Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Gaming

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review

A damn good time

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Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has all the looks, charm, and heart of a Pixar movie. But it’s playable and takes the experience further by taking advantage of all the next gen features of the PlayStation 5.

Quick background 

Ratchet & Clank is a fairly popular series that was first introduced in November 2002 for the PlayStation 2. There’s been around nine games since the first release including a very self-aware soft reboot in 2016 for the PlayStation 4.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart builds on the lore of this dynamic duo without needing much of a background from the previous games. If you’re really curious, you can hop on to YouTube for recaps and retrospectives on the franchise.

Multidimensional madness

Rift Apart is pretty much a standalone story. It begins with Ratchet & Clank being honored in a grand celebration as heroes for their past exploits. This establishes the duo’s stature in their universe.

As expected, long-time recurring villain Dr. Nefarious crashes the party touting a Dimensionator — a weapon that opens dimensional rifts. A tussle naturally occurs with the Dimensionator exploding and opening various rifts across the universe.

Dr. Nefarious with the Dimensionator

Ratchet & Clank are separated but Clank finds himself in the company of another Lombax — Rivet. Rivet is part of a rebellion battling against The Emperor. We quickly learn that The Emperor is the Dr. Nefarious of this other universe.

The rest of the game sees our heroes Ratchet, Clank, and Rivet go on adventures as they figure out how to fix the Dimensionator to prevent all of the universes from falling apart.

The charm and heart of a Pixar flick

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have seen a Pixar movie or two. They typically have this fun, heartwarming tone and that’s exactly how Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart comes off.

The writing is solid and has strong character moments for each of the leading casts. The dialogues are witty, and very entertaining that you’ll likely catch yourself smiling at times. Whether it’s a cutscene or just in-game banter between characters.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Rivet and Clank

The way it balances heavy moments with good, clean, fun while remaining tonally consistent is a magnificent feat. While the story itself isn’t mindblowing, it is told efficiently and wonderfully. It’s never boring and keeps you interested.

Vivid worlds, gorgeous details 

PlayStation and Insomniac Games have been very loud about this game. After all, this is a year one title for the PlayStation 5 (PS5). All the trailers and gameplay footage they showcased are eye-popping and this quality is maintained throughout the game.

One of the hallmarks that was routinely mentioned is how busy and lived-in the different environments look, feel, and sound. This is an aspect of the game that I don’t think would have been possible if not for the PS5.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

The fast loading times allow for the busy-looking background. Certain areas of the world offer a different feel on the DualSense controller much like how it felt in some parts of the “demo game” Astro’s Playroom. And, the incredible Sound Design offers depth in every section of the game.

In cutscenes where I normally would put the controller down, I found myself holding on to the DualSense just to see how a scene is enhanced by the rumble. All of these things come together nicely and are implemented in just the right way at just the right moments to deliver a truly astonishing experience.

Fidelity, Performance, and Performance RT 

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be available to play in three visual modes. Fidelity for 4K with ray-tracing, additional VFX and increased scene density at 30 FPS. Performance RT provides 60 FPS gaming with ray-tracing but at a lower resolution with adjusted lighting, VFX, and scene density. Lastly, there’s Performance mode which totally does away with ray-tracing but offers high resolution 60 FPS gameplay.

My six-going-on-seven-year-old 1080P TV couldn’t really take advantage of the Performance and Performance RT modes. However, even if I had a TV that fully supported these modes, I still would have likely gone with Fidelity mode.

To me, personally, it fits the look and feel of the world better. And maybe it really is just my TV,  but Fidelity mode offered a richer picture quality overall versus the more flat-looking Performance and Performance RT modes.

Really fun gameplay

Rift Apart provides a healthy mix of action, shooting, platforming, and puzzle-solving to keep you on your toes. And while it isn’t an open world game, it still encourages a healthy amount of exploration as you examine every nook and cranny of a particular area to make sure you get all the collectibles.

The game does a good job of encouraging you to actually look for the collectibles. For instance, completed armors not only give you a different look, they also provide a permanent stat boost.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

These huge bolts are also collectibles

You’ll also want to smash everything in sight to collect bolts. Bolts are your currency to buy weapons, and weapons in Ratchet & Clank are incredibly fun to use.

Best video game weapons

You’ll want to get your hands on as many of them as possible. Different weapons do different things. While there are those that straight up inflict damage, some are great for managing huge crowds of enemies — something you’ll do a lot of in this game.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Weapons are improved in two different ways: First is by levelling them up by continuously using them. Second, is by collecting raritanium to unlock the weapon’s abilities and raise its limits. The higher the level, the more abilities you’re able to unlock.

My personal favorites are the Topiary Sprinkler (for stunning), Glove of Doom (for extra help), and the Blackhole Storm (for straight up dealing damage).

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Changing weapons

You can assign weapons to the directional buttons to quickly switch. However, if you really need a breather from combat that can get chaotic, you can press the triangle button to pull-up the weapons menu and select one that best fits your predicament.

Puzzles, mini games

Clank’s sections are still puzzles. This time, though, each set of puzzles he solves closes a volatile dimensional rift. I can see the puzzles being challenging to a younger audience, but anyone with a significant amount of gaming experience will breeze through these.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Clank’s puzzles

Ratchet will also pick up Glitch — a tiny robot that combats bugs to help the male Lombax open doors to gain access to a new section of an area both to advance the story or to acquire collectibles.

Again, the sections with Glitch shouldn’t be too challenging. They help in adding another layer to the action, shooting, and platforming, and there weren’t too many of them to be considered a distraction.

Another great PS5 showcase

Following Returnal, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is another fantastic showcase of all the next gen capabilities of the PlayStation 5. Unlike the aforementioned game though, this one’s wrapped in a bright, colorful package that should be welcoming to a wider variety of gamers.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

A lot of heart

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a lighthearted adventure with some lessons of forgiveness and rising above adversity. It has entertaining gameplay, stunning visuals, immersive sound, and an overall incredible feel. For older gamers, it’ll evoke the feeling of being a kid again, and for younger gamers, it’s certainly a game that will leave a positive mark.

It’s the perfect title to get into PS5 gaming and one that every PS5 owner should consider adding to their library.

Entertainment

Plunge into a dark world in Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness

A thriller series based on Capcom’s beloved franchise

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Infinite Darkness

Resident Evil proved to be one of the most popular game franchises of all time, spanning different console generations. For over 25 years, Capcom produced some of the most jaw-dropping, horrifying game releases that shake people to their core. Just last May, they released Resident Evil: Village to a fanfare of everybody simping for Lady Dimitrescu.

Apart from the games, Resident Evil also received several television and movie adaptations, bringing the same horror to the big screen. From live-action movies to animated TV series, these provide a good amount of fan service to long-time fans of the games. For 2021, Capcom has a new series that I believe fans will also appreciate upon release in RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness.

A series of unfortunate events

The world of RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness still revolves around the whole zombie encounter-theme the games follow, but on a rather global scale. In the year 2000, U.S. special forces were sent to intervene in the ongoing civil war in the region of Penamstan. However, tragedy struck when the helicopter fell from the sky, and the special forces were annihilated. At least, that’s what they believe happened.

Fast forward to 2006, back in the United States, a hacking incident occurs within the White House. To avert more disaster, the government invited four agents to investigate but were met with strange circumstances. As it turns out, a horde of zombies infiltrates the building and the agents, along with the U.S. S.W.A.T. team, fight them off.

It’s an anime series that tackles a ton of mystery about the events of the past, and how they catch up in present time. In essence, the agents seek to unravel what truly happened that day in 2000, and how they could avert another disaster from happening.

A familiar face returns to the scene

Remember how I mentioned that there are four agents assigned to the investigation? Well, one of them is Leon S. Kennedy, one of the main playable characters in Resident Evil 2. In this series, he looks a bit older and wears a more formal attire than a police uniform. In an interview with Director Eiichiro Hasumi, he explained to me why they picked him in the first place.

According to him, Leon’s character provides a “lot of freedom to move around” in terms of the storytelling aspect. Compared to someone like Chris Redfield, for example, Leon’s character doesn’t necessarily tie him down to any specific roles or places in the story.

As seen in his character design, Leon looks a bit more tired — as if the youth in his aura was sucked out of him. Director Eiichiro notes that he is “in a slightly bitter position” compared to his younger self. How exactly will this version of Leon deal with the crisis of Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness? We’ll find out soon enough.

Managing your expectations a bit

So, what can you expect from RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness when it comes? For starters, it’s a fully animated TV series that Director Eiichiro hopes would be easily digestible for everyone. It’s a series that reveals everything slowly, and eases you in on what’s happening with every bit of new information.

Secondly, while I’ve already mentioned Leon’s presence, you will also see Claire Redfield, another protagonist from Resident Evil 2. In the series, she serves as a volunteer for TerraSave based in Penamstan, and even does her own set of investigations. Where these investigations will take her, you’ll have to find out on your own!

Finally, there will be zombies and zombie killing, like a lot of it. I mean, it’s par for the course for the games to have zombie killing, so the anime series should include it. As for the zombies they will be killing, again, you have to watch the series to find out.

RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness will arrive on Netflix on July 8, 2021.

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Gaming

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2: Price and availability in the Philippines

A immersive, gaming-centric experience like no other

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Legion Phone Duel 2

Lenovo continues to break ground on bringing the gaming world to a wider audience. As such, they launched the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel last year to do exactly that. Their own take on a proper gaming smartphone received a mix of adjulation and criticism, but it didn’t stop them. This year, they’re bringing the heat with the new Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2.

Legion Phone Duel 2

The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 doesn’t necessarily stray away from its predecessor’s overall design. Although, with a 6.92-inch AMOLED display, it’s certainly a little larger for a good reason. Also, this time around, the Legion Phone Duel 2 sports a whopping 144Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support for clean and crisp gameplay.

Inside this machine, you will find a Snapdragon 888 5G CPU, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 5,500 mAh battery for intense and extensive mobile gaming.

Legion Phone Duel 2

Another prominent gaming feature of the Legion Phone Duel 2 is its Octa-Trigger system. On the phone, you have eight airtriggers to map onto different actions during gameplay. In essence, it’s as if you’re already using a controller for your phone to play your games. Along with Lenovo’s Dual HaptiX technology, you can also expect precise touch feedback, as well.

The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 is available for pre-order beginning June 18 until June 30, 2021. It comes in two colors in Ultimate Black and Titanium White, but only the former is available during the pre-order. As for the SRPs, here are the available configurations:

  • 12GB RAM + 256GB storage — PhP 39,995
  • 16GB RAM + 512GB storage — PhP 49,995

SEE ALSO: Lenovo Legion Phone Duel review: Raw gaming power

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E3 2021

Razer unveils its new Raptor 27 gaming monitor

Higher refresh rate, and more RGB to boot

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During Day 3 of E3 2021, Razer kept their announcements simple and straight to the point. Apart from the new laptop and portable charger, the company also unveiled a new iteration of their gaming monitor. If you’re a big fan of RGB setups, the new Razer Raptor 27 might just be the monitor for you.

The new Razer Raptor 27 comes in a similar form factor as its predecessor, with an RGB base at the bottom. Unlike its predecessor, it now comes with a 165Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response rate. For competitive gamers, this is a huge plus to capture higher frame rates without missing a beat. Also, with a 95 percent DCI-P3 color gamut, you can expect more vibrant colors suited for creatives, as well.

Another feature that creatives will also appreciate is that the Razer Raptor 27 is now THX-certified. This means that the 27-inch IPS display will project stunning picture quality according to how creators intended them to. Along with Razer’s Synapse 3 software, you will also be able to control its settings for your preferred viewing experience.

The Razer Raptor 27 will be available early Q3 2021 at US$ 799.99.

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