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

Gaming

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.

Accessories

Logitech launches first-ever gaming earbuds

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Logitech G Fits

Logitech is venturing into the gaming accessories scene with the release of its first-ever gaming grade earbuds, the Logitech G FITS.

The wearables are the first earbuds from the brand to feature Lightspeed wireless, giving users pro-grade wireless connection for their PC, Mac, PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch, and Android devices via USB-A or USB-C.

The true wireless gaming earbuds have 15 hours of total listening time. That’s seven (7) on their own and an additional eight (8) with the charging case. When connected via Bluetooth, the total battery life in one full charge stretches up to 22 hours.

The Logitech G FITS also feature the patented Lightform technology, which allows users to get a contoured and custom fit in just a minute.

They simply have to connect to the Logitech G FITS app which then triggers a number of embedded LEDs and harden the gel-filled tips to suit one’s ear as ideal as possible.

The same app may also be utilized for an equalizer to tailor-fit the listening experience, especially if one wants to emphasize bass or fine tune the settings.

Price, availability

The Logitech G FITS is now available in major retail stores and online via Lazada and Shopee for SG$ 389.

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Gaming

Forspoken review: Outspoken with little to speak of

Wait for a sale

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Forspoken

It doesn’t take a lot to create a decent roleplaying game. All you need is a fish-out-of-water character, a vast open map, and a seemingly endless list of objectives. Though it has all three, Forspoken struggles to keep up with its pretenses as a Western roleplaying game.

First, the good

Credit to where it’s due, Forspoken is a fun game for the first few sections. Exploring the incredibly huge map with magical parkour is enjoyable. Eclipsed only by Elden Ring’s Torrent, magic parkour is one of the most innovative ways to quickly traverse large distances, especially after learning more advanced techniques.

Likewise, fighting balanced enemies with limited powers provides enough of a challenge to keep players on their toes in Athia. Neither the player nor the first enemies feel overpowered.

Unfortunately, the game’s novelty quickly evaporates after you figure out that you have to repeat the same motions dozens upon dozens of times. Forspoken’s map is much larger than it ever should have been. Though abundant in number, every point of interest is separated by large distances, some platforming challenges, and a battle sequence. The greater map is empty. Do this over and over, and the game gets stale quick. With adequate rewards, this shouldn’t be a problem, but Forspoken also suffers from a communication issue.

A communication issue

For most roleplaying games, completing an objective on the map usually nets palpable rewards for the player: a significant experience boost, new skills, new gear, or a bag of loot. An open-world game necessitates a lot of exploring. Even if a game is repetitive, earning substantial rewards is satisfying, at least. Forspoken does not have this — not in an easily discernible way, at least.

Treasure chests, which account for most of the points of interest on the map, reward players with a litany of crafting materials. Most of which will go unused because the game doesn’t easily tell players how to use them. After a dozen hours of collecting materials, I had a wealthy cache of each ingredient to make practically anything. Even then, I had little idea where each one went.

The map’s major rewards — new cloaks, new nail arts, and experience — also do little to explain how Frey improves with each completed objective. Clearing out an enemy camp, for example, rewards players with +1 magic. The game does not tell you how much damage that conveys. Certainly, after completing a few of these, Frey feels stronger, but it’s not easy to see how much stronger, especially when most enemies are bullet sponges with absurd health pools anyway.

Plus, these don’t even scratch the surface of objectives wherein the main reward is literally just a lore dump you have to read from a menu.

Forspoken

Difficulty shouldn’t always mean more enemies

Another issue with clearing out Athia’s large map is how Forspoken handles difficulty. Though there are options to adjust difficulty, the game relies on a limited bag of tricks to make it more difficult for players: increasing enemy health and quantity. In moderation, relying on this strategy works. However, Forspoken does this to an obnoxious level.

Prepare to fight five mini-bosses in one encounter for a lore entry. What compounds this issue more is an insane enemy health pool which causes encounters to last a lot longer than they should. One mini-boss encounter took me 15 minutes, even with appropriately leveled gear and the right spells.

Because of the sheer number of enemies, an encounter can stun-lock Frey for an absurd amount of time. The player can hardly prevent this since it relies on chance. Despite offering a wide array of moves, the risk of knockbacks shoehorn players into a slow run-and-gun tactic (which might not even play into an enemy’s weaknesses), instead of using each ability to the max.

On paper, Forspoken’s combat offers a fluid way to take down enemies by seamlessly switching between spells and moving through the battlefield with magic parkour. Unfortunately, an imbalance in enemy strategies bogs the game down in prolonged sequences that often reward players with only middling boosts.

Forspoken

A lack of optimization

For a game released on modern hardware, Forspoken took a while to launch. The game was delayed a few times. Given how delays often work, you’d think that it would release in a fairly optimized state. It’s not.

Though I haven’t hit major game-breaking bugs, there were a number of performance dips throughout the game. Even on performance-focused settings, framerates dropped to a standstill when there were high particle effects on screen. Frey constantly clipped through the terrain and found herself stuck on finnicky edges (which sometimes required reloading from previous saves).

The game is also dragged down by numerous cutscenes. Though not a bug per se, it’s not a great sign of optimization that the game has to pause for a cutscene just to show enemies arriving. For a game featuring fluid movement and combat, Forspoken often takes players out of the action by pausing for unnecessary cutscenes.

Forspoken

Better on sale

Overall, Forspoken is persistently flawed. However, amid the game’s shortcomings, the title still has an exciting combat and movement system. Plus, if you disregard the tedious open world, Forspoken’s linear story, featuring the wide range of abilities, are enjoyable. My interest always bounces back after beating one of the game’s main bosses.

Still, it’s hard to call Forspoken a game worthy of its AAA price tag. It might be better to wait for a discount.

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Gaming

The free PlayStation Plus Collection is going away

Iconic titles will no longer be available

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Gaming subscriptions have brought a wave of notable titles to gamers on several platforms. However, as streaming platforms have shown as of late, subscription-locked content can disappear in an instant. In a surprise move, Sony is putting an end to its iconic PlayStation Plus Collection.

Back in 2020, Sony’s subscription service added the PlayStation Plus Collection, an easy way to play all of the most iconic titles of the past era. By paying for the monthly fee, players can access titles such as God of War and Bloodborne.

Surprisingly, Sony has announced that PlayStation Plus will no longer offer the PlayStation Plus Collection starting on May 9. Before then, subscribers can avail themselves of the titles and keep them in their libraries. Players who do so before May will keep their access to them as long as they are a subscriber.

After May 9, the subscription service will no longer offer these titles for free. Players have to buy them individually.

The cancellation is a monumental change for the subscription service. The current games catalog already features a revolving series of titles changing monthly. The Collection, which has featured the platform’s bestsellers over the years, was thought to be untouchable. It already made the price of admission worth it. That’s no longer the case.

The Collection, as it is now, includes: Batman: Arkham Knight, Battlefield 1, Bloodborne, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy, Days Gone, Detroit: Become Human, Fallout 4, Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition, God of War, Infamous: Second Son, Monster Hunter: World, Mortal Kombat X, Persona 5, Ratchet & Clank, Resident Evil VII, The Last Guardian, The Last of Us Remastered, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and Until Dawn.

SEE ALSO: It’s easier to get a PlayStation 5 now, Sony says

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