Features

Demon’s Souls to Dark Souls III: Ranking the Series

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If you need proof that gamers don’t want just mindless entertainment spoon-fed to them, take a look at the success of the Souls games. GadgetMatch is here to look back at the recently concluded hardcore action RPG franchise, ranking every game from worst to best.

5. Dark Souls II

As the direct sequel to the industry-changing Dark Souls, Dark Souls II had a lot to live up to. It didn’t.

It has an overabundance of forgettable boss battles. It has too many levels that rely on throwing waves of bad guys at the player from all angles. It also looks the worst. Muddy, low-res textures make the environments look fake. Baddies have a wind-up toy feel because of their clunky animation.

But even as the worst in the series, Dark Souls II is still a good game. The HD re-release Scholar of the First Sin does a lot to alleviate the problems of the original. Touched-up graphics, remixed enemy encounters, a more fleshed out story, and all three amazing DLC packed in make it the definitive version.

4. Demon’s Souls

Demon’s Souls introduced a lot of elements that fans have come to love about the series: intricate castles and caverns filled with devious traps and larger-than-life bosses, calculated sword-and-sorcery combat, the risk/reward tension of exploration and self-preservation, and a revolutionary online multiplayer system that let players help or fight each other. Experiencing all this was a revelation for PS3 owners.

Going back to Demon’s Souls though after playing the later games reveals the primitive design. Ambushes are telegraphed a mile away to experienced players. Enemies can’t withstand constant pressure. Most boss battles have one neat solution that make quick work of them on repeat playthroughs. Magic is OP!

But nothing will take away the thrill of conquering Boletaria Palace for the very first time.

3. Dark Souls III

Of the Dark Souls trilogy, the final chapter is the most refined gameplay-wise. Dark Souls III cherrypicks from all its predecessors’ mechanics while presenting novel ways to overcome demons and dragons and all sorts of foul, twisted evils. This combination of quality features results in the most fun-to-play Dark Souls game.

It is certainly the grandest, taking players across distant lands and distorted timelines, and serving up the biggest and baddest bosses to conclude the epic story.

And yet at times, it feels like the creators were getting burnt out. There aren’t many surprises, especially for diehard fans who’ve played all the older games multiple times. Familiarity reduces fear, which is as much of a Souls hallmark as the difficulty. At the very least, developers From Software are leaving the series on a good note.

2. Dark Souls

Although Demon’s Souls came first, it wasn’t until Dark Souls was released did video games at large feel the seismic shift this storied franchise caused. Unlike Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls wasn’t exclusive to the PS3. It also came out on the Xbox 360 and PC, garnering a much bigger audience that was thirsty for something different from brain-dead shooters and tedious RPGs that dominated the market circa 2011. And boy was Dark Souls different.

Gamers used to the comforts of contemporary games were dropped into a mysterious land that punishes thoughtless play. You don’t get a guided tutorial that explains what you can do. There is no map with objective markers telling you where to go. Whenever you die, all the enemies you kill come back to life. Checkpoints are few and far between. You can’t manually save your progress, and the game auto-saves the moment you do anything, so you can’t just load an older save to undo a mistake. You can’t even pause the game at all!

None of that stopped millions of players from facing the game’s myriad trials, plumbing the depths of the fantastical interconnected kingdom of Lordran, and discovering the simple satisfaction of earning hard-fought victories.

1. Bloodborne

It’s only fitting that the best Souls game is a spin-off and doesn’t even have “Souls” in the name. Bloodborne takes the core components of Dark Souls, discards everything that slows things down, and turns up the dial on speed, style, and story. The result? Fast-paced, hyper-focused action in a nightmarish plane of existence dripping with atmosphere and intrigue.

Forget the hundreds of useless gear that only have the slightest variations. Each weapon in Bloodborne is wholly unique, with “trick modes” that add another dimension to fighting. Guns replace shields, and lost health is recovered when you immediately strike back against foes, forcing more aggressive play. Toss out the tired “grimdark Lord of the Rings” aesthetic. Bloodborne goes all Brutalist Victorian, deftly mixing the Gothic stylings of werewolves and vampires with the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft.

There are no weak, throwaway, and unfinished levels. All the bosses have something special about them. The optional Chalice Dungeons present a series first with their ever-changing areas and randomized loot. The Old Hunters DLC is a masterclass of expansions, supplementing the main game with lengthy and meaningful content. The music is sinister and stirring.

Most important of all, Bloodborne recaptures the essential sensation of trying to survive in an unknown, uncaring, and uncompromising world.

SEE ALSO: Best Video Games of 2017 (Q1 Edition)

[irp posts=”11926″ name=”Best Video Games of 2017 (Q1 Edition)”]

Hands-On

Dyson Airwrap hair tutorial and real-life hold test

Is it hard to use? Does it really work?

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The Dyson Airwrap, ever since its announcement, has been the stuff of hairstyle dreams and legends. The high-tech curling iron revolutionizes the way we do our hair!

But, does it really work? Can a normal girl like myself actually get her hair to look as fab with this new-fangled hair gadget? I put it to the test.

In the video above, you see me doing my hair and the final looks. I try a total of two styles — curly and straight — and take my ‘do out and about to see if my hair would hold. And yes folks, this was only the second time I used the Airwrap on myself, ever.

The results impressed!

If you’re having trouble viewing this video, click HERE to watch

Stay tuned for the full review of the Dyson Airwrap on Her GadgetMatch. For similar topics and features, visit the website here.

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Deals

Plan for Black Friday early with these amazing deals

It’s time to ready your shopping list and wallet

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We’re midway through November already, inching towards Thanksgiving and one of the most awaited dates for shopping — Black Friday. To help you get yourself and your wallet ready, we scoured through the internet to find some of the best tech deals that’ll be popping up next week. Here are some offers that you might want to take advantage of on November 23rd.

17.3-inch ASUS TUF gaming laptop (US$ 999)

This ASUS Gaming Laptop will be going down by US$ 400, so if you’ve been wanting a gaming laptop, this might be the time to cop one. And if you have a more limited budget, you could also check out the HP Pavilion CX0056WM Gaming Laptop for  under US$ 600 with over US$ 100 worth of extra gaming software at Walmart.

HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub for MacBooks (US$ 69.99)

This would make a perfect gift for that person you know who lives the #donglelife. Check out the deal at Best Buy.

Sony PS4 1TB Slim Spider‑Man Bundle (US$ 199) and Xbox One S 1TB Minecraft Creators Bundle (US$ 299)

The best console deals come out this time of year, and next week, both the Spider-Man PlayStation 4 bundle and the Minecraft Creators Xbox One S bundle will be up for grabs!

Nintendo Switch Super Mario Kart Deluxe Bundle (US$ 299)

Another console being featured this Black Friday is the Nintendo Switch. Why not get the Switch with an amazing party game for your holiday gatherings? You can check the deal out at Best Buy or Walmart.

Pac-Man or Galaga Retro Arcade Machine (US$ 249)

For retro gamers or those who want to reminisce about the arcade days, this would definitely be a great item to pick up. Check it out at Target.

Amazon Echo Dot (Gen 3) (US$ 25) and Google Home Mini (US$ 25)

Get in the smart home/speaker game with the Amazon Echo Dot at half the price! You can also go with the Google Home Mini, if Alexa’s not your jam.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (128GB) with keyboard (US$ 599)

Why not get a powerful and portable device? The Surface Pro 6 will be US$ 360 cheaper on Friday, and it might be a good time to pick it up. The deal will be available at Best Buy.

65-inch 4K Smart Roku TV (US$ 398) and 40-inch Hisense 1080p TV (US$ 99)

This Walmart deal is probably one of the best TV deals we’ve ever seen. But if 65 inches is too big or you have a more limited budget, there’s also a 40-inch option that’s an incredible deal, as well.

Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones (US$ 99)

It might be a great chance to pick up a pair of wireless buds from one of the best audio companies out there for under US$ 100. If that’s still a bit too steep though, the Skullcandy Method Wireless Earbuds will also be available at Best Buy for US$ 25, and they’re good quality too.

Anki’s Cozmo (US$ 139.99) and Vector (US$ 199.99) Robots

Anki has been making their rounds on the internet with these two adorable little robots. They would make for a great gift for children and adults alike, and will be marked down at Best Buy this Thanksgiving weekend.

There you have it! Just a few sneaky bits we found ahead of all the ads. We’re sure there’ll be loads more amazing stuff to check out, but this is a good place to start. We hope you enjoy your holidays, and be careful if you’re planning to face the Black Friday mobs. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Features

Huawei, ZTE face ban amid 5G arms race: Weekend Rewind

It’s a security issue

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. Huawei and ZTE facing more potential bans

Huawei and ZTE have had a relatively hard time breaking through the US and it looks like they’ll face similar problems in other countries. While the US has allowed both Chinese companies to operate in their soil, the likes of Australia, Japan, the UK, and Germany aren’t exactly eager to welcome these two.

The cause for concern is China’s newly implemented National Intelligence Law. This law forces Chinese companies and individuals to serve the Chinese government when needed. Other countries fear this could compromise security.

Huawei and ZTE are gearing up towards 5G but with this current development, it looks like they’ll need to look elsewhere to establish their infrastructure.

2. PLDT, Smart activates first 5G towers in PH

Speaking of 5G, the Philippines isn’t one of the countries that’s blocking China. In fact, the government may be too welcoming. Partnering with Huawei and Ericsson, telecommunications company PLDT along with its wireless arm Smart has activated two 5G cell sites in the country.

The first one is located in Makati City where the company’s headquarters is also found. The other is in Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, a neighboring region of Metro Manila.

3. MediaTek gearing up for 5G

Still on 5G, MediaTek is already hard at work in developing its 5G-capable chip. In a media tour in Taiwan, the company showcased the Helio M70 which does just that.

MediaTek says commercial rollout won’t happen until 2020 but they’re already prepared to showcase the chip at the next MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona, Spain.

 

Image source: LetsGoDigital

4. Apple patents holed iPhone design

Is Apple killing the notch? That appears to be the case if the latest patent they filed is any indication. LetsGoDigital reported that Apple is planning a holed smartphone.

According to the patent, the front-facing camera could be hidden underneath the screen through that hole. Whether or not this will be the case for the next iPhone remains to be seen. We all just have to wait and see.

5. PlayStation to skip E3 2019

PlayStation won’t be present when annual gaming convention E3 comes around in 2019. This marks the first time in the show’s 24-year history that Sony won’t be present.

In a statement sent to multiple outlets, Sony said, “As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community. PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently, and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you

It’s all very vague at this point but the company could be all hands on deck for an even more major reveal *cough* PlayStation 5 *cough* and they want the attention all to themselves instead of sharing it with other platforms.


Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

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