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.

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I’ve lost hope in getting a next-gen console for the foreseeable future

On shortages, scalpers, and struggles from all over the place

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If you already have any of the next-generation consoles, you may read this if you wish. But for most of us, myself included, we all shared a collective struggle to snag one of the two highly-anticipated consoles late last year. Unfortunately, such struggle continued even into the new year, even when Sony and Microsoft were pretty optimistic about it to start.

Don’t get me wrong: the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are part of the future of console gaming. We’re talking technologies and hardware that supposedly rivals that of any gaming PC build for more than half the price. Even with a limited game library, game developers are adopting the next-gen consoles moving forward.

However, at launch, almost all units sold out in an instant — and the reasons are quite obvious. Months prior to launch, these companies stated numerous reasons for shortages on launch day. People like me were hopeful that restocking inventory would come soon enough, and would be enough for everyone all over the world.

But why are we still struggling to find a next-gen console?

Believe it or not, this struggle to simply purchase a next-generation console isn’t entirely on the industry itself. Sure, they’re running low on production staff, worldwide deliveries are a little messy right now — but that’s not 100 percent on them anyway. In case most people forgot, there’s still a COVID-19 pandemic happening in most parts of the world.

The pandemic put the video game industry on hold for a bit, as production for the next-gen consoles took a heavy hit. Because of remote working conditions and factories shutting down, Sony and Microsoft went out and said that launch day units will be scarce. I thought that they would just simply delay the launch, but nope — they still wanted to launch in November, on the exact day.

And yet, the next-gen consoles ended up being well-received by everyone — especially the ones that were either sent a unit, or successfully bought one. Both consoles sold out on launch day, mostly due to online pre-orders on Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and other retailers. Even here in the Philippines, eight retailers held online pre-orders and immediately sold out within the 5-minute window.

It’s pretty clear to me that there is a high demand for the next-gen consoles wherever you decide to buy one. However, the companies simply cannot provide regular stock as soon as possible due to a lot of factors — hardware shortage, mostly. Yet, Sony and Microsoft do their best to try and release more stock whenever possible so everyone gets an opportunity to buy one.

next-gen

What do you mean, everyone gets an opportunity?

I remember when Datablitz PH held its first online pre-order for the PlayStation 5 back in November, two weeks before the official release. On the day of the pre-order, I received the email with the link to the pre-order form and instructions on how the process goes. However, I was busy around that time, so I asked my sister to check the link for me.

Then, she texted me saying that every pre-order slot was full, even for the Digital Version. Slots went out so fast, it’s like the 5-minute window was way too long. At the moment, I had no complaints because I expected this to happen. This wasn’t the case for the rest of the internet as they took  their complaints to social media on the online pre-order system.

Another pre-order wave started, so more opportunities, right?

A second wave of pre-orders came in just last January, and I didn’t even bother with it anymore. Instead, I decided to lurk around Datablitz’s Facebook page and see the comments on their restocks and, well nothing changed. The claims were the same as the first time: bots from other buyers, while others are able to log in at an earlier time. There were even some conspiring that retailers had internal agreements with other people about it, which I don’t think is the case.

In essence, not everyone gets a “fair” opportunity at grabbing a next-gen console. It sucks that this has been a regular occurrence with premium items like this, and yet no concrete actions have been taken. But, I was thinking that maybe we’re looking at the wrong culprits here.

It isn’t the pre-order system’s fault entirely, and it’s mostly because this was an initiative by Sony and Microsoft given the pandemic situation. We’re trying to contain the virus here, and staying indoors for the most part is the best way moving forward. Still, I think they could have improved the process with every new run.

Wait, how come they have an abundance of stock of the next-gen console?

Instead, allow me to direct your attention to the scalpers themselves; you know, people selling you things for an insanely higher price. You’ve seen these people on a Facebook Marketplace or on Shopee, promoting that they have a next-gen console ready for you. Some of them even go out of their way to offer you a complete bundle to save you the hassle!

It’s not just these people that are participating in the grand sweepstakes for a next-gen console. In addition, there are also these (let’s just call them) unauthorized resellers who also somehow have stock of these consoles. While some of them do sell the console at either a fair or much lower price, there are those that don’t tell you that you have to pay extra fees for them.

PlayStation 5

In essence, these people manage to give you what you want: a next-gen console. The catch, however, is that you have to satisfy these two conditions to get it: be a sure buyer, and be ready to spend tons of money getting it. 

But, I thought that next-gen consoles were in shortage?

That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I kept seeing some of these “sellers” on social media. The fact that they have nearly tens to hundreds of units every other week just makes it hard to believe. Even when both Sony and Microsoft declared a shortage for the next couple of months, the grind continues for these “businesses.”

I say that they’re a business because these sellers claim to be such entities. They’re somehow able to capture a need present in their market, and provide the product or service to address it. As with most businesses, they determine the price such products or services are offered through extensive research and planning. For scalpers and unauthorized sellers, however, price setting is the easy part.

These entities will seek to supply everyone with as many units as possible, and they’ll find ways to procure them in bulk. You know how people were complaining that bots are taking their stock for online pre-orders? Well, some online retailers and news agencies are aware of such technologies being abused that way.

In my own experience asking one of these unauthorized sellers, they told me that they’re supposedly closely linked to the manufacturers. Also in some cases, they are not giving me a full rundown of any additional fees nor any proof of such. Yet, they expect me to simply abide by the payments since I got it for cheaper. In essence, they achieve the same thing as scalpers do by paying more than official retailers.

So, what now? Should we just wait for regular stock?

Admittedly, I’m already thinking that regular stocks of the next-gen console won’t be here for another 7-8 months or so. It’s not just because of the already announced shortages in hardware. Rather, it’s the fact that there is a higher chance that scalpers will get a hold of them first.

I feel like these companies were pretty clear on how they want the next-gen consoles to be received. In my opinion, they truly want to give everyone access to the future of gaming; that maybe you don’t need to spend insane amounts of money for crisp, clean gameplay. You know, something that you can do on a gaming PC but on a much cheaper yet strategic price tag.

PlayStation 5

Yet, these scalpers and unauthorized resellers simply want to make a profit off a need like this. Cry about it all we want, but these people exist and some people partake in their businesses. They’ve practically turned the next-gen console into a true luxury, something that the industry and some governments are trying to go against. 

I’ve lost hope in trying to get the next-gen console for this year, or possibly while the shortages are still in effect. At this point, I’d rather spend that money somewhere else, or invest it in the stock market. We could wait for regular stock all we want, but if scalpers keep getting these from us, there’s just no hope.

SEE ALSO: A somber look at the PlayStation 5 crisis

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K-pop star turned murderer is new character in Dead by Daylight

Co-developed by BTS collaborator

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Since its meteoric rise into the global pop culture scene, the K-pop industry has infiltrated every facet of our world including smartphones and social media. One industry that K-pop stars and K-pop stans haven’t penetrated yet is the video game world. That’s changing soon, though. Well, somehow. Popular horror multiplayer game Dead by Daylight is adding a K-pop star as its newest killer.

In the asymmetrical horror game, four survivors go up against a powerful killer. Over the year, the game’s developer Behaviour Interactive acquired different horror characters in the years since it launched including Michael Myers and Pyramid Head. Despite already being years into its life cycle, the game still adds in new characters at a regular clip.

Today, the game has announced its latest killer, The Trickster. Much like most characters, The Trickster comes with his own lore.

Ji-woon, a former K-pop star and member of boy band NO SPIN, became jealous of his other group members and killed them all. In the game, Ji-woon (or Trickster) can use ranged daggers and a host of abilities. Along with Ji-woon, the game will also introduce a new survivor, Yun-Jin Lee, the K-pop producer who recruited Ji-woon into the boy band. Yun-Jin’s powers include the ability to sprint right after hitting the killer with a palette.

Behaviour Studios developed the two characters with the help of U-KISS’ Kevin Woo and producer DJ Swivel.

Currently, both characters are not in the game yet. They are still under testing in the game’s Player Test Build. Dead by Daylight is available on Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It also has mobile ports to Android to iOS.

SEE ALSO: Hundreds of K-Pop songs by KakaoM removed from Spotify

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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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