Gaming

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age Review

No longer exclusive in Japan

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The way video games have evolved over time is nothing short of impressive. Studios and franchises keep finding ways to improve and adapt to cater to the demand of the modern gamer. Blocky characters became more realistic, gameplay more complex, worlds vastly expanded. But it can get overwhelming and sometimes you just want to come home to something familiar.

Enter Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age, a classic JRPG that will warm your heart and hit you hard with nostalgia.

What a wonderful world

I was welcomed into the bright world of Erdrea with a cinematic that explained how the hero (you get to name him) ended up in the humble town of Cobblestone. It’s later revealed that he’s the Luminary, a legendary hero tasked to save Erdrea from darkness. This catapults our hero into his journey to fulfill his destiny. It’s honestly not a spectacular opening, not even remotely original. But I was glad to find that as the game progressed, the story started to introduce twists to the story. Sooner, much rather than later, I was hooked.

The characters are as wonderfully colorful and diverse as the world they live in. The crazy menagerie of monsters, bumbling NPCs, and quirky members of your party add another level of entertainment. Your party, for example, despite sticking to the classic JRPG classes, have their own distinct personalities that try and stray away from the expected. No big, macho tanks here but you do get a fun, dancing circus performer.

The towns that you visit also have their own identities (and accents!) which make them unique; it’s like visiting a different country each time.

Fun fact: The artist of Dragon Quest is also the artist of Dragon Ball, hence the similarity in character designs.

New but familiar

Dragon Quest XI is an apple that doesn’t fall far from the classic dungeon crawler tree by sticking to turn-based fighting and point-based character building. What’s great this time around is that enemies are visible in the overworld which eliminates the element of random encounters. This may be a good or bad thing depending on what kind of player you are. For me, it was incredibly helpful because I was able to choose my battles. Once I got to a certain level, I started avoiding the weaker enemies so I could save my HP and MP for the ones that that gave higher experience points or just go straight to the boss battles.

Staying true to the formula, it’s a lather-rinse-repeat kind of game. To progress the story and level up, you fight several enemies and bosses, go to towns, accomplish quests and then do it all over again. Dragon Quest attempts to relieve the repetitiveness of this kind of gameplay by giving the option to have your party attack automatically. It worked great in getting past easy monsters without much effort and also for level grinding.

Pep Powers are also introduced in the game. When a member of your party is hit a number of times, they get “Pepped Up” which increases their stats and adds special moves that he/she can perform alone or with another pepped-up party member; different combinations of characters yield different attacks/buffs. If you’re familiar with Limit Breaks, it’s similar to that. I found it hard to manage, though, as only the main hero will attain the ability to get pepped up on command. The rest of your party will do it at random, making it more difficult if you want to execute a certain ability.

Linear but large

As expected, Dragon Quest XI is not an open-world game. And while you are free to roam around the map, you won’t get far without following the main story, as new areas are usually blocked. For each town, there are different story arcs that not only support the main story but add to the rich tapestry of Dragon World XI’s world. It’s surprising how easily each town’s story seamlessly weaves into the next making it quite hard to stop playing.

Moving around is easy with the option to fast travel using a spell given in the early levels of the main character. But unless there’s a specific goal to achieve in these towns, I found going by foot or by horse was much more enjoyable, plus you’ll be able to search for treasure chests and crafting materials hidden throughout the world. The game also rewards you for breaking pots and barrels, as well as looting cabinets and bookshelves in the homes of townspeople.

Dragon Quest makes up for being linear by offering so much content. On average, you’ll need about 70 hours to finish the main game, but with the post-game content, you can easily stretch your play time well above the hundred-hour mark. Thankfully, Erdrea is huge (Mild spoiler: You’ll be needing a boat) and the story is strong enough to support this lengthy game.

Overall, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is a wonderful testament to the JRPG genre and a great example of how a classic formula can be successfully brought into the modern age of video games. It’s a familiar and comfortable game that still offers quite a challenge. It lives up to its name, surely pleasing fans of the series and the genre but also creating a welcome atmosphere for new players. Despite the slow start, you’ll soon find yourself lost in the beautiful world of Erdrea and heavily invested in the story and its characters.

From scouring corners of the world for crafting materials to spending time on each character’s skill tree or even playing some of the town’s mini-games, Dragon Quest XI offers a multitude of things to accomplish that will leave you playing for hours. If you find yourself wanting to play a new game but also yearning for a touch of the classic dungeon crawlers of before, Echoes of an Elusive Age is definitely a game to consider

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age was released worldwide on September 4, 2018 and is available on PS4 and Steam. This article was based on a digital copy for the PS4.

Gaming

EVOS Legends wins first ever Mobile Legends World Championship

All of these in preparation for the Esports tournament in the upcoming SEA Games

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Shanghai Moonton, the company behind the popular MOBA game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang hosted its first ever world championship this month. The MLBB World Championship (M1) took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from November 11 to 17. The week-long tournament brought in the best teams from Asia, with a total cash prize of US$ 250,000 at stake.

At the end of the tournament, Indonesia’s EVOS Legends stood above as the inaugural champions. In the final round of the competition, they bested fellow Indonesian team Rex Regum Qeon (RRQ), 4-3 and took home US$ 80,000. Their journey throughout the whole tournament was a dominant one, as they swept through Myanmar’s Burmese Ghouls and RRQ in the Upper Bracket.

With the loss, RRQ moved to the Lower Bracket and waited for a challenger from the rest of the Top 8 teams. After a series of matches between teams from Myanmar, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, RRQ bested Malaysia’s Todak 3-1 to set up a rematch with EVOS.

Apart from the tournament, Moonton prepared several activities for the fans in attendance. From performances and guest appearances to lucky giveaways and raffles during the finals, the entire event was nothing short of grand and spectacular. During their lucky giveaways, attendees won a whopping total of US$ 144,000 in prizes.

After this tournament, Moonton looks ahead to the upcoming SEA Games from November 30 to December 11. In Esports’ debut on the world stage, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang will be one of the many games that teams from Southeast Asia will compete in for a medal. If you want to see the highlights of the entire tournament, visit the Mobile Legends Facebook page.

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Gaming

Dell G7 review: All the heft and the heat

It’s simply one hot package your wallet hopes to afford

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I’d like to be able to play games wherever I go — provided some stable internet connection. I’d also like to have enough power to afford a device that allows me to do so. But in this world we live in, gaming laptops are things that are just out of our reach. Still, it shouldn’t stop us from trying to save up for them.

One such device is the Dell G7 15, a seemingly compact yet powerful gaming machine. The biggest and most powerful member of the Dell G series certainly brings a lot to the table. Performance and portability are its biggest selling points, especially for the on-the-go gamer. But does it really make the cut?

Let’s find out more about the Dell G7 15.

It comes in a slimmer metal finish compared to previous Dell gaming laptops

It has an NVIDIA RTX 2060 inside for unrivaled gaming performance

Ports for power, connectivity, and storage are placed at the back

It also has a customizable RGB-backlit keyboard

Hefty performance all around

Don’t let the slimmer body fool you; the Dell G7 packs a pretty hefty package. It comes with a 9th generation Intel i7 processor inside, a staple across gaming devices. I got around to doing research, Excel spreadsheets, and some video editing with this device. This, along with 16GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD inside, and you get that kind of speed and power.

Applications load fast, and I almost experienced no lags in trying to do multiple things at once. I even tried loading almost 30 tabs of Google Chrome, while doing some light video editing on Premiere Pro. This device simply does not have the word “lag” in its dictionary as even the most stressful situations keep it going.

Fiery gaming performance

I already knew what I’m getting with an RTX 2060 inside any gaming machine. True enough, my expectations for the highly touted gaming card were met when I tried it on this device. Gaming on this device felt like a visual experience that seemed too real. Color grading for games on the RTX 2060, to me almost comes close to the true colors of objects.

Colors aside, gaming performance with the RTX 2060 was phenomenal. I literally did not experience any lag with all the games I tried on this device, from AAA games to those that require little graphical power. Also, I noticed that visually, nothing was sacrificed for all the power it wields — which is the ideal situation anyway. 

Of course, there’s always a caveat to nice things like ultra-powerful gaming performance. Like most gaming machines, this thing gets pretty damn hot when you play for too long. I personally felt uncomfortable after playing for three hours around the WASD keys. That specific part of the keyboard felt like a frying pan, possibly telling me to take a break from playing Fortnite.

Charging up so quick, it makes you play more

Now, obviously gaming laptops have historically low battery lives. Playing on the Dell G7 for the recommended three hours already drained its entire battery so much. When I wasn’t fully using this device for gaming, I got about four to five and a half hours worth of usage before a full drain. These numbers, honestly don’t provide much in terms of long-lasting performance.

One silver lining to it all is that the device comes with a 60Wh battery that supports quick charging. And that’s not just from the proprietary charging port at the back; even the USB Type-C port to its side allows you to charge the device. The device reached close to 30% within 20 minutes, which is pretty decent compared to the other devices out there.

Of course, the charging brick that comes with the device isn’t so light. Figuratively, this 180W charger packs the necessary juice to supercharge the device. Quite literally, its weight didn’t bother me as much, and I’ve felt heavier chargers in the past. 

The cooling system that’s a little too hot at times

With all that power inside, you need a cooling system that settles everything inside. The Dell G7 has powerful fans inside that basically push all the hot air out. I thought it was a good touch that the Alienware Command Center allows you to control those fans. But, there were a couple of things that bothered me with this cooling system.

First off, in the times I didn’t play games, the fans somehow throttle out of the blue. I don’t know if that’s how these fans work, but I would be deeply concerned if upon startup the fans start to throttle. Second, the fans do take time to throttle when you start playing games, which limits performance overall.

Finally, even while the fans are able to push hot air out, it takes a while for the device to cool down. I get it, you have to be patient — especially when you’re gaming nonstop for three hours. But it wouldn’t hurt for the device to cool down a little faster than that. It’s things like this, along with the fans being loud that leaves you scratching your head a little bit.

Is this your GagdetMatch?

Starting at Php 113,990, the Dell G7 just proves to be one hefty machine. Great performance is already expected from this device, and it surely did not disappoint. This gaming machine comes in a package that just screams power, and I would surely recommend this device to most on-the-go gamers out there.

Of course, it’s simply not perfect. This device does not simply last long enough for you to game full time. Apart from that, it gets pretty damn hot when you play for too long. Even with a quick-charging port and an two-fan cooling system, these simply are not enough.

But you get past that, and the Dell G7 truly serves up one game-ready device. While it is one hefty price tag, the investment looks very promising.

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Gaming

China is imposing a gaming curfew for all children

And spending limits on in-game merch

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It’s a great time to be a gamer! Regardless of which platform you play on, it’s getting easier to find a game of your own. In fact, one of the world’s biggest games today, Fortnite, is completely free of charge. Unfortunately, today’s lax gaming world is a festering hotspot for gaming addiction.

Everyone has their own strategies for combating addiction. For most people, the complexities of real life are enough to keep us away from the controller. However, for a select few, parents (or other authority figures) are keeping gamers away with imposed gaming curfews. Such is the way of life.

However, what happens when a whole country gangs up on every child’s gaming habits? Fortunately, now we know.

Recently, the Chinese government has imposed a curfew and strict spending limits for Chinese children. According to new regulations, children under 18 cannot play between 10pm and 8am. Further, they can play for only 90 minutes per day. (Three hours for holidays!)

For spending, children between 8 to 16 can spend only US$ 28 to US$ 57 on payable content. Finally, underage players must use their real names when playing online.

According to the report, the new regulations stem from growing concerns about poor eyesight and declining school performance.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), the report doesn’t detail how the government will enforce this new regulation. If anything, the report encourages guardians to keep the regulation in mind when taking care of their children.

Thankfully, the regulation is only in China. Six-hour gaming marathons are still perfectly legal elsewhere in the world. Just remember to hydrate and say hi to the sun for a while.

SEE ALSO: Here are the five best announcements from BlizzCon 2019

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