System: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Developer: Insomniac Games | Reviewed On: PlayStation 5 Released: November 2020
Spider-Man: Miles Morales is Insomniac’s second game in the Spider-Man franchise after their 2018 release, the game explores Miles Morales struggles with adapting to life in Harlem, being Spider-Man, whilst maintaining his secret identity as a new threat surfaces in the heart of Harlem.
The game is set a year after the events of the first installment, Peter Parker has taken Miles under his wing and been teaching him how to control and use his powers. The opening of the game begins with the villains of the first game being transported back to the Raft, a high security prison that keeps all of Spider-Man’s superpowered enemies locked up. Peter and Miles are following the last of the convoy to make sure it reaches the Raft, when one of the containers, carried by a chopper, snaps off and causes a crash. The result lets some of the criminals escape along with superpowered villain Rhino. From here the story unfolds with Peter leaving for a few weeks and entrusting Miles to keep to the city safe while he is gone, during this time Miles must discover the hero that is inside him, the hero Peter knows is there, stop the war that is brewing in Harlem and uncover the plot that now threatens New York’s citizens.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a third person action-adventure game, where you control our main protagonist this time around, Miles. During the opening mission of the game where you team up with Peter Parker, you soon discover that the game plays almost identical to Insomniacs 2018 game aptly titled: Spider-Man. However, the developer has done a great job making Miles feel different to Peter, sure they used the same map as before, only difference being there is snow covering the city as its set at Christmas time, but you discover during the aforementioned opening mission, that you unlock your first ability that truly makes this Spider-Man stand out, Venom Blast. It is from here that you begin to feel the difference when playing as Miles, his mannerisms give the sense he is still a rookie, not like the seasoned Spider-Man the first game gave us, unlike Peter, miles is in his first year of being Spider-Man and the player is along for the ride as Miles discover the true extent of his new powers. Venom Blast is just one of three power types you will unlock throughout the game and they are a joy to use during combat, I even started to wonder if I enjoyed it so much, was I beginning to prefer Miles over Peter? Venom Blast is a burst of bio-electricity you can use to take down your enemies, the other two powers are Camouflage which gives you a short amount of invisibility, which is handy not only for stealth takedowns but for getting yourself out of a tight spot if enemies get a bit too much and third, Mega Venom Blast, this takes the first power and boosts it to do a massive splash damage to any enemies silly enough to be in the blast radius.
With Miles having these amazing new powers to play with, the game has streamlined the gadgets that are available to you, as with Peter you had eight in total at your disposal, this time around you only have four. Reducing the gadgets worked for me as you had what felt like four important gadgets with Web-Shooters, Holo-Drone, Remote Mine and Gravity Well. These gadgets, minus Web-Shooters, were new to an extent but they were based off of Peters original gadgets from the first game just modified to be a bit different when using Miles, as Peter had Trip-Mines which you attached to walls and if an enemy walked past it would catch them, Miles’s Remote Mine you attached to things like electrical boxes and when an enemy was in its radius you could activate it to blow to so you were more in control of this mine. Miles has a skill tree in this game for you to upgrade as you progress through the story but I also liked the addition of the challenges being part of the skill tree, again with the first game you would do challenges to get tokens to spend on gadgets and suits but the challenges in this game led to you unlocking a new skill/perk which I enjoyed a lot more as the challenges felt more worth my time and more impactful.
Insomniac added in plenty of suits again for the player, like the first game which was excellently supported with a crazy number of suits to wear, in this shorter experience the team were still able to put nineteen different suits in for players to tinker with, I had a lot of love for the animated film suit from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which this game takes a lot of inspiration from.
I should also say that the no loading screen is a fantastic, even when doing fast travel it was so quick that I felt I was ever taken out the experience, I have never felt so emerged with a game or realized how often I check my phone with loading screens in games but that never happened in this game.
For the most part the combat still plays out the same as the first game, which is not a criticism as the way the combat performs is so much fun and was a joy to bust down criminals. The stealth aspect of the game can still be a hit or a miss, but it does feel that the developer has tweaked this slightly since the first game. Overall, the gameplay still satisfies and swinging through the city is still the best part of this game that Insomniac continue to deliver on.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales looks incredible on the PlayStation 5, I was blown away at how stunning the city looked. The character models looked amazing as well and the big set pieces in the game looked fantastic, the Braithwaite Bridge scene being my favourite. The added options to play with raytracing and at 60 frames per second really boosted my experience of this game as seeing the city with the raytracing on just really made the city feel real to me and alive all the while swinging through the city as smooth as ever.
The game brings back its orchestral based music but unlike the first game that was fully orchestrated, this game adds in hip hop music mixed in with the musical score as well as adding in a couple of songs, most notably “I’m Ready” by Jaden Smith and “This Is My Time” by Lecrae which play at points during the game. This is where the influence of the 2018 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse comes in but it works incredibly well and makes this Miles game stand out over the first installment. It was such a welcome edition having this style of music throughout the game and I loved it.
I have had a blast with this game, I have already put fifteen hours into Spider-Man: Miles Morales and I am not done yet as I chase that sweet platinum. Overall, I think this is a great game and a must play for fans of the first game or even fans of the 2018 Spider-verse movie, it does not feel like a true sequel more like a side story to get you more acquainted with Miles’s character and development into Spider-Man. Miles was a great protagonist in this adventure that I am excited to see what Insomniac do next for the true sequel to 2018’s Spider-Man, but even though I feel this is a side story, it’s a story nonetheless you must experience as this game felt different enough to stand on its own and I could even understand if people come away from this experience maybe even preferring to play as Miles, that is a testament to how well the developers got you invested in this character and how good the story was. The game itself is easily eight hours of story so it does not demand a lot of your time and the experience is great, the game really starts to showcase what the PlayStation 5 can do that it has got me super excited for what the next installment will have in store for us and how Insomniac will balance between the two Spider-Men.