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

God of War’s New Game Plus mode is here

It’s time for another play through, boy!

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A New Game Plus (NG+) mode for PlayStation 4’s God of War is here. This means whatever weapons, items, and armor you amassed during your first go round, you can take with you if you wish to go on another adventure with Kratos and Atreus.

The NG+ mode also lets you pick a different difficulty setting from the one you first played with. So whether you feel like taking on a tougher challenge or just breezing through the story mode, you can do so. The choice is yours.

Other new content include a new shield skin when you start a NG+ as well as new types of armor you can forge for the father and son duo. The additions also include new challenges like Realm Tears while on a time limit and a variety of new attack patterns for draugrs, witches, and other foes you’ll meet along the way.

Updates not just for God of War NG+ mode

If you’re still in the middle of your first run, don’t worry, the creators of God of War didn’t forget about us. There’s now a button that easily lets you transfer enchantments making it easier to go from one armor to another. There are also some bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements like keeping Kratos safe at all times during parry attacks and improved consistency with how enemy attacks can be parried.

If you’ve completed the game at least once, the update also lets you skip cinematic scenes whether you’re on NG+ or not.

God of War for the PS4 first came out in April 2018 and received glowing reviews from various media outlets. Many of whom even said it’s an early candidate for Game of the Year. It takes the franchise’s main character Kratos into Norse mythology years after he tore through the Greek gods.

SEE MORE: God of War: A must-play for 2018

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Computers

NVIDIA launches the new RTX 2000 series

Promises movie-like quality for games

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Throughout the years, video games have slowly edged closer to movie-like picture quality. As of late, cinematic video games — like The Last of Us — have begun their long renaissance. Now, NVIDIA has unveiled a new series of graphics cards that pushes that boundary even further.

The newly launched GeForce RTX 2000 series leaps miles apart from NVIDIA’s long-reigning GTX 1080 video card. Specifically, the series comes in three variants — the RTX 2070, RTX 2080, and RTX 2080 Ti.

Powered by the Turing architecture, the new series attempts to solve the industry’s problems. Most importantly, the RTX 2000 series highlights ray tracing, a feature missing from video cards before now.

Traditionally, video games have trouble rendering lighting. Usually, games fall into two categories: terribly drawn lighting which clashes haphazardly with stunning textures, or power-hungry graphics that tank your frames-per-second rate to single digits.

Ray tracing vastly improves how light interacts with surfaces. With the feature, the series brings professional-level graphics to a mass market. In terms of performance, the RTX 2000 cards promise six times the capabilities of the previous GTX 1080.

For starters, the RTX 2070 comes with 2304 CUDA cores and 8GB GDDR6 RAM. The midrange RTX 2080 offers 2944 CUDA cores and the same amount of RAM. Finally, the flagship RTX 2080 Ti boasts 4352 CUDA cores and 11GB GDDR6 RAM.

Already, the series promises support for upcoming games: Battlefield V, Metro Redux, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Upon launch, the RTX 2070 retails for US$ 499. The midrange RTX 2080 sells for US$ 699. Finally, the RTX 2080 Ti sells for US$ 999. All three cards will also come with Founders Edition variants selling for US$ 599, US$ 799, and US$ 1,199, respectively. The series will officially launch on September 20.

SEE ALSO: NVIDIA Titan V breaks benchmarks and banks

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Gaming

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S is the slimmest gaming laptop available today

But doesn’t compromise performance

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Alongside the 17-inch ROG Scar II, ASUS has announced a new ROG device that they claim to be world’s slimmest gaming laptop. The ROG Zephyrus from last year was already thin by gaming laptop standards, but the new ROG Zephyrus S is 12 percent thinner with updated specs.

The ROG Zephyrus S (GX531) still has the look and feel of the original Zephyrus but it’s now only 14.95 to 15.75mm thick. Those numbers might not sound as sexy as other super-slim notebooks, but the Zephyrus S has desktop-grade gaming performance with either an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q or GTX 1060 GPU inside its chassis.

Powering the Zephyrus S is a six-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor with up to 16GB of DDR4 memory and storage option of up to a 512GB NVMe SSD.

The laptop’s display is a 15.6-inch 1080p panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, and 100 percent sRGB coverage. It’s definitely not the sharpest laptop display, but it’s one of the fastest for smooth gameplay. The display has a thin-bezel design as well, so the footprint of the laptop is just a bit bigger than your typical 14-inch notebook.

ASUS uses their Active Aerodynamic System (same as with other Zephyrus laptops) which opens a vent at the bottom of the laptop when the lid is lifted, and the vent stretches across the entire back of the body. This improves airflow by 22 percent over a conventional design as per ASUS.

Another distinct trait of the Zephyrus S is the keyboard. It’s still on the front of the device, which helps with cooling, but it might not be everybody’s cup of tea. The keys have 1.2mm of travel, N-key rollover, and RGB lighting via Aura Sync over four zones.

As for I/O, it has two USB-C ports (Gen1 and Gen2), two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, HDMI 2.0 at the back, and a headphone jack.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S (GX531) will become available starting September in the US and in October for the UK and Asia. Pricing starts at US$ 2,099 for the GTX 1060 model, while the higher-end GTX 1070 is priced at US$ 2,199.

SEE ALSO: ASUS’ new ROG Strix Scar II is world’s most compact 17-inch gaming laptop

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