Superheroes and Christmas are a surprisingly effective combination. I don’t know what it is, exactly. Maybe it’s that both inspire unabashed hope and push us to see the good in each other. Maybe it’s that both began as a celebration of the Christ figure and have evolved into hokey commercial celebrations of capitalism. Maybe if you take one popular thing and add it to another popular thing, you get a very popular thing. Whatever it is, some of my favourite superhero stories happen at Christmas. Whether it’s The Long Halloween or Slayride in comics, Batman Returns and Iron Man 3 on the silver screen, or Batman: Arkham Origins and Spider-Man: Miles Morales in gaming, superheroes and Christmas go together like turkey and stuffing, like fairy lights and tinsel, like that old uncle nobody likes and racism at the dinner table.
Of all of these though, I find myself returning to Miles Morales the most. It’s hard to find time to replay a whole-ass video game when new ones keep launching and your job behooves you to keep up, and harder during a busy time of year when you not only have to keep your eyes on new launches, but start crossing off GOTY contenders so you can stand behind your list with supreme confidence. This is why Miles Morales is so perfect. You don't need to replay it – only to play it.
Video games are difficult to pick up in the middle. Whether it's returning to an old, unfinished save or reloading the midpoint of a game you've already beaten, it can be tough to understand what's going on, or to find the motivation to care. You either want to start over, which is slow and usually keeps you penned into a linear opening you just want out of the way, only to then have none of the powers, tools, and abilities you're used to, or you shut it off completely. Even games that let you explore freely in the post-game can be tough to return to because they feel directionless. That's where Miles Morales shines.
Though the story is decent and the activities feel rewarding enough, it's swinging from A to B in Miles Morales that feels so good. Miles is quicker and looser than Peter, with a more chaotic style and a broader range of tricks. It doesn't matter where you are or what you're supposed to do in Miles Morales. Just boot up any save file that's a decent way through the game, and you're set for an evening of Christmas fun. When the snow is falling deep and crisp and even, and Miles is kitted out with his scarf and Santa hat, I can lose an hour to two just swinging around New York, setting myself goals and snapping pics, all laced with the joy of the holiday season.
Even without the Christmas suit, I love strolling around, waving to citizens and dancing in Central Park while the snow thaws around me cuz I'm too dang hot. Miles' blue coat is a great fit for these types of pics, and with Miles able to walk around the city, swing through the air, and sightsee from the rooftops, whatever form of Christmas shot you're looking for, Miles Morales can provide it. It's a game that lets you make your own fun, and with Christmas thrown in the mix, it's the perfect December game.
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