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Until Dawn is a Horror Take on Life is Strange

Oni

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It is Spooktober, the best time to find a horror game and play it for all of your viewers, or just for your own enjoyment. This Spooktober, I chose Until Dawn, a choose your path, sort of thriller. It is a ps4 exclusive, so sorry for anyone that doesn’t own the console. (It was one of the games I received for Playstation plus a while back, so it was an easy choice when I looked for a horror game to stream.) In this game, you are able to play as all the characters presented and you get to feel out all of their personalities. The premise is: you spend the night at a friend’s family ski resort to escape the stress of everyday life, but it seems like someone has other plans for you. Since you decide what choices the characters make, your survival is dependent on whether or not you can foresee the best option.

My take on the game was that it was a horror take on Life is Strange. The two games couldn’t be any more far apart, but the playstyle is the same. Until Dawn trains you to be able to make quick decisions, since a lot of the decisions have a time limit. The timed button inputs were probably the most heart-racing part of the game since you could die from a wrong button input.

As if the game wasn’t interactive enough, there were times when you had to stay still in order to avoid something. I failed 99 percent of those because remote play doesn’t really give you that much wiggle room to those ps4 features. Basically, I lost a few people because this feature didn’t work for me. I know it sounds like I am making an excuse for failures in the game, but it is the utmost truth to my experience playing.

While running for your life, you are also trying to uncover the truth behind a few mysteries presented in front of you. It is kind of weird searching around a room when you could die in the next few moments. See, I called it a thriller and I stand by that because this game messes with your nerves while you play. This game is autosave only, which means if you make a mistake, there is no going back, well, not until you beat the game. This game isn’t necessarily a scare fest, but when you know death is around the corner, any kind of jump scare can make the bravest of women scream.

I regret actually screaming on stream while playing this game, but truthfully, I thoroughly enjoyed this game. It tested my wits and made me rethink how games and movies of the like use their jump scares. Yes, I did say the jump scares were predictable, but it still spooked me even though I was ready for it. While playing, it’s easy to imagine that you, the player, are actually there in these moments. You try to be as immersed as you can be and that is your downfall. Just finding a few clues will change your playthrough because now characters have something to share with the rest of the team. It made me think, “What would happen if I didn’t find this clue? Would I have died earlier because of my lack of knowledge, or would I have been better off not knowing it because I wouldn’t have expected it?”

There are so many unknown variables in this game, and I would like to know all of them. But, like all games, it’s better to replay this after a good long wait. I am not saying there isn’t immediate replayablity, but a thriller-horror game isn’t really as scary or as thrilling the second time around. You are expecting certain jump scares more often than not, and you already know where to look for certain things. Being wiser in these sorts of games takes away from the fun. The only way to have fun a second time is to forgot some of your knowledge and try to replay it a little better. I know that sounds weird since you usually play a game a second time to 100 percent it, but, for me, replaying Until Dawn means I just want to save more people.

See, I don’t believe this is a spoiler, but I only saved one person in end game. The motion controls were the end of me at the end sadly. I had a quick laugh at the fact that the one person I didn’t want to save ended up surviving. In my opinion, there were only one or two redeemable characters. A lot of the characters were driven by emotions that fit the situation but didn’t really make them look good in any light. A bunch of the choices weren’t decisions I would have made, which sucked since you only had two options to choose from at any given time. That kind of took me out the game at times, since I didn’t relate to any of a particular character’s choices. I also don’t know anybody with these character traits in real life, so again, it didn’t feel all that true to life.

However, even as I say all that, I still had fun playing Until Dawn, because it actually challenged me in a non-frustrating way. All in all, definitely worth a play, and a replay or two once you’ve gotten over the tension.

I hope you enjoy your Spooktober and find something you enjoy that spooks you. Why not try Until Dawn while you’re at it?


Featured Image Courtesy of Supermassive Games

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Overwatch in a nutshell

Oni

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How do I talk about a game that should have been dead about a year ago, but is still going strong? If you didn’t get that, the game I am talking about is Overwatch. A game that is strictly online, which means no story mode to find out the lore behind this game. If you want to learn about the lore, then join the line buddy. Players have to wait months til another origin short comes out about their favorite hero, which makes sense if you want to keep an online game alive. Recently a new “hero” has been announced called Ashe, and we got a bunch of clues about who she is from a McCree short.

Heroes

Even though Overwatch came out in 2016, they are still releasing new heroes. According to a video by Your Overwatch, there are 5 new heroes coming out within the next couple of months. Once a new hero comes out, there is a good week or so before they are available to play. That means you have little time to master this new hero before they are out in comp. If you didn’t notice the error in my previous sentence then I will repeat it: a hero that is made to counter certain heroes. Do I believe this statement? Of course not, because Overwatch is about skill and luck at the same time. You need enough skill to be able to counter your counters with any hero, but you also need luck in order to group with a team that also has enough skill to carry its own weight.

Comp

The lowest ELO I have gone down to is bronze in Overwatch competitive and that is the lowest you can go. I had the worst luck in getting grouped with players that didn’t use mics. Now using mics doesn’t automatically guarantee a win, but it increases the chances. It is better to try and formulate a plan to win against your enemy, than to try and blindly attempt to understand your teammates actions. So, if you do decide to play competitive mode, then please try to talk to your teammates.

So, when do you believe that people will stop playing Overwatch? In my opinion, I believe the game is already dying, but you have players like me that come back to the game after months of quitting, just to see if it became a little less toxic. I quit because I was tired of the toxic players that kept throwing games and leaving so that you were missing a teammate. Something that Overwatch needs to work on the most is leavers. If you never played this game, then you wouldn’t see the problem with someone leaving, because you would get a new teammate right away. No, that would be common sense and common sense doesn’t work in Overwatch.

Toxicity

If they leave in the first 30 seconds to a minute, then the game is cancelled and no one loses anything, but any later than that then you have to hope that the player comes back. Leavers don’t make sense, because they still receive a loss from leaving, but there is the rare exception where someone just disconnects. If they do, then they have a chance to come back and help out the team. That is the only way you get the blank spot in your team filled.

Lifeline

The game will die when they finish releasing heroes and when we get the origin and shorts for every hero in the game. Then again, they are releasing new heroes every few months, so that day won’t be anytime soon. Blizzard makes money from the ever-growing Overwatch league and from the new players that joined because of sales and new heroes. I only bought the game because some friends wanted to play with me. The sad thing is, that I haven’t played with them since I bought the game because we have different play styles. I am a support main and I can’t play with someone that charges into a battle and doesn’t expect to protect the healer that is keeping them alive.

Should you buy?

So, what is my take on this game? I actually hate it more than anything else, and I wouldn’t exactly recommend it to others. It is a fun game to play with friends, but once you start playing with randoms, that is when the stress happens. I am not in a high ELO and I will take a quick break until next placements just so I can get my third gold weapon. The main reason we play comp is to say we have a high standing and to also say that we have a gold weapon for this hero, so praise us.

So, buy a mic, don’t get too stressed and remember unless you are on PC—you aren’t going to find yourself in the Overwatch league.

Hopefully you enjoyed  this review. Comment to let me know what game you want me to review next, and I’ll see if I can play it!


Image courtesy of Blizzard

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Salem 1692 Puts More Weight Behind History Without Sacrificing Fun

Dan

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Are you a werewolf? Are you perhaps ultimate werewolf or more of a “one night only” kind of gal? Maybe you’ve been in the mafia? Well, then you may have played a game similar to Salem 1692, the second game in indie game company (and we mean indie, they have a total staff of two) Façade Games. Rather than simply re-skin the “deduct and accuse” formula that has, admittedly, been very successful, Façade instead takes the whole thing back to their roots, to the very first social game of accusation and deduction, murder and distrust that was ever played: The Salem Witch Trials.

Finally, a board game you can hide on your bookshelf when you need to seem “respectable”

What’s In The Box?

Salem is the second edition of Façade’s debut game, and officially the second in their Dark Cities series after Tortuga 1667 . It comes in a faux dark leather book that’s been beaten, scratched, and warped by (seemingly) 326 years. Façade’s choice to do the title in gold foil makes the small game pop whether its on a table or hiding among your reading material. It’s packed efficiently and reflects a high level care and planning on the part of the designers. The games cards and booklet are beautiful as well, glossy but with an aged look you’d expect for things ostensibly 400 years old.

The artwork, done by concept artist Sarah Keele, is highly stylized, without being cartoon-y, and pops off of each card. The character portraits are especially good, oozing personality without leaning too heavily on stereotypes or misconceptions. There’s also a little hourglass, filled with black sand of course, and a tiny little wooden gavel token that is mostly just a feelie but adds some extra physicality to the game.

All the fun and fear of the Salem Witch Trials, now in travel size!

How’s It Played?

In Salem: 1692, you aren’t just any random Puritan. Instead, you take on the role of a historic resident of Salem, Massachusetts at the time of the famous witch trials like the vindictive Abigail Williams, witch hunter Cotton Mather, and the man himself, Giles “I’ll Show You Stones” Corey. You might also think back to high school English and The Crucible, as most of the cast is represented here in some form or another. Each resident has their own special “power” that reflects something about them. Some are as simple as George Burroughs requiring more accusations than normal to lose a trial, reflecting his status as a minister; while others are more complex,  like John Proctor’s ability to take items from the dead just as he would accept pawned goods as payment in his tavern. These “powers” are huge help in the game, and make your “identity” in the game more than merely cosmetic.

At the beginning, the Town Crier is selected. Usually this is the most experienced player of Salem who will direct the game while they play. If nobody has played before, as in my first game, then you use a moderator who fulfills a similar role, but is not involved in the game. The players are each dealt a number of Tryal (not a typo, a fun bit of flavor to fit with the time) cards that determine their roles in the game. This is where the witches find out if they are witches, as well as the constable. The game ends when either the Witches have killed or converted the whole village, or when the constable has revealed all the witches lurking among the populace. These identities are secret, and only the players know if they’re guilty or innocent until the accusations start to fly.

Faster, Tituba! Kill! Kill!

The game progresses similarly to its brethren in the deduction game genre, though there are some twists in the formula that help it stand out. For one, each player’s Tryal cards must be selected blindly, meaning that a well-intentioned villager could waste their accusations on someone before finding out they were a witch, simply by random chance.

The constable role is another variation on the “sheriff” type roles in similar games. Here they retain their ability to protect villagers from witches , but the role of constable can change hands (sometimes more than once), and the constable can even BE a witch. And take my word for it, you DON’T want a constable witch.

There’s also special color coded cards that affect the game in different ways. They’re drawn at the start of each turn. Green cards are sort of like “instants,” single use cards that affect other players in the short term. Examples of green cards are “Arson,” which lets you discard another player’s hand, and “Alibi,” which lets you remove another player’s accusations. Blue cards are similar to an enchantment, such as the “Asylum” card that protects a villager from witches in the night. A particularly fun example of these is the “Matchmaker” cards, which link two players in such a way that if one dies, they both die.

Red cards are where the “trial” part of the game comes into play. These are the accusations that villagers can throw at each other to ferret out the devils in their midst. Most of these are worth one or two, but some go up to four in one go. Once a villager gets seven accusations they must flip a Tryal card (except for George Borroughs, who needs eight). If they’re a witch then they die. If they run out of Tryal cards, they die.

The scariest cards in the game are the black cards, played the minute they appear:  “Night”, and “Conspiracy.” “Night” is the traditional “baddies come out to do murder” portion of the game.  The “Conspiracy” card forces all players to pass one Tryal card to the left. This is how the witch coven grows, as the minute you get a “witch” card, you become a witch (which is how AARP works in real life).  And even if you lose your witch card, you remain a witch. The special “Black Cat” card comes in to play during “Conspiracy” as well. Initially gifted by the witches at the start of the game, when it serves to handicap another villager or throw the hunters off the witches’ scent.

The game goes as quickly or slowly as the players let it, and depends heavily on the cunning of the witches and the deduction skills of the players, but it rarely will last more than a half hour, forty minutes tops.

Salem: 1692 is a fantastic middle ground between the rapid pace of the One Night family of games and the methodical plodding of Ultimate Werewolf and the like. It’s refreshing to see a game stand out not with the use of flashy mechanics or weird gimmicks, but with a little bit of grounding in history instead. The flavor of the game is superb, mixing more dramatic ideas from The Crucible (how could it not) with things rooted in actual horrors that went on in Salem. Things like the “Matchmaker” card, the methods of accusation, and even the “power” of each character goes a long way towards immersing you into a distinct time and place.

It is also the first game I’ve reviewed for The Fandomentals that could be considered educational, and it even has deeper history in the back to illustrate how much work was put into researching the game.

The Verdict

For a company as small as Façade, the craftsmanship here is superb and very much a labor of love for designers Holly and Trevor Hancock. Little things like possible rules conflicts, adaptations for big groups and new players, and even rules for making the game last longer or become even more difficult. While it may not be different enough to sway those who like the more rapid or supernatural deduction games, I think that this is a worthy addition to any shelf for fanss of the genre, and a perfect game for Halloween.

Salem: 1692, as well as the other games in the Dark Cities series, can be bought at Façade’s website, as well as at your local game store, for about $25. Keep an eye here on The Fandomentals for more news and reviews on board games and the latest from Façade.


Thanks to Façade for the review material as well as the images used for the article.

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Spider-Man Does Whatever a Spider Can

Bo

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spider-man ps4 featured

Over the long decades of Spider-Man games that have come and gone, the quality has varied wildly. Some have been really good games for their time. Some had a great idea carrying poor gameplay. More often they were plain bad. No matter the quality, though, one thing they all struggled with was the fundamental issue of capturing the feeling of Spider-Man.

The first Spider-Man on the Playstation was an excellent game. It was also limited in how much it could put Spidey’s real power in the hands of gamers. Maximum Carnage has many nostalgic fans, but it was just a side-scrolling beat-em up. The Spider-Man 2 movie game had terrific web-swinging, but was average or bad at everything else. Often the problems were technological. Other times they were an issue with developer skill or budget. Whatever the case no game really made you feel like the guy you read in comics.

And even more than the actual mechanics of being Spider-Man, games struggled to craft stories of the type that made Peter Parker and his crime-fighting alter-ego so iconic. Ultimately it is the relationships between Peter and his friends and foes that make him so popular. You feel an earnest connection to the conflicts driving his stories. Again, some of the failure here for his gaming adventures involves technology. Spider-Man gaming fell off significantly early in the Playstation 2 lifecycle, and gaming storytelling made significant leaps in that time. More often, though, those games just didn’t try particularly hard.

So how fares Insomniac’s attempt to finally give games a true Spider-Man game? How did they approach these problems? Were they ultimately successful? As an Insomniac Games fan since Spyro the Dragon some 20 years ago, I’m happy to say they made the best attempt yet.

Does Whatever a Spider Can

I’ll start with a pretty definitive statement here; no game has ever, ever had Spidey gameplay coming close to what Insomniac managed with this game. Not only that (and I admit this is purely opinion), Spider-Man has taken the Batman: Arkham formula and completely outdone it.

I won’t pretend the game doesn’t blatantly take the Batman formula. The combat certainly does. It’s the same directional, combo-focused, dodge-and-counter style I enjoyed across four Batman games. Thing is, it also addresses many of the problems in those games. Spider-Man’s enemies do not patiently wait as he beats down their friends. They jump in to stop you. They don’t point their guns forever like they forgot how to fire them. Those suckers get unloaded constantly. Spidey doesn’t gravitate from enemy to enemy like his fists have Bat-magnets pulled towards baddie faces. If you’re caught out of position, you’ll flail stupidly and someone will probably smack you for it.

While certainly inspired by Arkham, Spider-Man has a much more aggressive feel that perfectly suits the more agile, frantic, and plain capable nature of its superhero. Spider-Man isn’t a normal human being with crazy ninja training like Batman. He’s a true superhuman. You dodge bullets and rockets flying all over the place. You web people up, throw stuff at them, or even throw them if they’re properly restrained. Spidey flies around combat zones taking advantage of huge amounts of gadgets and suit abilities. His enemies have armor, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, whips, swords, shock gloves, and sometimes even support vehicles.

It makes for a very fast game with more challenge than I expected. The random baddies you find on patrol are perfectly capable of stomping Spidey into the ground. While nothing close to unforgiving, the game does demand the player get a handle on the combat and understand it. Even when you have your trusty standby style and gadgets, optional challenges encourage you to try the many options in ground and aerial combat. You’ll need to in order to acquire the combat tokens used to upgrade the suits and gadgets you like.

Thankfully, this challenge has nothing to do with poor controls. Spider-Man plays like a dream. The controls are smooth, responsive, intuitive, and quickly become second-nature. This allows the player to effortlessly transition between all the tactics needed for late-game encounters. It’s no problem at all to unleash a combo, dodge someone, counter, duck through a shielded opponent’s legs, web up to an aerial enemy, and unleash a special suit move restraining them all with your web.

In fact, the random baddies can be so surprisingly tough that the boss fights feel almost disappointing. Don’t get me wrong; they play well and usually have properly sizable scope. After hours of beating on upwards of like 50 thugs at a time, though, focusing on only one or two supervillains feels almost tame. Especially when few of them try anything particularly innovative in the combat system.

(The highlights are definitely the 2 fights involving Spidey going solo against 2 supervillains. One keeps the Spidey in the air at all times, while the other involves extensive use of the environment.)

But what about the method of traveling between all these fights? How exactly did Spider-Man manage the always important web-swinging mechanic? We all remember Spider-Man 2 and want something matching it, I know. And I won’t say the physics behind Insomniac’s Spider-Man matches its PS2 predecessor.

You know what? I don’t care. Rather than go for something “realistic,” Insomniac went for fun. Give me this any day.

The most important part of the web-swinging, in my humble opinion, is to make you feel like Spider-Man as he zips around New York City. This game manages that and then some. Besides the obvious swinging from building to building, Spidey can zip to ledges and points, vault off them, dive-bomb to pick up speed, and shoot quick webs to propel him forward and maintain speed around corners. He can run up and along buildings with ease. Transitioning from one move to another really lets players keep the speed up with ease.

Insomniac definitely went for accessibility over depth. The right-trigger button puts the player in something of an automatic parkour mode, and you can basically hold it down as you go and pull off what looks like complicated web-swinging and city traversal. However, this won’t make the most of the web-swinging. There’s a learning curve before you find the groove making the most of the speed and flow the web-swinging is capable of.

While the physics may not match what Spider-Man 2 did, don’t listen to anyone who says physics play no role. You can’t swing if there’s nothing your webs can attach to. Where your webs do attach determines the speed and momentum of your swing. Combined with the zip-lines and quick webs and wall running skills, you’ll need to make the most of all these mechanics and physics to become a truly gifted web-swinger. Especially if you want to complete the various challenges and missions.

Within the story missions, Insomniac blends these gameplay elements with well-placed quick time event button presses to create impressive spectacles. Spidey swings from helicopters and stops falling cranes and smashes through glass ceilings while beating on villains. The scale of these events makes for highly memorable moments after the various side content available between them.

Spider-Man’s open world certainly tries nothing new. You stop random crimes, pick up collectibles, activate towers that fill in the map, and take photos of various landmarks. Nothing about it breaks the mold formed by dozens of open-world games before. Where Spider-Man tends to avoid monotony, though, comes from the speed of these tasks. In the time it takes to scale to a viewpoint in Assassin’s Creed, Spider-Man lets you stop a crime, collect a backpack, activate a tower, and be on your way to the next objective. None of these typically mundane tasks feel mundane because of how quickly you complete them. None of these tasks feel lazy or boring when it’s so easy to check multiple items off the list in like 3 minutes. Thus, Spider-Man’s web-swinging adds a fresh new dynamic to the familiar open-world formula.

Like with the combat, it is this speed that defines the game. If you have an aversion to this kind of open-world repetitiveness, I can’t promise this game will overcome it. If one can, though, this may be it. Besides the brisk nature of these tasks, the game also does a good job pacing them. Right when you might be sick of picking up collectibles, enemy strongholds are revealed. You get sick of that and the challenge missions show up. You get sick of random thugs and the research stations unlock.

Overall, Spider-Man takes advantage of its namesake’s abilities, along with some excellent design, to avoid a lot of the flaws in open-world gaming design. It’s a fresh, updated fusion of Batman and Assassin’s Creed. Almost everything about it plays fantastically. If you have any interest in Spider-Man or open-world games, I can’t imagine feeling dissatisfied. Even if you don’t, I think you’d enjoy this game.

Now It’s Personal

But what about the underlying story and characters driving all this gameplay? After all, who cares about gameplay if I feel no motivation around anything? If you’re a Spider-Man fan, I think you’ll be more than satisfied. Insomniac has a GREAT grasp on what makes Spidey and Peter Parker so appealing.

The game takes place 8 years after Peter acquired his powers, bypassing a lot of the “learning to use your powers” stuff we’ve seen and played a thousand times. This allowed Insomniac to build a rich history of what Spider-Man has already done, what kind of relationships he has with those in his life, and how exactly he lives his life. Insomniac uses this basis to build a story and world operating as a love letter to Spidey comics new and old.

From the beginning, we see a familiar picture: Peter Parker struggling between his personal life and his superhero responsibilities. He has a tense post-relationship dynamic with Mary Jane Watson. He helps Aunt May at a homeless shelter. His professional life takes place in a lab with Otto Octavius, who feuds with Mayor Norman Osborn. Peter isn’t the unsure kid facing these difficulties for the first time. That doesn’t mean he fails to struggle. Early in the game, he even loses his apartment after failing to pay rent on time. Said apartment is cluttered with late notices and makeshift gadgets.

To be honest, I think this is the best version of Peter Parker anyone has ever managed, even in comics. He’s a perfect blend of the struggling, responsible dork and super-capable superhero veteran. He blends effortlessly between cracking jokes and dramatic moments. One moment he’s stopping masked thugs, the next he’s freaking out over a text message MJ took the wrong way. Spider-Man never shies from leaning into these moments and letting the emotion and drama of a moment speak for itself.

Peter’s personal relationships lay at the center of the story. Both of the major villains are mentor figures to Peter. Aunt May and Mary Jane feature prominently, including in gameplay. Miles Morales is introduced during one of the game’s big twists and becomes a prominent character afterwards. A pre-Wraith Yuri Watanabe plays a Commissioner Gordon role, and the banter between her and Pete make for some of the game’s funniest moments. Even the lesser supervillains have a history with Spidey that come into play when he confronts them.

Everything is so steeped in personal history and Insomniac does a terrific job relaying that history.

One considerably controversial piece of storytelling occurs through the occasional stealth sections putting Mary Jane Watson and eventually Miles Morales in the player’s hands. Some dislike these sections for interrupting the Spider-Man gameplay with comparably weak content. I actually like them. They’re easy, forgiving, and typically do a great job giving MJ and Miles a key role in the story. They also serve as a perfect example of something I mentioned earlier: the excellent pacing keeping the open-world Spidey gameplay from becoming monotonous.

These gameplay segments are also used to great effect in some key story moments, making you really feel the tension or tragedy of the moment. Plus they do great things for player investment in those characters. Investigative journalist MJ is easily my favorite MJ ever.

The same can be said of the lab puzzles you perform for Octavius. All of the puzzles are pretty easy, quick, and give useful rewards. They help immerse the player in the shoes of Peter Parker, not just Spider-Man. Not everyone likes them, and I get it. Insomniac does, too. They let the player skip them completely while also receiving the rewards for them. It’s the storytelling purpose of these segments that matter and are why they exist.

Overall the story doesn’t hit any particularly groundbreaking beats. Does it matter when they hit the familiar beats so well? Seeing the degradation of some relationships alongside the rehabilitation of others makes for some fantastically well-told moments. Insomniac succeeds with storytelling no Spider-Man game would attempt 10-20 years ago. Some of the more dramatic plot points rank among some of my favorite video game moments in recent years.

And when it all finally comes to an end, the game pulls no punches. The final boss has all the emotion you’d expect after hours of build-up, and afterwards, Peter is forced to make one last decision perfectly representing the idea of “with great power, comes great responsibility.” In fact, the ending can be seen as a direct rebuke of an infamous Spider-Man story from the 2000s.

Overall, like with the gameplay, no Spider-Man game has ever captured his life this well. Insomniac chose to create a Spidey game for a reason, and I think their love for the character shines in every second of this experience. I wish I could delve into a more spoiler-y summary of it to make this opinion more clear.

Perhaps myself or someone else will eventually, because I think Spider-Man deserves it.

Final Thoughts

I won’t say this is the best game of the year. Not with Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey currently receiving hype as the best game the series has put out in years, and definitely not with Red Dead Redemption II releasing this month. You also have to consider God of War, Monster Hunter, Dragon Ball Fighterz, etc….it’s a hard slog to proclaim Spider-Man the best of that bunch.

As a Spidey fan, though, I can’t imagine anything besides Red Dead possibly competing for the title of my favorite game this year. This is the best Spidey game yet.

There’s certainly room to improve. The game kind of bogs down in the final act, with an excessive amount of armed thugs lying around. The open world stuff could be more imaginative. Improvements can be made to the web-swinging. I’d also love to see inspired boss fights taking full advantage of the combat’s depth. Also, no symbiote suit? Really?

Considering the obvious sequel setup this game ends on, I’m sure we will get these improvements and then some. Insomniac knows how to do sequels. Just look at the sequels to Spyro the Dragon or Ratchet and Clank.

For now, though, I prefer to bask in the many, many things Spider-Man does right. I was skeptical this game would be anything more than solid, and feared the worst. Years of Spidey-related disappointments trained to temper my expectations. Instead I got something very, very good, but just short of great. But it was great enough for this Spidey fan.

You can bet that for once, I’ll be ready to pre-order a sequel immediately.


Images Courtesy of Sony Entertainment

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