Gaming

Marvel’s Spider-Man Review: Spidey in all his glory

‘Face it, Tiger. You just hit the jackpot.’

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As one of the most beloved superheroes of all time, there’s a significant amount of pressure in creating anything about Spider-Man and video games are no exception. In Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4, the folks over at Insomniac Games captured exactly what it means to be the wall-crawling hero in red and blue tights.

This game has everything: quips, great action and gameplay, quips, a masterful recreation of New York, quips, a story that’s original but feels familiar and stays faithful to its source material — oh, and did I mention quips?

Spidey's not shy about taking selfies

Spidey’s not shy about taking selfies

Web Slinger, Defender, and Innovator

A critical part of the game that Insomniac had to nail is web swinging and nail it they did. It’s the perfect balance of simple but not negligible, and it ends up being really enjoyable. While R2 is the main button for web swinging, there are other buttons you’ll end up using if you want to up your style.

In fact, part of the game’s skill tree is all about improving your traversal or web slinging skills. There are upgrades that let you do tricks mid-air, increase your speed while swinging, and while there’s a superhero landing that we’ve seen countless times in movies, another badass skill you can get is the superhero hero takeoff which is essentially a stylish high leap from the ground that adds flare to how you move.

The other two primary skills mainly have to do with combat. The Defender and Innovator skills consist of clever ways in which you can maneuver Spidey and his webs against foes. While the combat buttons feel basic enough — press square to punch or kick, triangle to use your web against baddies, circle to dodge, X to jump, and L1 and R1 to choose and use one of your gadgets — the combinations feel endless. The relatively simple controls together with the absolutely kinetic pace, fantastic action sequences, and the ability to use your surroundings ensure that the combat never feels stale.

You don’t always have to come out swinging, though. One of my favorite parts of the game is taking down thugs stealthily. The Innovator skill set comes into play here. Sneaking around an enemy base and using your web to immobilize henchmen is extremely satisfying.

New York is up for exploring

I haven’t had the chance to explore the game’s open-world as much as I would want to but when you get the game, you definitely should. You don’t have to worry about missing the sights, as part of the game is making sure you do explore the most remarkable landmarks The Big Apple has to offer. Peter Parker the photographer is also tapped into during the game. Part of the tokens you’ll need to unlock skills, suits, and other power-ups include taking photos of certain landmarks. A bonus for Marvel fans, the landmarks aren’t limited to ones we know of in real life. 😉

As seen in trailers, you’ll find various backpacks around the city. Collecting the backpacks leads to unlocking power-ups and suits so there’s a real incentive to hunting them all down. How is Peter, who is behind on his rent, able to afford all those backpacks? That question will be answered cleverly as you collect more of them. Inside the backpacks are memorabilia and is an interesting way of telling the eight-year history of this particular Spider-Man.

A funny bit about exploring: If you ever get tired of swinging across town (and after a while, you will), there’s a fast travel option that will let you use New York’s subway not as Peter but as Spider-Man. If you don’t crack a smile at some of the subway cut scenes, you need to re-evaluate your life.

Peter Parker: Nephew, ex-boyfriend, brilliant lab assistant, superhero

Without sharing too much detail about the story, what this game truly gets right is how Peter Parker balances his life as both Peter and Spider-Man. In various scenes you’ll see him talking to Aunt May on the phone while dealing with villains. In this story, his main love interest is Mary Jane Watson (MJ for short) and they had been broken up for six months. Their paths cross again as MJ, who works as an investigative reporter for the Daily Bugle, follows the same crime that Spidey is trying to solve.

In this game, you’re not just Spider-Man, you’re also Peter Parker

The dynamic between Peter and MJ struck me the most. As a guy who also attempted to get back together with his ex, the game captured that back-and-forth perfectly and while it’s not the most gripping thing about the game, it’s a testament to how Insomniac didn’t put anything in the backseat and chose the right moments to highlight the various things that make Peter the hero that he is.

MJ also happens to be a playable character, and in what I believe is one of the better missions in this game, you primarily control her while working together with Spider-Man all while discussing how their relationship has gone. It’s truly a very Spider-Man mission and I am glad this game has it.

The game also captures the brilliant mind of Peter Parker — something that’s not always evident in the movies. Working as a lab assistant to a brilliant scientist we’re all familiar with, this is one of the relationships in the game that will truly hammer home how tough it is living a double-life if you didn’t inherit a billion-dollar company from your parents.

Easter Eggs

Long-time Spidey fans will have a field day on this game early on. There are plenty of callbacks to scenes present in both the comics and the films. One of the most iconic Spidey panels of all time from The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #33 — the one where he musters all his strength to get himself out of being buried in a rubble — is paid homage to in the early stage of the game.

This iconic panel has been recreated in various Spider-Man adaptations

There’s also a reference to the very famous upside-down kissing scene in the first Spider-Man movie featuring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. The train scene in the sequel of the aforementioned film was also alluded to in a critical scene.

Other Easter eggs are placed elsewhere in the game, particularly in the landmarks that you’ll need to take photos of.

This game, while a standalone story, is incredibly self-aware and does a lot of well-placed fan service that will please both comic book and movie fans. To a certain extent, it has a Marvel Cinematic Universe feel to it. Which means you have to see it through until the end.

“Face it, Tiger. You just hit the jackpot.”

Marvel’s Spider-Man is amazing, spectacular, and the ultimate video game experience for any fan of the friendly neighborhood wall crawler.

I cannot say this enough: Insomniac Games captured the very essence of Spider-Man and turned it into a video game that’s aware of the character’s history across all forms of media.

This is a masterpiece and will no doubt be referenced as one of the most faithful adaptations of one of the most iconic superheroes ever.

Gaming

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the first open-world Pokémon game

Coming to the Switch in early 2022

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Since the launch of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo fans have continuously clamored for a similar open-world version of the Pokémon franchise. Well, Nintendo apparently heard the overwhelming clamor. Coinciding with the Pokémon Diamon and Pearl remakes, The Nintendo Company announced its first open-world Pokémon game, Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

Unlike the more formulaic entries in the franchise, Pokémon Legends: Arceus differs greatly. For one, the game is set in feudal Japan, a far cry from the main entries’ modern setting. Secondly, it looks like it’s nonlinear at all. It looks like a combination of Pokémon Sword’s and Shield’s Wild Area and Breath of the Wild’s open area. In fact, the teaser trailer even had shots similar to the latter’s trailer. Even the trailer’s music was minimalistic, much like the Zelda game.

Like Diamond and Pearl, Legends: Arceus will take place in the Sinnoh region. But, instead of the usual trio for Sinnoh, the game will offer up three different starter Pokémon: Alola’s Rowlet, Johto’s Cyndaquil, and Unova’s Oshawott. Plus, unlike the usual battle mechanic, players can throw PokéBalls out in the open. (As to how PokéBalls existed back then, we don’t know yet.)

Further, since we’re in the Sinnoh region, the titular legendary Pokémon Arceus is involved in the game’s story. He made a cameo in the trailer’s ending.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is coming soon to the Nintendo Switch sometime in early 2022.

SEE ALSO: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl announced for 2021

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Gaming

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl announced for 2021

Remakes of the original games

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It’s Pokémon’s 25th anniversary! As you might expect, a major anniversary isn’t complete without a major game announcement. Fresh from a massive content expansion for the current-generation Pokémon Sword and Shield, The Pokémon Company has announced two upcoming remakes of the past generation: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

Much like Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will bring the Nintendo DS games to the Switch. Originally released back in 2006, the original duo took players to Sinnoh to fight against Team Galactic while fighting their way to become the Sinnoh Champion.

Instead of a full-on remake, both games will retain the same quirky design of the original games. According to the trailer launched today, the remakes will look a lot cuter than the old DS graphics. It will also have a few feature improvements to make a player’s experience easier.

Other than that, the remake is faithful to the original. Players can still choose between the original three starters: Chimchar, Turtwig, and Piplup. Further, trainers can hunt for the series’ two legendary Pokémon, Dialga for Diamond and Palkia for Pearl.

At the moment, though, the announcement has not revealed how the remake will adopt the Switch’s different system. For one, unlike the DS, the Switch does not have a secondary screen. For sure, The Pokémon Company will release more details in the coming months.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is coming to the Switch in the latter half of this year.

SEE ALSO: Pokémon is holding a virtual concert with Post Malone

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FF7 series launches new PS5 update, mobile battle royale

Featuring a new mission with Yuffie

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Today, PlayStation held a State of Play showcase for its upcoming games for both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5. Though the showcase was filled with new sneak peeks from all sorts of games, the now-iconic Final Fantasy VII took center stage and blew everyone away. Not content with last year’s remake, Square Enix will once again improve the original FF7 game for the PlayStation 5 and add a new DLC to go with it.

It’s a remake’s remake

Saving the best for last, 2021’s first State of Play unveiled a (literally) new look at the PlayStation 5’s version of the Final Fantasy VII Remake — titled Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade.

Most importantly, the version will add in massive technical and graphical upgrades for the remade game. Intergrade will have better lighting, for example, to take advantage of the new console’s new hardware. While the remake is already graphically stunning, the new version will make the game practically cinematic in feel.

Besides the graphics upgrade, Intergrade will also add new difficulty settings. Players can now access the classic turn-based controls even on normal mode. The version will also add in a photo mode, which will naturally flex the PlayStation 5’s hardware capabilities along with it.

Finally, Intergrade will launch a new story featuring the oft-overlooked character Yuffie Kisaragi. Her story will take her on her own adventure with a new male character Sonon Kusakabe. Yuffie and Sonon are on a plan to infiltrate Shinra.

For current PlayStation 4 owners of Final Fantasy VII Remake, a free upgrade will bring the update’s technical improvements to the PlayStation 5. However, Intergrade itself (meaning, the additional content) will come with a separate price. Intergrade will cost US$ 70 as a whole.

A prequel battle royale

If Intergrade isn’t enough to satiate your FF7 needs, Square Enix is also launching a mobile battle royale game set thirty years before the events of Final Fantasy VII. More than a simple mobile shooter, Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier will feature the series’ popular tray of magic spells and summons (including Chocobos). According to the teaser video, players will participate in the Shinra Electric Company’s Soldier program, explaining the need for a battle royale.

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is coming to Android and iOS sometime this year.

A FF7 compilation

Finally, Square Enix also announced a massive mobile compilation — Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis — featuring all the smaller games and stories set in the game’s timeline including Advent Children, Before Crisis, Crisis Core, and Dirge of Cerebrus.

Though the developer describes it as a “chapter-structured single player game,” the teaser trailer doesn’t reveal how the compilation will weave through the entire series seamlessly. The game will reportedly feature all the stories from the series, while introducing new, unexplored elements.

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis is coming to Android and iOS sometime in 2022.

SEE ALSO: Final Fantasy VII Remake review: A fresh experience of a timeless tale

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