Gaming

Death Stranding review: Trying to recover what we’ve lost

A take on the importance of human connection

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As morbid as it is, the reality is we will all meet our end. And it’s not just our own personal ends as we grow old, but also the end of civilization as we know it. There are game titles that detail every possible scenario of near-extinction for the human race, and how the survivors deal with what’s left.

Death Stranding initially seems to follow that trend — a game that tackles another possible near-extinction of the human race. At first, it seemed like another post-apocalypse storyline, mixed with the advent of technology and leaving it all to human effort to harness it. Every other video game that deals with technology, to me always ends in bloodshed.

But as I played through this game, it showed something else.

Avoiding craters and building bridges

You play as Sam Porter Bridges, voiced by Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead. His role in society is a delivery man, tasked to simply deliver supplies and resources to different cities in America. From my understanding, he’s an isolated fellow — prefers to just be on his own, and deems himself untouchable out of fear.

The entire game takes place in whatever’s left of America some time after a series of voidouts that killed millions. Sam reports to BRIDGES in the capital of the United Cities of America; as the name suggests, BRIDGES wants to repair the broken UCA and its divided people. The surrounding area of the capital is what you would expect: shielded from the outside for a good reason.

To me, this is one interesting take on human survival. Normally, in post-apocalyptic worlds, the goal is to save yourself (or your loved ones) while mauling your way through every peril. With Death Stranding, the goal is simply to survive and ensure the survival of everyone else. And the only way to do that is to, well, bridge every human together.

Realistically going all over America and its perils

Death Stranding, to me comes close to capturing the humanity of any character in terms of physical aspects. The game allows you to explore every facet of being a human while establishing a level of purpose for doing simple things. And yes, that includes taking a shower before heading out for expeditions.

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Movement in this game is what you would usually expect. As a delivery man, you got some valuable cargo on your hands, hips, and back; balance is as important as survival instincts. Fortunately, the game has controls that allow you to maintain your balance while moving. This is especially important when you’ll start carrying heavier cargo and supplies.

There’s also a level of incorporating the natural surroundings while you’re moving or running around. Even simply tripping on rocks causes damage to you, and possibly the cargo you’re bringing along. Managing your balance and stamina is necessary to survive and to get your deliveries in order.

But one interesting highlight in this game is the rain, known as Timefall which effectively renders cargo protection useless. In game, Die-Hardman reminds you that Timefall speeds up time while also inviting the unseen anomalies you’re trying to avoid. While you have an option to simply seek shelter in caves or rocks, I just went for it and ran for my life.

The concept of irreversible damage unto the world

As the game will show you early on, you are a repatriate — essentially given the ability to come back to life. Every time you die in-game, you are placed in what is known as an upside-down world. To return to life, simply follow a strand that leads to Sam’s body. This is the kind of respawn that I felt was the game’s strongest feature over all other post-apocalyptic titles.

See, when you die and repatriate with your body, anything that happened before you died stays exactly as they are. If you die from a voidout, the huge crater stays and any life lost is forever gone. For some reason, the cargo you were bringing along stays where they are/relatively intact.

I personally found this to be most realistic way to do a respawn mechanic in-game. If you’re going for full human experience, you don’t get a chance to undo any damage already caused in the world. You only get to proceed with unfinished business, but no takebacks.

There’s great emphasis on the human connection

The endgame of bridging every human possible is protection from the BTs — discovered to be former humans turned into dark matter. BTs are the ones formally responsible for all the voidouts that occur in-game. Heartman highlights that the slightest interaction with the BTs could start the ticking time bomb.

Perhaps Sam’s biggest protection against the BTs involve two things given to him: a sickness called DOOMS and a BB module. The BB module contains an actual baby inside a vat of yellow liquid, keeping it safe. Sam’s connection to the BB module only strengthens his protection and awareness of the BTs around him.

What I find a little troublesome about the BBs and BTs is that it doesn’t necessarily provide you protection. While the whole set-up of the Sam-BB relationship was for protection, running past the BTs is still pretty difficult because the baby won’t stop crying. Also, any damage done to the BB module severely stresses out the baby, making it more difficult to move around. But, I guess that’s where the ultimate challenge lies.

Overall, it hits the core principle of human survival

Death Stranding offers a unique yet relevant take on post-apocalyptic survival. As a game, several human mechanics are spot on and given their full justice. From trekking to managing your balance and cargo, you will definitely feel the realism in the human experience.

But more than anything, this game truly highlights a facet vital for human survival: connection. At its forefront, the game puts together a story that hinges on the importance of human connection on every turn. 

Sam, an isolated human being has to trust BRIDGES in hopes to restore the world to a less broken state. No lives lost, only those saved and protected from BT exposure. For the first time, I didn’t have to kill to survive; I just needed to survive so others may survive, as well.

This game offers relatively simple movement mechanics, mixed with a unique take on a post-apocalypse storyline. And if you’re looking for a different type of action-survival game, a game like Death Stranding is something truly worth to give a shot.

Death Stranding will be available on November 8 for the PlayStation 4.

Gaming

Steam announces when next sales are

Autumn, Winter, Spring

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Christmas is right around the corner. If you want to get a head start on buying something for yourself, it’s important to know when the biggest sales are. Now, gamers have a date on when they can bust out their wallets. Valve has officially announced when the autumn, winter, and spring Steam sales are happening.

The next sale — the traditional Autumn Sale — will happen between November 22 through 29. It’s quite a big gap for a head start, but it should give gamers a healthy library to play when the Christmas vacation starts.

On the other hand, if rush shopping is more you, the Winter Sale will happen between December 22 through January 5. It’s a Christmas treat.

If you’re familiar with Steam’s usual calendar of sales, you might not have heard of a Spring Sale before. Traditionally, the platform holds the Lunar New Year Sale in lieu of a seasonal theme. This time, Steam is keeping things consistent. The newly dubbed Spring Sale will happen between March 16 through 23. It’s also a later date than the previous Lunar New Year Sale.

Steam sales are usually a treat for gamers who play on a PC. Though the platform frowns on gigantic 95 percent off discounts now, platform-wide sales events can still house delectable bargains. Now, whether or not you’ll have time to play all of them is another story altogether.

SEE ALSO: Steam: No more 95% off sales

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Entertainment

Genshin Concert 2022 set on October 2

Celebrating 2 years of adventure

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Genshin Concert

HoYoverse has announced that the Genshin Concert 2022: Melodies of an Endless Journey event will officially commence on October 2, 2022, celebrating two years of Genshin Impact adventure.

Music producer Shiro Sagisu has been invited to be the music director of the global online concert that will last for about 75 minutes.

Known arranging the Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale soundtrack, Sagisu will be joined by the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra on top of other talented musicians around the world.

The trailer for the upcoming concert is now live, and may be watched below:

Sagisu and his team will recreate beloved Genshin Impact soundtracks for the concert, taking fans on a journey as they reminisce their adventures in the world of Teyvat.

It was announced recently that Genshin Impact Version 3.1 will release on September 28, 2022, so the concert is a fitting incentive for fans as the open-world adventure RPG enters its third year.

The patch update includes Cyno and Nilou’s release, the Desert area, new weapons, and anniversary events.

 

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Gaming

PS5 FIFA 23 bundle to be available in October

A package for football enthusiasts

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PS5 FIFA 23

Rejoice, football fans and gamers! A PlayStation 5 EA SPORTS FIFA 23 bundle will be available in the Philippines in October 2022 at PhP 33,890.

The bundle will include:

  • PlayStation 5 console
  • DualSense wireless controller
  • PS5 software EA SPORTS FIFA 23 software disc
  • Pre-installed game, ASTRO’s Playroom
  • Other package inclusions (HDMI and USB cables, power cord, printed materials)

FIFA 23: What’s new

The latest version of the world-famous football video game features HyperMotion2 Technology, providing twice as much real-world motion capture to create a more realistic football animation in every match.

For the first time ever, Women’s Club Football will also be played. The Barclays FA Women’s Super league and Division 1 Arkema both available.

Both the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 have also come to FIFA 23 as post launch updates at no additional cost, which means one can play no less than the 2022 AFF Women’s Champions, the Filipinas.

Following cross-play tests for Online Friendlies and Online Season tests in FIFA 22, cross-play has now been expanded to accommodate more game modes for FIFA 23.

Ted Lasso is coming

AFC Richmond, the fictional English association club football team from the Emmy Award-winning TV show Ted Lasso has also been added to the roster of over 700 teams, bringing Ted Lasso and team stars like Jamie Tartt, Dani Rojas, Sam Obisanya, Roy Kent, and Isaac McAdoo to the game.

They will play at the Nelson Road home stadium, and FIFA 23 has made the squad playable across Career Mode, Kick-Off, Online Friendlies, and Online Seasons.

Lasso may even be a playable team manager in Career Mode. Players may also swap AFC Richmond into the Premier League or any other playable league under the mode.

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