Tomb Raiding a Jungle Temple

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Towering trees perched from temples ruins; their roots spilling over like tentacles over the crumbling walls. A maze of secret paths led to doorways hidden in the rubble. Faded carvings in concrete seemed to hide secret codes just waiting to be deciphered.

beng melea temple cambodia tomb raiding

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Game Review: Beyond: Two Souls

01. beyond two souls ps3

Beyond: Two Souls is an interactive drama action-adventure video game for the PlayStation 3 console starring actors Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. It was developed by French developer Quantic Dream, the same team behind the hit Heavy Rain.

Released just last October 2013, the game has received mixed reactions from critics. I was excited about it when it first came out, but after one playthrough, I found the whole gaming experience a bit disappointing. Overall, playing Beyond: Two Souls feels like watching a bunch of (cool) cutscenes, where your actions have very little bearing on what happens. Continue reading

Game Review: The Walking Dead

Season 4 of The Walking Dead TV series is set to resume in a couple of days and it’ll be great to get my zombie fix again! To celebrate, I finally got around to writing a game review for The Walking Dead (A Telltale Games Series), which I played and finished at the start of the year.

The Walking Dead  is an episodic single-player graphic adventure based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic book series. Instead of the usual zombie shooting spree you see in most games of this genre, this focuses instead on story and character development. As the protagonist, your must do your best to survive amidst a zombie apocalypse, interact with other survivors and make difficult decisions that will ultimately impact the storyline. Since the game adapts to your choices, playing this feels like one of those “Choose your own Adventure” books, and each gaming experience is unique.

My immediate reaction upon finishing it was that it was one of the most “mind-blowing” games I’ve played in recent history. Pun intended. [Note: OK, I changed my mind. The Last of Us was mind-blowing x 10. Separate review on that.]

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Game Review: Uncharted Series

Uncharted is an action-adventure third-person shooter platform video game series developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment exclusively for PlayStation. The main series includes Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, followed by Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

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Travel Gear for Geeks

Originally posted 7/28/12; post updated 7/22/2013 (added Pacman Slippers)

Contrary to popular opinion, geeks don’t spend ALL their time just vegging out in front of the television or computer. For some of us, real-life adventures are preferable to virtual ones. But when we do travel, we like to channel our geek pride by using clothes and gear that show off our unique interests. Here are a few cool finds that I use for travel and where you can find them here in the Philippines.

Pacman Slippers

These collectible PAC-MAN flip-flops from Havaianas really bring back some great memories. Anyone born in the 80s will have spent time playing this hit video game arcade classic and will love the retro chic look of the slippers. They come in two designs – navy blue with a yellow logo and a maze from the game and black with a green logo decorated with Pac-Man, pac-dots and the ghost enemies (Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde). Plus, the slippers glow in the dark! How cool is that? Thank you so much to Havaianas for coming up with this design and to All-Flip Flops store in SM Naga for letting me have this! I will be eternally grateful.


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Game Review: The Last of Us

The Last of Us is an action-adventure survival horror video game developed by Naughty Dog (the same team behind the hit Uncharted series) and published by Sony Computer Entertainment exclusively for the PlayStation 3. Released just last June 2013, the video game has already reached critical acclaim, with many gaming publications giving it a perfect score.

Having finished playing it a couple of weeks ago, I totally agree. This is just one mind-blowingly amazing game. Playing it was such an intensely riveting experience. Yes, it may have been brutal and violent, but in between all that blood and gore was a powerful story and flawed characters that I cared about.

As author Karl who I lent the game to said in this awesome 8 List article on life lessons we can learn from The Last of Us said: “If you are at all interested in video games and the narrative power they possess and the fuzzy feeling of happy happy joy joy they can imbue, then you must (YOU MUST) play this.”

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Collectible Items IRL (In Real Life) Travel

Originally posted on November 12, 2011; Updated on July 5, 2013

In the latest edition of video game Tomb Raider, young Lara Croft can choose to deviate from the main quest and search for relics and GPS caches hidden off the beaten path. In Arkham Asylum meanwhile, Batman can opt to track down the Riddler’s trophies while trying to foil the Joker’s plot.

Many video games, especially the role-playing/adventure types, usually have sidequests where the goal is to collect certain items. Usually these items are not really essential to finishing the overall game. Most of the time it’s just for bragging rights, especially if you’re a completionist like me. Among the memorable collectible items in games I have played are those rare cards from the Triple Triad card mini-game in Final Fantasy VIII, the insanely hard to complete 100 stray beads from the game Okami, and memories and bottles in Alice: The Madness Returns.

Credit: The Last of Us meme

The latest game I played, The Last of Us, had me searching every nook and cranny for Firefly pendants, training manuals and comic books while trying to fight off the infected and survive in a brutal post-apocalyptic world. Continue reading

Game Review: Tomb Raider (2013)

tomb raider 2013 ps3 cover

Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game published by Square Enix. The game released in 2013 is a reboot centered on the character of Lara Croft, an archaeologist-adventurer who travels the world in search of rare objects and mystical artifacts.

Lara Croft is arguably the most famous female video game protagonist, so rebooting the series was no small feat. Even those who are not familiar with the video games are familiar with Lara’s adventure through the movies Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Lara Croft: Cradle of Life (2003) popularized by Angelina Jolie. This video game reboot was able to hold its own and successfully establish the origins of Lara Croft and the circumstances that made her into the strong protagonist everyone knows her to be. Continue reading

Game Review: Ni No Kuni – Wrath of the White Witch

Ni No Kuni: The Wrath of the White (literally Second Country, also called “Another World”) is a role-playing video game, developed by Level-5 and Studio Ghibli, for the Nintendo DS and later PlayStation 3 (released in January 2013 for Western audiences).

Not since Okami (which is my all-time favorite game) have I played a video game that I have fallen so totally in love with. Everything about the game, from the flawless animation, to the compelling storyline, to the innovative multitasking gameplay, to the adorable Pokemon-like creatures who you level up as your familiars, just drew me in and left me with a completely satisfying gaming experience. I was content to spend days not setting foot outdoors while playing this game.  Continue reading

Year in Gaming 2012

After crossing the Mt. Pulag climb off my bucket list over the weekend, I was ready to get back into some virtual adventure. Last night, I bought a copy of The Walking Dead game for PS3 and resolved to get some undead ass-kicking first thing in the morning.

In just three hours I already finished the first of five episodes. Time sure flies when you’re trying to not get eaten by zombies. The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series (based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead Comic Book series) is available on iOS, OS X, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It’s already been named as one of the “Games of the Year” for 2012.

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