Gaming

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Review — Expanding on Excellence

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was the perfect send-off to the blockbuster franchise’s hero Nathan Drake, and would’ve been the best conclusion to the series. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy tries to make the case for even more Uncharted.

Originally planned as exclusive DLC for 2016’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy has been released as a stand-alone expansion, complete with a physical disc release for just US$ 40. As a nice gesture to loyal fans who got Uncharted 4’s version of a season pass (originally priced at US$ 25), Lost Legacy is available to download for free. It also comes with the entire multiplayer feature from Uncharted 4, while adding a new co-op survival mode.

AAA production at budget value

Like its predecessor, Lost Legacy looks absolutely gorgeous. The many breathtaking screenshots are proof that money was no concern in creating hyper-realistic urban and jungle environments.

The animation is as lifelike. As it was in Uncharted 4, Lost Legacy excels at infusing humanity into its characters through the smallest of motions. The brief upward curve at the corner of one’s lips, the downcast eyes during a tough conversation, the quick head-tilting and hand-waving to show disbelief and disagreement; it all adds up to make the cast convincingly human.

Leading ladies

Speaking of the cast, you play as Chloe Frazer, treasure hunter and former partner in crime (and romance) of Nathan Drake. Fans should recognize her from her supporting roles in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. She was noticeably absent in the last entry. Here, she comfortably slips into the spotlight as lead protagonist, brandishing a familiar roguish charm that is simultaneously cooler and warmer than franchise face Nate.

Alongside the thief with a heart of gold is badass merc Nadine Ross. She was the secondary antagonist in Uncharted 4, but she finds herself in Lost Legacy having to work with an associate of the two brothers that led to her ruin. She’s a no-nonsense, get-things-done type who is quick to anger when crossed.

Together, they seek the Tusk of Ganesh, a legendary artifact tucked away in the Western Ghats of India. A rebel group, led by intellectual strongman Asav, is also on the hunt for this relic to consolidate power and create conflict. Chloe and Nadine must then set aside their differences to find the Tusk before Asav and his murderous men do, fulfilling personal goals on the way to preventing a civil war and the deaths of millions of innocents.

Positive performances

 

The odd couple dynamic isn’t anything original, and the plot plays out like a conventional summer action flick. It’s that signature snappy Naughty Dog dialogue grounded with quiet moments and elevated by authentic voice acting that make this story feel fresh. Having it unfold through the eyes of presumably amoral individuals in Chloe and Nadine also makes their decisions to act nobly more satisfying than Nathan Drake’s heroic deeds. Not to downplay Nate’s accomplishments, but there was never any doubt that he’d eventually do the right thing. But for two fairly simple side characters with a history of checking out when things get too tough, it’s a lot more interesting to see how they react under pressure.

Another thing worth noting is that the two leads are women and the three major players are people of color. The past four games all had white main characters, most of which were dudes. While Chloe and Nadine are both voiced by Caucasian women and this isn’t a numbered entry in the series, it’s still a step in the right direction towards diversity in representation for big-budget titles. Naughty Dog is an industry leader, and it’s encouraging to have a renowned studio put out a game of this caliber with the heroes as black and brown-skinned females who aren’t sexualized.

Familiar, fine-tuned foundations

It’s no surprise though that the actual gameplay doesn’t break much ground. Every mechanical element from Uncharted 4 is carried over here. You’re swinging with a grappling hook, winching trees and doors to your jeep for leverage, mounting craggy walls with a piton, sliding down watery and/or muddy slopes, marking enemies with your weapon, and smoothly transitioning in and out of sneaking and gunfighting.

The puzzles are a bit more elaborate. A lot of them require sliding pieces around, but they’re presented in a variety of ways that they don’t get monotonous or frustrating. There’s a new lockpicking mini-game to get more powerful weapons and collectibles, too. It feels more like an afterthought, however, with how rare you actually need to engage in it.

There is one chapter that builds on the design of a standout section in Uncharted 4. Like the beginning part of Madagascar in that entry, you have the freedom to go wherever in this huge picturesque landscape to clear out important enemy fortifications in any order. The difference is you have more incentive to actually explore this time, evoking that open-world feeling akin to Skyrim or GTA where neat rewards or challenges await you.

Scaling gigantic ancient architecture and commando-ing your way through frenetic set pieces with state-of-the-art graphical fidelity continues to be an attraction. Only a handful of games out now look as good, and maybe only Horizon Zero Dawn matches these last two Uncharted games in scope through raw technical power.

A perfectly paced and priced package

While I didn’t mind how it took me about 18 hours to finish Uncharted 4, its slow beginning put me off from continuing with a replay. I can see myself going through all of Lost Legacy again because of its more evenly spread out moments of downtime and adrenaline. It also helps that I beat it in under eight hours, and that’s with a decent amount of time spent exploring and taking plenty of screenshots… which leads me to the strongest argument for getting this game.

Yep, that’s Chloe Frazer, star of Uncharted: Lost Legacy, making the (dum)best faces. It’s the single greatest addition to the robust Photo Mode that was in Uncharted 4. You can pause the action at literally any moment and have Chloe sneer in disgust, wink with smug delight, or do a duck face, among other lovely facial expressions. I don’t usually touch photo modes in games, but I took full advantage of this ingenious feature to great comic enjoyment.

It’s that sense of fun packed into a breezy, balanced adventure that I greatly enjoyed. Lost Legacy diving into the diverse set of people in this universe makes me want to play yet another one of these games. At this cheaper price that doesn’t sacrifice production values, more Uncharted (without Nathan Drake) doesn’t sound like a bad idea after all.

SEE ALSO: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End review

[irp posts=”3117″ name=”Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End review”]

 

Gaming

ASUS releases the ROG Zephyrus S17, M16

ASUS adds three new gaming laptops for gamers and creators alike.

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ASUS Republic of Gamers Philippines (ROG) released brand new gaming laptops equipped with the latest Intel 11th Generation CPUs. Lead by the award-winning ROG Zephyrus series, together with the crowd favorite TUF Gaming family. Released in their latest event, the ROG: Unleash the Legend Inside Digital Launch. With this, ASUS finally completes ROG’s roster of gaming laptop products this 2021.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S17

Starting off with their newest lineup we have the ROG Zephyrus S17!

ASUS tweaked its gaming experience with its Rising Optical Mechanical Keyboard design, adding a 5-degree tilt to improve airflow by 25 percent. Having provided optimized typing comfort, this assures its user’s full control of any modification. They implemented ROG’s AAS Plus technology, together with the ROG Intelligent Cooling feature. Also with a new redesigned Arc Flow fans create a quiet and efficient airflow system. Having said this, it favors the Zephyrus S17’s thermal capacity. It maximizes cooling and performance for the laptop’s build.

Geared with up to the latest Intel Core i9 11th Gen CPU, paired with up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, the Zephyrus S17 delivers top performance to provide users the best experience in gaming and other heavy-duty tasks. With up to 32GB RAM and 3TB SSD storage, the Zephyrus S17 maximizes its hardware to perform at a high level. The laptop also has display options of 4K UHD, 120Hz refresh rate, or WQHD 165Hz. The Zephyrus S17 caters to both gamers and creators alike.

ROG Zephyrus M16

The latest addition to the Zephyrus M line, the ROG Zephyrus M16 arrives with the newest specifications, but also a renewed design. Designed within its prism aesthetics is a 16-inch screen display in WQHD resolution with 165Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, and an Adaptive-Sync. Users can enjoy the 16:10 aspect with a 94 percent screen-to-body ratio. Having this said, it elevates their gaming experience to another level. Artists can also expect top-grade visuals with Pantone Validated colors across 100% of the cinema-grade DCI-P3 color gamut, supported by Dolby Vision

This gaming laptop can run through any application. The laptop is powered by the latest 11th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU and paired with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU. The Zephyrus M16 brings powerful performance to deliver the best output and deliver it through its beautiful display. With RAM of up to 32GB and SSD storage of up to 2TB, expect quality performance across many applications. With its battery lasting about 10 hours, ROG produced the immersive experience in its thin-and-light form factor. Made possible thanks to its 90W Hour Battery and Thunderbolt 4. 

TUF GAMING F17/15

The TUF Gaming series has been known for its gaming performance at affordable options. This year, ASUS redesigns the TUF Gaming F17/15 with great value for the latest CPU and GPU specifications. Equipped with the newest Intel Core i7 11th gen CPU, with available options from the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti to RTX 3060 options. With a 144Hz refresh rate screen, users can experience high and stable FPS while playing their favorite games. 

New variants of the TUF Dash F15 are available. Now also equipped with the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU.

Price and Availability

The ROG Zephyrus line will be available in-stores starting 3rd quarter. In August 2021, the Zephyrus S17 will be coming with the following items: ROG Ranger Backpack, ROG Delta Headset, ROG Chakram Core Gaming Mouse, a Type-C PD Adapter, and a pre-installed Windows Office Home & Student 2019. The price starts at PhP 184,995. 

By the end of July 2021, the Zephyrus M16 will be arriving and comes with the ROG Backpack, ROG Delta Headset, ROG Chakram Core Gaming Mouse, a Type-C PD Adapter, and a pre-installed Windows Office Home & Student 2019. The price starts at PhP 129,995. 

The TUF Gaming F17/15 and the TUF Dash F15 with Intel 11th gen CPUs and RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti GPUs are already available in the market since June 2021. Both lines are available with the new design of the TUF Gaming backpacks. Price starts at PhP 54,995 

ASUS advised that coordination with your preferred store is convenient when ordering or reserving products.

To view the full price list click the link here.

 

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Entertainment

Plunge into a dark world in Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness

A thriller series based on Capcom’s beloved franchise

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Infinite Darkness

Resident Evil proved to be one of the most popular game franchises of all time, spanning different console generations. For over 25 years, Capcom produced some of the most jaw-dropping, horrifying game releases that shake people to their core. Just last May, they released Resident Evil: Village to a fanfare of everybody simping for Lady Dimitrescu.

Apart from the games, Resident Evil also received several television and movie adaptations, bringing the same horror to the big screen. From live-action movies to animated TV series, these provide a good amount of fan service to long-time fans of the games. For 2021, Capcom has a new series that I believe fans will also appreciate upon release in RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness.

A series of unfortunate events

The world of RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness still revolves around the whole zombie encounter-theme the games follow, but on a rather global scale. In the year 2000, U.S. special forces were sent to intervene in the ongoing civil war in the region of Penamstan. However, tragedy struck when the helicopter fell from the sky, and the special forces were annihilated. At least, that’s what they believe happened.

Fast forward to 2006, back in the United States, a hacking incident occurs within the White House. To avert more disaster, the government invited four agents to investigate but were met with strange circumstances. As it turns out, a horde of zombies infiltrates the building and the agents, along with the U.S. S.W.A.T. team, fight them off.

It’s an anime series that tackles a ton of mystery about the events of the past, and how they catch up in present time. In essence, the agents seek to unravel what truly happened that day in 2000, and how they could avert another disaster from happening.

A familiar face returns to the scene

Remember how I mentioned that there are four agents assigned to the investigation? Well, one of them is Leon S. Kennedy, one of the main playable characters in Resident Evil 2. In this series, he looks a bit older and wears a more formal attire than a police uniform. In an interview with Director Eiichiro Hasumi, he explained to me why they picked him in the first place.

According to him, Leon’s character provides a “lot of freedom to move around” in terms of the storytelling aspect. Compared to someone like Chris Redfield, for example, Leon’s character doesn’t necessarily tie him down to any specific roles or places in the story.

As seen in his character design, Leon looks a bit more tired — as if the youth in his aura was sucked out of him. Director Eiichiro notes that he is “in a slightly bitter position” compared to his younger self. How exactly will this version of Leon deal with the crisis of Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness? We’ll find out soon enough.

Managing your expectations a bit

So, what can you expect from RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness when it comes? For starters, it’s a fully animated TV series that Director Eiichiro hopes would be easily digestible for everyone. It’s a series that reveals everything slowly, and eases you in on what’s happening with every bit of new information.

Secondly, while I’ve already mentioned Leon’s presence, you will also see Claire Redfield, another protagonist from Resident Evil 2. In the series, she serves as a volunteer for TerraSave based in Penamstan, and even does her own set of investigations. Where these investigations will take her, you’ll have to find out on your own!

Finally, there will be zombies and zombie killing, like a lot of it. I mean, it’s par for the course for the games to have zombie killing, so the anime series should include it. As for the zombies they will be killing, again, you have to watch the series to find out.

RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness will arrive on Netflix on July 8, 2021.

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Gaming

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2: Price and availability in the Philippines

A immersive, gaming-centric experience like no other

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Legion Phone Duel 2

Lenovo continues to break ground on bringing the gaming world to a wider audience. As such, they launched the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel last year to do exactly that. Their own take on a proper gaming smartphone received a mix of adjulation and criticism, but it didn’t stop them. This year, they’re bringing the heat with the new Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2.

Legion Phone Duel 2

The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 doesn’t necessarily stray away from its predecessor’s overall design. Although, with a 6.92-inch AMOLED display, it’s certainly a little larger for a good reason. Also, this time around, the Legion Phone Duel 2 sports a whopping 144Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support for clean and crisp gameplay.

Inside this machine, you will find a Snapdragon 888 5G CPU, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 5,500 mAh battery for intense and extensive mobile gaming.

Legion Phone Duel 2

Another prominent gaming feature of the Legion Phone Duel 2 is its Octa-Trigger system. On the phone, you have eight airtriggers to map onto different actions during gameplay. In essence, it’s as if you’re already using a controller for your phone to play your games. Along with Lenovo’s Dual HaptiX technology, you can also expect precise touch feedback, as well.

The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 is available for pre-order beginning June 18 until June 30, 2021. It comes in two colors in Ultimate Black and Titanium White, but only the former is available during the pre-order. As for the SRPs, here are the available configurations:

  • 12GB RAM + 256GB storage — PhP 39,995
  • 16GB RAM + 512GB storage — PhP 49,995

SEE ALSO: Lenovo Legion Phone Duel review: Raw gaming power

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