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.

Gaming

The Nintendo Switch Lite is coming

For on-the-go gaming!

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It has long been rumored that Nintendo will launch a more affordable version of the Nintendo Switch and now, the company has more than confirmed that the rumors are true. Enter the Nintendo Switch Lite. It’s a smaller less featured-filled version of the hit console from Nintendo.

The Nintendo Switch Lite is smaller and lighter. It sports a 5.5-inch touch screen display against its big brother’s 6.2-inch display and is projected to last a little longer at three to seven hours of playtime.


The primary difference though is that it is a handheld only console. Which is why it doesn’t support Joy-Con controllers. It also doesn’t come with a Switch Dock. You can essentially play most titles available on the Switch, but there’s no option for you to play on a bigger screen.

Pricing and availability

The Nintendo Switch Lite will launch on September 20 and will retail for US$ 199.99. It will come in three colors: Yellow, Gray, and Turquoise. Are you gonna get one?

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Gaming

A non-Potterhead’s verdict on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Use your phone, Harry!

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More than a week has passed since the global release of the mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and we’re ready to give our thoughts. As the title states, I’m not into the franchise that much although I’m a big Pokémon Go player. It basically has the same gameplay as they’re under the same developers — Niantic, Inc.

That being said, I won’t be diving too much on the lore and will instead focus more on gameplay and its overall experience.


For those unfamiliar, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a location-based AR game that requires you to go out of the house in order to get more experience points, unlock special items, and advance in the game. The same goes for Pokémon Go and the game before that, Ingress. While PoGo, in the real world, has PokéStops that give out PokéBalls, HP:WU has Inns that you get Spell Energy from. This is then required so you can cast spells and return Foundables to their rightful place and time (the game’s version of catching different Pokémon in the wild).

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ALSO READ: A beginner’s guide to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

During the first day of release and being curious as to how the game works, I went out and tried to “catch” as much Foundables as I can and just like PoGo, it gets you in the momentum of just wanting to go around and get as much as you can. I initially noticed the wider array of different “species” you can come across with on HP:WU as compared to when PoGo first launched. I remember all I did back then was to catch Pidgey and Rattata because that was pretty much everything that was available. This was also the main reason why most players quit back then.

You get to choose your house, profession, and design your wand

Back to Wizards Unite, the similarities it has with PoGo made it easy for me to get a grasp of its general gameplay even though I have no idea who most of the characters are. The idea is to basically level up by grinding for experience points in the most efficient way. This means planning where to go and making sure the place is populated by in-game stops and spawns — usually parks and shopping malls are good choices.

Comparison of HP:WU’s UI vs PoGo in the same area

While it parallels Niantic’s other games in many levels, Wizards Unite brings its own charm through its visuals. The environment of HP:WU is simply more immersive than PoGo‘s and even the encounters have more detail in them. It could get distracting at times since there are more elements in HP:WU, but is overall nicer to look at.

A unique aspect from the company’s games is that unlike other multiplayer games where you meet your friends online, you actually play with them in real life and this is also the case for Wizards Unite. These games basically build a community that helps each other accomplish in-game tasks that are usually challenging to accomplish alone. What HP:WU did better, though, is to go for a more immersive gameplay by making you trace different patterns on your screen as if waving your wand as compared to the tapping mechanics of PoGo.

Overall, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite could be a more enjoyable game for some players who are not big fans of the Pokémon franchise. I personally enjoy it enough to switch between HP:WU and PoGo whenever I play out. It will keep you walking around drawing on your screen and pretending to wave your make-believe wand.

It’s a game that’s far more complete than Pokémon Go at launch, that’s for sure. Although, it’s still far from reaching its full potential since there are things that could still be added to the game like a dueling system, for example.

If you want to try the game and get some cardio while casting spells, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is available on Google Play and the App Store.

 

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Gaming

Spider-Man: Far From Home suits coming to PS4 game

Ready to do some more web-slinging?

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In case you needed a reason to play Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 again then here it is.

With Spider-Man: Far From Home hitting theaters this week, Insomniac Games announced that the costumes heavily featured on the trailers of the film are making their way to the 2018 hit game.


The announcement first came from PlayStation Japan’s official Twitter account which was then swiftly followed by a post on the PlayStation Blog in the US.

The new threads are called Upgraded Suit and Stealth suit. Both will be available immediately as soon as players build the Advanced Suit in-game.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is the second full-length film in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) starring the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. The film  picks up right after the events of Avengers: Endgame and will wrap up the third phase of MCU.

Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 came out in late 2018 and was a strong contender for game of the year. It received rave reviews from critics and fans thanks to how it captured the essence of Spider-Man.

SEE ALSO: Marvel’s Spider-Man Review: Spidey in all his glory

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