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

PeSO announces partnership with Mineski Philippines

Now comes with more opportunites for the youth in Esports

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The Philippines continues to build on a promising future for Esports and Mineski is leading the charge. In their eyes, the youth will carry the torch for many years to come. Now, with their latest partnership, the future will be within reach for the young ones.

One of the Philippines’ premier Esports organizations formalized their partnership with the Pilipinas ESports Organization (PeSO). Specifically, the partnership centers around Mineski’s Youth Esports Program as one of PeSO’s flagship activities. The YEP, in itself, already brings together a network of over 200 schools all over the country.

In essence, PeSO looks to promote the YEP as a training ground for future Esports superstars. Furthermore, they’re also looking to endorse the program to other schools in the country, and even to the International Esports Federation. In return, Mineski will assist PeSO member organizations to promote their future events and activities. As such, the two organizations hope to cultivate and motivate the youth to explore opportunities in Esports.

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Gaming

Bravely Default II preorder final demo now available

A must-play!

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Bravely Default II is a Japanese fantasy RPG with lovely art styles reminiscent of a refined version to early Final Fantasy releases. The series gameplay uses the usual turn-based battle system and job system. But, the series is more notable for integrating options to combine and customize job abilities, battle speed, and enemy encounter rates.

Bravely Default II is the newest addition to the Bravely series. So, what’s new? Bravely Default II lets you step into a brand-new world with four new heroes, new stories, and new job roles.

This iteration features a young sailor, Seth, who washes up the shores of one of the five mighty kingdoms of the continent. He encounters an escaped princess, Gloria of Musa, and they both venture out to meet more travellers seeking the truth to their world.

If you’re into RPGs or a fan of the Bravely series, this is the game release to look forward to. The game keeps its charming mechanics while piling on new features so if you want or need a taste of the game, the final demo is out now. Although, you won’t be waiting much longer for the game’s full release because it looking to be released on February 26 exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

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Gaming

Immortals Fenyx Rising: Action, puzzles, and some good humor

For the kids and kids at heart

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Immortals Fenyx Rising is a fresh game with an action and puzzle filled open world that has humor and Greek mythology enclosed into it. You might say it can be a mix of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Zelda: Breath of wild.

Backstory

The game starts with Zeus, the God of Thunder visiting his old companion Prometheus, the God of Fire, whom he has actually punished and chained to a rock for giving mortals fire. Zeus was asking Prometheus for advice on what to do with Typhon who just escaped from Tartarus and has caused destruction.

Typhon has already stolen Zeus’ thunder and the other gods are missing, giving Zeus no choice but to follow Prometheus’ advice to have faith in a mere mortal with a true identity that has yet to be unfolded.

Fenyx’s journey

This is where our protagonist Fenyx comes into picture. Fenyx’s adventures will be narrated by Prometheus for the whole game.

Fenyx, a Greek Soldier will be set on a journey to find the cause of all this destruction, after losing her companions and brother. She would learn to strengthen her skills, acquire wings and collect all the necessary weapons and armors to beat Typhon. Along the way, she would be battling bosses and corrupted heroes like Achilles, Odysseus and Herakles.

Art Style

I think this kind of art style has more appeal to younger audiences. Its like watching animated films from Pixar.

You’ll be able to the distinguish the gods through their trademarks. The armors and weapons that you collect through out the game was also very detailed.

One thing that was actually bothered me was the way the character walked — it felt heavy and bulgy. I expected this part to be smoother.

Gameplay

There are five difficulty levels to make sure the whole family can enjoy the game. Character creation is also pretty straight forward and not much options for customization.

For the controls and UI, Potions will be found on the left side and weapons and skills on the right. You would need to climb mountains, swim, run and fly around the Golden Isle to be able to finish tasks.

Fenyx will have access to a mix of weapons during combat like swords, axes and bows. Animals like horses can also be tamed into mounts.

I’ve always enjoyed a good adventure and solving some puzzles but what I like most about Immortal Fenyx is that I can switch weapons during a battle. From using an axe for heavy damage to quick attacks with a sword then a bow for range attacks. You’ll be able to create your own play style while battling bosses.

If you wanted to take a break from your usual games or still waiting for a good AAA game release, then Immortals Fenyx Rising is a good game to spend time on. You’ve got some good action, puzzles, stories and some humor from Zeus and Prometheus.

Immortals Fenyx Rising is available on multiple platforms.

PlayStation 4/5
Xbox One, Series X/S
Nintendo Switch
Google Stadia
PC(Steam, Ubisoft, Epic Games)

PC requirements
Very Low Settings – 720p/30FPS
Processor: Intel Core i5-2400 / AMD FX-6300
Video Card: GeForce GTX 660 / AMD R9 280X
VRAM: 2GB NVIDIA / 3GB AMD
RAM: 8GB (Dual-channel mode)
Storage: 28GB HDD
OS: Windows 7 (64-bit only)

High Settings – 1080p/30FPS
Processor: Intel Core i7-3770 / AMD FX-8350
Video Card: GeForce GTX 970 / AMD R9 290
VRAM: 4GB
RAM: 8GB (Dual-channel mode)
Storage: 28GB SSD
OS: Windows 10 (64-bit only)

High Settings – 1080p/60FPS
Processor: Intel Core i7-6700 / AMD Ryzen 7 1700
Video Card: GeForce GTX 1070 / AMD RX Vega 56
VRAM: 8GB
RAM: 16GB (Dual-channel mode)
Storage: 28GB SSD
OS: Windows 10 (64-bit only)
Very High Settings – 1440p/60FPS
Processor: Intel Core i7-8700K / AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
Video Card: GeForce RTX 2070 Super / AMD RX 5700
VRAM: 8GB
RAM: 16GB (Dual-channel mode)
Storage: 28GB SSD
OS: Windows 10 (64-bit only)

Very High Settings – 4K/30FPS
Processor: Intel Core i7-8700K / AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
Video Card: GeForce RTX 2070 / AMD RX Vega 56
VRAM: 8GB
RAM: 16GB (Dual-channel mode)
Storage: 28GB SSD
OS: Windows 10 (64-bit only)


This gameplay feature was written by Jan Ariz Joy Franco or Rizuher in-game name. She’s a full-time software developer and plays games to de stress. She just started streaming few months ago to help cope with the pandemic and wants to promote a toxic-free gaming environment. She’s a big fan of Super Mario. If you want to support her just drop a follow: http://facebook.com/rizuph.

 

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