Gaming

God of War: An older Kratos needs a wiser you

He also has company in his son (yes, son!), Atreus

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When I was getting ready to play the first hour or so of the new God of War, I was psyching myself up for a hack and slash action-adventure. However, the game quickly put me in my place and showed me I needed to think a little and not just mindlessly slash.

During a media preview in Singapore, we were told this new God of War game is built on three pillars: narrative, combat, and exploration. The game has indeed evolved in those three areas — an evolution fit for today’s gaming scene.


Narrative

If you didn’t already know, God of War is a gaming franchise launched in 2005. It has so far released seven games featuring main character Kratos rampaging through Greek mythology. The creators of the game are now calling that the first era, with this new launch marking the start of the second era wherein Kratos will now face off against Norse gods.

Quite the twist in this game is that Kratos will be joined in this latest journey by his son, Atreus. Yes, Kratos has a son. Atreus will play a key part in both the gameplay and the story.

Kratos isn’t flying solo in this game. He has his son, Atreus, by his side

Speaking of which, the story of the latest God of War game is set in Scandinavia. An undetermined time has passed since Kratos laid waste to the Greek gods, and now he finds himself going through the Norse wilds, teaching his son how to survive while also learning how to be a father along the way.

Exploration

In previous iterations of the game, the camera had a focused third-person, fixed cinematic perspective. This is where a large part of the experience will change for most players who have grown used to what the previous games had to offer.

From fixed, the developers decided to make the camera “unhinged” giving you free reign to look around and soak in the Norse wilds. This helps as you move around and look for items you might need to unlock more of what Kratos and Atreus can do in the game. Some of the exploration involves having to look for certain stones that unlock chests containing items that will provide boosts for the Spartan warrior.

Kratos finds himself deep in the Norse wilds

The core system demanding you to explore, loot, craft, and upgrade is still there, but the ability to control your view adds another layer to it that feels updated for the gaming landscape today. Predictably, this change in the camera has an effect not only on how you interact with your surroundings but also with how you battle.

Combat

“We wanted to kick the player’s ass in the beginning of the game,” is how God of War Marketing Producer Aaron Kaufman described their approach to tweaking the combat system.

In a lot of ways, the combat also reflects this new Kratos’ demeanor. While there still remains some of Kratos’ iconic brand of rage, this older Kratos appears wiser and more measured. That same demeanor is how you should approach the combat.

One of the more exciting things in this new game is Kratos’ weapon: an axe. But it’s not just any axe. It looks pretty basic to start, but it has some magic in it and one of its best features is that you can throw it around giving Kratos a bit of an extended range on his attacks similar to his previous blades. So how do you get a thrown axe back? There’s a button to summon the axe and it comes back to Kratos similar to how Thor, the thunder god in Norse mythology and also a well-known superhero these days, summons his hammer.

That axe

However, like I mentioned earlier, there’s more to doing battle than swinging and throwing a weapon around. Some enemies won’t be fazed by the axe and you’ll have to straight up give them a taste of Kratos’ fist. Some enemy attacks are so powerful you’ll need to defend before you can land an attack. While others require that you use Atreus’ arrows before Kratos can deliver a beatdown.

It’s a gotten a lot trickier than it used to be, but there are certain elements to it that still feels very distinctly God of War. For instance, there’s a stun meter under opponents’ life meter. Once it reaches critical, it allows you to perform perhaps one of the most brutally satisfying ways of finishing off enemies.

Draugrs. Draugrs everywhere

The upgrades are also quantified now. At the pause menu or when you speak to the smiths of Kratos’ axe, you can upgrade the items and weapons equipped to both Kratos and Atreus. There are now numbered indicators of how much a boost each item can give you. This should give you a better idea on whether to have an item crafted now or wait until you have more materials for perhaps a better item.

All of these contribute to a more challenging battle system without completely alienating the hack-and-slash element that endeared a lot of people to this franchise.

Release date and availability

The game will officially launch on April 20, 2018 across the world. Pricing details are as follows:

Standard Edition:

Philippines — PhP 2,799

Indonesia — IDR 729,000

Thailand — THB 1,890

Malaysia — MYR 229

Those who pre-order will receive three shields as well as an XP boost.

Collector’s Edition contains the following physical items: 9-inch Kratos and Atreus statue, 2-inch Huldra Brothers Carvings, Exclusive Lithograph, Cloth map, Special necklace, and drawstring bag. It also has the following digital items: Death’s vow armor set, Exile’s guardian shield, Dark Horse digital comic, Dark Horse artbook, and Dynamic theme.

9-inch statue of Kratos and Atreus

It’s priced as follows:

Philippines — PhP 7,699

Indonesia — IDR 1,899,000

Thailand — THB 4,990

Malaysia — MYR 549

There’s also a limited edition God of War PlayStation bundle that include an original design PlayStation 4 Pro with 1TB HDD, one original design DualShock 4 wireless controller, God of War software with premium digital content, voucher code for digital contents, three-month subscription voucher card, and a PlayStation one-year extended warranty service.

Pricing are as follows:

Indonesia — IDR 7,249,000

Thailand — THB 17,690

Malaysia — MYR 1,999

A closer look at the DualShock 4 controller

As of posting, the PlayStation 4 bundle has no pricing and availability details in the Philippines.

Computex 2019

AMD announces faster 12-core Ryzen chips

Coming in July

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The processing war is starting up again. Fresh out of the oven, AMD has announced a variety of new chips for launch this year. In a recent press conference, Dr. Lisa Su, AMD’s chief executive, presented the company’s future — 12 cores and 7 nanometers.

First up, the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X CPU will boast a boost clock of 4.6GHz and a base clock of 3.8GHz. It will also sport 70MB of cache memory. Notably, AMD’s new chip will go up against Intel’s Core i9-9920X. Su demonstrated her chip’s performance against Intel’s driver. In comparison, the Ryzen 9 3900X performs more efficiently and cooler than Intel’s chip. Most impressively, AMD’s chip will retail for only US$ 499, a far cry from Intel’s US$ 1,199 price tag.


Likewise, the 8-core Ryzen 7 3700X touts the same improved efficiency. According to Su, the new chip will have a boost clock of 4.4GHz and a base clock of 3.6GHz. It will churn out 15 percent better efficiency than its predecessors. It will also produce only 65 watts of heat when active. The Ryzen 7 3700X will retail for only US$ 329, compared to its rivalling Intel Core i7-9700K’s US$ 385 price tag.

For more power, the Ryzen 7 3800K boasts more performance. Demonstrated on stage, the chip can play modern games remarkably well: 34 percent higher frame rate on League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive; 22 percent higher on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds; 21 percent faster on Overwatch; 15 percent faster on Dota 2; and, 14 percent faster on GTA V. Similarly, it performs 37 percent faster on multi-threaded tasks. It will retail for US$ 399, compared to the Intel Core i9-990K’s US$ 484 price tag.

Besides the iconic Ryzen series, AMD also teased a new initiative: the Navi architecture. Unlike the company’s other offerings, the Navi team will build chips based on the new 7nm architecture. According to Su, the new architecture will ship with the upcoming Radeon RX 5000 series. Compared to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2070, the upcoming Navi chips will tout higher clock speeds and more efficient power usage. AMD is motivated to do everything better with the Navi architecture.

Unfortunately, AMD has not released a lot of details surrounding the upcoming chip. AMD is delaying a more detailed launch for June’s E3 show. However, the company has confirmed an appropriate July 7 release date for the new 7nm chips.

SEE ALSO: AMD reveals next-generation 7nm graphics card

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Gaming

Playdate is a handheld gaming system with a crank

Yes, an actual crank

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If you’re bored of the current gaming console landscape or are simply waiting for the next-gen PlayStation to come out, there’s this new handheld system that might keep you a little busy.

From a company named Panic, which is known for developing the popular game Firewatch, comes the Playdate. It may seem like a simple gaming system at first, but look to its right and you’ll see its defining feature: a crank.


The developer says that some titles will use this analog controller exclusively, while some won’t at all (which, to me, sorta defeats the purpose of placing that game on this console). Everything will be played on its monochrome screen with no backlighting.

You can see it in action here:

The spin here is that the Playdate will come with a subscription of 12 games — delivered to you once a week for 12 weeks. It’s part of the initial cost of US$ 149, but there’s no word yet if there’ll be subscriptions after that and how much they’ll cost.

Each game will be a surprise, which may or not be a good thing. Spending this much on an unproven console — and possibly more for succeeding subscriptions — could end up becoming a costly risk.

Orders will be accepted later this year, while actual shipping will happen in early 2020. For now, you can sign up through the official website to receive updates on its progress.

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Gaming

Here’s an early look at the Sony PS5’s raw performance

Spoiler: It’s fast!

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Even though Sony dished out some early info on the upcoming PlayStation 5 (should they choose to stick to the numbered naming scheme) and revealed that it’s more than just a mere upgrade, we don’t have any tangible data on what exactly to expect.

Fortunately, Wall Street Journal tech reporter Takashi Mochizuki was present at Sony’s most recent gaming presentation and had this video to show us:


What you see here is a comparison between the loading times of the PS5 and PS4 Pro. Make no mistake here: The next-generation console is incredibly fast! A lot of credit must be given to the built-in SSD the PS5 will ship with.

This should be taken with a grain of salt, however. Tech demos are often fixed to make the newer (and more expensive) product seem superior. To the next-gen console’s credit, it’ll come with the latest eight-core Ryzen chip and a custom GPU from AMD’s Radeon Navi, which are capable of 8K gaming and ray tracing when put together.

Sadly, we still don’t have a release date and Sony won’t announce anything at E3 next month. For now, savor your PS4 and its growing library of classics.

Via: Kotaku

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