Gaming

Amnesia is back with its first sequel in seven years

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Do you remember Amnesia? Ten years ago, the cult survival-horror game jumpstarted the most enduring video game genre today. Likewise, it started the next evolution of Let’s Play videos on YouTube. Since then, other survival-horror games have stepped up to the plate including Outlast and Resident Evil 7. Now, Amnesia is back with its first sequel in seven years.

Today, Frictional Games announced the latest installment in the cult classic series, Amnesia: Rebirth. The upcoming horror game will launch on October 20 and will play on PC and on PlayStation 4. It will come through Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store.

Much like the first Amnesia, the premise doesn’t offer much to go on. Instead of the Prussian Brennenburg Castle, players will try to survive in the Algerian desert. They will play as Tasi Trianon, a recent plane crash survivor, as she uncovers a horrible, eldritch sight in the desert. Like the original, Trianon doesn’t remember what happened to her.

Besides the usual light-giving tools, players will wield a strange compass-like tool. Presumably, the tool gives players a new ability to alter reality around them. Of course, Frictional Games has not revealed much yet.

After the first Amnesia came out, the developer created an expansion, Amnesia: Justine, and a 2013 sequel, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, for the horror series. After Amnesia, they also created a similar survival-horror game in 2015, SomaAmnesia: Rebirth marks the developer’s return to the series in several years.

Amnesia: Rebirth is already up for preorders, selling at US$ 29.99. It officially launches on October 20.

SEE ALSO: 7 scary games to freak you out on Halloween

Gaming

Marvel’s Avengers: Does it stick the superhero landing?

A title featuring Earth’s mightiest heroes carries great expectations

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Marvel's Avengers

The Avengers is the most popular superhero team today thanks in large part to the 23 films and counting that belong to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU. This could lead one to believe that anything that has “Marvel’s Avengers” on it will be well-made and polished because of heightened expectations and the backing of perhaps the largest entertainment company today. Well, not quite.

Perhaps we should have seen this coming following the rather lukewarm reception to the A-Day trailer that was released in E3 2019. But that was just a trailer. Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics — the companies responsible for the game’s development — still had time to address things.

While there may have been improvements here or there, the overall experience just falls a bit short of the grandiose, spectacle, and fun factor that we’ve come to associate with the Avengers.

Heroes divided

So what’s wrong with it, exactly? There’s not one big glaring thing. But the sum of its parts just doesn’t feel like it makes up a cohesive whole.

Just like how the team was split up after the disaster that was A-Day, the game feels like it’s split between two disjointed parts.

The first is the Reassemble Campaign which takes you through a 10-12 hour single-player Action-RPG type of campaign. You get a chance to play as all of the Avengers but the story is mostly told through the perspective of Kamala Khan AKA Ms. Marvel.

Ms. Marvel hard-carrying this game

The second is the Avengers Initiative which is the multiplayer live service part of the game. It’s the part that the developers hoped would keep players coming back.

While the two game modes share the same combat, skills, items, and mission design, the overall experience varies heavily depending on what type of game you’re into.

Ms. Marvel coming of age story

At the core of the Reassemble Campaign is Kamala Khan/ Ms. Marvel. She goes from this bright-eyed fangirl in A-day to a hero in her own right, fighting alongside the heroes she admired.

As someone who generally prefers single-player games, this was the part of the game I enjoyed the most. It’s got enough heart, humor, and character that made the MCU such a mainstream hit, while also sprinkling a little bit of Saturday-morning-cartoon campiness.

The best thing about the story is the dynamic between the characters: Kamala and Bruce Banner’s mentor-mentee relationship, the anger between Tony Stark and Bruce after the latter’s testimonies in court after A-Day, and this bromance between Tony and Steve Rogers.

There’s a lot of great character moments here that should be familiar to Marvel fans whether you came in from the comic books, TV series, or the MCU.

It isn’t without any problems though. Thor had very little to do with the plot except for just being there. He played the deus ex machina role when he first rejoined the team. I guess that’s fitting for a literal god.

The boss battles are also very mediocre. After squaring off against Taskmaster and the Abomination, the next boss battles will all be against AIM Robots. For a superhero hero team with such a rich rogues gallery, this was rather disappointing.

Modok was the only other non AIM robot villain

While it sort of makes sense given the flow of the story, I think they could have thrown in even at least one more Marvel villain there or at least have another tussle against Taskmaster and the Abomination.

Other than that, the story is pretty solid. I wish I could say the same for gameplay.

Grinding for gear

The core of the gameplay is the combat, skills, and gears. This is what connects the single-player campaign to the multiplayer missions. It’s a mixed bag to say the least.

The skill tree for each character is deep but you’ll have to grind through the missions to really get to all of them. More on this later. Meanwhile, the gears are… okay.

There are plenty of skills to unlock

While most other reviewers griped about the lack of cosmetic effect from the gear you pickup, I thought this was mostly okay. It’s almost the same with Marvel’s Spider-Man where I can pick whatever suit I want but change my abilities depending on what the mission requires.

The thing is, in the Spider-Man game by Insomniac, the suit came at no cost. In Marvel’s Avengers, while you can grind your way into some awesome cosmetic changes, a bulk of the better looking ones are stuck behind a paywall. That’s what really grinds most people’s gears, I think.

What grinds your gears?

I also recognize that more thought could have been put into the gears seeing as the whole point of the game is getting loot and items while you’re out on missions. For instance, they could have opted to have a set of cosmetic options for gear that negate certain status effects like frosting.

Feel like a superhero

Despite sharing mostly the same controls — light and heavy attacks, dodging, and jumping on the main buttons plus special abilities on the shoulder buttons —  the game does a good job of making each character feel distinct.

Your experience playing as Iron Man will be very different from the one playing as Thor despite both sharing the ability to fly. Same is true for Captain America and Black Widow even though they’re both mostly grounded melee fighters.

Marvel’s Avengers

The stretchy Ms. Marvel also offers perhaps one of the most unique play styles as she also has the ability to heal. It’s perfect for when you’re embarking on multiplayer missions.

Mission unbearable

The missions are where I think the game fumbles a lot. They have a relatively good combat core to build around, but the level designs and challenges leave so much room for improvement.

The missions revolve around retrieving an item, defeating hordes of AIM robots and soldiers, and most frustratingly, defending a small circular area while being swarmed by even more AIM robots and soldiers.

Combat can get chaotic

It’s just a whole bunch of small fries coming at you from left and right. There’s very little variation and it can get old real quick. What’s even more frustrating is to really level up the characters, these are the missions you have to grind through. You don’t get to the really good parts of the combat unless you go through these missions.

Remember the final act of both The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron where the team is battling against armies of Chitari and Ultron’s robots? That’s what the missions feel like except it happens over, and over, and over, and over again.

Good for team players

To balance the opinion, I spoke with our good friend Francis Romero who is both a long-time gamer and huge Marvel fan. Unlike yours truly, Francis actually finds enjoyment in the missions.

What struck me the most with his observation is how team play is crucial in the missions. You can customize your characters’ loadouts to fit the needs of the team. Each one can play a certain role so you can accomplish missions with relative ease.

Flying to a mission

For instance, he said he wasn’t a fan of Ms. Marvel being part of his main team but being a healer, she would be an essential part of the team.

In this regard, the play-with-friends appeal is real. It’s honestly not my cup of tea, but there’s certainly something here that can be enjoyed by people with actual friends or those who play well in a team-setting.

A better future

The other appeal of Marvel’s Avengers being a live service game is the promise of a better future. The developers have already promised that any future DLC content will be free-of-charge.

Hawk-eye — both Will Barton and Kate Bishop — have already been teased and there are more characters coming in the future. Each character, I supposed, will come with their own unique story that will build on the campaign. Their abilities will also be something to consider when building a team for the Avengers Initiative missions.

While the present may be slightly disappointing, a promising future awaits.

Does it stick the superhero landing?

The promise of a better future shouldn’t be the leg that a game stands on. The game can be a little fun at best and a messy, buggy experience at worst.

The loading time from one segment of the game to another is ridiculously long. It almost feels like you can watch an entire MCU film and the game would still be loading when you come back to it.

This loading screen can go on FOREVER

Marvel’s Avengers is weighed down by the expectations surrounding it. When you have a title so mainstream and the backing of an entertainment giant that has dominated the mainstream consciousness for a better part of the decade, it’s fair to expect a polished game. One that feels like the triumphant third act of most MCU films.

Instead, it feels more like the first time Tony Stark took the Iron Man Mark II out for a spin in the first Iron Man movie. It was a fun but clunky ride, and when he soared to go higher he ran into an icing problem.

Marvel’s Avengers

In many ways, that’s what this Marvel’s Avengers game feels like. It’s clunky but fun and while it’s not perfect, there’s certainly something here that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics can build on.

It doesn’t quite stick the superhero landing, but it sure as hell didn’t crash and burn.

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Gaming

Honor launches Hunter V700 gaming laptop with a kickass design

Honor’s first gaming laptop

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Honor’s first gaming laptop has arrived and the brand is confident it can make a mark in the market. Starting with the Hunter V700, the brand says it packs best-in-class performance, excellent heat dissipation, as well as portability.

To start off, the laptop has a very aggressive design that focuses on RGB lighting, ergonomics, and sustained performance. Honor has managed to fill a high-end configuration despite the thin chassis.

It has a 16.1-inch display with a 144Hz refresh rate that’s accompanied by 4.7mm thick bezels, 100% sRGB color, and a maximum brightness of 300 nits. Unlike Apple’s laptops, Honor has managed to pack a USB-A port, HDMI, and an RG45 ethernet jack.

Honor has also included a new hinge that it likes to call Wind Valley design. According to the brand, the design facilitates up to 40 percent more volume of air for cooling.

“Traditional gaming notebooks tend to be thick and heavy to meet the high-performance and heat dissipation requirements expected in this category. Honor believes the pursuit of performance can co-exist with a lightweight and portable design,” Honor said in a statement.

The Honor Hunter V700 starts at CNY 7,499 (US$ 1,105) for the Core i5-10300H,  GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of storage.

It’s followed by a Core i7-10750H with an RTX 2060, along with the same volume of RAM and storage, costing CNY 8,499 (US$ 1,250).

Lastly, you can get a Core i7-10750H, RTX 2060, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD storage for CNY 9,999 (US$ 1,475). The sale is currently limited to China via VMall.

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Gaming

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Bringing together impressive power and top-tier design into one device

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ASUS ROG ACRONYM

ASUS ROG pits its ROG Zephyrus G14 as its most all-around gaming laptop. It comes with powerful hardware in a sleek design, along with features fit for a personalized experience. In essence, it’s the ultimate laptop for gamers and content creators, alike. And apparently, ASUS isn’t the only one who sees it that way.

Errolson Hugh, co-founder of leading technical appparel company ACRONYM has his vision of an empowered user. He believes that more empowered users aren’t strictly just gamers, but is also a thinker and a creator. Since 1994, the company built an extensive portfolio of apaprel sourced from top notch materials.

These initiatives make ACRONYM an ideal partner for ASUS ROG, and it’s seen in their Special Edition Zephyrus G14. In terms of hardware, the Special Edition ROG Zephyrus G14 still carries the latest AMD Ryzen 9 CPU and NVIDIA RTX 2060 GPU. Now, ACRONYM infuses its own design philosophy and brings distinct visual features to the device.

Pricing and availability for the Special Edition ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 have yet to be announced.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 review

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