A long-time PlayStation fanboy switches to the Xbox Series X

Everything is much greener on the other side

Illustration by Migs Buera



Since the start of 2021, I’ve been eyeing a PlayStation 5 because I had hoped that more units would be available this time. Honestly, it made the most sense to get one considering I currently own a PlayStation 4 with a huge game library to boot. Along the way, though, I realized that maybe it was time for a shift.

One afternoon in May, I decided to order an Xbox Series X from an official online retailer. At the time, it was the most I had spent getting everything together. For a good two weeks, I kept mulling it over, especially since I’ve never owned an Xbox in my entire life. Why make the switch now, when I could just wait for a PS5 like everyone else?

The important factors to consider

In those two weeks, I did some of my own research and reflection on why I would choose an Xbox Series X over a PlayStation 5. At first glance, you wouldn’t really think about it too much considering they offer the same thing: next-gen console gaming. Although, if you have a PS4 or an Xbox One and you’re contemplating a switch, here’s how I thought about it.

Xbox Series X

How much you’re actually spending

I know what you’re thinking, “don’t they cost the same at US$ 499.99? Why is it a factor in the process?” If you live in any of the major markets, this isn’t an entirely big issue; here in the Philippines, however, pricing is a bit different.

See, official retailers initially sold the PlayStation 5 at PhP 27,995, and the Xbox Series X at PhP 35,995. If you did the math, that’s a difference of a whopping PhP 8,000, literally the price of two controllers for either console. From the price alone, you will go for the more “budget-friendly” option, especially if you factor in everything else you’re spending for.

However, at the time I placed the order for my Xbox Series X, it was on sale for PhP 31,995. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a bit pricier than the disc version of the PlayStation 5, but it was enticing enough to consider. Also, this is particularly important considering:

What you’re actually getting from the console

Before you decide on which console to get, you have to consider what you’re getting out of each. This entails looking at the specifications for each console, game libraries, accessories, and even the online subscription services. Obviously, it’s a lot to take in so let me break down the key components: 

Storage: The Xbox Series X comes with a 1TB SSD, with 802GB usable storage for games, applications, and media. If you want more space, Xbox has a pricey 1TB storage expansion card available. In comparison, the PlayStation 5 comes with a 825GB SSD, but only 667GB is usable and has no support for storage expansion (not yet, anyway). Given the size of the games you’ll be playing, the Series X looks like a no-brainer.

Fortnite Battle Royale, optimized for the Xbox Series X; 120 FPS mode turned on

Next-gen Game Library: At launch, the PlayStation 5 already had several console exclusives that fully take advantage of the next-gen features. Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X didn’t have a console exclusive at all; instead, they opted to optimize titles to run on their console. However, this year’s E3 showcase changes all of that.

Online Subscriptions: The Xbox Game Pass provides you with a massive game library spanning generations of Xbox consoles and even recent releases. I wish I could say the same for my current PlayStation Plus subscription, because it’s not the same at all. Although, both subscriptions aren’t available if you set your account region to the Philippines.

How easy you could “legitimately” get one

This was, in my opinion, the ultimate reason why I eventually decided to go for an Xbox Series X. I emphasized the word “legitimately” because I only wanted to buy from an official retailer after an incident with a scalper earlier this year. The thing is, scalpers will supply you a PlayStation 5 but for a head-scratching price that even building a gaming PC is a better deal.

SEE: I’ve lost hope in getting a next-gen console for the foreseeable future

At the time of writing, the PlayStation 5 is currently on a pre-order selling model due to limited supply. Don’t get me wrong, it makes sense for Sony to do this considering the circumstances. However, it doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t that easy to get one. On the other hand, the Xbox Series X was as simple as placing an order, and it will arrive a few days later.

See, the same official retailers handling pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 are also selling the Xbox Series X. You can practically get one from their official e-commerce websites, or either from their Lazada or Shopee pages if they have one. For this console, there are no pre-orders so there’s a good chance you’ll snag one when it’s available.

Xbox Series X

Was it all worth it in the end?

My short answer to this is a 100 percent yes. The long answer: switching to the Xbox Series X as a PlayStation player for years was money well spent. I’ve been using it for a month, and I could honestly recommend others doing this if you’ve saved up enough. Although, I felt that you would need a bit more to fully maximize its power.

For starters, for full immersion, a 4K TV or gaming monitor with a 120Hz refresh rate feels like a must. I mean, you can plug any monitor or TV to your next-gen console and it won’t necessarily dampen graphical performance. However, I noticed that on a 4K TV, in-game details are more complete compared to a FHD TV. Of course, it’s going to cost you more money to get one.

Also, if you’re a first time Xbox owner like I am, Xbox Game Pass is a must-have. Honestly, it saved me a ton of money I would have spent getting some of the games I have on the PS4, but for the Xbox. Plus, if you go for Game Pass Ultimate, you also get an EA Play subscription that offers you games like FIFA 21 or Madden NFL 21 for free. Just note, however, that it isn’t available here in the Philippines but there are ways to get it.

Madden NFL 21, optimized for the Xbox Series X; available on Game Pass Ultimate through EA Play

Are you contemplating a switch, too?

One month in, and I could definitely say that it’s a good choice to make a switch from the PlayStation to the Xbox. Don’t get me wrong, both consoles provide the next-level console gaming experience as advertised. In choosing one over the other, you won’t really miss out on much.

Xbox Series X

Everything I pointed out also makes sense if you’re contemplating on buying your first PlayStation console after owning an Xbox. From the spec sheet to the hardware and game library, both Sony and Microsoft gave us major improvements over the current generation.

Should the circumstances of getting the next-gen console you wanted persuade you to switch up when it’s possible? Honestly, it depends on which factors I mentioned matter to you the most. I mean if you want both consoles, why not, right?


Players finally meet as HoYo FEST kicks off in SEA this November

It’s a grand meetup!



hoyo fest

miHoYo, the global interactive entertainment developer and publisher behind hit multiplayer games such as Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact, announced that HoYo FEST is coming to Southeast Asia this November.

The interactive festival shall be held in six countries: Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

The annual celebration will allow for fellow players to finally convene and meet each other off their screens and in real life, allowing for an opportunity to relive memorable, happy, and touching moments in the game together.

Gaming world-themed cafés

All HoYo FEST-related events will be held at collaboration cafés themed after Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact between November 5 and December 14.

These specific cafés will offer special set menus on dine-in, takeout, and delivery options. Ordering via takeout and delivery also gives customers an additional printed tote bag and cup sleeve.

The interiors will be furnished in the styles of Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact in order, which is accompanied by photography zones.

That way, fans and players will be able to enjoy exquisite foods and immerse themselves in a real-life feel of the game worlds while bonding with new friends they’ve only previously met in-game.

Mystery gifts and exciting merchandise

Ordering collaboration combos or spending a certain amount of money at a café also entitles guests to an exciting mystery gift box.

The pop-up stores found only at specific cafés will also sell a variety of exclusive Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact merchandise, to be distributed only by the staff of the collaboration cafés.

Preparations for the celebration are underway, so Captains, Travelers, and Attorneys should brace themselves for upcoming surprises.

Festival Schedule

  • Honkai Impact 3rd: November 5 to November 16
  • Tears of Themis: November 19 to November 30
  • Genshin Impact: December 3 to December 14

Collaboration Cafés

  • Singapore: Aniplus Cafe
  • Malaysia: my Burger Lab
  • Thailand: NANA Coffee Roasters Ari
  • Philippines: Moon Rabbit Café + Restaurant
  • Indonesia: Warung Koffie Batavia
  • Vietnam: To Be Announced

For more event details and pandemic precautions, please visit the miHoYo official website:

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War journalists use Call of Duty Vanguard to capture life-like photos

A one-of-a-kind collaboration and experience



For me, Photo Mode is a wonderful thing to have when doing game reviews every now and then. Honestly, I would prefer setting the mood for those insane game shots instead of just screenshoting them from the device. For Activision, however, they wanted to take this concept to the next level with Call of Duty: Vanguard. With this one, they enlisted some experts in the field of war photojournalism.

Activision revealed a collaboration with renowned war photojournalists Alex Potter and Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini. As a refresher, these two photojournalists have vast experience in taking photos of some of the most gruesome battles in war-torn countries. In this special collaboration, Activision gave them access to the game’s engine through a virtual camera console.

As seen in the trailer, the two photojournalists were inside Activision’s motion capture studios as they grab images straight off the game engine. From the explosion of tanks to the banging gunfire during World War II, these two captured photos that depict the reality of war. In the end, they were at awe at the stunning details and the level of immersion the game brought.

Call of Duty: Vanguard will be available on November 5, 2021 for both current and next-generation consoles and PC.

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Hot Wheels Unleashed review: A childhood dream realized

It’s action-packed and rather nostalgic



Hot Wheels Unleashed

As a kid, I wanted all kinds of toys whenever we went to toy stores in the city. One of the very first toys I had an obsession over was Hot Wheels. From collecting cars to building tracks in the living room, it became the quintessential set of toys that got me into racing games all this time.

When Hot Wheels Unleashed was released, I instantly knew that this was a game I didn’t want to miss. As someone who plays a ton of racing games, this one felt right at home next to Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. Unlike CTR:NF, the nostalgia I felt for this game was more on the side of “playing my toys on a virtual screen” type of thing.

However, if you’re looking for another game to help you pass the time, is this a game worth considering?

A racing game at its core

As with most games involving toy cars, Hot Wheels Unleashed feels right at home as a racing game. It even comes with some of the most standard game modes you can think of for any racing game, so you won’t necessarily miss out if you’re a racing game fan. Where this game sets itself apart is in its easy-to-grasp game mechanics.

Usually, all you have to do is drive around the course and win 1st Place by outspeeding and outsmarting (in some situations) your opponents. You still do that but with some key differences, particularly towards boosting. Honestly, I like the fact that boosts are activated by button pushes and accumulated by drifting. To me, it’s friendly even to new players getting into racing games.

Hot Wheels Unleashed

The other thing I like is the fact that each Hot Wheels toy car comes with its own cart stats, and not just a general one all throughout. This also gives you an incentive to try and get every available model in the game and try them out for yourself. Furthermore, you can even upgrade these stats using Gears, and customize their Livery to however you like.

Creativity and originality in track design

Every racing game needs some interesting tracks to race around, especially with something like Hot Wheels. In Hot Wheels Unleashed, you have access to 5 main backdrops, each with about 8-9 different tracks that come with their own surprises. From high-arching loops to acid pits, each track will have you doing things a bit differently each time you race.

In fact, the first thing I noticed was that the elements in the tracks are quite similar to the actual models in those track builder sets. The designers did an incredible job with maximizing the entire backdrop to produce tracks with enough twists and turns along the way. Also, I would even argue that these tracks let you play around with the driving mechanics.

Now, I have some good news and bad news for you on these tracks. The bad news is that when you start the game, most of the tracks are locked as in-game transactions. If you wanted to unlock them the easy way, just pay a few bucks to get in-game currency and buy them.

However, the good news is you can unlock them by completing the Hot Wheels City Rumble mode. Although it will be an immense grind on your part, but I honestly think it’s worth it!

Wait, you can make your own tracks?!

Yes, you read that right: Hot Wheels Unleashed also allows you to create your own tracks to race on with your friends online. See, one unique mode to the game is the Track Builder, and I guess the name is self-explanatory. To be honest, this game mode was the best and it actually brings me back to my childhood.

Once you start the game mode, you basically have a blank canvas to work with, depending on the main backdrop you choose. After choosing your desired backdrop, you have a variety of track builder pieces to choose from and customize. Also, it even comes with your set of obstacles and boost pads to add some flavor to your tracks.

I absolutely enjoyed going on Track Builder as someone who collected Hot Wheels track sets before. Basically, you can create some of the most death-defying tracks that your younger self could not afford to before. Seriously, Hot Wheels track builder sets are expensive, and this game basically lets you experience this without spending a hefty amount.

Some low points

Much like most racing games, this one doesn’t come with its own set of shortcomings. To no one’s surprise, this game comes with a Hot Pass that allows you to earn more cars, tracks, and track builder sets. The good thing about it is, well, it’s more content at your disposal. At the time of writing, they’re currently running one with Batman vehicles as the main rewards,

The thing I don’t like about it is that you have to pay for it. I genuinely feel that this is something that would have been better off as a Battle Pass-type of package instead of paid DLC. I mean, it’s additional content that people also want to try out but with a rather hefty price tag. Maybe if they did it this way, people would continue to grind out the game.

Another thing that felt lacking in my eyes was the Basement, particularly the customization aspect.

I get it, it’s another main backdrop for your tracks and you can work with a ton of elements when creating your own. However, I didn’t like that the customization was limited to just the exterior design. Honestly,  I was looking for more customization options like moving the furniture around.

A roaring good time

Hot Wheels Unleashed is a racing game that feels right at home with the best of them. From a vast selection of carts to creative and unique track design, it feels fresh to anybody trying to get into racing games. Also, if you grew up playing your Hot Wheels car collection, this takes you back to simpler times.

Again, it’s not perfect and hopefully with upcoming patches, the game does get better. However, they missed out on some opportunities to make it a worthwhile game to play for any occasion. Sure, if you had money to burn, this wouldn’t be an issue; for others, however, they want a lot more without spending too much.

Overall, this game will give you a roaring good time, especially when you just need some down time from all the stress. What made it even more special for me was that this game pretty much made one of my childhood dreams a reality!

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