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TAY! Weekend!!! Whatcha Playing?

Excelsior!

Happy Weekend TAY!

Yay! We are a week into September and the cooler weather has finally arrived. I’m not a fan of summer and I’m glad to see it fading away for another year. Also, September is the start of “horror-movies-only” in my house until Halloween. Just watched Mama for the first time and it had a good creepiness quotient.

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I finished off the campaign in Spider-Man on PS4 last week and it ended up winning me over. It is a flawed game in several ways, but it is probably one of the best Spider-Man stories I’ve seen on screen. The cinematography for each cutscene was exceptional and the voice actors brought these characters to life in a way only a long-form video game can deliver. I was surprised how poignant the story was at times; it had me welling up a little near the end. Definitely worth the price of admission for the drama alone.

Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 is a beautifully executed engine and I’ve never witnessed a superhero game with such fluidity and finesse. Spider-Man moves through space in a seamless manner that allows you to transition flawlessly from ground-based combat to aerial combat in a way we’ve only seen Spider-Man do in other visual mediums. Insomniac Games really nailed the Spider-Man feel and I was pleased with how slick the whole thing felt...too bad the actual game doesn’t keep up with the amazing sensory experience.

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My problem with the game was how dumb the AI can be and how easy the game is overall.

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The first two-thirds of the game are ridiculously easy. I played on the “Spectacular” difficulty level which is the highest you can pick from at first. I have to give a big middle finger to Insomniac for locking up the game’s toughest difficulty level behind the game’s completion. This trend has got to stop! I rarely play games twice and given how mind-numbingly easy Spider-Man was, it would have benefited greatly from having all difficulty levels available right from the start.

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The lack of challenge was a glaring issue for me. Things did get progressively harder as it went along, but it never became a demanding game. What struck me the most was that my heart-rate never increased as I played. There is a complete absence of tension due to the lack of difficulty and I felt like I was always playing on autopilot. There are an incredible amount of gadgets, powers, and moves at your disposal...and I never cared about any of them because I rarely needed any help.

You grow more powerful as the game becomes tougher, so you never escape the cakewalk.

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Complaints aside, Marvel’s Spider-Man was enjoyable and people looking for a great story will be well served. The game itself is so fun to control that it is hard not to derive pleasure from just swinging around the city, but the easily exploited enemy AI brings things down.

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As the first outing with the Spider-Man license, Insomniac Games should be well praised. The engine tech should easily carry forward into the next generation and with Sony’s spat with Disney, hopefully, more games will get pumped out sooner than later. With the major game design hurdles now out of the way, I hope this means more resources can be allocated towards providing a more interesting game for the next instalment.

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With Marvel’s Spider-Man finished, I’ve moved on to The Persistence on PSVR. This is the System Shock 2-inspired roguelike that I was hoping Void Bastards would be. I’m still only a couple sessions in, so I don’t have a good feel for the game yet, but the atmosphere is incredible.

This weekend, I’m hoping to play some more of The Last of Us with my wife as we are nearing the end and I’m excited to try out the DLC we didn’t catch on the PS3. My son and I are eager to play some more ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove and hopefully we can get started on our playthrough of Dying Light. I’ll likely make some more runs in The Persistence while I mull over what to play next. (a roguelike is a great appetizer, but rarely makes for a full meal).

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So, what are you playing this weekend?

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