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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)

Camera Shootouts

Flagship Smartphone Camera Shootout: Best of 2017

Find out which premium smartphone comes out on top

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The iPhone X, Pixel 2, Mate 10 Pro, and Galaxy Note 8 — they may all look different, but they share one important feature: an excellent set of cameras.

Join us as we compare photos taken by each of these flagship smartphones around Indonesia and Singapore. Which shooter comes out on top? Watch and find out!

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Dyson V8 Carbon Fibre cordless vacuum hands-on

The future of housekeeping

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Made a mess? Dyson’s got you.

The V8 Carbon Fibre, the newest addition to Dyson’s renowned cordless vacuum line, has just been launched in Southeast Asia.

The new cleaning device utilizes the same technology from previous Dyson innovations, which ensures optimum performance of this lean, mean, cleaning machine. Certain features — like a better battery and a more powerful engine — are improved on this new vacuum release.

Dyson engineer Sam Twist explains what the V8 Carbon Fibre can do

Dyson engineer Sam Twist explains what the V8 Carbon Fibre can do

At the launch in Bangkok, Thailand, I got to go hands-on with the device. Quite literally, I made a mess and cleaned it up with the V8 Carbon Fibre. Here are some initial observations:

Easy to handle

What amazed me most is how intuitive this device is. There was no learning curve. I picked it up for the first time, pulled a trigger that’s perfectly positioned in the area where my hand goes, and voila, I was vacuuming!

Now, call me uninformed on the workings of a vacuum (and general housekeeping) but I always thought vacuums were heavy. At least I didn’t expect something with this power to be as light as it was.

Like their Supersonic hairdryer, the V8 Carbon Fibre is ergonomically balanced. Simply put, it’s designed in a way that ensures easier handling.

Power!

This engine, tiny and light as it is, isn’t just a load of hot air (pun intended).

This device has 30 percent more suction power than its predecessors. That capability was shown off in a curious exhibition, one that entailed a vacuum-sealed container and some water. Yep, this vacuum sucks, in the best possible way.

This device tests the vaccum’s suction power! You can see the water rising as the device is turned on.

From corn chips to oregano, sprinkles to baking soda; we tried the vacuum and another Isa-made mess was averted.

Leave no dirt in sight

And, if the newly cleaned surface isn’t enough proof for you, you can just take a gander at the dirt you’ve picked up in the vacuum’s compartment.

This machine runs on an improved battery that’s capable of 40 minutes of non-stop, cord-free cleaning on low mode.

Very versatile

Aside from the fact that it’s a pretty capable machine, this thing also works well on different surfaces and different scenarios.

Different Dyson-engineered heads allow for cleaning a variety of textured spaces. There’s a tool specifically designed for carpets, hardwood floors, mattresses, and even one for “mess-free dog grooming!” Various accessories also mean that you can modify your vacuum specifically for the spot you want to clean — imagine a multi-angle brush attachment that allows you to clean hard to reach areas.

An added feature is that these vacuums have a wall-mounted charging dock, which is the most convenient thing. I’m definitely reserving a spot for this device in my future hypothetical high-tech house!

Now, these are just my initial thoughts on the V8 Carbon Fibre, but it’s enough to get me excited over vacuuming — who would’ve thought?

Quite honestly, I’ve never really enjoyed cleaning up my messes, but this thing might just change that.

The Dyson V8 Carbon Fibre will retail for PhP 47,500 in the Philippines starting February 21. It will be available in Thailand come March.

SEE ALSO: Dyson Supersonic review: Bladeless hair dryer

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CES 2018

Episode 001: Getting lost at the world’s largest tech show

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In this first epidose of GadgetMatch Podcast we talk about the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2018) which just wrapped up in Las Vegas. Michael Josh and Isa share behind the scenes challenges of covering the world’s largest tech show. And the team talks about the most attention grabbing tech from the show including an entire range of Artificial Intelligence and Google Assistant gadgets, Vivo’s new phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor, Sony’s new robot dog, and Razer’s Project Linda.

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