Insomniac’s Spider-Man was a smash hit when it came out, giving players what was arguably one of the best video game outings of the beloved wall-crawler. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a standalone experience that follows Miles Morales, as he juggles his responsibilities and masters his newfound powers.
AT A GLANCE
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4(Reviewed), PlayStation 5
Release Date: November 12, 2020(PS4), November 12/19, 2020 (PS5)
FINAL Score: 9/10
Miles Morales offers exactly more of the same things that made the original great. It inherits the same style of progression, the same fluid combat, and that fantastic adrenaline rushing web-swinging mechanics while adding in just a tiny sprinkle of its own personality to each of these things in order to distinguish itself.
Those of you who have played the first game will recognize Miles Morales as one of the key side characters, and those of you who have read the comics or seen the recent Into the Spider-Verse movie will recognize him as one of the characters who take up the mantle of Spider-Man. Without spoiling too much about the ending of the first game, let’s just say Peter Parker is no longer the only Spider-Man in town.
Miles is completely new to the superhero gig and is tutored by Peter. The first game did a fantastic job of making the story more than just another power trip and gave us a narrative that was full of personal depth. Spider-Man: Miles Morales does an even better job of establishing Miles and it’s perhaps one of the best origin stories I have played.
The game does a great job of introducing us to Miles and who he is as a person, along with his family and friends. Miles relationship with his best friend Ganke and his mom are highlighted through the story, and gives the game a nice emotional touch.
The main narrative sees Miles trying to prevent an all-out war between Roxxon Energy and Underground, a tech-savvy gang lead by the mysterious Tinkerer. With Peter away, the responsibility of keeping New York together falls entirely on the shoulders of Miles who also has to win over the favor of its citizens and establish his own image. It’s not an easy thing living in the shadow of Peter, and the game does a great job at highlighting Miles growth from a sidekick to a superhero worthy of the Spider-Man mantle.
There is very little padding in the game, and each of the missions felt varied as well as impactful. I wish the game was a bit longer but the story ends in such a high note that I feel that maybe Insomniac did a good job by not diluting it too much.
The way Insomniac has handled the origin story of a completely different Spider-Man makes me excited for the future of the franchise, and with the PS5’s capabilities, we might see the series see greater heights.
As far as opening sequences go, Miles Morales is up there at the top. The game opens with breathtaking chases and some excellent action-filled set pieces. The opening sequence also introduces the players to the basics of combat, and while it is mostly similar to the first game, Miles has a couple of neat tricks up his sleeves. Being bitten by a different type of radioactive spider, Miles is capable of using special moves that he, later on, dubs as Venom attacks.
Insomniac has tweaked Miles animations just a bit to give him a different identity and flavor, therefore ensuring he doesn’t feel like just another reskin of Peter. This also carries over to the web-swinging, which feels familiar yet just a bit different from the first game.
Swinging across the streets of New York is just as much of a joy as it was in the first game. However, the city has seen a makeover due to Christmas, giving it a different sense of charisma. The streets are full of Christmas lights, celebrations in the squares and streets of the town, and decorations everywhere.
As you swing about the streets of New York, you will be able to help the citizens of NY by stopping crime and undertaking other side missions that will be accessible using a convenient app that Ganke gives you early on. Some of these side missions were straight-up combat missions, but there were quite a few fun diversions in there too.
There’s plenty of other activities to help the game pad out it’s rather short story, and you can take part in challenges set up by Peter, hunt for collectibles, as well as find resources to upgrade your abilities, unlock new suits and more. Doing any activity gives you activity tokens, which are important for unlocking new Suits, gadgets or mods.
Speaking of Suits, there’s quite a few in the game, and Insomniac does an excellent job of giving each of these suits a different feel as well as making them feel authentic to their source material. The Into the Spider-Verse suit is my personal favorite, as it goes beyond just another cosmetic reskin and they have somehow even managed to emulate the animation of the movie.
The combat is still a straightforward dance of mixing your attacks with properly timed dodges and counters. You can mix things up with gadgets, and Miles has a few interesting ones in his arsenal. In addition to the plethora of gadgets that Miles has access to, he also has a wide range of unlockable venom attacks that can completely flip a battle in your favor. Harnessing the power of bioelectricity, Miles can cause massive AOE damage, stun enemies, and even use his abilities to solve puzzles. The venom meter is recharged with every attack, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to completely recharge, giving you the freedom to experiment with your moves.
If straight-up combat isn’t your cup of tea, stealth is a very viable option in this game, thanks to Miles camouflage ability. As the name implies, you can now turn completely invisible, allowing you to reposition yourself for sneak attacks or take a breather in hairy situations. This also opens up new tactical options, such as allowing you to take out pesky snipers or rocket launcher before tackling a combat situation.
Visuals, Audio and Technical Performance
Although we played on the PS4, the game still looks absolutely gorgeous. The snow-filled streets of New York are brought to life with the utmost accuracy and the small details make it feel alive. Thankfully despite being a cross-gen release, it still feels that care was taken into the PS4 release as well.
The audio deserves a special mention as well. The voice actors do a tremendous job of bringing the characters to life, and Nadji Jeter’s performance as Miles Morales is packed with emotion. Listening to JJJ’s podcast is just as entertaining and the newly added Danacast is also a fun diversion when swinging through the streets. The audio track that accompanies Miles is also excellent and gets you pumping. It isn’t as overwhelming as the first game, but the subtle presence does a better job at creating epic moments without being too intrusive.
The game’s performance is locked to 30FPS at 1080p on the base PS4.