Superhero games have really come into their own in the last decade or so ever since the huge success of Batman: Arkham Asylum. Spider-Man video games have certainly been on the upswing as of late and the latest Spider-Man game: Marvels Spider-Man: Miles Morales, looks to continue that upward momentum.
As a launch title for the PS5, there was certainly a lot of pressure on Insomniac Games, the developers. Their Spidey senses were tingling at the mounting pressure to not only produce an excellent system showcase but a quality Spider-man game that could stand up to the PS4 Spider-Man game. In some miraculous fashion though, Miles Morales not only is able to live up to the high standard of the PS4 game but is able to surpass it in a number of different ways.
To begin with the most obvious change, you play as a different Spider-Man, being Miles Morales who is very different from Peter Parker in the previous game. Taking place after the PS4 title, Peter is basically on vacation and leaves a rookie Miles to defend New York for the Christmas season.
Miles is a vastly different character from Peter as he is still in high school and is still a kid for the most part. He messes up, multiple times I might add, he has powerful interactions with his friends and family and has serious trouble keeping his identity away from the ones he cares about.
The amount of growth that Miles has throughout the game is staggering and is more than Peter had in the PS4 title. His personal stakes run deeper than even Peters did as well and it just leads to a fantastic story overall.
The villains were done quite well also. They were not as good as the PS4 villains to be fair and there were less of them but the few that were here, were quite good as well.
Superb plot aside, Miles plays quite differently from Peter as well. While both of them still have just superb web-slinging mechanics and both have an excellent combat system that plays like a much faster more versatile Arkham game, Miles has different abilities.
Throughout the game, he gets Venom powers which are electrical abilities he can use in a number of different contexts. He can use it to power up or down machinery, get a speed boost while web-slinging and use it in combat.
After building enough momentum up in battle, Miles can either use it to get health back or for a venom attack. This could be an electric punch/tackle a shockwave, or even electric explosion. These attacks are fun to use and it is easy to build up a lot of momentum, meaning you will be able to use these attacks often.
These also make up for Miles’ lack of gadgets as he only gets four throughout the game which is half the amount Peter had. However, all four are actually useful, as opposed to some of Peters that felt gimmicky. When it comes to Miles he just controls and plays like a dream. His combat feels even better than Peters and the web-slinging is just as excellent as it was before.
Somewhere Miles excels over Peter is in the stealth department. He has certainly made a large leap from the previous game. In the previous game, he had three main abilities. He had crouching, minor hacking, and restarting because those segments were poor for a multitude of reasons.
Miles has everything Peter could do including climbing on basically every surface, the ability to web people up silently and causing distractions with his gadgets. And even knocking people out with some of his gadgets.
The biggest addition he has is his cloaking power. Where he basically turns invisible for a period of time allowing you to pull off some manoeuvres that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. Stealth is more prioritized in this game than the last and is ultimately more satisfying because of it.
A lot of the enemies are no joke in the game and are much stronger than the previous game’s goons and they can really stomp a mudhole in you. When in combat with them you will have to mix up your strategies quite often and it can be engaging and even challenging.
So when not in combat, Miles will still have a lot to do in the open world that is largely the same as the PS4 title. There are still random crimes, bases to infiltrate and a multitude of collectables present but there are some interesting new side missions.
There is an app for side missions where people ask for assistance on a number of things. Ranging from collecting pigeons to stopping hackers from burning a hospital down. And a bunch of training arenas have been set up for Miles by Pete, complete with holograms and quips.
The world still feels just as alive as it did before, but now it looks even better. The game looks amazing (pun intended) in every conceivable way. The city looks gorgeous, the models are all incredibly detailed and are great (minus the new Peter Parker model), and the animation is basically lifelike.
It really is hard to imagine graphics getting much better than this in a video game. The best part of the presentation is the frame rate and load times. Or really lack load times as everything loads almost instantly, and allows the impatient gamer in me to be on my way.
The frame rate is a silky smooth 60 fps if you select optimization mode and it really is a joy to the eyes. Another really strong point of the presentation was the performances done by the characters as everyone really is just excellent.
Crisp, again lifelike performances that showcase the game’s budget. The music was even quite nice and was not your generic superhero themes one might expect in a title like this. With all this in mind, where does Miles Morales falter? I will say throughout the game, some glitches did appear, and while most of them were quite humorous, they should not have been there.
The game also made my PS5 sound like a jet engine and nearly overheated it so there might be some optimization issues present. The game’s length is obviously not as great as the PS4 title with it took me around 14 or so hours to 100% the game and if you just stick to the story the game could easily be finished in around four or five hours.
Overall, while it is a shorter experience it is still a tightly crafted, superb one. The game takes everything awesome about the previous game and builds on it to be one of the best Spiderman games of all time. Insomniac really hit it out of the park again and the future looks very bright for Spider-Man, regardless of whether it’s Miles or Peter. And because every review has to mention it in some way, you really feel like Spider-Man while playing the game.