Returnal Returnal


Returnal: Should you play it?

A third-person shooter, psychological horror game



Imagine the worst day of your life. Now imagine having to relive that day over and over until you find some sort of way out. That’s somewhat the premise of Returnal, except, this particular worst day is on a planet called Atropos and you’re literally fighting for survival.

If you thought that was anxiety-inducing, I’m right there with you. And the anxiety only grows and deepens as you playthrough.

So, this isn’t a review of Returnal. That would require me finishing the game or playing through at least 80 percent of it. But I’ve played enough to help inform you if this is a game that you should pick-up or not.

What is it about exactly? 

You play as Selene. An Astra scout that surveys planets, unexplored areas in space. In this game, you crash land in Atropos — a shape-shifting world. With her vehicle broken, she has no choice but to explore the area, find the source of some broadcast, and pray to goodness it leads her out of that world.


Naturally, the whole endeavor is no walk in the park. She faces creatures and machines that will inevitably lead to her demise. But it isn’t the end. Each and every time she dies, she wakes up again next to her ship but this time taking bits and pieces of knowledge from her past demise. Every loop offers new challenges and discoveries but in familiar areas.

Atropos really feels alive

The game takes full advantage of the DualSense controller. The games that have been introduced on the PlayStation 5 thus far were only scratching the surface. Returnal takes the experience to exciting heights.

For instance, the L2 button has two levels of presses. Press lightly to lock in and really focus on a target. Press harder and it’ll trigger the special ability of your weapon.

There’s also the different ways the DualSense vibrates as you interact with certain surfaces and objects in the game. But what takes this even further is the fantastic sound design. The combination of the audio along with the DualSense really makes Atropos feel like a living environment.


For these experiences alone, I can confidently say that it’s definitely a must-try if you’re one of what seems like just a handful of people who was able to snag a PlayStation 5. Absolutely fantastic job by Housemarque — the game’s developer.

Combat offers the right amount of challenge 

Expect to die. That’s part of the whole experience. But along the way you’ll also meet plenty of adversaries that are fairly easy to deal with.

Your weapons are primarily guns (if there are more, I simply have not gotten to that part yet). I was quite apprehensive about this at first since I’m not exactly good at shooters. But, the aiming and the movement isn’t all over the place that it made even someone like me actually feel competent.


While engaging in the creatures of Atropos you can jump, dash, and jump and dash. These evasive maneuvers offer enough variety in tandem with the weapons you have that combat feels exhilarating.

It’s a visual treat 

Atropos looks drab and wasted. But the level of detail on the environment is insanely captivating. Especially the areas where light seeps in, you’ll see exactly how gorgeous the visuals are even if the place itself is ruined.

The creatures you’ll encounter also look astonishing. Sure, the way they jump and constantly stalk and assault you can be terrifying, but if you pause for a second they don’t actually look all that scary. It might be in how some of them glow, but the creatures here are quite a sight to see.


The items and elements seem a lot to take in

I’m gonna chalk this up to having multiple work deadlines from when I received the code to the target date of publishing, but the items, elements, and what they’re supposed to be for completely flew over my head.

It felt, to me, like information overload. Normally, I’m able to quickly pick up on which item does what but it took me a while to get a better understanding of them in this game.


Of course, it helps that they also come in different colors so you more or less get a better idea as you go along. I imagine this wouldn’t be the case for players who will have their full attention on the game as they play.

Should you play Returnal?

This game is brilliant. From the premise of the story, the gameplay, the incredible sound design, and the use of the DualSense controller, Returnal is an absolute banger.


What gives me pause is the whole loop mechanic in this clearly terrifying setting. But I recognize that this has more to do with my in-real-life environment than the game itself. You see, waking up to a dreadful situation day after day is already something I have to deal with thanks largely to the pissful pandemic response by our government. I use video games to escape, and the anxiety-inducing nature of Returnal just isn’t good for my mental health right now.


If you are experiencing anything similar at the moment, it might be prudent to wait until you’re in a better headspace before picking this up. Otherwise, this is definitely a must-buy if you’re curious how a fantastic combination of sound design and proper utilization of the DualSense can really elevate the gameplay experience.

Returnal will be exclusively available to the PS5 on April 30.


Ubisoft will focus on delivering a more free-to-play experience

A business decision to boost their popular franchises



Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Have you ever wanted to play Assassin’s Creed for free if you’re new to it? Or, any popular franchise from Ubisoft for that matter? Well, they’ve been talking about it and their latest “announcement” will shed some light on it.

In a recent earnings call, Ubisoft CFO Frederick Duguet noted a couple of things about their beloved “triple-A/AAA” franchises. He mentioned that their strategy of releasing three to four premium titles each year isn’t a proper indicator of company value. Furthermore, he even said that the company earns more from in-game purchases on free-to-play titles.

Moving forward, he said that Ubisoft will focus on widening the audience for their existing titles by “making them free at the entry level.” In essence, the company could possibly offer newer games within those franchises as “free-to-play.” However, it doesn’t mean that they won’t produce single-purchase premium titles.

It’s a good thing to note that they’ve already done this for their latest Tom Clancy’s The Division title, Heartland. Who knows, maybe the next Assassin’s Creed or Watch Dogs title could follow suit.

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The realme 8 dares to be more

You’re in for a treat




realme 8

realme has been bringing in the big guns with their smartphone releases. But, it doesn’t come unwarranted when they’ve been stacking good specs instead of just gaming features. They get it: you want to do more than just play games with their phone line-up. Which is why, they released the realme 8 series.

The realme 8 is pretty much the little bro of the realme 8 Pro. It’s got most of the bells and whistles without the big bro powers. So, how does the realme still stack up to be the best all-around smartphone out there for you?

realme 8

Stunning looks that might fool you

The realme 8 has a 6.5-inch AMOLED display with 180Hz Touch Sampling rate. If touch sampling rate isn’t a metric you’re familiar with, it’s your display’s responsiveness to touch. Refresh rate is a whole different metric; it measures how well your display renders frames per second. Both are tangent features of the display. So, they’re different but, equally as important for gaming on your phone.

If you like strutting in style with your phone, the realme 8 teeters into keeping it flashy yet low-key. The phone features a reflective panel with “DARE TO LEAP” across its logo corner. Plus, realme sticks to classy colors with either Cyber Silver or Cyber Black available for the realme 8.

realme 8

The feelsgoodman specs

Let’s cut to the chase. The realme 8 is a great phone. The phone is decked out with an MTK Helio G95 octa-core processor, which pretty much grants the phone its unapologetic great performance. Whether I was browsing social media, binge-watching videos, or playing games, this phone didn’t stutter once.

realme 8

The phone delivers on buttery-smooth graphics. And, games like League of Legends: Wild Rift, Mobile Legend: Bang Bang, PUBG Mobile, and Sky run smoothly on the realme 8. But, are we really meant to be surprised by that? With the phone’s 8G RAM and 128G internal storage, lags just don’t exist in the same sentence. On top of all that, it manages to stay lightweight. The realme 8 weighs only 177g which is pretty impressive with all the features it packs.

realme 8

Battery can take a beating

Yes, it’s almost criminal. The realme 8 comes with a 30W Dart Charge brick. Which ideally charges the phone up to 50 percent within a matter of 26 minutes. I know what you’re thinking. This sounds too good to be true. Well, unlike the stacked disappointments of the past year, the realme 8 pulls through. It went from zero to 20 percent within 10 minutes which is pretty quick.

realme 8

With a 5,000mAh battery inside, the realme 8 can survive well over a day. It came in handy when I’d accidentally left it out uncharged overnight and still used it the next day. But, I’m guessing it would have been a whole different story had I thrown it into ungodly playing and binge-watching hours.

After a full day of gameplay, binge-watching, podcasts, music, and social media shenanigans, the phone gets close to 15 percent at the end of the day. This is impressive with most phones tossed my way with charging alerts by the tail end of my day.

So, if you’re like me, this phone is pretty reliable. It can take a beating and then some. And, when it does need charging, it won’t take long before you get enough juice in to use it again. It’s good to note that it also supports 15W PD charge, lending versatility on its side.

realme 8

Not just a gaming phone

The realme 8 is decked out with all the features you want from a gaming phone but rounds it all out with amazing smartphone features. So, calling this a gaming phone doesn’t feel fair considering it does well even outside the gaming-perfect specs.

One feature that often gets left out with your typical gaming-centric phone, would be the camera. As for this phone, it’s got an AI Quad camera setup. It’s got a 64MP wide-angle lens, an 8MP ultra-wide lens, a 2MP macro lens, and a second 2MP depth sensor. On the front, the realme 8 has a 16MP shooter with panorama capabilities.

Panorama on the realme 8

Low lighting is just the bane of every mobile phone photography’s existence. If lighting isn’t on your side, most phones will struggle. The realme 8 is sadly not an exception. But, when the sun’s on your side, the photos are pretty good.

The macro looks decent. Just make sure you flood the room with good lighting!


The night mode is good too! Stable hands for this mode is key.

The bokeh mode and wide shots on the phone are detailed. Recording videos doesn’t skimp on the 4k experience which is good too. Overall, the phone delivers on all fronts including its camera features. But if you’re looking for big bro camera stats, you should check out the realme 8 Pro.

realme 8

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The realme 8 ticks all the boxes of a quality smartphone. Its got great performance across the board takes really great pictures, has a smooth and responsive display, and lasts for quite some time. And, even if you run out of battery life, its Dart Charge won’t have you away for long.

Overall, this smartphone offers a daring deal. It gives you everything you need and want–and then some more. And, with its PhP 13,990 price tag, it’s the smartphone to beat. Better yet, you can avail of the PhP 1,000 worth of discount on the realme 8 during the flash sale on Lazada starting May 12!

Buy from Lazada

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Sony warns PlayStation 5 shortage will continue into 2022

The chip shortage is affecting everyone



Sony has already sold almost 7.8 million units of PlayStation 5 and estimates the sale of another 14.8 million this year. Despite the big numbers, the gaming console will continue to be in short supply as the demand is outrageously high.

According to a Bloomberg report, Sony told analysts it is challenging to keep up with strong demand. Earlier, Sony had predicted that supply would pick up in the second half of this year, but it no longer believes that. It didn’t set a new estimate for when supply will improve.

The global semiconductor shortage has severely affected production, and the delay is expected to last till 2022. “I don’t think demand is calming down this year, and even if we secure a lot more devices and produce many more units of the PlayStation 5 next year, our supply wouldn’t be able to catch up with demand,” Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki said at the briefing.

Although, analysts are worried that with lockdown over in most major markets, the surge in demand for home entertainment might already have peaked. Sony isn’t the only one facing issues, though. Microsoft’s Xbox lineup is equally affected, and so is Nintendo’s.

Nintendo warned last week that component shortages could affect production. It’s officially targeting sales of 25.5 million consoles in the year ending March 2022, down slightly from the previous year.

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