Gaming

Shadow of the Colossus on PS4: A worthwhile throwback

If taking down massive creatures is your thing, then this game is for you

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Take down massive monsters as you try to revive a girl. Sounds like a plan? That’s exactly what Shadow of the Colossus is all about.

History

For those unfamiliar, Shadow of the Colossus isn’t a new game. This action-adventure was first released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and was initially developed by SIE Japan Studio and Team Ico.


The game garnered much critical acclaim during its first release and won awards for its design and overall quality. A remastered version was released for the PlayStation 3 in September 2011. Bluepoint Games was in charge of the development back then, and now they’re at it again on the PlayStation 4, building on what was already a good game and making it look even better.

Visuals

To appreciate just how much has changed from 2005 to 2018, watch this video below.

Now that’s what I call a glow up!

It’s easy to get lost and just marvel in the vastness of the Forbidden Lands of Shadow of the Colossus. That’s the first thing you’ll notice once you dive into the remastered version of this game.

The level of detail on the surroundings is breathtaking

The grass looks like it moves naturally, the fluidity of the water is captivating, and the way light hits the entire landscape is an absolute sight for sore eyes. Even after playing for a while, you never really get over how mesmerizing the view is. It’s definitely part of the game’s appeal.

Sometimes you just have to stop and appreciate the view

Take the image below for instance. First look at the grass in the foreground; that’s about as real as you can get. Also notice the different shading on the areas that hit the sunlight versus areas that do not. Looking further to the background, the sides of the mountain look blurrier, indicating how there is some distance between where you are and where the mountain is, which is exactly how it would look like in real life.

The attention to the detail makes for an eye-gasmic experience

This is where the remastered version truly shines. The level of detail is eye-gasmic and the physics of the environment you move around in are all on point. I personally wasted about an hour running around the Forbidden Lands just to soak in the place.

Even the colossi look so much better in the remastered version! There’s a certain more realistic feel to their actions — as realistic as one can imagine if there’s a huge being lugging itself around.

Story

So onto the game. You play the part of Wander, a young man who went to the Forbidden Lands with hopes of reviving female character Mono. Upon arrival, you’re told by a mysterious multi-voiced entity called Dormin that in order to restore Mono’s life, you have to defeat the 16 colossi scattered on the Forbidden Lands, and this is where your journey truly begins.

The Forbidden Land is vast

Not much else is told about Wander, Mono, or any other character which means you don’t get too attached to any of them. However, as the game goes along and you defeat more colossi, the sequences that follow will leave you questioning one of the character’s motives.

As you progress you might also start questioning if what you set out to do will actually happen. In the later stages of the game, you might feel this doubt is reinforced. I’m not here to throw in spoilers so I’ll leave it at that.

Gameplay

As earlier mentioned, there are 16 colossi. If, like me, you didn’t play this game back when it was first released for the PlayStation 2 in 2005, then you’d think you’re in for a lot of grinding and powering up before facing off against each of the opponents. However, that’s not the case. The game feels more like a series of boss battles, each one with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

There are two stages to beating the colossi. One, you have to find where the colossus is first. You’ll be assisted by your sword. Lift it up where there is sunlight and it will reveal the direction you need to go to find the colossus you must vanquish.

Find a spot where there is sunlight and raise your sword to know the direction of the colossus

Part of the challenge and thrill of the game is locating the colossus. That includes needing to check your map from time-to-time and going through a few obstacles here and there. Finding each colossus can feel like a puzzle in itself; beating one though, that’s another story.

The Dormin assists you during colossus battles by giving vague clues on how to take it down. Initially, you have two weapons at your disposal — a sword and a bow that never runs out of arrows. You should be able to pick up another sword or two as you go along, if you look hard enough. You’ll need both depending on which colossus you’re up against.

If you’re curious to see how a battle looks like, here’s me trying my best not to get squashed by Gaius — the third colossus.

Each colossus presents a different challenge. Most of them are incredibly large and all of them possess a lot of destructive power. You’ll have to rely more on your problem-solving skills than anything else to get through each one.

In some cases, you’ll need the assistance of your trusted horse companion Argo. I found those challenges tricky, but they’re really fun once you get the hang of it.

Defeating a colossus can take anywhere between five to 30 minutes. Since they’re massive, a huge chunk of battles will have you holding on for dear life as the colossus tries to shake you off.

The colossi are absolutely massive

It doesn’t take too long to finish the entire game. My first and only run so far lasted only about 12 hours. That’s on normal mode. After completing the game, you have the option to play time attack mode where, as the name suggests, you’ll need to defeat each colossus within a specific period of time. Take too long and you have to start over.

As you keep playing the game, you’ll unlock more items that will increase either the length of your grip or strengthen your blows. Incredibly useful if you’re after all those trophies.

They’re not all super massive, but each colossus is pretty scary

Should you play it?

Overall, Shadow of the Colossus is a moderately challenging game that has enough replay value for anyone’s gaming library. It’s not bogged down by too rich a story nor does it require hours upon hours of grinding to get the characters to a certain level.

Will I play it again? When I’m in between role-playing games, I will most definitely give the time attack mode a try.

It was even voted on the PlayStation Blog as the Players’ Choice for February 2018’s best new game. So if you’re still on the fence about it, know that a lot of other players found it to be worth their time and hard-earned cash.

It’s perfect for when you’re feeling stuck in another game or any other situation in life. A good hour or two should be enough to take down a colossus and you’ll feel pretty accomplished after doing so no matter how long it took you to take one down.

Gaming

Nintendo quietly updates the original Switch with a beefier battery

Will sell for the same price

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Last week, Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch Lite. Compared to the original Switch, the upcoming Lite version will focus on handheld gaming. It will feature a smaller screen and non-detachable Joy-Con controllers. Sacrificing its home console capabilities, the Switch Lite will hopefully update Nintendo’s on-the-go gaming lineup.

Naturally, the Switch Lite leaves us with a burning question: what will happen to the original Switch? With a docking mode, the original Switch is still Nintendo’s number one choice for a home console. However, the Lite’s hype is leaving the original trailing in the dust. Thankfully, Nintendo is quietly launching an updated version of the beloved original.


In a few weeks, the gaming company will out a revised Switch. The new Switch will come with a beefier battery, reportedly packing around two more hours of battery life. The new battery will last between 4.5 to 9 hours, depending on the game. (For reference, the original battery plays between 2.5 to 6.5 hours.) According to tests, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can play for up to 5.5 hours on a full battery — up from a paltry three hours.

Much like the Switch Lite, the updated Switch is a huge boost for handheld gaming. Gamers can take their consoles out for longer periods of time. Of course, the update can still feature new hardware on launch. Besides a bigger battery, Nintendo can effectively increase battery life with more efficient chipsets and storage options.

All in all, the new Switch is still a mystery before its launch date. One thing’s for sure: it’s not a completely new Switch. This isn’t a Switch Pro. On launch, the new Switch will cost the same — US$ 300 — as the old Switch.

Besides the revised Switch, Nintendo is also launching the Switch Lite later this year. Also, the company is reportedly working on a gamier Switch Pro for the future. It’s a great time to buy into the Switch ecosystem.

SEE ALSO: Nintendo reveals upcoming games for the Switch

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Gaming

The Nintendo Switch Lite is coming

For on-the-go gaming!

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It has long been rumored that Nintendo will launch a more affordable version of the Nintendo Switch and now, the company has more than confirmed that the rumors are true. Enter the Nintendo Switch Lite. It’s a smaller less featured-filled version of the hit console from Nintendo.

The Nintendo Switch Lite is smaller and lighter. It sports a 5.5-inch touch screen display against its big brother’s 6.2-inch display and is projected to last a little longer at three to seven hours of playtime.


The primary difference though is that it is a handheld only console. Which is why it doesn’t support Joy-Con controllers. It also doesn’t come with a Switch Dock. You can essentially play most titles available on the Switch, but there’s no option for you to play on a bigger screen.

Pricing and availability

The Nintendo Switch Lite will launch on September 20 and will retail for US$ 199.99. It will come in three colors: Yellow, Gray, and Turquoise. Are you gonna get one?

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Gaming

A non-Potterhead’s verdict on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Use your phone, Harry!

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More than a week has passed since the global release of the mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and we’re ready to give our thoughts. As the title states, I’m not into the franchise that much although I’m a big Pokémon Go player. It basically has the same gameplay as they’re under the same developers — Niantic, Inc.

That being said, I won’t be diving too much on the lore and will instead focus more on gameplay and its overall experience.


For those unfamiliar, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a location-based AR game that requires you to go out of the house in order to get more experience points, unlock special items, and advance in the game. The same goes for Pokémon Go and the game before that, Ingress. While PoGo, in the real world, has PokéStops that give out PokéBalls, HP:WU has Inns that you get Spell Energy from. This is then required so you can cast spells and return Foundables to their rightful place and time (the game’s version of catching different Pokémon in the wild).

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ALSO READ: A beginner’s guide to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

During the first day of release and being curious as to how the game works, I went out and tried to “catch” as much Foundables as I can and just like PoGo, it gets you in the momentum of just wanting to go around and get as much as you can. I initially noticed the wider array of different “species” you can come across with on HP:WU as compared to when PoGo first launched. I remember all I did back then was to catch Pidgey and Rattata because that was pretty much everything that was available. This was also the main reason why most players quit back then.

You get to choose your house, profession, and design your wand

Back to Wizards Unite, the similarities it has with PoGo made it easy for me to get a grasp of its general gameplay even though I have no idea who most of the characters are. The idea is to basically level up by grinding for experience points in the most efficient way. This means planning where to go and making sure the place is populated by in-game stops and spawns — usually parks and shopping malls are good choices.

Comparison of HP:WU’s UI vs PoGo in the same area

While it parallels Niantic’s other games in many levels, Wizards Unite brings its own charm through its visuals. The environment of HP:WU is simply more immersive than PoGo‘s and even the encounters have more detail in them. It could get distracting at times since there are more elements in HP:WU, but is overall nicer to look at.

A unique aspect from the company’s games is that unlike other multiplayer games where you meet your friends online, you actually play with them in real life and this is also the case for Wizards Unite. These games basically build a community that helps each other accomplish in-game tasks that are usually challenging to accomplish alone. What HP:WU did better, though, is to go for a more immersive gameplay by making you trace different patterns on your screen as if waving your wand as compared to the tapping mechanics of PoGo.

Overall, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite could be a more enjoyable game for some players who are not big fans of the Pokémon franchise. I personally enjoy it enough to switch between HP:WU and PoGo whenever I play out. It will keep you walking around drawing on your screen and pretending to wave your make-believe wand.

It’s a game that’s far more complete than Pokémon Go at launch, that’s for sure. Although, it’s still far from reaching its full potential since there are things that could still be added to the game like a dueling system, for example.

If you want to try the game and get some cardio while casting spells, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is available on Google Play and the App Store.

 

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