Entertainment

Now Playing: Holiday Edition

Cyberpunk 2077, K-dramas, K-pop, evermore, and more

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Happy Holidays! The GadgetMatch team is taking a break, and these are the forms of entertainment we’ll have while we recuperate before a series of tech events — CES 2021 and Galaxy Unpacked 2021 — rushes in next year.

Play, watch, and listen with us. Here’s what’s Now Playing in GadgetMatch:

Games to play

Hades

Luigi: Hades is one of the best games I’ve played this year. Zagreus, son of Hades, fights his way out of Hell. A roguelite game in essence, Hades features levels, powers, and abilities that change after every attempt to escape. It’s a simple game in concept but has one of the densest, most well-polished systems for its scale.

Watch Dogs 1 and 2

Vincenz: I may be super duper late to the party (and I know this isn’t the latest release) but I prefer playing them over the last two Grand Theft Auto releases. Although the worlds are not as big as Liberty City or Los Santos and the graphics are not as realistic, I love the storyline, overall physics, as well as how you go through missions not totally relying on weapons but also by hacking through CTOS that runs the smart city of Chicago and San Francisco.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Rodneil: In this more condensed Spidey experience, you play rookie Spider-Man Miles Morales protecting New York on his own for the first time with Peter going on a trip with MJ. It follows much of the same coming-of-age, family, and friendship beats as Miles’ animated film debut Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse while still managing to still be its own thing. Gameplay is slightly tighter than the 2018 game but it’s just every bit as fun and fulfilling.

NBA 2K21 Next Gen

Rodneil: I’ve been spending most of my time with the PS5 playing NBA 2K21 and Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered. The next gen version almost feels like a whole new game. The menu screens are different, the game physics and graphics a little more realistic, and there are things in the game that take advantage of the DualSense controller. Some additions — like Shot Aiming — feel gimmicky and unnecessary but this is still an overall leveled up experience especially for fans of the NBA 2K franchise.

Cyberpunk 2077 PC

Gab: I specifically picked the PC version of this game because, at the very least, I could experience playing it without much mess in the way. Behind relatively bad visual bugs and glitches, the game itself is a joy to play. From stealth-based playthroughs to insane armed combat, Cyberpunk 2077 takes you through a wild ride through Night City — and you’re in full control of everything. On a personal note, I do enjoy starting every encounter with a sniper headshot to the enemies.

Shows to binge-watch

Lovecraft Country

Luigi: Inspired by a racist author’s works, Lovecraft Country (and the novel of the same name) claims the horror genre for the Black community. It’s a horror anthology series weaved together by a common narrative. More than its terrifying plots, Lovecraft Country creates stories about race, equality, and identity.

Start-Up

Vincenz: Regardless if you’re a tech nerd, young programmer, an aspiring entrepreneur, Hallyu fan, or just a regular viewer who’s curious enough to find new titles, Start-Up is a well-versed K-Drama that will show not only an individual’s quarter-life crisis in career and love but also a very informational series that portray what and how start-ups work together (especially in the tech industry) with the help of marketing and modern technology.

ALSO: Tech jargons in Start-Up that you should know

Attack on Titan, Season 4

Rodneil: As of writing, I’ve only seen the first two episodes of the much anticipated final season to an anime series that is slowly regaining the hype it got following its first season. Season 4 begins much like Season 2 in that it pulls the focus from the anime’s main protagonists to build on the story even further. Instead of focusing on Eren, it starts by putting the spotlight on the Titan shifters that have long terrorized their existence.

The Crown, Season 4

Kenrick: The Crown’s latest season could be its best yet. The new season features the tumultuous marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Margaret Thatcher — one of the UK’s most famous yet equally controversial prime ministers — also shares half of the spotlight. Delivering on sheer performance and superb portrayal of real events, season 4 solidifies The Crown as one of the best historical dramas to date. It’s a little unfair though, that viewers are left to wait for a long time before a new season drops as this season ends in one of the pivotal moments on the UK’s storied monarchy.

Fire Force, Season 2

Rodneil: Everything about this anime just speaks to me on a spiritual level. I’ve low-key always wanted to be some type of pyrokinetic and having an anime built around that concept is something I find deeply entertaining. Season 2 dives deeper into the secrets of the Adolla Burst with some astonishing reveals about the religion that rules the world in the show. The Season also saw Company 8 forge more allies as in the Fire Soldier ranks as they take on the Evangelist that are out to cause another great fire to restart the world.

Record of Youth

Apple: We’re so used to dramas and movies about the struggles of the impoverished and the discriminated but with Record of the Youth, we get a glimpse of the hardships of the rich and in the limelight, away from all the glamour and the glitz. This K-Drama mostly tackles the life of Hye-Jun played by Park Bo-gum, a model who thought all he needed was a successful career to be truly happy but when he got to the top, his life took an unexpected turn that he had to painfully accept.

Alice in Borderland

RodneilI had zero idea what the show was about coming in. I didn’t even know this was based on a manga but after a few episodes I could immediately tell that it was — the way the characters are portrayed and the progression of the story — these had all the makings of a Shonen title. It’s somewhat Isekai in that the main protagonist is displaced in an alternate world and has to go through it by playing by the rules of that world. In a nutshell this show is bloody, takes interesting twists and turns, and will have you eagerly anticipating what will happen next. Also, for the boys — watch out for Hikari Kuina (Asahina Aya). Very glad this has been green lit for a Season 2 and will be looking forward to when it drops.

Movies to see

Kalel, 15

Vincenz: A well-thought-out masterpiece that depicts the life of a teenager dealing with himself as a PLHIV while trying to go against his family and peers with their stigma, prejudice, and discrimination against the virus and AIDS. It also gives us a real glimpse of the Philippine society (regardless if an adult or a teenager) when it comes to sex, drug and alcohol abuse, dysfunctional families, child neglect, infidelity, and even lapses in religious leaders in power. You can watch it here in Netflix.

The Call

Apple: I’m a big fan of films that have great storylines and really unexpected twists, and this movie was exactly like that. The Call is a thriller film that takes time travel stories into a different and horrifying level. Park Shin-Hye plays the lead role in this story about the repercussions of a person from a vengeful past who becomes resentful of a person in the present. You’ll definitely be on your toes as you wait for the ending to see who’ll survive.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

“evermore” by Taylor Swift

MJ: Get in your feelings by listening to Taylor Swift’s surprise ninth album entitled “evermore”. It’s the sister record to “folklore”, Swift’s eight album produced in the middle of quarantine. Both albums speaks in a soulful level, with lyrical themes revolving around love, infidelity, noir, and everything in between relationships — told through an interlacing narrative between songs.

“Miracles in December” EP by EXO

Vincenz: EXO may not be active and complete anymore but we know these songs remained in the hearts, minds, and ears of every EXO-L out there. This isn’t totally a new release as it was released way back in December 2013 (exactly seven years ago), I still get the chills whenever I listen to all the songs in this Extended Play featuring all their vocals. What a perfect time to play them again.

“[12:00]” EP by LOONA

Vincenz: A total opposite of my first suggestion as LOONA’s “[12:00]” gives me a summer vibe especially when listening to their comeback track “Why Not”. Meanwhile, listening to “Universe” and “Voice” reminds me of a cold, breezy night regardless of the season — my fave tracks in this album that suit their soothing and refreshing vocals.

Fun fact: “Star” is the English version of “Voice” which is also included in this EP.

Start-Up OST

Vincenz: As a complement to our craze with the K-Drama Start-Up, this drama’s Original Soundtrack (OST) list is one of the best IMHO. With song variations starting with Red Velvet’s pop track “Future”, ballad-y “One Day” sung by Kim Feel, and even a motivational track by Gaho entitled “Running”, you’ll surely enjoy the drama all-along and even miss it more once you finish all the episodes.

“Warm on a Christmas Night” by HONNE

Martynne: Just when we thought Honne’s songs could be warmer, they release a Christmas version of their “Warm on a Christmas Night.”

“Eyes Wide Open” by TWICE

Rodneil: No. Skip. Album. Coming back with only their second full album, TWICE made sure there’s something you’ll love in every track. There’s a good mix of Color Pop, City Pop, and even some Jazzy tunes here to keep you hooked. My personal favorites are “Hell in Heaven,” “Up No More,” and “Handle It.”

“Cry For Me” by TWICE

Rodneil: The Nation’s Girl Group surprised their fans by making music awards show MAMA 2020 their comeback stage. The group released a single “Cry For Me” that one of their members, Nayeon, said was almost completely scratched. She goes on to say that it’s a gift for ONCEs but fans suspect it’s more than just an out-of-nowhere single release. P.S. The SaChaeng second verse is absolutely eargasmic.

“Polaris” by December Avenue

Rodneil: This fresh release from the OPM pop-rock band has more in common with their early 2010s version than the emotionally charged Filipino “hugot” songs that pushed them towards more fan recognition. As someone who’s followed the band since 2009, Polaris sounds refreshing and a return to their roots.


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

Entertainment

Sony confirms ‘Horizon’ and ‘God of War’ shows are coming

And a Gran Turismo show

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After years of terrible video game adaptations, the entertainment industry just can’t get enough of them in the past year or so. Shows and films based on popular video game titles are setting the world on fire. If Sony’s latest investor’s meeting is anything to go by, it looks like we’re not done with the genre. Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War are reportedly getting TV series soon.

Sony had a lot to say during its latest meeting. However, amid all the announcements, the general implication was simple enough to understand. The company wants to expand and grow its branches outside of console gaming. That plan includes adapting more of its exclusive properties into television.

Reported by analyst David Gibson on Twitter (via IGN), Sony has officially confirmed development for a Horizon series on Netflix, a God of War series on Amazon, and a currently untethered Gran Turismo series.

Unfortunately, the presentation did not reveal any other details for the upcoming shows. Plot and casting details are still an unknown.

All three titles, especially Horizon and God of War, are part of Sony’s prized possessions. An adaptation for any of these titles is huge. However, it’s always a hit. Most recently, Sony allowed an Uncharted film to show in theaters, and the response was… mixed. While the sheer number of video game adaptations are impressive, their quality is definitely all over the place for now.

SEE ALSO: Sony might stop releasing PlayStation 4 games by 2025

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Entertainment

Stranger Things 4: 4 Big Things To Expect

Every Ending Has Its New Beginning, Indeed

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Writing this specific article makes me remember my early days in GadgetMatch where I wrote two special articles about Stranger Things 3 — especially because I’m the biggest fan in the team (been a fan since Season 1).

After almost three years of (patiently) waiting, we’ll finally be able to watch Stranger Things 4 on our screens again!

Special Screening in Cinema 11

Seven days before the actual release of Stranger Things 4: Volume 1, Netflix Philippines invited us for a special screening of its first episode — right at Power Planet Mall’s last cinema booth, Cinema 11 (y’know, Eleven 🥁).

Wear anything “retro”, they say

The littlest set details outside the cinema made me cherish the good ol’ days of the First Season of Stranger Things from 2016. From those bright neon lights, a retro-styled photobooth, and ST4-branded popcorn box, soda cup. Even the “swag set” full of ST4 goodies that imitated the look of the spooky creel house, This also reminded me of how the series (as well as the fanbase) expanded entirely until it became a hit globally.

A single photobooth access plus a single swag set for that single Stranger Things fan, please

Although I went there all by myself, I still enjoyed every bit of the screening. To best describe everything, here’s my Instagram Reel roundup of it:

4 big things to expect

After watching the first episode of Stranger Things 4: Volume 1 for about an hour and fifteen minutes, there are four things I think we should expect in the series.

1. Out with the old, in with the new?

After the devastating phenomenon that happened in Hawkins last season, several characters have moved into a new town. The Byers, together with El(even) in mind. That also means Will and El have to deal with a new set of people in a seemingly unfamiliar environment.

Other characters have remained in the OG town, though. From the Wheelers, SinclairsDustin, Joe, Robin, and even Max, they have continued with their lives despite being stuck in the same ol’ town. And oh, as the gang turned from kids to teens, do expect some dramatic changes in the way they act — especially after what happened.

P.S: There’s a new school club, too, that’s hilariously fun and cool despite its degrading image to the eyes of many.

2. Familiar and unfamiliar faces

Other than the remaining original cast from Season 1, a new season also means expecting new characters on the block. Apart from new schoolmates, there are also people that might help the initial set of kiddos who have saved Will from the darker underworld a.k.a the Upside Down.

The first few minutes of the episode was also revealed through Stranger Things’ YouTube channel showing how the Hawkins Laboratory had more than 11 Eleven-like superchildren that are being tested and experimented — until everything fell apart because of one superchild that ruined how things work inside the lab.

3. Jim isn’t dead

Jim Hopper’s sudden disappearance after the closing of the Upside Down had a lot of fans shaking their heads. Most (including myself) have speculated that he already died. Well, we can’t afford losing one more main character after the death of Bob from Season 2. Plus, Billy and Alexei just last season.

Fortunately, Jim, in his new haircut, appeared on the official trailer of Stranger Things 4. And just as shown in the first episode of the first volume, his presence can be felt — just from another side of the planet.

4. Another monster to kill

The Demogorgon and Mind Flayer are two of the most wicked supervillains ever existed. Whether that may be in the history of Hawkins or just in the eyes of people.

But the two evil creatures aren’t the end of the gang’s fate. A new town means there’s a new monster, too.

As shown at the end of the official trailer, the new horrendous creature is in human form. It can manipulate the mind of the affected individual — even the dimension where s/he’s at. While I won’t be specific about what happened, it sure is a powerful, demonic creature. It can truly make someone disturbingly psychotic and literally broken inside and out.

Biggest season ever with super-sized episodes

After watching the first episode of the first volume, I can say it was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. First it was thrilling, then it became a full-on comedy show. Next thing you know, you’re already mindf*cked with what’s happening. I always say this but still, hands-down to the team behind Stranger Things for making the fourth season more exciting to watch (despite being borderline creepy and horrifying).

Image by GadgetMatch

The First Volume of Stranger Things Season 4 will be released only on Netflix on May 27, 2022 (Friday) with seven episodes. Most episodes are reported to be as long as a full-length film.

On the other hand, Volume 2 with a whopping total of nine episodes will be released after two months: exactly July 1st — just four days before the independence of the United States of America.

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Netflix is losing a lot of long-term subscribers

People are switching

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The Netflix revolution was indeed televised. However, after enjoying years of success as the streaming platform of choice, a lot of users are now leaving Netflix for greener pastures. Over the past few months, the company has struggled to patch its failures. A recently released data report does confirm that the platform has a right to worry. More and more long-term subscribers are reportedly cutting their subscriptions short.

According to The Information, around 13 percent of Netflix cancelers in the past quarter are from accounts that have been with the platform for over three years. The data, which was reportedly obtained from Antenna, pegs cancelations at around 3.6 million Americans, a big increase from the 2.5 million of the past five quarters.

Though 13 percent isn’t exactly a giant figure, it’s still a blow to Netflix’s empire. While streaming platform rightly focus on gaining new subscribers, losing the loyalty of long-term users isn’t something to shrug off.

Since announcing lost expectations, Netflix announced ways to save on costs and retain its subscribers. Other methods include canceling projects, opening a games division, and potentially charging users more for account sharing. Naturally, not every plan hits users the same way.

In the meantime, other platforms — like Disney+, HBO, and Hulu — are attracting more users with more varied and exclusive content. Regardless, Netflix is skidding down a slope. Only time will tell whether its latest strategies will stave off more losses.

SEE ALSO: Netflix is experimenting with livestreaming content

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