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

ASUS ROG launches new gaming laptop in tandem with SCAR Runner

Announced at For Those Who Dare: Boundless event

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During their For Those Who Dare: Boundless event, ASUS ROG announced the launch of their latest gaming laptops, accessories, and SCAR Runner for the ROG Citadel Game on Steam.

The launch covers the following:

  • ROG Strix SCAR 17 Special Edition
  • ROG Flow X16
  • SCAR Runner first-person parkour game
  • Expanded ROG Slash Fashion Line
  • Team ROG partnerships

Pricing and availability of the models announced during the event are yet to be known.

ROG Strix SCAR 17 Special Edition

With more powerful specs than its predecessor, the Strix SCAR 17 SE is poised to be a class-leading gaming laptop.

It is powered by the new Intel Core i9-12950HX processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU, on top of advanced features such as:

  • Maximum GPU TGP of 175W with Dynamic Boost
  • Maximum CPU TDP of 65W
  • Boost frequency of 5.2GHz
  • Up to 64GB DDR5 memory and PCIe Gen 4 storage
  • ROG’s Conductonaut Extreme liquid metal

SCAR Runner: Vault to new heights

Available as an expansion of the ROG Citadel XV game, SCAR Runner is a first-person parkour game set in the world of ROG SAGA.

The protagonist, X, is in a race against time in Goemon City and needs to recover critical information while solving puzzles and challenges.

It’s no coincidence that the new Strix SCAR laptop and new game have same name, as they were released as a tandem.

Gamers can in fact find clues hidden on the laptop chassis itself, that will allow them to solve in-game puzzles.

SCAR Runner is launching with a giveaway campaign with over US$ 20,000 worth of prizes to be won from May 17 to June 30, 2022.

ROG Flow X16

In addition to the Strix SCAR 17 SE, the Flow X16 has been added to the ROG Flow series, the most powerful yet from the line.

It has a Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU. It likewise supports up to 64GB of memory and up to 2TB of SSD storage.

The Flow X16 features ROG’s Nebula HDR Display, a 165Hz Mini LED panel with 1100 nits peak brightness and 100 percent DCI-P3 gamut.

These are all complemented by Frost Force Technology and Pulsar Heatsink to ensure high performance but low temperatures.

ROG Slash accessories

Aside from the two new gaming laptops, ROG also introduced new apparels:

  • Crossbody Bag
  • Backpack
  • Hip Bag
  • Protective Laptop Bag
  • Cobra Buckle Cap
  • Bucket Hat

All these items are built with durable quality and have features like adjustable straps, multiple compartments, and water-repellent TPU materials.

Some of these items are also included in the SCAR Runner giveaway campaign.

The Team ROG initiative

Lastly, Team ROG is expanding its 2022 roster, pairing high-end ROG products with influencers, professional gamers, content creators, and athletes around the world.

A new partnership with ReKT Gaming has been announced while the current partnership with esports team Misfits Gaming has likewise been extended.

 

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Gaming

505 Games releases 3 new titles available soon

Released after their first-ever product showcase

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After their first-ever product showcase, global video game publisher 505 Games has announced three new exciting titles.

Among the Trolls (2022), Stray Blade (2023), and Miasma Chronicles (2023) will be available within the next two years on different platforms.

Gamers may now add them to their wishlists.

Among the Trolls

Among the Trolls is a first-person, survival, action-adventure game where strange mysteries of folklore-laden Finnish forests are unraveled.

Gamers will embark on a quest to find their characters’ grandparents who have disappeared in the wilderness, learning how to survive the wild in the process.

For the trailer and how to add to your wishlist, click here.

Stray Blade

 

An Action RPG, Stray Blade will allow players to assume a rogue Adventurer persona exploring the ancient Valley of Acrea.

The character will be accompanied by a mischievous companion, the Xhinnon wolf Boji

The goal is to unveil the history of the forgotten valley and master the powers of the three Acrean Metals to restore balance to the war-torn land.

Stray Blade will be available in 2023 on PC Steam, Epic, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.

Miasma Chronicles

From the creators of Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, comes an unforgettable and beautifully-crafted tactical adventure.

Players will embark on a quest across a post-apocalyptic wasteland, torn apart by a savage force known only as the “Miasma”, and unlock the dark secrets that are ravaging the world.

Wishlist Miasma Chronicles on Steam, Epic Games, Xbox and PlayStation now.

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Gaming

Lenovo Legion Gen 7 laptops lineup now official

Powered by 12th Gen Intel Core

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Legion Gen 7

Lenovo has released its latest generation gaming devices in the Philippines, which are custom-built for top-notch performance. The new Lenovo Legion Gen 7 lineup includes six new battle-ready computers:

  • Legion 5i and 5i Pro
  • Legion 7i
  • IdeaPad Gaming 3i
  • Legion Slim 7i
  • Legion Tower 7i

Depending on the model, the new gaming devices all come with these latest features:

  • 12th Gen Intel Core (up to i9) processors
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX laptop GPUs (up to 3080Ti)
  • Memory up to 32GB DDR5 and storage up to 2TB SSD Gen 4
  • Adaptive refresh rate up to 240Hz 
  • IPS display up to 2960 x 1600 

And thanks to gamer research, the laptops also come with the next-level Legion Coldfront 4.0, Legion TrueStrike keyboard, and Lenovo Vantage for gaming.

Pricing, specs, availability

All new Lenovo Legion Gen 7devices will be available in all Legion Exclusive Stores, as well as Lenovo Experience stores, authorized resellers, and the Legion Flagship Store in Lazada.

For the prices and basic specs of each laptop, check the table below.

Device Specs Price
Legion 5i

 

  • Storm Grey
  • Comes with a choice of 4-Zone RGB or white backlighting via Legion Spectrum RGB Lighting solution built into the Legion TrueStrike keyboard
  • 12th Gen Intel Core 17-12700H
  • Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with 140W maximum TGP
  • Up to 15-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) IPS 16:9 display
  • 165Hz refresh rate
  • Improved stealth cooling system
Starts at PhP 89,995
Legion 5i Pro

  • Storm Grey
  • Features Legion Spectrum RGB Lighting
  • 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070Ti with 150W maximum TGP
  • 2960 x 1600 IPS 16:10 display
  • 100 percent RGB color gamut
  • Supported by Dolby Vision, NVIDIA G-SYNC
  • 4800Mhz DDR5 memory, 1TB
  • PCle SSD (Gen4)​ storage
  • 80Whr battery capacity with Super Rapid Charge
Starts at PhP 119,995
Legion 7i

  • Storm Grey
  • 16-inch WQHD+ Mini LED display
  • 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900HX processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080Ti
  • 165Hz refresh rate
  • Up to 2TB SSD Gen 4 storage, 32GB DDR5 memory
Starts at PhP 179,995
Legion Slim 7i

  • Onyx Grey
  • 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900H processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics
  • 165Hz refresh rate
  • Up to 1TB SSD Gen4 storage, 24GB DDR5 memory
Starts at PhP 124,995
Legion Tower 7i
  • 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080Ti LHR
  • Up to 2TB SSD Gen 4 storage, 32GB DDR5 memory
Starts at PhP 159,995
IdeaPad Gaming 3

  • 15.6-inch model (Onyx Grey)
  • 16-inch model (Onyx Grey)
  • Option between 12th Gen Intel Core i7 and i5 H-Series processors
  • Option between NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 or NVIDIA GeForce RTX3050Ti
  • Dolby Audio speakers
  • 165Hz refresh rate 
Starts at PhP 69,995

More benefits

Additionally, all Legion and IdeaPad Gaming laptops also come with the following benefits and standard warranties:

  • Free Microsoft Office Home & student 2021 Lifetime License
  • Lenovo’s 3-Year accidental Damage Protection
  • 3-Year Legion Ultimate Support
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