Gaming

ASUS ROG Phone 3 launches, has 144Hz refresh rate

ROG refines its mobile gaming machine

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The ROG Phone has been top of mind in the past year whenever someone thinks about a mobile gaming device. ASUS wants a firm grip on that recognition with the launch of the ASUS ROG Phone 3.

As the third generation iteration of this product line, there aren’t any significant, jump out of your seat, wow levels of new things. Instead, the ROG Phone 3 is a refinement of their formula.

Let’s jump right into the specs. It was earlier announced that the phone will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus. It’s currently Qualcomm’s best and has an array feature geared towards “elite gaming.”

Elsewhere on the phone, it’s all about delivering the best. Naturally, the specs have been maxed out. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • 6.44-inch OLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate
  • Up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM
  • Up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 Storage
  • 6000mAh battery with a bundled 30W HyperCharge Adapter
  • Air Triggers with Enhanced Touch Gestures
  • Dual Front Facing Speakers

These are all par for the course and exactly the kind of specs we expected. In many ways, the ROG Phone 3 is a refresh of the ROG Phone 2 with minor noticeable changes — for good reason.

In terms of look, they toned the ASUS ROG Phone 3 down even more, getting rid of the cutouts that mimic the look of certain ROG laptops. The copper cooling vent has been replaced with a single sheet of glass with a transparent window to show off the AeroDynamic Cooling System.

The more understated, but still undeniably gaming look is in line, not only with their ROG line of laptops, but pretty much most gaming laptops of late. Gone are the bulky, over-the-top gaming look for something that looks a bit more subtle.

In terms of form factor and port placements, everything has largely remained the same. ASUS says this was intentional to make sure it remains compatible with existing accessories. That’s a really thoughtful approach.

Peripherals and accessories

Speaking of accessories, the ASUS ROG Phone 3 will come with the usual AeroActive Cooler 3 accessory. It’s a cooling device that now does more.

It now has a kicks stand so you can prop up the phone with the accessory on. ASUS also took away the 3.5mm audio jack from the phone — but this is still accessible with the AeroActive Cooler 3.

As mentioned, it will work with previous generations of peripherals. If you have the entire suite from either the ROG Phone or ROG Phone 2, it’ll work seamlessly with the ROG Phone 3.

The new accessory coming to the ROG Phone 3 is one that will let you connect your phone to any existing game controller you have lying round. It can be the Xbox Controller, DualShock 4 (PS4), or the Google Stadia controller — all will work with the phone with this new accessory.

Armory Crate, Game Genie

Also making an expected return are the gaming-related software baked into the phone. These are the Armory Crate and Game Genie.

Anyone who’s ever owned an ROG laptop should be familiar with this tool. With it you can customize how much power each core uses for certain tasks. You can also modify things like RGB lighthing, fan speed, as well as game controls.

Game Genie is like your mobile gaming assistant. Fire it up and it sends you into this interface where you can toggle all the games you have installed. It’s like having a console interface right on your phone.

It also lets you control the notifications you get while gaming and is also your tool in case you want to stream. You can stream directly on YouTube, but at the moment, Twitch is a no go. This is because there are still issues with Twitch’s API that need to be addressed first.

As for the UI, you can opt for the more stock Android experience, or you can embrace the whole gaming concept and go with the gaming skin. Like on the ROG Phone 2, it comes in two variations — one in black and one in white.

Again, like last year, if you have the Lightning Armor Case it’ll give you access to yet another variant of the gaming UI. Neat.

Solid cameras

From dual cameras, the ASUS ROG Phone 3 now sports a triple camera setup. They bumped the main sensor from 48MP to 64MP. And now it’s flanked by a 13MP ultra wide angle lens and a 5MP macro camera.

These likely won’t be competing against the likes of the Huawei P40 Pro/ P40 Pro+ or even the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, but unlike the very first iteration of the ROG Phone, these cameras should be capable. Not stellar, but pretty solid.

Pricing and availability

The ASUS ROG Phone 3 will come in three variants. They are as follows:

12GB + 512GB — EUR 999
16GB + 512GB — EUR 1099
8GB + 256GB (Strix Edition) — EUR 799

Pricing in other markets will be revealed as they launch on these respective markets.

Gaming

Stardew Valley developer announces second game, Haunted Chocolatier

Manage a haunted chocolate shop

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Years since its launch, Stardew Valley is still one of the most popular farm simulators in gaming history. In fact, ConcernedApe, the game’s sole developer, still released substantial updates to the game recently. Riding on the popularity of the first title, ConcernedApe is already working on his second title called Haunted Chocolatier.

The developer has often stayed silent regarding future games. At the very least, he already confirmed work on several projects during Stardew Valley’s lifespan. Today, however, ConcernedApe finally revealed much-awaited details on the next project.

Haunted Chocolatier is a similar management game. This time, players take control of a chocolatier living in a haunted castle. As such, it shares in the same formula that made Stardew Valley so popular. Players are just crafting different chocolates now, instead of crops.

In terms of design, the game will look similar to the first game. Players are still collecting materials and fighting in combat mechanics. However, ConcernedApe does confirm that the game will have more action-RPG mechanics rather than a dedicated focus to management.

Though the developer has already confirmed the game, ConcernedApe has not announced a launch date for the chocolate-making game. According to the game’s FAQ, he would rather focus on the game without worrying about deadlines.

SEE ALSO: Couple co-op games to play during the pandemic

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Gaming

God of War is officially coming to PC

Shouting “boy” in 4K

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In recent years, no game really came near to perfection as 2018’s God of War. The popular PlayStation 4 game won several accolades and universal acclaim since its release. In fact, the game’s upcoming sequel God of War Ragnarök is one of the most hotly anticipated titles today. To stave off the ongoing thirst for the sequel, fans might enjoy something coming up for the franchise: God of War is coming to PC.

Posted silently overnight, the game just got its official Steam page, announcing a launch on January 15, 2022. The new page doesn’t seem like a mistake either. Steam isn’t shy about the upcoming release. The game is currently on the platform’s front page. And soon after it first appeared, Steam officially posted an article confirming so.

As expected, it’s a direct port. It won’t come with any additional gameplay content. However, PC gamers will have access to more graphical features. Highlighting the port, of course, is 4K widescreen (up to 21:9 resolution) support. It will also have unlocked framerates. Users will have access to higher-resolution shadows, reflections, ambient occlusion, GTAO, and SSDO.

For smaller machines, the port will come with NVIDIA Deep Learning Super Sampling and NVIDIA Reflex to optimize how the graphics will perform under different hardware configurations.

Anyone who purchases the game on PC will have access to some free digital content: Death’s Vow armor sets, Exile’s Guardian shield skin, Buckler of the Forge shield skin, Shining Elven Soul shield skin, and Dökkenshieldr shield skin.

God of War on PC will cost US$ 49.99.

SEE ALSO: God of War actor blames himself for Ragnarok delay

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Gaming

Kena: Bridge of Spirits isn’t for everybody

And, that’s fine

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Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an action-adventure third-person video game. The game is developed and produced by Ember Lab. In the game, you play as Kena. She’s a young spirit guide who uses her magical abilities to help people pass on into the spirit world.

The game is stunning and deep dives into spiritual aspects like emotional entanglement with the physical word after passing away.

In case you don’t have a working pair of eyes

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a gorgeous game. Stunning yet scuffed at times, this game is nothing short of eye-candy. The background details and character design is just *chef’s kiss*. But, big butt (Editor’s Note: Not sure if this is a typo but we’ve decided to keep it as is), by the way, this aesthetic might not be to some people’s liking. Hear me out: this game looks and feels like you’re playing through a Disney Pixar movie. And, honestly, that might not be for everyone.

On the scuffed end of things, you’ll find that some things glitch through objects and terrain. But, to that, I think it adds to its charm. The silliness is often welcome and strangely expected in the whole gaming sense. This isn’t the first scuffed game to come across a gamer’s life and it won’t be the last. I think each game has its improvements and patches to develop and incorporate and the glitches make the whole experience memorable and meme-able.

The crutch everyone won’t shut up about

This game is weirdly forgettable for people who’ve played a lot of third-person action adventures. Why? Well, this isn’t the first of its kind. Kena: Bridge of Spirits takes from many games before it and blends its inspirations together pretty nicely without overcomplicating its mechanics.

I would say though, that this can be what I personally found to be endearing with Kena. It unapologetically makes for a good entry-level action-adventure game for people who might not normally gravitate to games like it. With its beautiful visuals and memorable take on grievances, Kena pulls at sentimental heartstrings without the stupidly complicated skill building of most other action adventures out there.

Don’t hate the game

Nor, the player. The game is simple. That can be refreshing for some players or just boring to some. Which, I’ll say now, to each their own. Most games under the same category are far more convoluted and complex. So, if that’s something you like, this isn’t for you. And that’s totally fine.

Most of the game plays on collecting cute Rot along the way. And, on top of the usual skill building, most rewards you’ll find in hidden spots are either more Rot or hats for them. It doesn’t really require that much mental gymnastics to play this game. You can play to relax and just enjoy the journey. Which, for me, is great! Kena: Bridge of Spirits is the perfect game for when you want to play with family watching. I’m sure it’ll feel like a movie to them.

Is this your GAME Match?

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a game worth trying no matter how familiar you are with video games in the same category. The barrier of entry is super friendly and simplistic so, you won’t need that much video game experience to immerse in the story. Plus, you can customize the game for when you want more of a challenge.

I do have to say though, that this game might fight to keep your interest at times but, it sure can lure you back in. As for me, I was happy to play this game. It was challenging at times and, it might not be the best one on my list. But, it gets honorary points for being simple, gorgeous, and family-friendly.

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