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  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales Review: Hanging by a Thread

    first_imgMiles Morales was a tiny part of Marvel’s Spider-Man — the 2018 award-winning and best-selling PlayStation 4 exclusive — but he shot to global popularity later that year as the lead of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with the animated film interrupting Disney and Pixar’s dominance to win an Oscar. Those two aspects combine to deliver Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales — also from Insomniac, with Brian Horton and Cameron Christian as creative and game directors, respectively — a video game spin-off that continues the story of the titular character. But it has very few original ideas of its own, and it’s more than happy to stand on the shoulders of giants, drawing elements off both its Spider-Man game predecessor and the Spider-Verse movie.When it comes to gameplay, everything in Spider-Man: Miles Morales — good or bad — is exactly as it was in Marvel’s Spider-Man. The thrill of swinging through New York City, heralded as one of Insomniac’s finest achievements on Marvel’s Spider-Man, is as exciting and on-note as it was. The only improvement is that tricks are now easier to pull off: rather than “triangle” + “circle”, it’s just the “square” button now. Of course, Miles has his own style that fits his flailing out-of-control nature and effortless owning-it personality from the comics, something we also saw in the Spider-Verse movie.- Advertisement – But it’s put to use in repetitive ways. As Peter Parker, Marvel’s Spider-Man tasked you with clearing out construction sites owned by the supervillain Wilson Fisk. Peter had supposedly transferred control over to the New York Police Department, but a new villainous outfit is now squatting there just a year later. As Miles, Spider-Man: Miles Morales tasks you with clearing out the construction sites again. You could make an argument about power vacuums and all that, but this is still uninspired game design. Insomniac is making us do the same thing but with characters swapped out.In big-picture terms, it feels like an attempt to pad out game length. It took me less than 10 hours to wrap up Spider-Man: Miles Morales, with a healthy dose of side quests and activities. Apart from construction sites, other activities involve helping the citizens of New York with their problems, be it a stolen vehicle, malfunctioning railway, or missing pigeons. Local crimes are still around, but at least they are not endless, as was the case on Marvel’s Spider-Man where New York felt entirely lawless. There are nine challenges (combat, traversal, and stealth) created by Peter, which riff on the kinds of challenges he had in his game.Suit upThe only actual new side activity in Spider-Man: Miles Morales is sound sampling, which requires Miles to locate where a particular sound is coming from and then re-create the recording, to help build a track he’s been working on. Miles’ interest in music is carried over from the comics, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales fittingly has a hip hop-inspired soundtrack and background score, though it’s no match for Into the Spider-Verse’s, which featured the likes of Post Malone, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Swae Lee, and Jaden Smith, and had Daniel Pemberton as the composer.Watch the First Gameplay Trailer for Spider-Man: Miles Moralesspider man miles morales review spider verse suit spider man miles morales reviewMiles in the Spider-Verse suit in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesSpeaking of the Spider-Verse movie, Spider-Man: Miles Morales pays tribute to the film by including Miles’ movie suit, the relaxing hands-behind-the-head diving animation, and mimicking Into the Spider-Verse’s look. (The only thing the game doesn’t have are the film’s comedic chops.) That means animating in twos — holding one frame for two frames, which thereby lowers the frame rate — and displaying pop-up onomatopoeic words (“KRAAAAK”, “SKERUNCH!”, “HORK!”, “ZAP”, “THWOKK”, “SSSPAK!”) when Miles punches and hits enemies. Better yet, the Spider-Verse suit in Spider-Man: Miles Morales is in fact made up of two mods that can be applied to any other suit too.That applies to the “Bodega Cat Suit”, which comes with a cat in a backpack. The cat stays in the bag for the most part (no pun intended) and jumps out to aid Miles (cosmetically) in finisher moves. It does this only when it feels like though unfortunately, which is at least a bit fitting given most cats are lazy. More importantly, said cat is also called Spider-Man. It truly proves that anyone can be Spider-Man. I once called it the best thing about Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Insomniac seemingly agrees, for the “Bodega Cat Suit” is only unlocked after you finish the story (and a side mission).Hanging by a threadSet about a year after the events of Marvel’s Spider-Man during Miles’ winter school break, Spider-Man: Miles Morales takes place in a New York covered in a blanket of snow. The snow doesn’t affect gameplay in any way, it’s just a look. Following his father’s death, Miles (Nadji Jeter) and his mother Rio Morales (Jacqueline Pinol) have moved back to Harlem, where the Roxxon Energy Corporation — led by one Simon Krieger (Troy Baker) — is building a new reactor that claims to work on clean fuel. But Miles discovers that their purposes might be more nefarious and he begins to probe into Roxxon, with help from his software developer best friend Ganke Lee (Griffin Puatu), who’s to Miles as Ned is to Peter in the ongoing Spider-Man film series: an in-ear sidekick.Spider-Man: Miles Morales also features a gender-swapped Tinkerer (Jasmin Savoy Brown) — previously seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: Homecoming, where he was part of Vulture’s outfit and played by Michael Chernus — as the leader of new high-tech criminal outfit called the Underground, which has its own plans for Roxxon’s technology. The new Spider-Man game also brings back some memorable villains from Marvel’s Spider-Man — Rhino (Fred Tatasciore) is the only one I’m allowed to mention — in supporting or guest capacity.Spider-Man Remastered on PS5 Recasts Peter Parker, Upsets Fansspider man miles morales review tinkerer spider man miles morales reviewThe Tinkerer in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesUnlike Peter (Yuri Lowenthal), who was in the Spider-Man business for eight years when his game began, Miles is still learning how to be Spider-Man, and how to juggle the personal with the professional. Peter has been showing him the ropes for the past off-screen year and he has one big piece of advice: don’t tell anyone about your secret identity. The original Spider-Man throws Miles for a curve when he reveals that he’s going to Europe for a few weeks with MJ (Laura Bailey) on a Daily Bugle assignment, which leaves Miles in charge as New York’s only Spider-Man. He’s soon pulled into a conspiracy that involves the might of both Roxxon and Underground, and the story and its stakes turn out to be very personal for Miles.The Spider-Man: Miles Morales story isn’t anything special — it riffs on the old frenemy angle that brings to mind Xavier vs Magneto from X-Men — but it’s relevant in how it speaks to police brutality and discrimination against minorities. As Spider-Man, Miles wears a mask that obfuscates his Afro-Latino identity from the cops, but a scene involving him and Roxxon’s militarised goons still works as a parallel to how the police ignore and don’t listen to minorities, to the point that people like Miles feel invisible in society. Elsewhere, Spider-Man: Miles Morales places emphasis on the community and family aspect. While Pete was shown a bit of a loner, Miles is embraced by the people of Harlem, who take to calling him “our Spider-Man”.Spider-wonkyThe only unbelievable part of the story is how Miles gets badly hurt during a mission and then immediately gets better, for the campaign must wrap up before Peter returns from Europe in a couple of weeks, a time limit Insomniac has forced on itself. Problems with realism are more common with mission setups themselves. Spider-Man: Miles Morales opens with a police convoy stupidly flying a giant plane between New York skyscrapers. It’s like the cops are looking for trouble and mayhem. And as you can probably predict, it all goes haywire.The Batman: Arkham-inspired stealth mechanics have problems of their own, as the implementation is still not convincing on Spider-Man: Miles Morales. While the Dark Knight only operated in shadows, Spider-Man trots about in broad daylight. More importantly, he’s not detected when he probably should be. Sure, you cannot see someone directly above you, but the farther they are, the easier it becomes. Many a time, an enemy could easily spot Miles — or the hanging trapped bodies of their teammates — if they looked up even slightly. But in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, unless someone is on the same plane as you, they never see you. Enemies fail to even spot Miles’ shadow when he’s walking on the edge of rooftops.Spider-Man: Miles Morales Will Run at 4K 60fps on the PS5spider man miles morales review camouflage spider man miles morales reviewA camouflaged Miles in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesThe new Spider-Man game does let you do more with stealth, for what it’s worth. Miles has two abilities that sets him apart from Peter: a “Venom Punch” that can be used after you rack up combos and fill the focus meter, and “Camouflage” which allows Miles to turn invisible. Thanks to the latter, you can approach missions in Spider-Man: Miles Morales in ways that wasn’t possible on Marvel’s Spider-Man. You can upgrade your Camouflage ability to stay invisible longer or to avoid being detected when you take someone out. At the same time, Insomniac is smart enough to craft opponents that can counter your Camouflage and Venom abilities.At launch, Spider-Man: Miles Morales has some technical problems as well. The game crashed with an error screen once midway during a mission. During an Underground construction site activity, it froze and had to be force quit multiple times. Not wanting to be frozen again, I chose to go a different route and come back to the mission another time. And in certain stealth missions, enemies get themselves stuck by trying to walk into an immovable object. They stay there for the entire duration of the mission, unless you make a sound that causes them to walk in the opposite direction. Insomniac will release a “day one patch” on November 6, and hopefully that will take care of these.Speaking of the day one patch, Spider-Man: Miles Morales will also get additional updates to the photo mode and the ability to transfer saves from PS4 to PS5. I don’t usually bring up photo mode given it’s an ancillary experience for games, but it’s worth a mention given the extensive capabilities it offers. The Spider-Man: Miles Morales photo mode expands on the one offered in Marvel’s Spider-Man, adding light sources and stickers to the mix, which already had field of view, aperture control, focus distance, depth of field, exposure, vignetting, film grain, filters, frames, suit selection, and more.A bygone eraAs for the cross-generation support, it’s clear that Spider-Man: Miles Morales has been built for the PlayStation 5, and sufficiently works on the PlayStation 4. On one occasion, as I was swinging through New York City, it literally froze and threw up a loading sign in the right bottom corner. The game resumed a couple of seconds later. That’s as obvious an indicator of the fact that the PS4 hardware is a limitation for games (and has been for a while). For what it’s worth, Spider-Man: Miles Morales looks quite nice in cutscenes, with disappearing snow and a high level of detail in the hair, but not so much outside them.All You Need to Know About the PS5 and PS5 Digital Editionspider man miles morales review underground spider man miles morales reviewMiles taking out an Underground goon in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesHaving played it on the PS4 only, I can’t speak to the game’s quality on the PS5 — and whether you should pick it up if you’re buying Sony’s next-gen console at launch. But what I can say is that PS4 owners in India shouldn’t buy it at release. Here’s why.Insomniac has acknowledged the fact that Spider-Man: Miles Morales is not a full-fledged title — the developer said it has the scope of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy — which is why it’s priced at $50 rather than the new $70 ceiling for PS5 games. But Sony is being obtuse in India. While $70 has been translated to Rs. 4,999 sensibly, $50 has become the new Rs. 3,999. That makes no sense, as $60 translated to Rs. 3,999 for the longest time — as recently as the last PS4 exclusive: Ghost of Tsushima. Also, going by current USD-INR exchange rates, $70 is around Rs. 5,200 while $50 is Rs. 3,700.By pricing it at Rs. 3,999, Sony India is basically equating Spider-Man: Miles Morales with Marvel’s Spider-Man (also Rs. 3,999 at launch), which is bonkers. I normally don’t talk about pricing in reviews, because what’s acceptable for some is absurd for others. After all, console game pricing is screwed up to begin with, given Sony and Microsoft don’t allow developers to easily set localised pricing, the way Valve does with Steam. $50 should have been Rs. 3,499 at best, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales feels like a Rs. 2,999 game.If the sticker price isn’t a concern, in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, you’ll find a game that is lacking in originality but thankfully built on a solid core that needs a few tweaks. It’s a successful expansion of Insomniac’s Spider-Man universe, but it’s a new paragraph, rather than a new chapter. Hopefully it will give us the latter next time around. And though it’s also good for representation, it still has a ways to go. (Though the game wasn’t anything special, Marvel’s Avengers gave us a Muslim-American lead in Kamala Khan / Ms. Marvel.) Hopefully we can get Spider-Gwen from Insomniac next, or a Spider-Verse game, though given the lack of setup, either seems unlikely. For now, Miles continues his upward trajectory. He walked in 2018, so he could fly in 2020.Pros:Fight choreography, cinematography is wonderfulUpgraded stealth mechanicsSwinging is thrillingFun suits, Spider-Verse lookRelevance of storyExtensive photo modeCons:Not original enoughRepetitive gameplayGame padding despite short lengthUnconvincing stealth gameplayUnrealistic in partsBugs, game freezing / crashesIndia pricing is a jokeRating (out of 10): 7Gadgets 360 played Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PlayStation 4. The game is available November 12 on the PS4 worldwide and the PS5 in select countries, and November 19 on the PS5 in the rest of the world. It costs Rs. 3,999 in India, $50 in the US, and £50 in the UK on PlayStation Store. This also holds true for Spider-Man: Miles Morales’s other centrepiece. Insomniac Games’ creative team really understands the value of fight choreography and cinematography, and they know how to best use the tools at its disposal, chiefly the virtual camera. As Miles takes on enemies and bosses, the in-game camera spins, swings, tilts, rotates, and revolves around the characters, which in turn infuses a lot of energy and excitement into the game’s core: action. This might seem simple but it’s not, as shown by the fact that so many action-adventure games fail to execute this.Spider-Man: Miles Morales currenciesThere are three currencies in the new Spider-Man game: skill points, activity tokens, and tech parts.Earning XP by playing the game and completing missions helps you level up, which grants you skill points. These can be used to teach Miles new combat skills.- Advertisement – Miles’ max level is 20, unless you start “New Game+”, wherein you begin the story from scratch but with all your upgrades intact. New Game+ is available after you finish the campaign.Activity tokens are awarded for completing objectives, be it missions, side quests, or local crimes. That leaves tech parts, which are found by opening hidden crates left over all the city. You need activity tokens and tech parts to unlock new suits and upgrade your gear.Some suits, suit mods, gadgets, and skills are intentionally locked behind New Game+, another way of padding game length.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • Déjà vu? Green Machine to host USA South on July 1 for RAN 15s title

    first_imgTWO years ago, Guyana’s National Rugby team, popularly known as the ‘Green Machine’, etched their names in the history books after edging the mighty USA South to claim their maiden Rugby Americas North (RAN) (formerly North American and Caribbean Rugby Association) 15s title with a come-from-behind 30-27 win.It was a last second penalty kick from Ryan Gonsalves which was ‘on the money’ that saw the ‘Green Machine’ win the trophy and now, Guyana will have a chance to not only reclaim the title that was won by Mexico last year, but also do something that several teams in RAN have never done; beat the USA twice.After Guyana outclassed Trinidad and Tobago 24-17 on June 10, they were preparing for a trip to Mexico City to face Mexico who were tipped to beat the Cayman Islands.However, the game proved how unpredictable sports could be, since the Cayman Islands emerged winners 39-17 over the Mexicans, which means that the Americans were crowned RAN’s North Zone champions.Guyana’s captain Ryan Gonsalves“Guyana will be ready to host USA South on July 1,” explained the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) secretary Terrence Grant, while speaking to Chronicle Sport yesterday.According to Grant, while he’s not at liberty to divulge certain information at the moment, he insisted that the GRFU is looking forward to the match and that at present, a committee was already established to ensure that all ends are covered for a successful hosting of the biggest Rugby game ever held locally.The visit by the USA will mark their first in Guyana, and their second in the Caribbean after travelling to Trinidad and Tobago in 2013 where they left with the RAN 15s title; winning 26-18.The Americans will want to exact revenge for their 2014 defeat to Guyana in Atlanta Georgia, in rather dramatic fashion.The good thing for Guyana is that their squad of players who had beaten the USA are still playing together and had improved in the 15s format.Guyana are known for their dominance in the game’s shortest format (Sevens), but since their win against the USA in 2014, the GRFU had made a commitment to have their National side pay more emphasis on 15s Rugby.Since then, the Green Machine have won back-to-back South Zone titles, and missed out on winning a second overall RAN 15s title when they went down 32-3 against Mexico last year.last_img read more

  • Some students unaware of Council elections

    first_imgLos Angeles voters will head to the polls today to vote for seven City Council seats and a range of ballot measures including whether a tax should be imposed on the sale of medical marijuana and whether an oil extraction fee should be instituted.Although there has been minimal campaigning by advocacy groups for the ballot measures, the race for the City Council’s 8th District seat, which represents USC and its surrounding area, has intensified in the days leading up to today’s election.Forescee Hogan-Rowles is hoping to oust incumbent City Councilman and former LAPD Police Chief Bernard Parks from the 8th District seat.Hogan-Rowles is the current President and CEO of the Community Financial Resource Center, a leading provider of financial services for low-income families in Los Angeles.The two candidates have sparred over various issues including whether raves should be hosted at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The issue became particularly contentious after a teenage girl died of a drug overdose at the 2010 Electric Daisy Carnival.Parks, who serves on the board of the Coliseum Commission, maintains raves should be held at the Coliseum because they stimulate the economy of the 8th District and reflect the music preference of music listeners worldwide.Hogan-Rowles, however, argues the dangers of raves far outweigh any economic benefits and are not conducive to the environment the 8th District should be trying to promote.Both candidates have vowed to increase cooperation with USC and beautify the area surrounding Exposition Park.According to Parks, his main focus, if re-elected, would be to work on balancing the city’s budget.Hogan-Rowles, if elected, will focus on bringing more businesses to the 8th District and ensuring the 8th District receives the same benefits as wealthier districts.One of 10 propositions and charter amendments being voted on today is Proposition M, which, if passed, would establish a $50 tax on sales of marijuana exceeding $1,000. The extra tax revenue would go to the city’s general service fund.If passed, Measure O would attach a $1.44 tax to every barrel of oil extracted from property within Los Angeles.Students who are registered voters in Los Angeles, including Eduardo Vargas, an undeclared freshman, were largely uninformed about today’s elections.“I was unaware there was an election [today],” Vargas said. “I hadn’t heard or seen anything about the ballot measures being voted on.”Aaron Mick, a sophomore majoring in architecture, said he was aware of today’s election, but has decided not to vote because the ballot measures are not relevant to him.“I was aware there was an election [today], but I am not voting,” Mick said. “I went through the election booklet and realized there was no issue that I felt strongly about or I felt I could make an informed decision about.”last_img read more