The Last of Us HBO

The Last of Us Episode 1 Recap

The Last of Us series has premiered, and fans of the best-selling video game (like myself) have been eagerly awaiting this day. The first episode, “When You’re Lost in the Darkness”, introduces us to interesting thoughts about what the future could hold. In 1968, on a TV show, two doctors discussed the possibility of a global pandemic based on a fungal infection. This scene gives incredible insight into how the story has been written for television.

As we process the discussion on a pandemic, we then fast forward to 2003, where we follow Sarah (Nico Parker), a 14-year-old in Austin, Texas. It is heartfelt to see more of Sarah’s story at the beginning of this episode and expand on what we already know and love about her character (for those who’ve played TLOU). The important thing to remember is that as viewers and players of the game, we need to fall in love with this young protagonist quickly, and with a strong storyline and pace, plus the acting by Nico Parker, we do just that in such a short period.

The episode covers a normal day in the life of Sarah, which includes going to school, where we see her father Joel (Pedro Pascal) and her uncle Tommy (Gabriel Luna), fixing a present for her father, and dropping in on the neighbors after school. It’s these small moments that also give hints to how the writers have adapted this story for television screens.

As the first few scenes pass, we see father and daughter settle in for a night on the couch watching a movie for Joel’s birthday. Sarah falls asleep, and it’s at that moment Tommy phones to ask for help in getting out of the county lockup for the weekend. Joel, reluctant to leave Sarah sleeping, still goes to help Tommy as he insists that he didn’t do the wrong thing; he was protecting someone else in a bar fight as the other person just “flipped out.” We then see Sarah wake well into the early hours of the morning as she wakes to loud noises. This is where we know something is amiss, and as Sarah takes the neighbor’s dog back to their home, she stumbles upon a gruesome mess.

Running for her life, Sarah then meets her father and uncle in the street. Joel protects her by killing one of her neighbors, and Sarah is shocked, but she realizes that he had no other choice at that moment. As they scramble to leave in their car, the next scenes that follow are nothing short of amazing, both in performances and cinematography.

Fans of the game will remember the burning house, speeding cars, frantic scenes of people running in the streets, and much more. As they are driving to escape, they barely make it out alive as the vehicle is upended and totaled. Sarah is hurt from the accident, and the pair are then separated from Tommy. As they go to escape, they are met by army personnel, and the person is ordered to kill on sight. The devastation that comes from this one bullet ripples the course of Joel’s life, and we lead into where he is in the future.

Twenty years later, it’s now 2023, and we now know that the Cordyceps fungi has destroyed civilization as we know it. We meet up with Joel and are introduced to Tess (Anna Torv) as they live in a military quarantine zone.

Joel and Tess are smugglers and are savvy at getting contraband in and out of the FEDRA-run location. As Joel plans to leave to find Tommy (who has now been missing for some time), Tess gets herself into some trouble trying to obtain a car battery. This then leads them to Marlene (Merle Dandridge), the leader of the Fireflies, who is trying to protect Ellie (Bella Ramsey). Now, with all parties needing each other’s help, Marlene tasks the smugglers with getting Ellie out and to her people without explaining why it’s so important.

As the newly formed trio sneaks out, they are unfortunately spotted by a FEDRA guard who scans them all. Ellie is fearful and stabs the guard, leading him to threaten to shoot her. Joel is triggered by the past and protects Ellie at all costs by killing the guard, but as they soon find out, the scan is positive, indicating that Ellie is, in fact, infected with Cordyceps fungi.

Episode 1 adapts the video game story well, and the changes to the story complement the original body of work. The chosen actors give exceptional performances, especially Nico Parker, who plays Sarah. The production, writing, and directing are also incredible, and I can’t wait to continue with the direction of The Last of Us story.

Episode 1: When You’re Lost in the Darkness
Director: Craig Mazin
Written by: Neil Druckmann & Craig Mazin
Air date: January 15th, 2023 (January 16th, 2023 Australia)


TCL 65″ QLED C735 Review

Much like the C835 we reviewed, the C735 display boasts a 4K resolution with HDR10+ and a 144Hz variable refresh rate. The main difference however is that this model features the more budget friendly panel with Direct LED backlighting as opposed to Mini LED.

Now this does mean it’s not quite as bright as the C835 but don’t overlook the C735 as it’s a fantastic display for its price. Let’s take a look why:

First of all, this TV runs the same CPU and Video Processor as its big brother. It has the same number of ports, features the same Google TV interface and it even supports all the same video and audio formats such as HDR10+, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD.

It also takes advantage of one of our favourite TCL features which we covered on the C835, the Game Bar with Game Master mode.

The display uses a Direct-Lit Quantum Dot VA panel with global dimming and a contrast ratio of 7000 to 1. The Direct LED backlighting is somewhat uniform and even without local dimming it performs well in both light and dark scenes.

Peak brightness on this panel comes in at 330 nits which is somewhat low when it comes to watching HDR content, but the excellent tone mapping makes up for this.

On offer are 6 preset picture modes: Vivid, Low Power, Smart HDR, Sports, Movie and Game. There are advanced picture settings but the default calibrations from TCL have always been accurate out of the box and it’s the same with the C735.

When gaming we took advantage of TCL’s Game Master mode. Switching Picture mode to Game and enabling HGiG, Auto Low Latency mode and Variable Refresh Rate. For those unaware, Game Master mode is a one-touch solution allowing you to get the best out of your console by automatically turning off all unnecessary features that use the display’s processor.

This allows for a much faster gameplay response. Together with Variable Refresh Rate plus HGiG which ensures games are displayed as the creator intended on HDR screens, you will get THE BEST possible experience while playing games.

On the PS5 we dropped into multiplayer on the latest “Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2” to see how it performed as it’s a mostly bright and very fast moving game. Then on the Xbox Series X we loaded up “A Plague Tale: Requiem” to see how the display handled detail in its dark but breathtaking environment.

As with the C835, HGiG brought out a fantastic level of detail with accurate colours and life-like skin tones. Black levels were acceptable for this QLED screen, not as deep as a Mini-LED or OLED however in a room with ambient lighting the display performed exceptionally well. Gameplay was also super smooth and ghosting really wasn’t an issue.

With ALLM enabled, response times are adequate with input lag for a 4K/60Hz signal coming in at 13.2ms and 120Hz being 7.7ms.

For movies we switched to the Movie picture mode, something TCL has configured well for this display. It tends to produce the most accurate colours for movies along with offering blacker blacks and whiter whites. It does this by reducing the amount of light through the backlight so black levels remain optimal. For this reason movies are best watched in a dark room otherwise details in dark scenes can be less visible.

Motion smoothing and upscaling also performed well on the C735 and there was very little to no judder when watching movies. Upscaling kept the image well detailed although we did notice it gave a slight soft-focus look.

What really wow’d us though was how the C735 handled Dolby Vision content. Once a supported movie starts playing the display will automatically set the picture mode to Dolby Vision IQ. This dynamically adjusts HDR content based on ambient light conditions in your room, and as you can see, the result is stunning.

When it comes to audio, the Onkyo 2-speaker setup does the job nicely. It doesn’t offer as much bass as the C835 which has a built-in subwoofer however for TV & Movies it presented well. For gaming though we found ourselves reverting to a headset as we needed that immersive surround sound for better hearing the environment around us.

So our final thoughts. The C735 from TCL delivers a fantastic level of performance at an excellent price point. It offers plenty of connectivity and features for gamers while delivering solid image quality with decent input lag.

It may not be as bright as the Mini-LED model but the excellent tone mapping and accurate colours make up for this.

It’s available now from Australian retailers and you can find more details on TCL’s website.


Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 PS5 Review

Stay frosty folks – it’s time for the MWII review!


In 2019 Modern Warfare was released which saw a revamped take on the OG title. I went in thinking hey, this could be a lot of fun and holy heck – what a ride. Now in 2022, MWII has been released and it continues on with the story of Task Force 141 … and this time they are trying to locate missing missiles. Sounds straightforward right? Well it is and to be honest the story can come across bland in some sections of the game but the action well makes up for any dips in the storyline across the 7ish hours of gameplay.

MWII lets you play across a number of memorable characters like Parra, Gaz and my personal favourite Soap. You will also see old favourites Captain Price & Ghost plus they are joined by a new character, Alejandro Vargas. Vargas and Parra are Mexican Special Forces and I truly enjoyed the introduction of these characters to the MW series.

The verdict – don’t miss out on MWII. The campaign is a lot of fun and with the addition of great characters to MWII it makes up for some of the dull sections of the story. The visuals and high energy battles also corrected any slowness I felt during a few chapters. It’s the strongest of the campaigns since Modern Warfare 2019 and I think fans and new players will be entertained. 


MP has some fresh ideas and maps however, the UI is definitely confusing and I feel it could do with the old “if it’s not broken don’t fix” it motto. The UI for Modern Warfare 2019’s works a treat and I feel perhaps they should go back to it. 

The maps, visuals and in-game mechanics all rock. I’ve enjoyed the levelling up so far and it doesn’t feel like a grind at all. The one thing I will note is that the speed in MP has been stripped back so much so it’s noticeably slower than CoD’s of recent years. I do like this style of gameplay though and it’s a welcome change for me.


Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Review

Uncharted Legacy of Thieves combines Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy in one solid package for PC. 

Let’s talk about the games first – If you’ve never jumped into the series can you start here? Of course you can. I started years ago with Uncharted 4 as the first game in the series I played and I absolutely fell in love with Nathan Drake’s character and I think you will too. 

Why is Uncharted so popular? It comes down to the storytelling for me then the gameplay aspects. Uncharted 4 is one of the best video game stories of all-time. It captures adventure, romance, family drama with some comedic relief thrown in there by all characters. It also feels like that old saying ‘no small roles’ every single person you come across is interesting and adds to the game. The mechanics are also fun and from the first Uncharted to number 4 the team enhanced the gameplay to feel more fluid. Uncharted 4 offers fast action sequences mixed with incredible traversals along the tropical terrain which graphically is stunning. 

Uncharted Lost Legacy follows the story of fan favourite Chloe Frazer & mercenary Nadine Ross. With the Lost Legacy I highly recommend that you tackle finishing Uncharted 4 first as you’ll get to understand a little more of how Nadine Ross thinks. Personally Nadine is one of my favourite female leads in a video game to date! The gameplay style and mechanics are similar for Uncharted Lost Legacy and you’ll find yourself on another unbelievably good adventure. The game is short however, gives you – the player, a well-balanced adventure story. 

My experience with PC has been great and I’ve learnt towards running Uncharted 4 at 60 frames at 1440P. Although you do need a powerful PC to run the game in high performance settings I do believe it looks incredibly beautiful still at 30 frames on PC. New players I can guarantee an overall balanced experience with both titles and if you’ve played it before perhaps you’ll even feel it’s a totally new one.


HyperX Cloud MIX Buds Review

The true wireless ultra-low latency buds offer a lot for gamers that are on the go. For instance with dual wireless Bluetooth I’m able to continue to game and answer calls or listen to music at the same time. The new Cloud MIX Buds also have excellent battery life so I can go between gaming on my PS5 to taking them to the gym or going for a walk and know they will last 30+ hours with the included charging case! 

I have to also say that they are perfect for true wireless gaming & streaming on my PC. No need for cables once they are connected and it really was a quick and easy process to connect these buds to all of my devices. Plus as I mentioned above they work with my PS4 & PS5. What else is cool, the Cloud MIX Buds work with the Nintendo Switch in docked & handheld modes.

They are extremely comfortable for long hours of wearing them in your ears, don’t move when I’m running and they sound pretty damn incredible. More available on Instagram reels.


A Plague Tale: Requiem Impressions

It’s A Plague Tale: Requiem release day 🎉 So what do I think 👇

Thanks to @xboxanz I’ve had early access with the game and I wanted to share my first impressions and can you play if you’ve not the first game in the series👇

Firstly, this game is an action adventure game that has a lot of stealth and you all know how I am at this genre. It’s put me to the test and I’m loving it so far.

Secondly, this story does pick up from where Innocence ended and you’ll find Amicia our protagonist and her brother Hugo searching for a safe place to live in France. Does this mean you can play this before the first – I say yes as the storyline will have you hook, line and sinker.

Now thirdly, why am I hooked? Well it’s design is stunning and although it’s a slow burn I’m really engaging in both Amicia and Hugo’s story.

More to come when I’ve finished the title but it’s out now and I recommend checking trying it for yourself on @xboxgamepass 💚


Motorola Edge 30 Review

After using the latest edge 30 for a number of weeks I’d like to start with its features. The motorola edge 30 is not only a slim and modern design, it houses some powerful tech like the Snapdragon® 778G+ 5G processor. The edge 30 is always able to process large images and video edits on the go – it really has been my go-to camera for all the content I’ve created. 

Now the camera boasts a 50 MP high res ultra-wide camera plus the macro which is incredible to capture up close details on what I’m shooting. Also, the motorola edge 30 has a neat feature with instant all-pixel focus and my favvvvv HDR10 recording. I’ve shot all of my reel content with the latest edge 30 and I love how it’s turned out.

Another game changer is Ready For which can be used for work and play. As I utilise this feature quite a bit I’ve found I’m more productive plus not to mention that I can use it for gaming on my smart TV. It’s definitely an amazing feature that Motorola has to offer. 

The motorola edge 30 also comes with an ultra-smooth 144 Hz display. I’ve enjoyed a number of games on the display which I’ve played via cloud services. It performs exceptionally well, and I really do enjoy gaming on the go on the edge 30. Mostly, I do use a pair of earphones but the edge 30 packs great audio Dolby Atmos® and I think most will be impressed with its clarity. 

So the verdict – I love that I can use the motorola edge 30 for all types of work, gaming and content creation & last an entire day of charge. It’s definitely worth checking out the motorola edge 30 available now!


The Last of Us Part 1 Remake Review

Why is the Last of Us so iconic? Well Naughty Dog really did show how storytelling can be taken to new heights with great writing, impeccable voice acting, immersive audio and music and graphically enhancing the original with a remake for me just makes sense for fans and new players. Be sure to check out our complete spoiler free review.


AORUS 17EX Review

Do you own a gaming laptop?

Recently I was able to test out the AORUS 17XE model thanks to @aorusanz 👊 This model impressed me so, so much! Be sure to watch my review here on Instagram 😊

Powered by the latest 12th Gen i7 Intel CPU, NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3070 TI and 16G DDR4 Ram. This gaming laptop is powerful and means business!

Thank you again for the loan unit @aorusanz I absolutely loved this piece of new gaming laptop tech.