Gaming

The Game Awards 2020 Rundown

The winner rundown!

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This year, despite all the hell, we’ve witnessed game developers, gamers, and esports develop, support, and play stunning artistry. For this year, more than ever, people turned to games to connect with friends and loved ones. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find good games, creators, and pros make it to The Game Awards 2020. Here’s the quick rundown:

Game of the Year (and more): The Last of Us Part 2

The Last of Us Part 2 won big this year with 6 wins and the main award: Game of the Year, Best Game Direction, Best Narrative, Best Audio Design, Innovation in Accessibility, and Best Action/Adventure Game. Also, Laura Baily who played Abby in the game won Best Performance. The stunning action-adventure survival game set in post-apocalyptic America dabbles into haunting loss and ruthless realities. If you haven’t played it, it’s something you’ll need to get into during the holidays to catch up with the hype.

Best Art Direction: Ghost of Tsushima

With everyone hoping this title would win this year, considering nominations for most categories alongside The Last of Us Part 2, Ghost of Tsushima is a jaw-dropping action-adventure set during the first Mongol invasion in Japan. You play as a samurai whose quest is to protect the island of Tsushima. This was a strong competitor for Game of the Year with its eye-gasmic open world and incomparably gorgeous gameplay.

Best RPG and Score/Music: Final Fantasy VII Remake

Are we really surprised with this one? Final Fantasy VII Remake brought the nostalgia, gameplay, and tear-jerking music into our systems and made us feel safe and okay amid the world burning down around us. No? just us? Okay. Winning both best RPG and Musical Score, Final Fantasy VII Remake outdid themselves on their release.

Best Indie Game and Best Action Game: Hades

Hades is a rogue action role-playing game developed and published by Supergiant Games. The rogue-like dungeon crawler lets you defy the god of the dead and hack and slash your way out of the Underworld. This game is fun and addictive, perfect as a holiday gift for casual players and gamers alike.

Best Multiplayer Game and Best Mobile Game: Among Us

If you’ve managed to never see 1000+ IQ games on this game from multiple top content creators across different platforms, you’re missing out. Among Us is an online multiplayer social deduction game developed and published by American game studio Innersloth. The game makes and breaks friendships but, it’s playing and catching imposters that’s got everyone hooked.

Games for Impact: Tell Me Why

Tell Me Why is an episodic narrative adventure game where you piece together memories between twins and decide whose story to believe, acting on what you think is the truth and impacting the people around you. The game dabbles into Tlingit culture and features Tlingit characters.

Best Ongoing Game: No Man’s Sky

Following last year’s winner, Fornite, No Man’s Sky’s open universe exploration-survival gameplay managed to encapsulate the curiosity and adventurous side of every gamer who came across it. With the game letting you recklessly roam planets and universes outside our homes, it let us explore without risking lives.

Best Debut Game: Phasmophobia

If you haven’t played Phasmophobia with your friends while screaming ghost names or dying, then you missed out on a lot. This indie co-op psychological horror game developed by Kinetic Games lets you explore haunted homes and investigate each spot with ghost hunting tools and ghost hunting (terrified) friends.

Best Community Support: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Of course, we would find this adorable platformer battle royale game in the awards. How could we not? Released in early August, Fall Guys developed by Devolver Digital took the internet by storm. The game lets you rush through obstacles and team games all while decked out in cute skins and outfits.

Best VR/AR Game: Half-Life: Alyx

And, the Half-Life 3 jokes continue. Half-Life: Alyx is a first-person shooter survival game where you get to play Alyx Vance. She and her father fight an alien empire that has conquered earth. The game takes place before the return of Gordon Freeman in Half-Life 2

Best Fighting Game: Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate

Do not play this game with minors. I say that with good reason. Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate doesn’t come from the same adorable collation of characters as last year’s winner. This instalment of Mortal Kombat ups the morbid graphics and mechanics giving players the best fighting game when needing catharsis rom a tough day.

Best Family Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons could have very well won the Game of the Year in all our hearts as it helped millions hang out and play with their friends and loved ones earlier in lockdowns across the globe. The social simulation game kept us all sane in more ways than Nintendo could have imagined, making this one of the most memorable games of 2020

Best Sim/Strategy Game: Microsoft Flight Simulator

The Microsoft Flight Simulator is an amateur flight simulator program with the longest-running, best-known, and most comprehensive home flight simulator ever. The game lets you take off, fly, and land just like you would in real life. You’ll need to learn to navigate your way through flight controls, and across the globe to leave and arrive safely.

Best Sports/Racing Game: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a brilliantly immersive skateboarding game that lets players do aerials, flips, and tricks. The game features trick points to let players get creative along the way. It also helps to bring the nostalgia of being able to freely skateboard outdoors without scraping your knees.

Content Creator of the Year: Valkyrae

Valkyrae is an American Youtuber and Streamer who used to work at GameStop and transitioned into streaming. She is the first female gamer and content creator of 100 Thieves and is a strong advocate for women in online gaming, esports, and gaming as a whole.

Esports rundown

Under the esports categories, The Game Awards skimped on new talents and new esports games and communities this year but that’s doesn’t mean these talents are any less deserving of the awards they won. Here are The Game Award’s two-time winners:

Best Esports Event: League of Legends World Championship 2020

Best Esports Game: League of Legends

Best Esports Coach: Danny “Zonic” Sorensen (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive)

Best Esports Host: Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere

Best Esports Team: G2 Esports (League of Legends)

With one new addition to the category:

Best Esports Athlete: Heo “Showmaker” Su (League of Legends)

Gaming

Black Shark 4: Price and availability in the Philippines

For mobile gamers

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Black Shark 4

The gaming-focused smartphone Black Shark 4 has found its way to the Philippines.

The Black Shark 4 has a 6.7-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, 720Hz multi-finger touch sampling rate, and SGS eye protection-certified pressure-sensitive screen. Black Shark has boasted of 111 percent DCI-P3 color gamut and a peak brightness of 1300 nits.

It’s powered by a Snapdragon 870 processor with up to 12GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage. Backing these internals is a 4500mAh battery with 120W fast charging. It’s got dual stereo speakers, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a liquid cooling system, as well as two USB-C ports.

As for cameras, it has a 48MP main shooter, 8MP ultra-wide angle lens, 5MP macro lens, and a 20MP selfie shooter. The phone ships with JOYUI 12.5 based on Android 11 with plenty of gaming-centric features.

Price and availability

The Black Shark 4 will come in two colors: Mirror Black and Pale Grey. It will be available in these configurations: 8GB+128GB, 12GB+128GB, and 12GB+256GB.

The gaming smartphone will officially launch on April 28. You can watch here. Exact pricing will be released during launch day. Interested buyers can pre-order starting April 28 at Black Shark Philippines’ Shopee store. 

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Gaming

Tales of ARISE releases on Sept 9

Collector Edition also announced

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Tales of ARISE

The long-running Tales series (25 years now!) has a new title coming! Tales of ARISE will be released in Southeast Asia on September 9, 2021.

Here’s the release date trailer to get you hyped.

What is Tales of ARISE?

The game will follow the story of Rena — the star that has been ruling the Dahna planet with an iron fist for the past 300 years. Renans have been depleting Dahna of its natural resources, enslaving most of the planet’s population in order to do so.

This tale follows the fight to free Dahnans of their fate and will be experienced through the eyes of Alphen, an iron-masked Dahnan fighting to free his people, and Shionne, a girl from Rena, who’s on the run from her countrymen. They will be joined through their journey by characters like Rinwell and Law that will help them in their fight for freedom.

Southeast Asia Game Editions

Tales of ARISE

All pre-orders and Day-1 retail package version will receive a new costume for Alphen and Shionne, as well as outfits accessories and new cooking recipes and ingredients.

  • Tales of Arise retail package version is only available for the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 in Southeast Asia.
  • The package version includes pre-order digital bonus only for the first production. The number of initial production is limited and will end as soon as it runs out.

Digital Platforms

On Digital platforms, a Deluxe and an Ultimate edition will be available. The Deluxe edition will have the following items:

  • Premium Item Pack, containing gold, cooking items and Boosts
  • Premium Costume Pack, including 8 full costumes and 6 accessories
  • Premium Travel Pack, allowing for better cooking and crafting abilities as well as discounts in shops

The Ultimate Edition will have all the content from the Deluxe Edition as well as new costumes for the characters including special costumes in collaboration with other BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment games.

Tales of ARISE

A physical Collector Edition will be available and include the same content as the Ultimate Edition, along with an exclusive figurine, a Steelbook, an Artbook and the game’s Soundtrack. This edition can be purchased at participating retailers in Southeast Asia.

A special Hootle Edition will be available exclusively and in limited quantities on the BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Asia store at a later date. This edition will include, in addition to the base game, a metal case, an Artbook, the Soundtrack, a 15 cm Hootle plush along with 4 accessories, Hootle DLC for the game as well as stickers and 3 art prints.

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Gaming

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… Review

Playable Anime

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NieR Replicant

An earnest protagonist, a “tsundere” who’s also kind of there for fan service, an almost fourth-wall breaking character, and a world dealing with an underlying crisis; NieR Replicant ver. 1.222474487139 (which we’ll refer to as NieR Replicant henceforth) has all the elements of a wonderful anime. Except, it’s a game — one that goes out of its way to offer multiple types of play.

After getting through a single playthrough of NieR Replicant, I found that most of the things I said I liked in my first impressions (music, gameplay, combat, dialogue) were the ones that will endear me to the game even further.

Everything for your sister

As the protagonist, you play the role of a brother who will do just about anything and everything for your sister. The game starts off with you looking for a way to cure the mysterious illness that’s befallen your sister.

This is the main driving force of the main character. All his actions in the main storyline are all in the service of doing what’s best for his sister.

A memorable cast

Along the way you meet the rest of the main cast. This includes a magical, talking, floating book named Grimoir Weiss who serves as both a helpful ally and a backseat protagonist who never fails to point out the obvious in every situation in a way that almost feels like it’s being directed at the player.

You’ll also build a certain level of kinship with people in your town as well as key characters in every main area of the game. This includes the two other members of your party: Kaine and Emil — both of which also have interesting backstories which I will not spoil here. Just know that all these relationships and it resonates with you, the player, will determine much of what you’ll feel about the game’s story.

NieR Replicant

“Fan Service” Kaine

Dealing with loss

One thing that you will constantly encounter in the game is the feeling of dealing with loss. It already feels heavy on its own, but if I may step back a bit. Having to deal with loss in real life recently and feeling the collective grief of people in my circle also having to deal with the same just amplifies the general feeling of hopelessness and emptiness of experiencing loss.

This feeling, however prevalent in the game, is perfectly balanced by the injection of humor from Grimoir Weiss and the happy memories you have with the ones you’ve lost. Memories also play a part in key points of the story.

Multi-faceted gameplay 

Shifting the tone a little bit, the overall gameplay of NieR Replicant will keep you on your toes.

It’s not just a mindless hack and slash game. There are sections where it’ll turn into a 2D platformer with some sprinkles of puzzle solving.

The level designs are fantastic. One thing that stood out to me is how the Square Enix and Toylogic very intentionally frames certain levels. Since this is, after all, a sort of remake of game that was first released in 2010, it is free from the burden of giving the player full camera control. This results in beautifully framed scenes as you play.

There’s one particular area that reminds me of the camera work on the original Resident Evil games on the PlayStation One.

Later on in the game, you’ll enter a deeper portion of that area and it will give you an entire section of the game that looks and plays like Diablo II. 

These areas are all perfectly placed in different sections of the game that certainly adds to the overall pacing. It can feel draggy, especially when you’re doing side quests, but having levels and areas like this make it all better. Oh and yeah, take some time to do side quests, it’ll help with getting gold (the game’s currency), some useful items, and immerse you further in the game’s world.

Here’s a quick look at the combat in the early part of the game.

The music is just… *chef’s kiss

I’ve already talked about this at length in my first impressions. But even then, it would be a disservice to not mention it here again. The music in this game is just my cup of tea.

It’s the kind of music that really transports you into the game world. If you’ve ever had fantasies of being whisked away to a different reality, the music in this game is what you would imagine to be playing.

It perfectly evokes the proper mood in every area of the game. The main village gives off this “going on an epic adventure” vibe, the area filled with robots sound robotic, and the aforementioned Resident Evil-like area fills you with horror. You can even say it almost foreshadows the fate of some levels and locations. That’s how good the music in this game is.

You can listen to the 2010 versions of the music here. Bear in mind that most of these were re-done/re-recorded for NieR Replicant ver. 1.222474487139.

Should you play NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… ?

Anyone who’s into narrative-driven games should give NieR Replicant a whirl. That’s also especially true if you’re an anime fan. It will feel familiar because of certain tropes, some fan service, and a time skip.

It’s a fantastic entry point into the whole NieR franchise. It will get you curious about the NieR world at large and will certainly make you want to explore or replay the 2017 hit game NieR:Automata. But of course, not before you give NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139… all the playthroughs it deserves.

NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139… is available April 23 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on Steam.

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