks and shopping malls are good choices.

Comparison of HP:WU’s UI vs PoGo in the same area

While it parallels Niantic’s other games in many levels, Wizards Unite brings its own charm through its visuals. The environment of HP:WU is simply more immersive than PoGo‘s and even the encounters have more detail in them. It could get distracting at times since there are more elements in HP:WU, but is overall nicer to look at.

A unique aspect from the company’s games is that unlike other multiplayer games where you meet your friends online, you actually play with them in real life and this is also the case for Wizards Unite. These games basically build a community that helps each other accomplish in-game tasks that are usually challenging to accomplish alone. What HP:WU did better, though, is to go for a more immersive gameplay by making you trace different patterns on your screen as if waving your wand as compared to the tapping mechanics of PoGo.

Overall, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite could be a more enjoyable game for some players who are not big fans of the Pokémon franchise. I personally enjoy it enough to switch between HP:WU and PoGo whenever I play out. It will keep you walking around drawing on your screen and pretending to wave your make-believe wand.

It’s a game that’s far more complete than Pokémon Go at launch, that’s for sure. Although, it’s still far from reaching its full potential since there are things that could still be added to the game like a dueling system, for example.

If you want to try the game and get some cardio while casting spells, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is available on Google Play and the App Store.

 

Gaming

The Last of Us Part II Preview: Nimble and off to the races

Ellie rides searching for answers in a broken world.

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I needed to mentally prepare myself for the amount of groundwork The Last of Us Part II demands. The lingering question on my mind as I take on this game was pretty simple: what’s next? Its prequel takes on a point-of-view that focuses on hope; on a riveting end to a dangerous time. What do we look forward to? Will the end come in a marvelous way, or will there be more to uncover?

This time around, you play as Ellie — the girl you saved from the Fireflies back in The Last Of Us, all grown up. She moves quite faster than Joel does in the first game, which also allows her to reach higher places in the field. Also, you traverse overworlds a lot faster and with more agility given her slim frame. As Ellie, you also have access to this nifty feature called Listen Mode, which comes in handy at the right moments.

The world I traversed just looked, for a lack of a better word, destroyed. Nothing seemed to be in proper condition anymore — buildings, bridges, roads, and vehicles alike. To me, it feels like a whole new world — one that is drastically similar to what we left behind in the prequel. But even in this barren wasteland, humans still hold the law of life — or at least judge on who lives and dies.

Ellie takes on this world seeking answers, all while exposed to more dangerous threats along the way. Apart from the nasty encounters with the Infected, you come across two more dangerous groups of people. First up are the Wolves or WLF, a pack of armed civilians with a more run-and-gun combat approach. Then, there are the Seraphites or Scars, the trained silent killers at a whistle’s notice. All that’s really left is whether you choose to fight or die, because even I thought flight wasn’t an option here.

The Last of Us Part II comes to the PlayStation 4 on June 19, 2020.

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Apps

Nickelodeon Pixel Town: Another game to play while on lockdown

They’ve got adorable pixel art!

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Nickelodeon is serving up a new mobile game for us: Nickelodeon Pixel Town. A mobile game we can all sink our teeth into as we try to cope with everything that 2020 has been throwing at us so far.
So, what is it exactly? Nickelodeon Pixel Town is a city building game. The name of the game is building your own Nickelodeon city where you can collect characters, costumes, iconic buildings, and items from different Nickelodeon series. The most charming bit? It’s all drawn in highly stylistic retro pixel art.

For your city inhabitants, you get to collect characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Invader Zim, CatDog, The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom, Rugrats, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Rocko’s Modern Life, Hey Arnold! and The Wild Thornberrys.

Honestly, if you don’t have a Switch and have been gritting your teeth through the lockdown while people have been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, this is a decent mobile game to bring back some nostalgia. Because with all the hellish news lately, don’t we all just want to curl up into a ball and go back to a time when times seemed so much simpler? Not any better of a place and time perse, sure. But, just a time when we were too young to know any better.

Want to give this game a go?

Nickelodeon has an official launch celebration for the Pixel Town.  You can use the code PIXELTOWNHL to redeem 500 Gems for free! To redeem it, you can go to their website, click redemption, and fill up the necessary info.

If you want to build up a reason to disconnect and play like me, you can. The freebies are valid until 30 June 2020, 11:59PM (GMT+8). That’s a pretty good amount of time to be rally up enough pent up emotions to need some time away to hop back fiercer. Nickelodeon Pixel Town is available in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia on Google Play and Apple App Store.

SEE ALSO: 10 offline free-to-play mobile games

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Gaming

Sony postpones PlayStation 5 event amidst US protests

Letting more important voices be heard

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Last week, we finally heard some news about the upcoming but strangely silent PlayStation 5. Since the pandemic, the next generation of gaming kept out of the limelight, allowing the current generation to flourish amongst the locked-in gamers. Breaking the silence, Sony was scheduled to hold a showcase of PlayStation 5 launch titles this week for the upcoming console. Unfortunately, because of current events, the company has decidedly shelved the digital event.

Through their official Twitter account, PlayStation announced the postponement, allowing other issues to resolve in the meantime. “We have the decided to postpone the PlayStation 5 event scheduled for June 4,” the company said.

“While we understand gamers worldwide are excited to see PS5 games, we do not feel that right now is a time for celebration and for now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard,” the post continues.

Naturally, the announcement is timed perfectly for the currently ongoing protests happening across America. Recently, George Floyd, an African American man, was murdered under the custody of a white police officer. The incident, followed by the subsequent lack of justice, sparked a wave of outrage throughout the country.

Since then, other companies and personalities have shown their support towards the cause. Notably, Google postponed Android 11’s launch previously, starting a wave of similar postponements. Though none of the postponing companies have named the George Floyd case specifically, one can easily assume the announcement’s relevance to the current political climate in America.

In any case, it looks like gamers will have to wait a little bit longer before more details about the PlayStation 5 will inevitably surface.

SEE ALSO: Nintendo and Sony are in a heated battle during lockdown

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