Demon Souls Remaster: PS5 Review

Around 12 years ago, our beloved FromSoftware developed one of the hardest games of its time, which would be the start of a franchise that would brutally torture players for years to come. No, I am not talking about games like Echo the Dolphin or Ninja Gaiden, this is Demon Souls. This game is an action RPG that was released on the PlayStation 3 that would be published by Sony Entertainment that released in Japan in February and came to America by Atlus in October. Fast forward to November of 2020 and players have been met with a visually stunning remake of the game that Bluepoint Games developed. This remake is not only extremely successful with perfect or near-perfect scores across the board with most reviewers, and I am more than inclined to agree with the amazing work this developer put into bringing back an iconic game. 

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The game takes place in the Kingdom of Boletaria which has been surrounded by a deadly impenetrable fog. King Allant awakened the Old One when he brought back the Soul Arts, which in turn released a sinister swarm of demons that will eventually consume the land unless the Old One is put back into its slumber. Players control a warrior that enters this fog whose soul becomes trapped within the Nexus and have to find a way to break free of this land. In defeated these demons that have invaded the land, the warrior hopes the Old One will eventually go back to sleep.

This remaster was impressively well done, and can almost be considered a remake with the number of changes made to the game. The game’s graphical upgrade paired with new motion blur and ray tracing honestly feels like a brand new game. The details compared to the original game are astounding, and even the character design options have upgraded immensely. Every design from NPCs to the enemies has become beautifully refined, and the environments are nothing short of breathtaking. Players also got to enjoy a rerecorded soundtrack and dialogue for cleaner audio. This experience is maximized by the dual sense controller with utilization in capturing all the sounds from the environment such as casting the spells in the mines, or even hitting your controller against the wall accidentally. Demon Souls is a testament to showing how immersive technology allows your games to become.

In addition to the intense graphical upgrade, the game brought gameplay improvements as well. Players get to experience better camera function when in combat by being in closer view of their character. In addition, we also get omnidirectional rolling to better evade incoming attacks giving us a better fighting chance with bosses. In addition to the crazy amount of healing items that allowed players to cheese some bosses healing grass and other restorative items have been given weight to help balance your carry load. Plays can also now move items to storage from the menu to avoid constant over encumbrance and fat rolling your way back to the Nexus. The game brings new animations when moving and during combat, load times are nonexistent, and the UI was greatly improved from the original game. When I say this was a remake, I mean that this game looked and felt completely different from before.

Demon Souls still keeps the brutality that it is known for from its original release. Players will not get bonfires like Dark Souls but instead are met with checkpoints. Players still have to use their gained souls for leveling and currency as per any souls game from this developer. When in soul form after dying, HP is halved making it harder to take any damage without dying as per usual. The only way to leave this form is vanquishing the demon that has taken reign over the area. In doing so you also can return to the Nexus and have a new start point for the next area. So for new players that want to start souls games, the remake is not where you will want to start to ease into the souls franchise. I recommend looking to start with Dark Souls 2 or 3.

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My only complaint is that I would have liked to see some more balancing to the game as far as classes go. You can still easily cheese your way through the game by playing a magic build, especially with Royal which gives you an edge on both melee and magic. Magic casting basically can run you through the first few bosses without taking much damage at all or needed to learn movement. Especially with the Armored Spider and the Tower Knight seeing as one does not move and the other can not climb stairs. Other than that this game was near perfect and exactly what players needed to revisit the game. Bluepoint did a fantastic job of bringing us a newly refined classic while still keeping to its original roots.

DVS Score: 9/10

Marvel’s Spiderman Miles Morales: PS5 Review

Miles Morales has been taking the world by storm as Marvel’s edgy newer hero, who only first made his debut in the comic line Ultimate Fallout in 2011. He follows in Peter Parker’s footsteps as a new, teenage Spiderman after gaining similar abilities, but seems to have far more to offer in terms of sheer power. Marvel’s Spiderman Miles Morales allows us to walk in the footsteps of this green hero in an all-new action-adventure game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive. This story directly follows the events of Marvel’s Spiderman, the previous entry of the series. I loved everything this game had to offer despite it being a shorter tale than the first entry. This game is playable on PlayStation 4, and the 5 for only $49.99, making it way cheaper than most new games that are usually set at $69.99. I will warn new players, though in the game there is a recap of previous events I very much recommend playing the first game. Not only was the first Spiderman a fantastic game, but the story is crucial seeing as there will be more to follow. 

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The story follows Miles in New York after his father’s passing in the previous events that took place in Marvel’s Spiderman. Miles and his mother Rio had just moved to Harlem, where she is running for City Council to fight for her home against a new energy company Roxxan. Peter goes on vacation, allowing Miles to fly solo in New York to find his footing, deeming him ready to fight for his city. Miles soon uncovers a war between this secretly corrupt energy company and the Underground; a terrorist group that is following the Tinkerer in trying to take them out. Compared to the previous game, I found Miles to be a bit more relatable than Peter. Miles shows the struggle of being a child hero and his feelings on trying to fill the shoes of Peter. Throughout the story, he unlocks unknown abilities that he learns to master over time, while also finding himself behind the mask and in real life. Between the mistakes he makes along the way and trying to overcome his self-doubt, the game does well in making Miles feel more human in this game, as well as creating a connection between the player and character. While the previous Spiderman did well to help the players play as Peter Parker, he felt more of a self-sacrificing hero that knew what to do. Miles, on the other hand, went through major character growth from starting as a timid teenager unsure of whether or not he is ready to take on the mask and changing into a full-fledged Spiderman. Insomniac designed this game so well in terms of overall character growth and story progression to the point where I even teared up at the ending of the game in both play-throughs. 

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Marvels’ Spiderman Miles Morales was a plain right personable game that was jam-packed with emotions. Every character made a massive impact on the game in their unique way. I could not get enough of how well designed the side characters and villains were in this game. Ganke was such a fantastic supporting character to Miles and helped bring a more realistic and modern feel to the game. Designing the Friendly Neighborhood app, helping Miles find himself as his person, and assisting on missions by remoting into his suit felt insanely cool and showed how reliable he was as a friend and partner. One could even say his best friend was the Sam to his Frodo. I also absolutely loved that this game brought the Prowler, a.k.a. Uncle Aaron in and designed him as not only a supporting character that contributes to Mile’s growth as a family but also as a man that struggles between right and wrong. Even Rio fought so hard for her family and city against Roxxan and stood to show Miles that their family never backs down no matter how hard the fight is. Miles, like Peter, built such a good support system without even realizing it. Even the citizens of New York in the game felt more realistic compared to before as far as side quests go. Each character in the side quests felt more natural and had a lot more personality such as Teo and Hailey. Most of the characters you help out start off suspicious of the new Spiderman in town and over time warm up to him and deem him their district’s Spiderman.

Though the story of this game was short, it was incredible and filled with fantastic side content. I do wish there was a bit more as far as side quests go, but there were good options outside of the new game plus for playability. All missions that were side quests and main quests can be replayed. In addition, you could trigger crimes over and over again to get activity tokens for unlocking abilities and suits. As far as resources go, there were significantly fewer options compared to the first game, for you only needed activity tokens and research parts to get gadgets, mods, and suits as well as the required level. This made the game far less tedious, but also I felt because of this I would have liked to see more to do. This game did do a good job of keeping you busy for the most part, since with each story progression you essentially got new collectibles or fetch quests unlocked as well as side missions. The side content provided also god a good story with each of them, such as finishing Mile’s father and uncle’s soundtrack, the end game scavenger hunts his father left for him, and even his time capsules he made with Phin. While the content might be lacking in quantity, the game has made up tenfold in quality.

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What I do feel like the game lacked in a bit more was gameplay. While I love the replayability of it, I felt like the new game plus option should have offered more in terms of content. Aside from some new game plus suits and abilities, there was no real reason to add it. You can change the difficulty for NG plus, and there are no new quests for it whatsoever. I felt because of this, new game plus was just a filler to feel like there was more to game content-wise, but there was not. The only real reason outside of suits and abilities for NG plus is for trophy hunters. In addition, the combat was satisfying but also left you feeling a bit too powerful regardless of difficulty because of the bioelectricity abilities, invisibility, and gadgets. Finishers only required combos rather than taking away from your venom attack build-up bars. While you consumed a bar to heal from your bioelectricity bar, it racks up so fast and using them often leaves you in less need to heal. You can combo off of them so easily causing insane damage to enemies. Even on Spectacular while they might not die as fast it still takes a big chunk off of heavy hitters. Gadgets also replenish fast and rack up damage with gravity well, the holo-drones, and remote mines.

While you have fewer options compared to the first game, they do way more damage. I found myself using all of the gadgets, but you could also pick off enemies super easily with gravity well and venom blast. My only other complaint as far as the combat goes is how exploitable camouflage is. Enemies do not counter this until late game, but through the majority of the game you could go in wreak havoc or stealth kill and no matter how you get caught you can go invisible again leaving enemies confused dropping their guard fast. I tore through each base so fast because of this ability alone. I’m not saying the game should be hard, but more so there should be a better balance for each difficulty. Harder modes are for players that want a challenge or players that don’t want to steamroll through the game, but there were no considerably noticeable gaps with each jump. That being said the combat did at least feel satisfyingly cool.

All in all, I loved this game, though some areas are lacking it set a new bar for the series as far as story and quality go. I loved the amount of detail that went into creating the environment and story. I also can not wait to see what happens in the next entry per the end scenes we got in the credits. Miles is an amazingly human character and an incredible Spiderman. This game also played incredibly smooth on the PS5 at 60 frames per second. The Marvel’s Spiderman series offers some of the best superhero games out there, and I expect great things from Insomniac.

DVS Score: 8/10

Marvel’s Spiderman PS4 Review

Marvel’s Spiderman is everything you can expect and want out of a video game and more. Between swinging with webs throughout the city, Pete’s clap backs while decimating enemies, and learning new abilities I was thoroughly impressed at how well the game succeeds in making you feel like you are the character. Not only was the story incredible, but it even planted the seeds for Spiderman Miles Morales perfectly. This story has endless content for players and is one of the best open-world action role-playing games I’ve played in a long time. I haven’t had this much fun in playing a superhero game since the Batman Arkham Trilogy, and I can not wait to see what Miles Morales will have to offer. Marvel’s Spiderman was developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. This game is purchasable on PlayStation Network for the PS4 and the PS5 normally for 39.99 USD, but right now you can get it on sale for 19.99 thanks to the spring sale. 

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What I loved so much about this game was not only did you just play as Spiderman, but you also got a lot of time to play as Peter Parker and his allies. You get a good amount of time as Peter between assisting Aunt May at FEAST, and even in the lab with Doctor Octavius in creating robotic life-like prosthetics. One thing I have to mention is how well this game presents itself and sets a bar above other superhero games, and that’s the stress that I felt as having a secret identity. The overall impact I felt like Peter in trying to protect the ones he loves but not being able to tell them was overwhelming.

MJ is the only one who knows and honestly was a godsend in helping as a partner in balancing his life and making hard decisions, though she also tended to stress me out with her bold actions and the tension of their romantic feelings. Side character missions were also executed flawlessly and had seamless transitions for the story. Not only did I get to experience character development, but I also found myself having to use my wits to get through stressful situations with MJ and Miles. I felt firsthand the support system that Peter unknowingly built around himself, and I applaud Insomniac for such great storytelling.

Character development was also phenomenal with the villains of the story. Insomniac showed enough restraint, but also laid the seeds perfectly with every action Spiderman committed. I felt myself pondering between the right things to do for each situation. For example, at the beginning of the game, Kingpin advises he is a necessary evil to keep others at bay, and honestly without too many spoilers the consequences that unfold from his removal left not only Peter pondering his choices but for me as the player too.

As the city breaks out into chaos, different groups such as Fisk’s men, the Demons, Prisoners, and even Sable Troop takes apart the city claiming territories throughout New York. The life-like 1:1 scale of New York in the game felt surreal as you see it slowly change over time with each new terrorist group. I also loved watching truths unfold from Mr. Negative’s past and Osbourne’s dirty secrets, as well as feeling the heartbreak after watching Doctor Octavius deteriorate.

The side content was plentiful and was great in not overwhelming or underwhelming players that wanted to 100 percent the game. The side quests had a good mix-up between lengthy dilemmas with bone-chilling twists and small fetch quests to give players a small break for quick experience. Collectibles were abundant and unlocked cool new suits or abilities for players such as the dark suit for doing the Black Cat’s stakeouts or the Homemade Suit for finding every landmark. I also enjoyed that purchasing other suits required tokens from taking down crime bases, stopping petty crimes in the city from criminals and sable, and challenges from the Task Master.

Each challenge or base could be replayed until you completed every tier or bonus challenge to get your rewards, while crimes capped at around 5 per area on average. Early game base takedowns could take a while and feel a bit too tedious, which is why I recommend players wait until late game to grind them out. Bases no matter which faction are 6 waves long with 10 plus enemies each round. The challenges for the base tokens will often consist of webbing enemies to walls, shocking them, or even electrifying them with abilities that are unlocked late game anyway. Tasks were a bit easier but also helped players work on improving with the gameplay. Drone missions helped accuracy in moving around with speed and web-slinging, combat challenges helped to max out their combos, and stealth challenges taught players how to maximize their efficiency between different stealth takedown styles. Overall, as a completionist, I had a field day getting the platinum for this game because despite being easy to get the game did well to make all of the side content not only fun but enticing.

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Marvel’s Spiderman provides endless content leaving players wanting more. This game was a thrilling adventure that I recommend to all types of players. It’s inviting to those newer or not as good with RPGs and satisfying to experienced players as well. The story is action packed and an emotional experience to take part in for players who crave an immersive narration. Not to mention, you play as the iconic web-slinging pun filled hero Spiderman, and get to fight all of the villains we love so much such as Scorpion and Electro. The visuals are breathtaking, the gameplay is satisfying, and I really could not get enough of this title. Despite some of the bugs I would say this is a near perfect masterpiece and I’m really glad that I picked it up.

DVS Score: 9/10