Gaming

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the game fit for those who dare

A hands-on look at the story of the Shinobi warrior

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I have to admit: I hardly hear much about games that focus on the Eastern side of the world that aren’t Pokémon or Dragon Ball. But, I do like games that have some sort of historical background to them, say folklore or modern history. And wouldn’t you know it, FromSoftware and Activision pull out one from underneath all of us.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice dives into the world of a reimagined 16th century Japan, ravaged by countless wars. It is an open-world, action-adventure game made by the same guys behind Dark Souls. I got the chance to see what this game is all about, and here are some of my initial thoughts.

We start with an insightful backstory

I did appreciate that the first ten minutes of the two and a half hours worth of gameplay gave a good backstory on Sekiro and his humble beginnings. He started out as a simple boy, found at the crossroads of war. A samurai offered to nurse him in his early years, until he grew old enough to be a protector of his lord. However, gameplay picks up on a much older Sekiro, so playing through a childhood with lots of fighting didn’t seem to be that important.

The overworld of early Japan is breathtaking! FromSoftware really did a good job with the visual presentation of the whole game. What stood out to me the most was the detail not just on Sekiro, but also on all his enemies.

It plays well into the whole open-world aesthetic, in that it allows you to explore everywhere and grab as much as you can, including extra items to use for healing or fighting. And you probably want to do that to prepare for all the tough battles ahead.

Waking up a one “good” armed man

After 30 minutes of trying not to die, I arrive at this garden with a mysterious samurai who basically challenges Sekiro to a duel. After the duel you’re supposed to lose, the samurai not only takes your master but he also slashes your arm off. You then wake up in an old temple, and the first thing you gaze upon is a wooden arm attached to your shoulder.

That wooden arm is called the Shinobi Prosthetic, and you can actually do some crazy stuff with it. I was only able to try the prosthetic arm with a Grappling Hook that allows you to travel much faster. It’s a simple press of the L2 button on any “hook” you can sling onto, whether it’s a tree branch or a rooftop. It’s like being Spider-Man minus the webs!

Apart from the Shinobi Prosthetic, Sekiro also carries his trusted katana to slice and dice enemies. It’s his only form of defense, but at least it doesn’t break! Pressing R1 multiple times lets you continually attack opponents until they are too weak to fight back. On paper, combat looks easy to do, right? Well…

Nothing comes easy for a shinobi

Let’s be real: This game has a difficulty spike that rises faster than the sun does in Japan! Although, this isn’t necessarily surprising from the developers that brought you Dark Souls. The whole deal is having the right amount of aggressiveness when dealing with enemies. You use Circle to dodge incoming attacks and L1 to block strong attacks (mostly with weapons). But even that won’t stop your opponents from beating the living hell out of you if you don’t fight back.

Of course, you are alerted when the enemy is about to strike you heavily, giving you a chance to block the attack properly. It’s a healthy dose of combat, mind games, and reading the situation accordingly. I can’t even count how many times I’ve died, then resurrected but still died trying to fend off strong enemies. And some of them even have guns and cannons shooting at you, dealing heavy damage.

Is it worth playing through and through?

In the short amount of time I got to play it, I really think that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a great game. It’s got great visuals, fast-paced and aggressive gameplay, and an enjoyable open-world experience. But again, I really can’t stress enough that this game is difficult. If you enjoy a challenge, you will definitely enjoy this game.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The game will be released on March 22, 2019, priced at PhP 2,799 in the Philippines, SG$ 69 in Singapore, MYR 219 in Malaysia, and THB 1,790 in Thailand.

Gaming

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel price and availability in the Philippines

Gift for yourself this holiday season?

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Legion Phone Duel

Lenovo has joined the mobile gaming fray with the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel. You can now grab this gaming smartphone in the Philippines.

It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragong 865 Plus SoC — the best in the business at the moment. It also comes with up to 16GB LPDRR5 RAM and a 512GB UFS 3.1 internal storage. It has a 6.65-inch AMOLED display with 144Hz refresh rate with a 240Hz sampling rate that should bode well for all your mobile gaming needs.

The Legion Phone Duel supports 90W Turbo Power Charging. This can take you from 0 to 50 percent in just 10 minutes and straight up to 100 percent in only half an hour. You can charge the phone on either USB-C ports. Yes, there are two. One in the usual bottom of the phone, the other on its side — a perfect spot for charging while you’re gaming.

Read our Lenovo Legion Phone Duel review for a more comprehensive look at the phone.

Pricing and availability

The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel comes in only two variants. Color, configuration, and pricing are as follows:

  • Blazing Blue — (12GB+256GB) — PhP 39,995
  • Vengeance Red — (16GB+512GB) — PhP 49,995
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Gaming

Just Dance 2021 coming to next-gen consoles

The latest iteration gets a very special treatment

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Ubisoft’s most popular dance simulation game, Just Dance 2021, will make its way to the next generation. It already has its release for modern consoles set on November 12, on the same day as the PlayStation 5. With that in mind, it only makes sense to give it the next-gen touch, as well.

Just Dance 2021 will come with close to 40 new songs with new sets of moves to learn and master through and through. All these songs range from the two decades ago to recent hits from a variety of artists.

This year, artists like Billie Eillish, Dua Lipa, and TWICE make a fruitful return. Also, for the ONCEs playing this game, Ubisoft put in an Alternate Version for TWICE’s “Feel Special” featuring the song’s official choreography! Meanwhile, dance songs like Sean Paul’s “Temperature” and Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends” get their own set of moves, too! All of these will come to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S on November 24, 2020.

SEE ALSO: Just Dance 2020 helps with your workout-from-home

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Gaming

Ubisoft lays down post-launch plans for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Comes with a Season Pass with two major expansions and an exclusive quest

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Assassin's Creed Valhalla

While the game hasn’t been released yet, Ubisoft already has big plans for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla post launch. Set to release on November 10, Valhalla takes you back to England’s Dark Ages as Eivor. The game offers exciting new features as you forge alliances to establish your Viking kingdom.

Now, Ubisoft bares its plans for all of its Assassin’s Creed players a month into picking up Valhalla. This new string of exciting content includes a Season Pass and frequent seasonal content. Through this Season Pass, players will discover new territories and stories surrounding the lore of Valhalla.

The Season Pass comes with two major expansions, the Wrath of the Druids and The Siege of Paris. In The Wrath of the Druids, players unravel the mysteries of ancient Ireland. Most of the worlds here consist of haunted forests and Gaelic kingdoms.

In The Siege of Paris, players relive the most ambitious battle in Viking history. You will take part in a prolonged siege of Frankia through Paris and the River Seine. In the end, what awaits players are secrets to unfold and alliances to forge.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will launch on November 10 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. It will also be available for the PlayStation 5 when the console comes out on November 12.

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