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.

Features

Find X slides in, IGTV comes out: Weekend Rewind

All-screen phones and a truly mobile video platform

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. We found X!

All-screen phones are coming out one after another. Following the release of Vivo’s NEX last week, OPPO announced their official entry into the western market with the OPPO Find X. It boasts a 93.8 percent screen-to-body ratio and has specs that match today’s flagships. However, what’s most interesting about it is the sliding camera system. Tap the camera app and the top portion of the phone slides up to reveal both the front-facing camera that has 3D scanning functions like the iPhone X and the dual rear cameras with the flash situated in between the two.

OPPO’s push for innovation comes at a steep price of EUR 999 or about US$ 1,155 and that’s not even the most expensive variant of this phone. OPPO also announced a Lamborghini Edition which will retail for EUR 1,699 or around US$ 1,965. Yikes.

2. Is this the Galaxy S10?

Did we say all-screen phones are all the rage? Notable leaker IceUniverse posted a photo of an all-screen phone with the caption, “This may be a design beyond.” The curved sides — prominent on Galaxy S phones in recent years — lead many people to think this could be what the Galaxy S10 will look like. Details are obviously scarce but it’s always fun to speculate how the camera system will be implemented and if it will have an in-display fingerprint scanner or not.

3. Look Ma, no ports!

Apple just keeps taking things away. After removing the headphone jack a few years back, there are now reports saying they’re taking away the Lightning port. The news comes right before Apple launched AirPower, its first official wireless charging mat. The company will likely earn the ire of several users but that hasn’t stopped them before. This also means a port-less iPhone is coming sooner than we realize.

4. IGTV is here

Instagram is taking YouTube head-on but with its own mobile twist with IGTV. After implementing IG Stories and Live video, the app that started as a photo-sharing platform will now allow users to upload videos from 15 seconds to 10 minutes but in portrait orientation, embracing its mobile roots. On its blog, the company says, “It’s built for how you actually use your phone.” Instagram also hopes to add more features to IGTV like ads and monetization.

5. PS4 faves at a discount!

PS4 gamers rejoice! If you missed out on titles right around the time the console was launched, then let this news ease your worries away. Selected titles deemed as “PlayStation Hits” will retail for only US$ 20 starting June 28. That’s a third of their original price.

The complete PlayStation Hits lineup includes Battlefield 4Bloodborne (standard edition), DOOMDriveClubInfamous: Second SonKillzone: Shadow FallThe Last of Us RemasteredLittleBigPlanet 3Metal Gear Solid 5: The Definitive ExperienceProject CARSRatchet & ClankStreet Fighter 5Uncharted 4: A Thief’s EndYakuza 0, and Yakuza Kiwami.

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Features

Dragon Ball Legends, Incredibles 2, World Cup 2018: Now Playing

Mobile games, a family movie, a major sporting event, and more!

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We’re halfway through the year! With E3 2018 wrapped up and the second wave of flagship phones on the way, there are a lot of things coming. However, the future only looks bright if you can live in the moment, and right at this moment, this is what’s now playing for GadgetMatch.

Games to play

Detroit: Become Human
Rodneil: Most story-driven games have a single path and you just wear the shoes of the lead character as you go through that journey. That’s not the case with Detroit: Become Human where a single scene alone can have as many as six outcomes. This interactive drama game puts you in the shoes of three main characters by allowing you to make decisions for them, in turn affecting the outcome of the game and letting you be the author of your own story.

Dragon Ball Legends
JV: Both die-hard and casual fans of the Dragon Ball series have a lot to love with the latest mobile game based on the franchise. The game takes on many mobile tropes, including in-app purchases for faster progression and a play wall. However, the rest of the game is packed with action as teams of three go head to head in story or PvP modes.

Nearly every single Dragon Ball character you can think of can be summoned to be part of the team, but the built-in story mode revolves around a brand new fighter named Shallot. The campy story mode progresses in an episodic fashion, unfolding fight by fight. Battles are done in vertical mode with swipes, taps, holds, and attack cards that trigger powerful moves. Best of all, it’s a gorgeous game! The graphics are top-notch and faithful to the source material, right down to the crazy Ki explosions and dramatic finishes.

Godus
Isa: This random download from the Google Play Store got me playing God. No kidding, this game starts off with you saving some people from drowning and they end up as your very first “followers.” You build civilizations, explore unknown terrain, and even shift land masses as you create your own timeline of civilization. All that power as the almighty at the tip of your fingers is a pretty fun game, I have to admit.

Movies to see

The Greatest Showman
Chay: I rarely get to watch new movies in cinemas now because of traveling, but long haul flights are always a great opportunity to catch up on all the blockbuster hits I miss. This month, I finally got to watch The Greatest Showman on an EVA Air flight after seeing months of raving on my Facebook and Twitter timelines. If you’re a fan of musicals, this is definitely a must-see; I suggest renting or buying it on Amazon Prime now if you missed it in movie theaters. If musicals aren’t your thing, it’s still a great feel-good, star-studded movie to watch when you get bored on your next flight. I wouldn’t be surprised if you also end up humming to the songs the way I did by the time the plane lands.

The Incredibles 2
Isa: When I want to chill out and relax, I often opt for fun movies and try to shift away from suspense-filled plots. The Incredibles 2 is a perfect blend of light-hearted comedy that touches on themes of family togetherness, all wrapped in a superhero package. It was a great watch over the weekend, plus you get to see what happened in the lives of the same beloved characters from the first movie.

TV shows to binge watch

Suits
Rodneil: Meghan Markle who plays Rachel Zane on Suits recently married a prince. Not gonna lie, I have always had a crush on her and is probably one of the reasons why I started watching the show to begin with. However, I did drop the series right around Season 3, but Markle getting hitched made me want to pick up the series again. I thought Season 3 was a drag but if you’re able to power through it, Seasons 4 to 6 deliver a payoff that was set up on the show’s pilot.

World Cup 2018
Rodneil: Technically, this isn’t a TV show, but if you’re not tuned in to the 2018 World Cup, you’re missing out. It’s the biggest football stage that happens only once every four years, featuring the best athletes to take the pitch. Cristiano Ronaldo, who is one of this generation’s best players, already had a signature performance scoring a hat trick against Spain. Better tune in if big names like Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. will also churn out huge performances.

Music to listen to


Lofi hip hop playlist
Rodneil: Whenever I write, I usually put familiar music on. More than silence, the white noise actually helps me think better. However, while I was trying to write one of the editions of Weekend Rewind, I couldn’t focus at all. So I hopped on Spotify and found this gem. If you’re feeling laid back and just want to go with the flow, the smooth, sexy, and funky tracks in this playlist will ride along with you. Do yourself a favor and listen to it as you read on.

Bloom: Troye Sivan
Chay: Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few years, you’ve probably heard of Troye Sivan in one way or another. He’s an openly gay YouTuber from Australia who blossomed into a full-fledged music artist and released his first album Blue Neighborhood in 2015. This year, Troye is treating fans with a new album called Bloom that the New York Times describes as darker and sexier. It won’t be released until August, but singles like “My My My!” and “Dance To This” featuring Ariana Grande are already available on Spotify for everyone to, well, dance to this Pride Month.

Post Traumatic: Mike Shinoda
Jane: Fans around the world were devastated when Chester Bennington of Linkin Park passed. His bandmate Mike Shinoda was at a loss on what to do so he poured all his emotions and came up with his latest album. If you’ve ever experienced loss, are going through it now, or if you simply want to listen to raw, very human emotions and thoughts across the full spectrum, listen to Post Traumatic.

Books to read

Note To Self by Connor Franta
MJ: I always love moments of introspection and reflection. When a friend suggested Note To Self by Connor Franta, I found that the best time to read it was during Pride Month. Connor Franta is an American gay YouTuber/writer who published his memoir, Note To Self, last 2017. The book talks about self-love and acceptance, his battle with clinical depression and social anxiety, and his struggles with love and loss. It’s told through essays, letters, poetry, and photography — something I also love doing in my spare time. This book really connects with me in a deeper level, and I believe that it can help people understand the perspective of people suffering from mental illness. Pride Month isn’t just about festivities and loud celebration, it’s also about connecting and understanding with the LGBTQ+ community and their untold struggles and stories.

Freedom for the thought we hate by Anthony Lewis
Isa: This book traces the history of the First Amendment throughout US legal history and tackles the events that transpired and shaped law in the constitution as we know them today. Written by New York Times journalist Anthony Lewis, this book is a good read and is very apt for today’s times.

Cities to visit

Moscow
Chay: I can count the number of cities and countries I would much rather spend my money on over Russia. Moscow isn’t exactly at the top of most travelers’ bucket lists and I, for one, have always wanted to visit only to see Saint Basil’s Cathedral, but not much else. This year though, Russia is hosting the World Cup, so I’d say there’s really no better time to go, if you don’t mind a bigger crowd of tourists and fans, that is. Russians are infamous for being stern and too serious at times, so it’s also a rare sight to see them have fun at least for a few weeks.

Taipei
Marvin: Visiting Taipei has become an annual habit for me, but there’s always something new to discover in the bustling city. My latest trip brought me to Elephant Mountain, which has the most gorgeous view of Taipei from a naturesque point, and the traditional beauty of Jiufen’s streets. At the end of each day, I had a wide selection of night markets filled with food carts to check out — all of which are easily accessible via public transport.

Apps to download

FIFA
Chay: The official FIFA app has been updated to focus on the 2018 World Cup, providing exclusive content and features surrounding the month-long event. If you’re overwhelmed with the schedule, one tap on the app shows you the groups and all the matches in the four-week tourney. There’s also a Live Scores tab with previews, play-by-play updates, and statistics — if you can’t watch your favorite teams live.

Headspace
MJ: As I’ve been getting into working out and being physically fit, I also remember to take care of my emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Headspace is my new friend in the realm of technology, an app that helps me practice mindfulness and meditation. I always use this app before I start the day, during a stressful situation to help me think clearly, and at night to help me fall asleep.

Did you like any of our picks or have suggestions of your own? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

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Gaming

Sony permanently slashes prices of PlayStation 4 favorites

Here’s your chance to grab Uncharted for cheap!

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Despite their abundance, video games continue to wow with their exorbitant prices. Currently, the most popular PS4 games out in the market still cost around US$ 60.

Thankfully, Sony is finally slashing the prices of its console’s bestsellers. As such, these fan favorites will reenter the market as “PlayStation Hits.”

The permanent rebranding will slash the affected games prices to just US$ 20 each. This, of course, doesn’t include any additional sales that Sony might implement in the future.

The lineup consists of both top-selling games and console exclusives. This includes the console’s poster children: Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Remastered and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and FromSoftware’s Bloodborne. With the promo, Sony offers gamers the opportunity to play this generation’s biggest games before they inevitably launch their next console within the next two years.

On retail shelves, the PlayStation Hits will ship in a red case (as opposed to the usual blue) to differentiate the series from Sony’s other offerings.

This isn’t the first time that Sony has repackaged their bestsellers more competitively. On previous console generations, Sony has reshipped these games under the “Greatest Hits” moniker.

Starting June 28, the entire 15-game lineup will relaunch under the new branding. Initially, Sony will start the run exclusively in the United States and Canada. Currently, the company hasn’t revealed when the promo will see other territories.

However, the hard exclusivity applies only to physical copies. Anyone with a US account on the PlayStation Network can still avail of the slashed prices through the Store.

The complete PlayStation Hits lineup includes Battlefield 4, Bloodborne (standard edition), Doom, DriveClub, Infamous: Second Son, Killzone: Shadow Fall, The Last of Us Remastered, LittleBigPlanet 3, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Definitive Experience, Project CARS, Ratchet & Clank, Street Fighter 5, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Yakuza 0, and Yakuza Kiwami.

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