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
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
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.
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.
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
Rodneil: I 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
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.
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.
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!
Watch: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie main trailer
Anyone feeling nostalgic?
Everyone’s favorite anime heroine growing up is back with an all new animated movie. Netflix just released the full main trailer for Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie!
Here’s the synopis on the trailer:
When a dark power enshrouds earth and a dark circus troupe appears after a total solar eclipse, the scattered Sailor Guardians must reunite to bring light back into the world…
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon or simply known as Sailor Moon for many was originally created by Naoko Takeuchi. The Eternal movie is directed by Chiaki Kon (‘The Way of the Househusband’, ‘Nodame Cantabile: Paris Edition & Finale’), with music by Yasuharu Takanashi (‘Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal’, ‘Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Season III’), with Kazuko Tadano (‘Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon’, ‘Yu-Gi-Oh! Sevens’) responsible for character designs and TOEI Animation / Studio DEEN for animation production.
League of Legends’ animated Netflix show is coming soon!
Out by this fall!
The new animated series is titled Arcane. And, it’s coming from the League of Legends (LoL) publishers themselves: Riot games. Despite releasing countless animated shorts, Arcane is a first for the League franchise. Riot Games partnered with Fortiche Productions to develop and produce this series; keeping character designs and art close to home.
Since the first hint of it in 2019, fans have been waiting patiently for this release. And if you want the series now, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer. It’ll be out on Netflix and on Tencent Video in China by fall this year.
We follow two iconic League champions, their origins, and the power that tears them apart. The backdrop to the story is the utopian region of Piltover and the oppressed underground of Zaun.
Riot Game’s Global President of Entertainment, Shauna Spenley said, “Arcane was created as a love letter to our players and fans, who have been asking us for more cinematic experiences that dive deeper into the worlds and champions in League of Legends.”
Netflix’s video game animated series
Arcane is just one of few new video game adaptation slates in Netflix’s lineup. Which, spells good news for fans and players of games. One recent release was Dota: Dragon’s Blood, an animated series inspired by Valve’s multiplayer online battle arena (moba) game DOTA 2. Other Netflix series based on the video game realm include Assassin’s Creed, Castlevania, Cuphead, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, and Assassin’s Creed.
Couple co-op games to play during the pandemic
Loving from a distance
It goes without saying that the pandemic has drastically altered our lives. And, for the lucky few who’ve found love amidst the global chaos or barely kept their love life while apart, playing games has become one of the best past time in quarantine.
Below are cooperative games you can play with your partners or friends. We’re open to all forms of love here. Also, note that this list won’t include classic multiplayer games like Minecraft, Stardew Valley, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons because I’m assuming you and your partner or friends have already played these for an ungodly number of hours. Which, by the way if you haven’t, I recommend you start there.
Not included on this list are multiplayer online battle arenas(mobas) since that’s a whole genre of it’s own. And, I’m sick and tired of blatant sexting and flirting on moba team chats. Get your lives together or stay alone, yeah?
It Takes Two
It Takes Two is a cooperative action-adventure platformer with gripping stories and game mechanics. You play as arguing parents at wit’s end stuck in doll form. The doll form bit is due to your daughter’s attempt to cope with her parents’ eventual split. Speaking of splits, it’s a split-screen multiplayer that allows you to play locally or online. The game mechanics and design are witty and eloquent–drawing you into the characters’ stories.
It Takes Two is a good game to play with your partner to see how well you work through obstacles together–in more ways than one. It Takes Two was developed by Hazelight Studios and published by Electronic Arts under the EA Originals labels.
Heave Ho! is a multiplayer co-op platformer where you and your partner or friends get through tough puzzles using your wobbly and dangly limbs. Grab on to each other’s hands, climb across dangling bodies, and swing your way into safety.
Heave Ho! forces you to work together by throwing the other, climbing over, and using our partner to get to the other side. It’s a quirky simple yet challenging game that have left players screaming desperate for hand grabbing. Heave Ho! was developed by Le Cartel Studio and published by Devolver Digital.
Overcooked! 2 is a cooperative cooking simulation video game. It’s the sequel to Overcooked! which had the same game mechanics just without the new and improved stages, mechanics, and features. Overcooked! 2 will make it necessary to yell at each other–which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You work together as a team to prep, cook, and serve.
It’s the perfect game to play to break the ice, work together, laugh, and panic. Test your relationship, strengthen it, or break up over a silly game. Overcooked! 2 was developed by Team17 alongside Ghost Town Games and published by Team17.
Do two burly Vikings braving the elements sound like a romantic way to spend the night with your partner? No, of course not, but you’ll get hours of entertainment riding together with your nordic allies. Valheim is an explorative survival game. Build yourself a little home, roam the giant wilderness for resources, and hunt some trolls. If Minecraft doesn’t hit the same way anymore, this will probably fill that gap. But make sure you’re playing together, microphone on, and you’ll get lost in purgatory.
Valheim was developed by Iron Gate AB and developed by Coffee Stain Publishing.
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