Gaming

God of War: A must-play for 2018

Like Kratos, this game has grown like fine wine

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I’ll try my best not to overhype this, but God of War is an easy, early entry for 2018’s game of the year.

Okay, I may have failed that hyping part, but that’s exactly how you’ll feel too after getting your ass kicked by the first semi-boss battle thinking this is the same game you conquered years back. After trying, and failing, to hack-and-slash your way through that battle, you’ll quickly realize how much more depth this game has compared to the God of War games that came before it.

The first thing that jumps out at you is the series-lead Kratos. He’s now bearded, looks older, and definitely acts wiser. Going through the first hour or so of the game, you’ll see that this is not the same vengeance-seeking beast that unleashed a vicious assault for one Greek god after another.

Kratos is now more measured. Retribution is no longer his single driving force. It’s more a sense of duty — duty to fulfill a promise to his wife who had passed and a duty to raise their son Atreus, who’s a key part both in the story and the gameplay.

Atreus is the man

The idea of a vengeful Spartan warrior fueled by rampage having a son seemed unimaginable at first, but bringing Atreus into the fold proved to be the perfect way to expand God of War. The passing of his wife leaves Atreus in his care; Atreus adds depth to Kratos.

At the beginning of the game, he teaches the child how to hunt. You can hear the frustration in his voice as the boy fails in his first attempt. Instead of going ballistic, he reigns himself in before providing stern and sound advice.

The interplay between father and son is present nearly the entire duration of the game. Their dialogue goes on not only in cinematic scenes but even as you go through the game whether you’re searching for clues, solving puzzles, or just trying to figure out where to go next.

Atreus aids you in battle. His arrow can stun opponents or take their attention off of you, and his proficiency and power grow as the game progresses. However, that’s not the only area where Atreus proves helpful. The boy is able to read ancient writings that provide clues on how you can solve puzzles or move on from a certain point.

One shot is all it takes

One of the biggest technical accomplishments of the game is how it’s a one-shot story, which means there’s absolutely zero loading screens. That’s a challenge both in game production and storytelling. From the get-go, it puts you right in the heart of the action being in the shoes of the central figures of the story. It makes for an ultra-immersive experience that will leave you invested in how their relationship develops.

It doesn’t feel like a straight-up tutorial, but the game uses the first 8 to 10 hours to show you the ropes. From attacking, using Atreus, upgrading your equipment, and many others. After that, it opens up to a slew of side quests that can be as satisfying as pushing the story forward. While it is by no means a true open-world game, it’s wide enough that it lets you explore, but not too wide that you feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities.

It’s still about Kratos

With all of that said, this is still a God of War game, meaning Kratos is still at the heart of it. In many ways, this new Kratos mirrors the game’s growth. In the previous era wherein he unapologetically laid waste to the Greek gods, Kratos seemed more one-dimensional. He had one goal and that was to exact revenge and the games’ hack-and-slash approach reflected that.

This older Kratos appears to have grown as he is forced into a situation where he has to care for his child. Fatherhood puts the Spartan warrior in an unfamiliar place. While there is still rage within him, he appears more subdued. At times he struggles with how to speak with Atreus and it’s that very struggle that shows a side of Kratos we likely have never seen before: a tenderness that’s somehow out of character.

Don’t let that fool you, though. There’s still plenty of raging Kratos here. What this game has masterfully done is retain the identity and history of the previous God of War games while infusing it with learnings from the games that have come during the franchise’s hiatus.

The easiest comparison you’ll see is how it’s a more casual-gamer-friendly version of Dark Souls. And while I did think that, the approach feels more derivative rather than a direct recreation.

Nothing communicates that experience better than Kratos’ new weapon: the Leviathan axe. Gone are the chain blades that devastated draugrs and gods alike. Kratos’ axe is infused with ice magic, able to stun opponents. One of the most badass parts of the game is how you can throw the axe and summon it right back. But don’t think for a second that Kratos will be helpless without the axe. You still have his shield and his bare hands, and that’s sometimes required to defeat certain foes.

The battle system still feels as satisfying as ever. It requires more thinking than straight-up slashing which should be a welcome challenge whether you’re a veteran of the franchise or you’re being introduced to it through this game.

God of War

Even though Kratos has aged, nothing about this game feels old. There’s still enough God of War oomph that endeared it to its long-time fans while adding elements that can easily be embraced by a newer generation of gamers looking to dig into the lore of the franchise.

This is by far the easiest single-player, story-driven game to recommend to anyone this year. If you have time to play only a handful of games on the PS4 this year, God of War should be on that list.

SEE ALSO: God of War: An older Kratos needs a wiser you

Gaming

Special Edition Predator Helios 300 looks awesome in white

The gaming machine is a looker!

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Today, Acer announced a slew of new devices. From powerful gaming computers to updated notebooks, fans gathered as the tech brand unveiled products at the annual #NextAtAcer event in New York.

Out of all the gadgets and gizmos showcased, one thing caught everyone’s eye. This is the special edition Predator Helios 300.

It comes in a stunning all-white aluminum chassis with gold details — something you don’t see a lot of with gaming laptops.

Of course, it’s not all looks. Specs have been updated, too. It’s powered by the latest Core i7 processor with up to 16GB of RAM (expandable to 32GB) and 512GB SSD storage.

This thing is also equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and a 15.6-inch display with a refresh rate of 144Hz. Other than those changes, it’s still the same powerful machine released last year.

Regional pricing is yet to be announced for this bad baby. In the meantime, let’s just ogle at this beautiful, clean, and crisp-looking exterior.

As if it doesn’t get any better, Acer also unveiled matching white accessories.

A gaming mouse and headphones to match the whole mood.

Just look at that. I can’t stop staring, and I’m sure you feel the same way.

This is definitely this year’s best-looking gaming device so far. Take my money, Acer!

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Gaming

Acer Predator Helios 500 can overclock its Core i9 and GTX 1070 chips

Predator Helios 300 Special Edition gets launched as well

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Acer is well known for unleashing some of the most unreal gaming notebooks we’ve ever seen. And while it’s difficult to top the Predator Triton 700 and 21 X, the company is certainly continuing to turn heads with its newest Helios lineup.

First up is the Predator Helios 500, which is a follow-up to the Helios 300 we saw launched around this time last year. Acer is calling this new model “exceptionally powerful” and I can’t argue with that.

Both its Intel Core i9 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 chips are overclockable. They’re already fast on stock speeds, so being able to go past their limits is something mobile gamers will wholeheartedly enjoy. On top of that, the Helios 500 can be fitted with Intel’s Optane memory, providing users with the shortest of load times. If that’s not enough, up to 64GB of RAM can be installed, too.

To make the most of the high-end components, the 17.3-inch IPS LCD (available in UHD or Full HD) can manage a 144Hz refresh rate along with NVIDIA’s G-Sync tech to prevent annoying instances of stuttering and tearing during intense gameplay. And so that things stay cool, the brand’s signature AeroBlade 3D metal fans are once again employed.

Since this is a gaming machine, you get the usual gamer essentials, including a backlit RGB keyboard and host of ports such as Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI 2.0.

Interested? The Helios 500 will go for US$ 1,999 in North America starting June, EUR 1,999 in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) beginning this month, and CNY 15,999 in China in June. Specific configurations depend per region.

Going back to the Helios 300 mentioned earlier, there’s now a Special Edition of the year-old gaming laptop. What’s different this time is the all-white aluminum chassis with gold trim — quite a unique design choice that stands out in the sea of black gaming notebooks.

It also comes with updated specs, namely an 8th-generation Core i7 processor coupled with up to 16GB of RAM (which you could still push to 32GB), 512GB SSD, Intel Optane memory, and a GTX 1060. The display is slightly smaller than its larger counterpart at 15.6 inches, but the Full HD IPS panel can handle a refresh rate of 144Hz, as well. Two AeroBlade fans are inside to keep everything in order.

The Helios 300’s regional pricing and availability will be disclosed soon.

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Gaming

Acer launches affordable but fast Nitro 50 gaming desktop

Also launches complementary Nitro monitors

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Much like smartphone aficionados, gamers require a plethora of flexible options to get their optimal gaming fix. There is no catch-all model for everyone. As such, gaming PC makers do better when they launch more models catered for different types of gamers.

With this in mind, Acer is launching another expansion to its specialized Nitro family. Catered more for gamers with a budget, the Nitro lineup touts amazing specs with competitive pricing.

The new addition, called the Nitro 50, infuses the lineup with a dose of high octane. The new desktop PC packs in the industry’s up-to-date specs into one convenient package. Speaking of package, the Nitro 50 struts and shines with armor-inspired housing fronted with edgy red lighting.

Tailored for power, the Nitro 50 runs on 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processors. Further, the PC comes with variants running up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 video cards.

Additionally, the Nitro 50 blazes through every single storage issue that gamers face today. It sports up to 3TB of HDD storage and 512GB of SSD storage. The package also comes with a built-in Qi wireless charging deck.

Regardless of whether it’s online play or streaming, the PC sports a Realtek Dragon LAN card which optimizes network speeds for every use.

Nitro RG0

To complement the Nitro 50’s capabilities, Acer is also launching new Nitro VG0 and RG0 monitors. Both monitors have garnered recognition at the 2018 Red Dot Design Awards. Offering up to 27-inch variants, both the VG0 and RG0 series tailor fit usage according to every possible game configuration.

Both the Nitro 50 desktop and VG0/RG0 monitors will launch according to region. The Nitro 50 gaming desktop retails for US$ 799 and will launch between May and July. The Nitro VG0 monitors start at US$ 129 and will launch between May and June. Finally, the Nitro RG0 monitors sell for US$ 169 and will launch between May and July.

SEE ALSO: Acer Avengers Edition Laptops Unboxing

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