The Last of Us Part 1 The Last of Us Part 1

Gaming

The Last of Us Part 1 is great for first-timers

A riveting story with upgraded visuals and gameplay

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The Last of Us Part 1 is my first time experiencing this critically acclaimed and generally beloved game. I wasn’t doing a lot of gaming at the time it was first released which was in June 2013. About a year later, a remastered version for the PlayStation 4 was released. And at that point, I was still a few years away from really coming back to gaming. 

Before I talk about my experience playing The Last of Us Part 1, I think it’s crucial to share where I’m coming from as a gamer. I missed nearly all of the PS3 era and the early part of the PS4 era. At the time I was busy building my career as a media professional – covering more politics, sports, and tech over gaming. 

It wasn’t around 2016 to 2017 that I jumped back into gaming again. I inherited my brother’s PS4 as he transitioned to the PS4 Pro. My feelings towards gaming has been largely the same since. I really jumped back in at the perfect time – to a point where gaming has matured quite a bit.

I did most of my gaming on the original PlayStation and the PS2. But I had to pull back because I became too consumed by gaming and had neglected my school work. Going from that era to the PS4 was quite the leap. Especially for someone like myself who is used to the grind-heavy hours of JRPGs and who’s jaws dropped at 3D polygons I can control on the TV. 

And that’s how I feel about experiencing The Last of Us Part 1 in this fully remade form. It’s a leap, and I’m glad I’m soaking in the story in this presentation. 

Definitely a Remake

The Last of Us Part 1

L: Remake. R: Remaster.

Naughty Dog, the game’s developer, and Sony PlayStation have really gone out of their way to market this as a Remake and not just another remaster. And really, it’s largely true. 

To be able to get a frame of reference, I played the early hours of the game both on the Remake and the Remastered version. The visual differences are very evident. 

First off, the environment, textures, and character models look and feel a lot more real on the Remake. It’s really hard to explain in detail. And not even this side-by-side video comparison by IGN can fully showcase the visual leap. 

After all, the console generations are a little closer to each other than the more massive Remake that Square Enix did with Final Fantasy VII. 

The improved visual cues and controls help with it too. The visual cues on the Remake are now in white – more in keeping with the tone and look of the game. In the Remaster, the on screen elements were more colorful and it felt more gamery. It’s a subtle change and one that may not matter to most people, but it is noticeable nevertheless. 

The controls, too, feel more fluid. There was something about the controls on the Remaster that felt heavier than the one on the Remake. Although, it really isn’t by much. But the combination of the better visuals and improvements in gameplay certainly signals a ground-up rebuild. Which stays true to how the game has been marketed so far. 

I’m not gonna go into detail since you can check all of that out on the PlayStation Blog, anyway. All I can say is that every little improvement – especially the accessibility ones –  they mentioned is no hyperbole. Everything does feel like an upgrade.

Is it just a cash grab?

The Last of Us Part 1

Even after playing a good chunk of the game, I still haven’t made up my mind on whether The Last of Us Part 1 is even really necessary. 

If, like me, this will be your first time experiencing the story, then it’s an easy recommendation. And perhaps that is the main point of the Remake. To get players who missed out on the initial release to experience the game but by 2022 standards. 

For fans who have played the game before, it’s hard to have to shell out the price of a new game for a story you’ve already experienced before. If you fall in this category, perhaps it’s more prudent to wait for discounts and price drops, or for it to show up on the PS Plus subscriptions. 

As a first-time player, I’m having a grand time. Very similar to my experience with playing Uncharted 4 which I also missed when it first came out. Going through the game in the PS5 enhanced version included in the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection was an absolute joy. 

Certainly a marketing tool

The Last of Us Part 1

But like Uncharted, I am firmly in the camp that The Last of Us Part 1 is a rather expensive marketing tool to accompany Sony’s foray into live action movies and series. 

The release timing of the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection happened right around the time the Uncharted movie starring Tom Holland (Spider-Man in the MCU) was released. And just as The Last of Us Part 1 is coming out on September 2, 2022, HBO dropped a trailer of the The Last of Us TV series starring Pedro Pascal. It doesn’t take a genius to put two-and-two together. 

That said, these Remakes aren’t phoned-in efforts. They are very much done with much love and care by the developers. And they’re definitely the best way to experience the games today. 

Gaming

Google is closing down Stadia

Ending mid-January 2023

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The concept of cloud gaming is pretty simple. With a decent internet connection, players can have access to the best games today without the need for expensive hardware. However, for all the promise that the technology held, cloud gaming’s journey has been rough. Today, one of the technology’s biggest names is closing up shop. Starting early next year, Google is shuttering Stadia.

According to a blog post from the Stadia team’s vice president Phil Harrison, the device never really took off in the way the company was expecting. As such, the entire team is shutting down and moving on to other ventures inside the company. However, Google still hopes to use the technology (and the lessons associated with the failed venture) to other branches.

Now, for consumers, the Stadia store is now closed. Anyone who purchased hardware or games through the Play and Stadia Stores will receive refunds during the shutdown period. (However, Stadia Pro subscribers will not get refunds. On the upside, they won’t get charged for additional months.)

The service will shut down on January 18, 2023. In the meantime, Stadia users can still access their library until that date.

The writing has been on the wall for a while now. Previously, the company also shut down the team’s in-game development, limiting what the service offered.

If you’re enjoying cloud gaming as a technology, Google isn’t the only player around. Amazon and Xbox both have their own services dedicated to cloud gamers.

SEE ALSO: Google will alert you if your info pops up in a search

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Razer, Qualcomm tease gaming handheld device

Officially debuting next month

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The Steam Deck really set off a new wave of hype for handheld gaming consoles. Chipping away at the Switch’s dominance, the next generation of mobile gaming wants to wrest gamers away from the clutches of smartphones and Nintendo. Today, another player is joining in (or returning to the fight). Razer and Qualcomm are teaming up for their own handheld gaming device.

Well, it’s not an official reveal yet. During MWC Las Vegas, Verizon teased the upcoming partnership and revealed a few details about the device. Much like the new Logitech G Cloud, the Razer Edge 5G, as it’s called, will run on Android and will play the usual cloud gaming services.

Since the partnership involves Qualcomm, expect a good processor inside, too. Plus, with Verizon’s partnership, the device will come with 5G connectivity, as the name also implies.

The Logitech G Cloud also came with a Snapdragon chipset. However, it has a smaller model, the Snapdragon 720G, skipping out on Qualcomm’s handheld gaming platform. Presumably, Razer’s device will come with the G3x Gen 1. When the platform launched, Qualcomm did tease a product with Razer. It’s the device’s first appearance since last year.

Unfortunately, the teaser video does not reveal much outside of what we already know from previous teases. Thankfully, it won’t be long before the official reveal. Razer is expected to unveil the product during RazerCon on October 15.

SEE ALSO: RazerCon 2022 set on October 15

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Steam announces when next sales are

Autumn, Winter, Spring

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Christmas is right around the corner. If you want to get a head start on buying something for yourself, it’s important to know when the biggest sales are. Now, gamers have a date on when they can bust out their wallets. Valve has officially announced when the autumn, winter, and spring Steam sales are happening.

The next sale — the traditional Autumn Sale — will happen between November 22 through 29. It’s quite a big gap for a head start, but it should give gamers a healthy library to play when the Christmas vacation starts.

On the other hand, if rush shopping is more you, the Winter Sale will happen between December 22 through January 5. It’s a Christmas treat.

If you’re familiar with Steam’s usual calendar of sales, you might not have heard of a Spring Sale before. Traditionally, the platform holds the Lunar New Year Sale in lieu of a seasonal theme. This time, Steam is keeping things consistent. The newly dubbed Spring Sale will happen between March 16 through 23. It’s also a later date than the previous Lunar New Year Sale.

Steam sales are usually a treat for gamers who play on a PC. Though the platform frowns on gigantic 95 percent off discounts now, platform-wide sales events can still house delectable bargains. Now, whether or not you’ll have time to play all of them is another story altogether.

SEE ALSO: Steam: No more 95% off sales

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