Gaming

The Last of Us Part II review: An aftermath of ruthlessness

One man’s decision led to a world descending into chaos

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The ending of The Last of Us put me in a position to play out a decision on the fate of humanity. It’s a decision that Joel, one of the main protagonists, made because he felt it was the right one. If you haven’t played nor finished the game, spoiler alert: he saves a young Ellie from life-altering surgery but leaves dead bodies in the process.

The cover art for The Last of Us Remastered featuring Joel and young Ellie

Naughty Dog had its critically-acclaimed masterpiece, a crowning moment of compelling storytelling mixed with awesome gameplay. Surviving a world filled with mostly Infected people kept the action going on all cylinders. The question I had after finishing that game almost a year ago was simple: what’s next?

I came into playing The Last of Us Part II with all the mental preparation possible. Of course, I needed to remember how the prequel felt from all angles. At some point, I felt like I also needed to jog my memory of all the characters again. I was ready to dive back into blowing up heads and getting into another Infected hellhole.

Except, it’s much deeper than an ordinary survival game.

In my preview of the game, I mentioned that this time around, you play as Ellie. You remember her, that little girl who was immune to the infection? In this game, she’s all grown up — at least, past the legal age, and resides in Jackson, Wyoming. This comes nearly five years after the events of the prequel’s ending.

A deep and horrific tragedy strikes Ellie during her days in Jackson, which prompts her to plunge back into post-apocalyptic America with revenge on her mind. She ventures into Seattle, going through any length or depth to achieve it. It’s your typical “revenge story” but it gets dark pretty quick.

It’s a story that heavily references scenes from the prequel while detailing the immediate fallout. It’s something that long time fans of The Last of Us will immensely appreciate if they got through it. There are moments in the story that offer light-hearted moments, or sometimes even just moments to rest. But the game doesn’t break away one bit from the gruesome realities Ellie has to deal with.

Improvement in gameplay was in emphasizing on the underused

The Last of Us Part II didn’t change much in terms of core gameplay mechanics; rather, they improved on these to make sense. Since you’re playing a much younger character, you will naturally move faster, and access higher places with relative ease. Naughty Dog made it all make sense, as Ellie can climb, swim, jump between platforms, and swing on rope-like objects.

Sometimes, it’s better to hide from your enemies first before taking them out, one by one.

But the biggest thing they’ve improved on was an increased emphasis in the stealth mechanic. The prequel had you running up to your enemies guns ablazing as the preferred mode of combat, with stealth as just a mere option if you’re too scared. This time, with more dangerous enemies coming your way, it’s best to keep hiding.

This isn’t a stealth mechanic that hinges entirely on hiding, however. It’s a combat tactic that allows you to outsmart your opponents every chance you get. Plus, Listen Mode makes a return in the sequel, with much improved range to show you enemy activity. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to fight a mixed bag of human enemies and Infected in one go — especially since… 

Your enemies are either smarter and more elusive, or deadlier

Ellie coming face-to-face with a Seraphite, a faction that focuses more on elusive strategies

You will come across two human factions, both with their own set of beliefs on mankind’s survival against the Infected. Both these groups have their own combat styles and strategies to hunt you down. It’s really up to you on how to approach the members of these groups, although I personally enjoyed popping off on all of them.

Ellie encounters the Wolves, a group of former Fireflies that often attack in small units

Your human enemies are now smarter in that sense; more often than not, they take you on in groups and chip away at your health fast. Some of your enemies even start attacks through signals and even use attack dogs to smell you out. It truly adds a whole new dynamic that will have you thinking on your feet.

The Infected still roam free, but time has made them more aggressive. You still get your usual amount of Runners and Clickers, but your approach towards them differs entirely on their volume. 

Your first encounter with the Shambler, an enhanced Bloater with toxic waste

Meanwhile, Stalkers are still sinister in approach, and chip away more health when attacking. The game even introduces a new type of Infected in the Shambler, a more dangerous Bloater that spews out toxic waste. The Last of Us experience wouldn’t be complete without it, honestly but that wasn’t the main focus.

All of this, and what’s it all for?

Beneath the fantastic gameplay, rich scenery, and the dangers of the world around her, Ellie comes face-to-face with her innate desire for revenge. This, above all else becomes the focal point of the entire game. In her mind, survival wasn’t enough; someone had to pay for what happened.

The sequel improves on the core gameplay by simply favoring one over the other. The dangers of a post-apocalyptic world will have you fighting for your life once you’ve placed yourself in it. Once you’re in the fight, flight is no longer an option. As time rolls on, you’ll encounter smarter and deadlier enemies, and your approach matters.

Ellie embarks on her most dangerous adventure through stormy Seattle

And yet behind the facade of a quiet yet destroyed world lies a story of hatred, obsession, and revenge. It’s a story that will remind you of just how far one is willing to go to serve a cold dish of it. But no act of revenge will reverse the tragedies; no amount of killing will reverse right or wrongdoings in the past.

The Last of Us Part II was an exercise in ruthlessness and shows no mercy for its audience. It’s not afraid to go beyond the realm of morality and logic, just to prove a point. When it gets right down to it, it seeks to remind us of how one decision changes everything.

Ellie’s journey for revenge begins on June 19, exclusively for the PlayStation 4.

Gaming

Sony unveils what the PS5 game boxes will look like

Lovely white rectangle

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Last month, Sony kicked off the PlayStation 5 hype with a bang. Starting off its massive games showcase, the PlayStation 5 announced one of the biggest titles for the next generation: Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The web-slinging action adventure game brings back New York City with an all-new hero, Miles Morales as Spider-Man.

However, the tease was just plainly… a tease. We don’t know much more about the game besides being a separate game from the original Spider-Man. Now, we know just a bit more.

Sony has officially revealed the look of the PlayStation 5’s physical game cases. In a blog post, the company used Spider-Man: Miles Morales as an example. Now, we know both the look of the next generation cases and the official box art of the game.

First, the game. The art doesn’t reveal much. However, Miles Morales is wielding what looks like a lightning punch. Now, we’re not up to speed with every aspect of the Marvel multiverse, but we’re fairly sure Spider-Man is known for lightning reflexes, not lightning punches. Could this hint at a larger part for Electro, a classic Spidey villain?

Secondly, the look of the case. You might remember that the PlayStation 4 cases are brilliantly blue: blue case, blue band on the top. Though the PlayStation 5 will still have blue cases, the band on top is now white, clearly delineating the new games on retail shelves. Of course, this might not mean much if you’re going for the Digital Edition. What do you think of the change?

The PlayStation 5 series is expected to launch later this year during the holiday season. With the amount of details piling up, the next generation of gaming is looking pretty spectacular.

SEE ALSO: Will PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X games be more expensive?

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Gaming

ICYMI: The World University Cyber League 2020 has begun

The best gamers from the brightest in the region duke it out for gaming supremacy

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Tencent Sports wanted to up the competition a little bit more in Southeast Asia, following Esports’ rapid rise in the region. Obviously, the best option for that is to hold a tournament to bring in the best of the best for some healthy competition. With the help of Mineski Global, they’ve done exactly just that, and are now on their final stages of the entire tournament.

The World University Cyber League 2020 started last June 28, and featured players from four markets in Southeast Asia. This time around, these players don’t come from established teams and franchises from their home countries. Instead, they are university-sponsored students, as they compete for a prize pool of over US$ 5,000. The Philippines host the SEA qualifiers, through Mineski Global’s Philippine division and its Youth Esports Program.

Students from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand are competing across three different games. The roster of games Tencent prepared include popular mobile games like Clash Royale and PUBG Mobile, and an Esports classic in League of Legends.

Qualifiers will end on July 9, with the best teams moving to the WUCL Finals from July 10-15. To know more about the WUCL, you may visit their official website.

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Gaming

KFC announces its own gaming console with a built-in chicken cooker

Might be a gag

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It’s fair to say that the console wars have begun. Over the past few months, Sony and Microsoft have launched amazing, hype-inducing tidbits at the adoring audience of gamers. With both consoles finally getting their individual chances at the spotlight, are you getting the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X?

Strangely enough, a surprise contender wants to join the next-generation conversation. Earlier last month, KFC Gaming (yes, it’s real) released a teaser video for an upcoming branded console, the KFConsole.

The console is shaped like a KFC chicken bucket, complete with red and white underlights. Sitting close to the bottom, it has the standard disc slot and a power button. Inside, the console sports a “Zinger processor chip clocked at 11GHz.” It has cross platform compatibility and 4K/120fps support.

However, the console’s biggest feature goes beyond gaming. Most of the console’s front is a “chicken chamber,” obviously for cooking chicken. It gives another meaning to an overheating gaming machine.

The short teaser video ends with a probably launch date: November 12, 2020.

Now, if you’re hoping to grab your own gaming bucket, the console is likely an elaborate gag. Though the company has not confirmed the console’s legitimacy, it’s unlikely that a modern gaming console can have a huge “chicken chamber.” Next-generation consoles are already huge without an oven in them.

That said, KFC has released very-real gaming-related campaigns in the past. Very recently, the company launched an official island on the popular island simulator, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Who knows? They might actually launch something on November 12.

If they do, they are in good company. In the past, Razer has also done a similar off-brand prank to promote a toaster. However, because of universal demand, the gaming company eventually made a real toaster. KFC might fall into the same trend. We definitely wouldn’t say no to our very own chicken chamber.

SEE ALSO: Sony announces huge list of games for the PS5

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