Spider-Man: Miles Morales Spider-Man: Miles Morales

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Spider-Man: Miles Morales Review

Well-paced, high adrenaline action game with a lot of heart

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Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a story about a rookie superhero but there’s absolutely nothing amateur about this web-slinging follow-up from Insomniac Games.

Who is Miles Morales?

Not a lot of people knew that there was a Black teenage Spider-Man with Puerto Rican ancestry in the comic books. But Miles Morales leapt into mainstream consciousness with the 2018 animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

 

Spider-Man GIF by Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse - Find & Share on GIPHY

A couple of months before that film, Miles was also already introduced to gamers in the critically acclaimed Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4. Spoilers for those who haven’t played the two-year-old game, but there, Miles was bitten by a genetically-enhanced spider so we knew he would eventually be playable as Spidey. We just didn’t realize it would come this soon.

The perfect storm of Miles’… media mileage in 2018 made Spider-Man: Miles Morales an anticipated title.

New Spidey, new powers

For the most part, the game plays pretty much the same as the one in 2018 but with some distinct changes.

Early on, you already get some of the web combat and traversal skills that you had to earn for Pete in 2018. Miles has a different skill tree involving two power sets distinct to him.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

First is Venom Punch which is the bio-electric energy that Miles’ body generates. It later branches out into other abilities. Next is Camouflage which — sidenote: is probably my favorite ability in this game — literally turns Miles invisible and ups his effectiveness in stealth takedowns. The stealth skill tree doesn’t open up until you get to a certain point in the story.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

There’s also a third skill tree that builds on Miles’ combat skills. He doesn’t have as many gadgets as Pete had, but he certainly has plenty of other tricks up his sleeve.

Other than that, combat and traversal is the same as Marvel’s Spider-Man game. Which is to say, it’s fantastic, kinetic, and an absolute joy.

New York’s only Spider-Man 

The game picks-up right where The City That Never Sleeps DLC left off. If you didn’t play, that’s fine too. It has a very comic booky “Previously on…” intro that recaps the events of the previous game to get you caught up.

The recap already features the new face of Peter Parker. I can’t speak to how you will handle this change, but personally, I got over it real quickly.

The game drops you straight into the action mixed with basic tutorials. You’ll be taking on a rampaging Rhino in a high octane sequence that will get you hyped for the rest of the game. Fitting as Rhino was also the villain featured in the Miles missions on the first game.

After which, Pete tells Miles that he’ll be gone for a few weeks to accompany MJ (Mary Jane Watson) as she chases a story in Symkaria — the fictional country where Silver Sable is from.

The way these events seamlessly flow from one game is a testament to the solid writing team behind this franchise. That spectacular writing is evident throughout the entire game.

Protecting Harlem

The two major forces that Miles will tussle with are The Underground and Roxxon.

Roxxon is a technology company and has been developing what they claim is a clean, sustainable energy source strong enough to power all of Harlem. The company also rose into power following the events of the previous game. They also have a legion of armed militia, supposedly to help keep the city safe.

The Tinkerer

The Underground, meanwhile, stands in direct opposition to Roxxon. Lead by an exceptional engineer called The Tinkerer, the group has managed to gain notoriety by taking down criminal groups in New York aided by their advanced weapons tech.

Right smack in the middle is Miles who is trying to protect the people from the inevitable crossfire. Exactly like that scene in the trailer where Miles says “can we not shoot at each other.”

Miles will later on learn that his connection to both groups is much deeper than even he could have anticipated. It sets up the true strength of the storytelling which,  again like the previous game,  puts a focus on the characters, their relationships with each other, and what motivates their actions.

This has a lot of heart. I didn’t bawl like I did in the first game, but I’m gonna chalk that up to having a deeper, longer connection with Peter than Miles. That said, the story is full of heart and lessons on navigating relationships with family and close friends.

Miles from start to finish 

Spider-Man: Miles Morales trims a lot of the fat from the previous game. Here you only play as Miles both in his casual fit and of course in a Spidey suit.

If some people felt the pacing suffered in the previous game due to the MJ and Miles missions, there’s absolutely none of that here. You also don’t get the mini puzzle games that plenty of people thought were a drag.

What the game does retain are the collectibles around the city. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to swing around the city as you collect tech parts, some memorabilia, and sampling some city audio to tie in Miles’ interest in music.

This also retains some story-rich side missions which you can access through an app developed by “Guy in the chair” Ganke Lee. If he seems familiar, that’s because he’s the character where Ned Leeds in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Spider-Man was based off of.

The side missions yield plenty of rewards — most of which are the various suits that you can try on. Howard and his pigeons also make a return which is a nice little touch. You may have also already seen Spider-Man the cat. He, too, is part of the side missions.

Be Greater. Be Yourself.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales takes everything that was great in Marvel’s Spider-Man but spins it in Miles’ webs. In doing so, it completely embodies its “Be Greater. Be Yourself,” tagline.

You get distinct changes such as the power sets and the sound that plays while Miles is swinging across the city. And while this is fundamentally the same game as its predecessor, it never for a second feels like a cheap reskin.

What we have here is a well-paced, high adrenaline action game with a lot of heart. Having to go solo for a few weeks, Miles comes of age and learns what it means to take on the responsibility that comes with being Spider-Man.


The game was reviewed on a PS4. All images were taken from public posts of Insomniac Games.

Gaming

Nintendo announces huge list of games for holidays

Titles like Kirby, Bayonetta, and a Nintendo Switch Online expansion

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The holiday season is here. Every year, the gaming industry gets a speed boost coming from annual holiday discounts, new games, and newly gifted consoles. Keeping with that trend, Nintendo has hosted a new Nintendo Direct in anticipation for the coming holiday season. Here are the biggest announcements from the event:

Nintendo 64, meet the Switch

Since the launch of the first wave of classic games, Nintendo Switch Online held the most promise for Switch owners. The subscription service offered games from decades past for free. Naturally, the growing catalog is working its way forwards, starting off with the NES and SNES generations.

In late October, the clock is moving even further. Nintendo is launching a massive booster pack, infusing the service with classic Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games. The launch lineup will include favorites like Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64, and many others. Further along, it will also add games like Pokémon Snap and Majora’s Mask.

Kirby is coming

After years of smaller games, Kirby is finally getting a major platformer release for the Switch. Kirby and the Forgotten Land takes the eponymous blob to a new post-apocalyptic world. As always, the hero can swallow different characters and enemies to claim their powers. It even features familiar characters like Link – at least according to the trailer.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land will launch sometime in Spring 2022.

More Animal Crossing

It’s a trailer of a trailer, but it’s worth mentioning. The popular island simulator Animal Crossing: New Horizons is getting a major update this November. Though the announcement was scant with details, it looks like the game is finally getting a café inside the museum. Nintendo will announce more in October.

Final Fantasy but Mario Kart

What would a famous franchise be without its own racing game spinoff? The long-running Final Fantasy franchise is getting its own racing game called Chocobo GP. Though the title features the iconic creature, the game will also have familiar characters from the series. It will launch sometime next year.

And a host of others

Aside from the main announcements, Nintendo also previewed some new titles, upcoming expansions, and remakes for the console. Headlining this crew is Bayonetta 3 which is due to come out next year.

Monster Hunter Rise, the Switch-exclusive entry to the series, is getting an expansion pack called Sunbreak is coming summertime next year.

Creators of the quirky franchise Nier are making a new spinoff to their series. Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars is card game coming to the Switch on October 28.

Finally, the classic Star Wars game Knights of the Old Republic is now on the Switch. It’s not a remake, too. It’s the original game, and it’s out already.

SEE ALSO: Nintendo Switch gets Bluetooth audio compatibility

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Death Stranding Director’s Cut: Best game I don’t enjoy

Brilliant but tough to power through

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Death Stranding Director's Cut

Maybe it was already my mindset heading into this review. But I’d like to think I really gave it a chance. Despite that, every time I launched Death Stranding Director’s Cut on PS5, I felt burdened instead of excited.

That said, I don’t think this is a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. Full disclosure, due to the burdensome feeling I only managed to get to about 30-40 percent of the game. That, on top of other responsibilities for this publication.

So yeah, I think it’s a combination of things. The generally slow pace of the game, the premise of avoiding enemies you can’t see, and just the grind work of having to lug around packages — these all contributed to an experience that I cannot describe as fun.

You can say, that isn’t the point of the game. After all, it’s set in a post-apocalyptic America and you make your way around the open world wary of enemies you can’t see. But isn’t that something we’re already kind of going through. I guess I could just never wrap my head around my form of escape mirroring bleak real world situations a little too much.

Early game additions

Hard to see here, but the Support Skeleton is equipped

Death Stranding Director’s Cut goes out of its way to make sure players feel less strained. About five to seven hours into the game and you’ll gain access to two key additions: the Maser Gun and the Support Skeleton.

The Maser Gun is essentially a high-powered stun gun. It electrocutes MULEs (human enemies) you’ll encounter in deliveries. And immediately after acquiring it, you’ll also gain access to another addition in the Director’s Cut — the shooting range.

Death Stranding Director's Cut

At the shooting range, you’ll be faced with various challenges in taking down MULEs. Most importantly, you’ll be able to practice your aim while dealing with multiple MULEs.

Meanwhile, the Support Skeleton is as straightforward as it sounds. It’s equipped on your lower body to help with traversal. It’s an especially helpful tool early in the game when you don’t have access yet to vehicles and other support items.

Death Stranding Director's Cut

Oh and no more Monster Energy drink in this version

Overall good game design

Death Stranding pulls off many interesting ideas and presents them in ways that undeniably gives it the feel of a AAA (Triple-A) game. The character models and environments, as you may have seen on trailers, are brilliant and blockbuster-worthy.

In terms of gameplay, I was particularly impressed by how you can traverse every single element in the open world. Whether that’s a dirt road, grassy fields, and rocky terrain, the game doesn’t make any completely inaccessible.

Of course, sometimes you have to get creative. Crossing waterways and rock formations may require that you use ladders. You’ll also sometimes find yourself looking down on a cliff. Thankfully, you can also carry items that will let you rappel.

Social Strand System

But perhaps the most unique game mechanic is the Social Strand System. If you play online, this means you’ll gain access to ladders and other structures that other players have built. If any of these structures were particularly helpful for you, you can smash likes to show the other player your appreciation.

It’s such a creative way to include some form of community building in a single player game. It’s a fantastic idea and one I hope we see some iteration of in other games in the future.

In-game interface

If I had a bone to pick with the visual presentation, it would probably be the mail. The text is incredibly tiny, even if you choose the large option. It’s no fun having to read blocks of text and the game encourages you to read the emails as part of the story. I mean, I already read tons of emails daily. I don’t need that in games I play. I think this is another part of the game that really lowered the fun meter for me.

Other improvements

Death Stranding Director's Cut

Buddy Bot!

Death Stranding Director’s Cut also comes with plenty of the usual next-gen improvements on PS5 games. You get the usual upgrades in haptic feedback and adaptive triggers on the DualSense controller. Although, I would argue that they could’ve been utilized better especially for sensing BTs (the ghost-life figures you have to avoid) nearby.

I’ve already gushed about the visuals but playing this in 4K 60fps was really a treat for the eyes. I personally am not a fan of the graphics setting that prioritizes refresh rate. I’m always after a more cinematic feel which I think is what this game suits best. So my recommendation is to play the game prioritizing resolution.

Other in-game additions include the Cargo Catapult and Buddy Bot. Both will help you complete deliveries and quests faster. They are helpful tools that improve the pace of the game.

Should you play Death Stranding Director’s Cut?

Firing up this game felt like work after I’ve already done my work for the day. That just isn’t the experience I long for in games. But maybe, that’s just me.

I think most gamers know exactly what they want to play. But if you’re only now dipping your toes into Death Stranding Director’s Cut because you missed the first launch and you’re a Hideo Kojima fan, it’s definitely worth picking up. But my recommendation is to get the physical copy so you can flip it for cash as soon as you find that it’s not for you.

Death Stranding Director’s Cut is brilliant. However, it’s not for everybody.

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Lenovo Legion X60 Intel gaming lineup announced

Now with better performance and optimized Lenovo software

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Lenovo is once again making big waves when it comes to their Legion gaming laptops. This time around, they’re not really looking at releasing anything new. Instead, they’re more on improving or upgrading their current gear with the latest hardware possible. It all starts with their new Lenovo Legion X60 Intel gaming laptops.

Basically, the Lenovo Legion X60 Intel gaming lineup features refreshed iterations of Legion laptops. At the heart of these laptops is an 11th generation Intel H-Series processor, which promises remarkable performance. Whether you’re gaming, streaming, or simply multi-tasking, these laptops will surely bring the power for whatever purpose. Along with this, these refreshed models also sport the latest NVIDIA RTX GPUs to keep up with insane gaming workloads.

Apart from these, the refreshed models will also come with Lenovo’s dedicated hardware and software technologies for any type of gamer. From Coldfront 3.0 to an improved TrueStrike keyboard, Lenovo built these laptops for either the casual or competitive type. Note that only the following models received the refresh:

  • IdeaPad Gaming 3i (PhP 59,995)
  • Legion 5i (PhP 72,995) and 5i Pro (PhP 124,995)
  • Legion 7i (PhP 169,995)

In terms of availability, these laptops in Legion Exclusive Stores, authorized retailers, and on the Lazada Legion Flagship Store.

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