A New Face In Town ~ By AJ Forrisi
PlayStation has never failed to produce quality exclusive games for their system.
Bloodborne was a smashing success when the PlayStation 4 was first released. It helped propel FromSoftware into their stardom, leading them to release the cross-platform games Dark Souls 3 and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The Last of Us, a critically acclaimed game, won multiple awards, including a SXSW game of the year. It’s led to the now Game of the Year winner The Last of Us II, and a soon to be produced HBO show based around the game. God of War, the sequel to God of War III, has also won multiple awards, including the 2018 Game of the Year award. Horizon Zero Dawn, Ghost of Tsushima, Days Gone, Shadow of the Colossus, Uncharted 4 have all been other games that PlayStation has released on the PS4 that have been critically acclaimed and have garnered massive fan followings. They’ve all become massive fan favorites, garnering much love from their fan bases.
But one game recently has sparked a bit of controversy in its fan base and has ushered itself a terrible fallout. While the fallout hasn’t destroyed the franchise, it has sparked a sizeable disruption. Fans are torn. What game am I referring to?
PlayStation’s Spider-man. Insomniac games' blockbuster game has given itself its own grief with its newest remaster. With the release of the PlayStation 5 and the new Spider-Man: Miles Morales, came the newest remaster of the 2018 masterpiece. And with it, fans are not pleased. Why?
They’ve gone and changed Peter Parker’s face!
While this is pretty old news, I’d like to offer my insight and perspective on it all. I’ve played the game twice, bringing the base game to platinum, completing all trophies for the DLC, even running through New Game+ on ultimate mode several months later. The storyline is incredible, bringing a number of the comic book lines to life in playable moments, and even building it’s potential to have its own universe. And no good video game is complete without offering many hidden Easter eggs. Watching my brother play it, making this my fourth play through, I’m still noticing things that I hadn’t noticed before. If you start New Game+ in a different suit, say, the Spider-Punk suit, J. Jonah Jameson will start his podcast with a new dialog about a new Spider-Man in town, describing your new suit. My wonder is: does he do this for all suits? Or just the Spider-Punk suit. More tests will need to be run.
For the newest remaster Insomniac games has created “higher fidelity skin, eye, and teeth shaders, even each individually-rendered strand of hair will get a graphical upgrade,” as stated by Newsweek in a related article. As I stated before about Peter; they have replaced original actor John Bubniak with Ben Jordan. And the fans were NOT happy about this at all.
I for one am with a lot of these fans. But unlike the majority of them on Twitter and forums; I’m not going to let this ruin my enjoyment of the game.
At the time of the original game, Peter is a 23-year-old lab assistant. I had thought he was much older, given the conversations in the game. I put him at 25-27, just by him saying that he had been battling Kingpin for close to 8 years. For a kids who has been Spider-Man for around 10 years, the look felt right to me. Other events in the game lead me to believe he’s older, but I digress. During the events of the game, Peter is still 23 years old and the face model is supposed to reflect that. As a young person who’s just slightly older than this video game Peter Parker, I thought that Bubniak’s facial structure fit perfectly. But I may be biased. Like I said before, I’ve played the game twice through, and watched my brother play twice through. The original face just FEELS right. It’s familiar and therefore, I wouldn’t want it to change.
When the news broke about the facial change to Ben Jordan I was confused. It looked as if Insomniac was trying to take the MCU Peter Parker and simulate it in the game. It was almost as if they took Tom Holland and possibly even Andrew Garfield and meshed them together. The face looked too happy for someone who was an active superhero And if they started with that look, we’d probably all be fine. But the change was so drastic. Is it a bad change? No. It’s definitely something to get used to. Unlike the MCU Spider-Man, Peter isn’t prone to removing his mask whenever he lands on a rooftop.
Here’s my problem with the Spider-Man remaster; Peter Parker looks too young. I get it, he’s 23, and you’re not supposed to have forehead wrinkles or crows’ feet, or heavy under eye bags. But to a lot of gamers, the original model felt like a real person. He reminded us of ourselves. Not all of us have perfect skin, some of us have begun developing the crow’s feet and under eye bags, and lets be honest here, if you were Spider-Man with a job that barely paid the bills, the constant threat of homelessness and had to deal with superhero problems? You’d begin developing these wrinkles too.
Ben Jordan’s face model looks young. It’s supposed to match Spider-Man's voice actor Yuri Lowenthal’s voice. And in theory, it works perfectly. He sounds young and now has a young face to match how he sounds. I haven’t had the honor of playing the remaster, so I haven’t seen all of the facial expressions, but I’d like to imagine Jordan does it justice. The more screencaps of the game I see, the more I begin to feel as if it’s normal. But that part of me will always hold on to the older face model. But I’m not alone. Insomniac’s creative director has even released on twitter that he himself took a while to get used to the new face model. Give yourself sometime if you hate it and maybe you’ll warm up to the new look. Until then, load up the new Miles Morales Spider-Man game, and chillax. We’ll have more adventures with Spider-Man and by then, we’ll hopefully all be used to the new design.
Spider-Man Remastered and Spider-Man: Miles Morales are available now.
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