A Mix-up Games Review Roundup: FFXV, Until Dawn, & Overwatch

These are the games that I have finished over the 1st quarter of 2017 on the PS4, along with a short review on the overall impact of the games.

Final Fantasy XV

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Enroute to wed his fiancée Luna on a road trip with his best friends, Prince Noctis is advised by news reports that his homeland has been invaded and taken over under the false pretense of a peace treaty – and that he, his loved one and his father King Regis, have been slain at the hands of the enemy.

To gather the strength needed to uncover the truth and reclaim his homeland, Noctis and his loyal companions must overcome a series of challenges in a spectacular open world – that is filled with larger-than-life creatures, amazing wonders, diverse cultures and treacherous foes.

(FFXV website)

Final Fantasy XV  is a masterpiece, let me say that. Square Enix, the game’s publisher, has gone ways from the traditional FF setting. A taste of reality is engraved along this 50-hour (at least) open world game. I have personally never been attached to a game for as long as I remember. Usually, Final Fantasy games tackle issues on the person, may it be personhood (FFVII, FFIX), romance (FFVIII), father-son issues (FFX), sisterhood (FFXIII trilogy), etc. Well, this time, the fifteenth installment in the franchise had a specific focus – friendship. Sounds cheesy? But seriously, it did its part well.

Great battle system. Stunning graphics. Open world system. Perfect character development, except Luna. Need I say more? Most of those things, you can look up online. What really caught my heart was the photographs taken by Prompto, one of the four BFFs, which you skim through after a long day of exploring, that put that human side to the story and made it real. Despite the technology, the magic, the gods, the fantasy of it all. FFXV was human, to say.

What hindered me from giving this a perfect 5, was that the potential that it had cut short. FFXV had elements that sufficed the perfection, but it was imbalanced. The game was not consistent, as it had provided everything but not enough of a one or two. Additionally, there are occasional lags (worth mentioning the very long loading time) with the 30 fps video output that just sometimes messes up the open world beauty.

By far, this was the only game that had put me in tears. Emotional. This is a game that when I remember – the story, the soundtrack, and the times that I had played it on that lazy Christmas vacation? It just evokes the feeling of sadness and sentimentality all over.

If you’re looking for a feel-good game, a hack-and-slash, or a lazy-couch cinematic, it’s not for you. Final Fantasy XV, I assure you, had a narrative and a storytelling that feels more real than when you look at it wholly.

🎮 Rating: 4/5 🎮


Until Dawn

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Set in Western Canada, Until Dawn centers around a group of eight teenagers who decide to vacation for a night in a cabin on the fictional Blackwood Mountain, exactly one year after the disappearance of two girls, the twin sisters of a member of their group. Shortly after arriving, the gang find themselves under attack by a psychopath, and must attempt to survive until sunrise. Throughout the adventure, players alternate between all eight characters, making critical decisions as the story advances which drastically affects the game’s outcome, leading to hundreds of different scenarios.

(Videogamer.com)

This is the La La Land to all the horrors of horror. Until Dawn is a choice-based game, that just casually lets you kill your character (one of many) just because you chose not to jump hurriedly to climb the cliff. The infamous Butterfly Effect kind of game that had long evoked video games choice-type vogue since the dawn of Telltale Games.

The visuals are good, but the roughness of frame drops are unpleasant. But it was visually palatable, overall, and of the games I’ve played that had real person-character-human features. The gameplay is simple; it’s like  playing Uncharted without 90% of the controls, and no running.

Welp, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the game during the first 3/4 of it. But when the plot drastically loses my interest over to the end of the game, it felt longer and longer and tiresome, hence, the story dragged. It’s one of those games that failed to sustain its beauty, one that you just wanted it to end, because it seemed or it looked better if it had ended there.

Still, the game was enjoyable and worth remembering despite its story flaws.

🎮 Rating: 3/5 🎮


Overwatch

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Overwatch is set sixty years into the future of a fictionalized Earth, thirty years after the resolution of the “Omnic Crisis”. Prior the Omnic Crisis, humanity had been in a golden age of prosperity and technology development. Humans developed robots with artificial intelligence called “Omnics”, which were produced worldwide in automated “omnium” facilities and put to use to achieve economic equality. The Omnic Crisis began when the omniums started producing a series of lethal, hostile robots, which turned against humankind. The United Nations quickly formed Overwatch, an international task force to combat the omnic threat and restore order.

Several allegations of wrongdoing and failures were leveled at Overwatch, leading to a public outcry against the organization and in-fighting between its members, prompting the UN to investigate the situation. During this, an explosion destroyed Overwatch’s headquarters in Switzerland, purportedly killing Morrison and Reyes among others. The UN passed the Petras Act, which dismantled Overwatch and forbade any Overwatch-type activity.

Overwatch is set some years after the Petras Act; without Overwatch, corporations have started to take over, fighting and terrorism have broken out in parts of the globe, and there are signs of a second Omnic Crisis occurring in Russia. Former members of Overwatch decide to reform Overwatch despite the Petras Act, recruiting old friends and gaining new allies in their fight.

(PlayOverwatch)

Basically above, this is the whole plot of Overwatch because the game does not have a campaign, story mode, single-player, etc. It’s pure multiplayer. Overwatch is a hero-based shooter, much like Team Fortress 2, but with Dota and League of Legends characters spin-offs.

Overwatch is just something that I did not regret buying. It’s one of those games that I imagined better if I had chosen to play it on PC instead, but playing it on big screen undeniably puts down those regrets.

The fact that there are updates ongoing from time to time, seasonal ranked games, new heroes once every half a year; this is worth it. Visuals are perfect need I say more, nonetheless for what it is trying to achieve. Gameplay is perfectly balanced. People are non-toxic and non-cancerous (most of the time). Although not all people would want to play a multiplayer FPS. I know a lot who are just not fan of some. I have been playing purely (as FPS) Call of Duty multiplayer before Overwatch but, this game happened.

Overwatch had the story to rely through its YouTube channel. Blizzard posts updates from time to time to track changes in the game.

Overwatch exists when you are bored from a dragging game. It would be a default, a game which does not end after 50 hours of open-world fun. I found myself craving to play Overwatch in the middle of the week at school, wishing that it was the weekend already.

You like feel-good games? Or are you afraid your console/PC is going stale because you still don’t have budget for the next great single-player game? Then Overwatch got your back, fam. It got mine.

🎮 Rating: 5/5 🎮

Parañaque: Vacations at home

With my remaining, and only, two-week vacation, I decided to pay tribute to the place I’ve ever been since birth: Parañaque City.

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85 photos. A timelapse just from my window.

I snuck around downtown route which I’ve been to nearly everyday back in high school. I took a video on that trip and uploaded it on Youtube.

I shot these using an SJCAM4000.

Watch it here:

Yes, these high skies will always be home.

A Los Baños Daydream

A Los Baños Daydream

For more than three years studying in the University, I have come not to lose sight of the beauty that is LB, as we locals prefer to call it.
LB has always served as a second home to me, an escape from Manila’s ruthless traffic and building blockades.

There is this one place that I can say, in the last course of my academic life, that truly, the beauty was worth staying, even for more than four years. Look up, I always tell myself, for there will be no skyscrapers horizons but clear blue skies and lush green canopies.

 

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Snow falls in Freedom Park annually on March. Tis cotton though.

Times come when I just go to the Freedom Park and bask at its width. Watch kids, watch sports, watch cotton fall.

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SUNSET. View overlooking from the Main Library perimeters.

Around twice a week, we stay on the Main Library’s perimeter around 5 pm; part of it being the sight space of this large changing sea above us.

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AFTER CLASS. Just outside the College of DevCom.

And of course, I didn’t mind, it was dismissal.

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FIELDWORK. At the foot of Mt. Makiling going to Peak 2.

Oh. Have I forgot to mention that my lab classes required field work, weekly, where we go to these places with just a ride or hike or trek away?

Ah, LB. I’ll never lose my eyes on you.

Manila Train Rides

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Separate occasions at Magallanes station (left) and Ortigas station (right).

What better relaxation there is than taking train rides, despite the bad rush proxemics, during weekends.

Waiting for a train and facing empty rails — there is just that lingering peace found elsewhere in that populated space.

A Terminal at Camaligan

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LINYA. 72 units of tricycle line up for their turn in the terminal.

This is the Camaligan Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (CATODA) terminal at midday.

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30 YEARS. Down south at Camarines Sur, Mang Renato, at 62, has been driving the tricycle since 1984.

The metro scene is a replica and replicated even more than a hundred kilometers away.  Even at the setting changes, a Filipino suffers and grates just to survive a day at earnings exactly enough for his family’s needs.

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SELDA. A view from the inside of the terminal.

Life goes on for the tricycle drivers of Camaligan. As well as anyone locked up in the vicious cycle of poverty.