Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Review - Miles Per Power

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Editor's note: Spider-Man: Miles Morales is releasing on November 12 for both PS5 and PS4. For this review, Jordan played on a PS4 Pro. Other GameSpot staff tested the game on PS5 and found it to be a largely comparable experience, with the PS5 version benefiting from improved visual flourishes and load times. For a technical-focused discussion of the PS5, and how Miles Morales benefits, check out our PS5 review. This review has also been updated by Alessandro Barbosa to reflect our experiences on PC.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales feels like the second half to The City That Never Sleeps, a three-part follow-up expansion to 2018's Marvel's Spider-Man--the game even begins with the option to watch a short recap of the first game and its DLC in order to bring you up to speed on Miles' origins, reinforcing the notion that this is an extension of what's come before.

And, unfortunately, the gameplay in Spider-Man: Miles Morales (which I will hereafter refer to as SM:MM because I'll be damned if I try to write a full review that cleverly tries to make a distinction between Spider-Man/Miles Morales the game and Spider-Man/Miles Morales the character; I won't do it) never quite manages to break free of that feeling. That isn't necessarily a bad thing--I like 2018's Spider-Man for its engaging combat loop, so I'm glad SM:MM emulates it. It's just that sometimes SM:MM can feel too similar to what's come before, which can get in the way of establishing Miles as his own brand of superhero. Regardless, the familiar trappings of SM:MM are used to tell an entirely fresh story with a few brand-new faces. And it's that narrative and those characters that manage to distinguish SM:MM as an open-world action game that's compelling to play.

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Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Review - A Braviary New World

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While Pokemon Legends: Arceus dipped its toes into what an open-world Pokemon game could be, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet fully embrace it. This new approach to the tried-and-true Pokemon formula reinvigorates the mainline series and delivers one of the most challenging and rewarding Pokemon adventures to date. Where they really shine, however, is in non-linear progression. Scarlet and Violet make some subtle efforts to guide you to specific locations, but ultimately, how you forge your own path through the vibrant new region of Paldea is what makes it so memorable.

Scarlet and Violet start off like most mainline Pokemon games: You wake up at home, meet your rival, pick one of three starters, and before long you're exploring the world and catching a wide range of monsters. While the tutorial might still feel a bit overbearing for longtime fans, it moves at a brisk pace. Before long, Nemona, your peppy, battle-hungry rival, turns you loose, and you're free to explore a hefty chunk of the map, battle trainers at your discretion, and catch wild Pokemon. It does slow down a bit as it introduces characters and the three main questlines, but soon after that, you are free to explore Paldea in its entirety.

Scarlet and Violet's strength lies in their freedom, and that freedom extends beyond its open world. At the outset you are given three different paths to follow: The Path of Legends, which has you hunt down and defeat abnormally large Pokemon; Operation Starfall, where you deal with this generation's Team Rocket; and the familiar Victory Road, in which you take on eight gym leaders. Unlike previous games, there is no predetermined path through the story. Although trainers and wild Pokemon get tougher the further you get from Mesagoza, Paldea's centermost city, there's nothing outright stopping you from marching up to one of the toughest gym leaders in the game and challenging them to a battle. In fact, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet doesn't even tell you how tough a specific area is until you are actually there.

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Somerville Review - I Wanted To Believe

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Despite aliens existing as one of the most prevalent enemies in video games, seldom do we get to experience them from the vantage point of ants beneath their shoes we may well be. So often, we're tasked with shooting aliens in space battles or gunning them down on the back of military vehicles, and the lack of a proper alien invasion story in the vein of Signs or Invasion of the Body Snatchers has been a personal annoyance for years. For the most part, Somerville finally gives us such a game, but that uncommon setup I've so looked forward to is ultimately hampered by both story and gameplay decisions that keep it from feeling impactful.

Created in part by a former Playdead (Inside, Limbo) developer at a new studio called Jumpship, Somerville feels similar to those milestone puzzle-adventures. The color palette favors darkness, the story unfolds without dialogue of any sort, and you'll explore by moving through a world full of threats, solving puzzles to overcome each obstacle and outrun unassailable enemies.

In Somerville, you play the patriarch of a family of four which also includes your wife, baby, and dog. It doesn't take long at all for the story to pick up; within minutes, you go from passing out on the couch on a typical evening at home to scrambling for shelter as otherworldly pillars rain down from the sky. Separated from your wife and child, the nameless father and his four-legged friend embark on a quest to reunite with the others.

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Pentiment Review - Layers Of History

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I loved reading history books growing up, especially those written more like a storied account of what happened as opposed to straight facts on the page. There's an implied truth to history when it's told moreso as a story, as it admits that there's no objective truth to the past. History is simply what we make of it. Pentiment is written around this idea, providing a means of exploring a point in history from an outsider's perspective--the protagonist is not native to the region and we, the player, aren't native to the time period. Rather than simply retell history, Pentiment affords the chance to influence it, and in doing so, delves into the subjectivity of historical record. Pentiment also features some fun nods to history with its fabulous art style and stylish fonts, but the narrative throughline of its three acts--a conspiracy of murder mysteries--feels lacking, given the frustrating restrictions to each investigation and the unceremoniously abrupt ending.

In Pentiment, you play as artist Andreas Maler, who is attempting to finish up his masterpiece while working for the Kiersau Abbey, which overlooks the Bavarian town of Tassing. A visiting baron draws the ire of both the farmers and craftspeople in town, as well as the Christian nuns and brothers of the abbey, but no one is prepared when he winds up dead. With Andreas' mentor--a man too old and feeble to have possibly overpowered the baron--pinned for the crime, the young illustrator vows to conduct his own private investigation in hopes of bringing the true culprit to justice. In doing so, Andreas is drawn into a strange conspiracy of cryptic notes and unspoken secrets, and his actions shape both Tassing and Kiersau Abbey in a story that spans a quarter of a century.

Your actions have consequences in Pentiment. Most conversations can branch in a number of ways depending on the choices you pick, and Andreas' relationship with those around him is further shaped by the resulting consequences. Oftentimes, these consequences are felt immediately--a worried wife catching you in a lie might not offer information on her husband, for example--but there are quite a few with much longer-reaching effects. During the second act of Pentiment, the game kept telling me that choice after choice I was making would "be remembered," but it wasn't until the final minutes of the act that the results of my actions were revealed. And in a twist of fate, my decision to repeatedly be nice to someone in the hours up to that point meant that they wouldn't abandon me during a dangerous situation.

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Tactics Ogre Reborn Review - 4D Chess

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Tactics Ogre is a landmark game in the evolution of the strategy-RPG genre, yet it's never quite received the appreciation it deserves outside of Japan. Part of this has to do with the long shadow cast by its directly-inspired and much-beloved younger sibling, Final Fantasy Tactics. Despite receiving an incredible remake in 2011, PSP exclusivity once again limited the audience for Tactics Ogre. Now, with the release of the HD and massively revamped Tactics Ogre Reborn on every platform under the sun, Square Enix is taking steps to correct a long-standing injustice--though some quibbles with presentation and gameplay changes keep this from being the definitive version of the all-time classic.

Our story follows young Denam and his sister Catiua, two siblings of the Walister clan. The Walister have suffered under the oppression of the ruling Galgastani for years, and a resistance movement has begun to form among them. What begins as a plan to avenge the death of the siblings' father snowballs into a mission to rescue Duke Ronwey, leader of the resistance. But as Denam becomes part of the growing resistance force, he discovers the lengths that Duke Ronwey will go to advance his cause, forcing him to make very difficult choices. As the struggle expands to involve neighboring states, Denam will need to find his own way to put an end to the conflict.

If you're familiar with previous works by director and writer Yasumi Matsuno (Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy XII), you'll find similar themes here: intertwining politics, moral quandaries, class struggles, and idealism gone awry. Depending on the choices you make (including some absolutely gut-wrenching, life-or-death decisions) the story's path--as well as which special characters you can recruit--will change dramatically. There are plenty of twists and surprises to experience, enhanced by a combination of a superb English script from famed localizer Alexander O. Smith and the addition of voice acting for cutscenes. The World Tarot system from the PSP remake also returns, which acts as an enhanced New Game+: Upon completing the game, you can go back to previous points in the story, exploring different outcomes and routes while keeping your current character roster.

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