Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales gives players a taste of what the PlayStation 5 is capable of. It utilizes the DualSense perfectly, and showcases everything the PlayStation 5 is able to do. It’s a great way to start off the next gen of gaming.
Familiar Gameplay With a Different Flavor
The game starts off a lot like Marvel’s Spider-Man. Miles Morales throws you right into the action, and you realize this isn’t Miles’ first rodeo. It’s a year after the first game’s events, and Peter has clearly been working with Miles to hone his skills. However, what Insomniac has done to make Miles feel like his own character is wonderful.
The first change I noticed was how he swings. Unlike the first game, Miles is new to his powers. Therefore, he is still grasping everything and isn’t as graceful as Peter. He flails more during every swing, but it doesn’t affect the gameplay. It’s just a small detail that really brings out his character and where he is in his development.
He also stumbles a bit when he web zips to perch on ledges. Again, this doesn’t affect gameplay and in no way does he feel clumsy to control, it is just a quirk. I really appreciated that they did this though, because after one year it makes sense that Miles wouldn’t be as skilled as Peter.
Insomniac wanted you to know Miles was new to traversal, but not sacrifice your experience as a player. I didn’t expect him to be perfect at anything yet, but it was great to see the change in character animations. Having replayed the first title before playing this one, I can confidently say that Miles feels different enough to make you aware that you’re not controlling Peter.
With that being said, traversal is just as fun and exciting, giving you many options to zip around the city. Tradition web swinging feels as great as before, and Miles can zip around just like Peter could. You have so many options of getting around the city, that I almost never fast traveled. Rest assured that if you do decide to fast travel, it is wicked fast. For me, there was practically no load screen at all.
Along with traversal, combat feels wonderful, even though he is new to that as well. All of the controls from the first game carry over, and Miles can do everything that Peter could do. He can disarm enemies with his web, launch them into the air with an uppercut, web kick enemies and much more. He fights and feels differently, but in the most satisfying way possible. It is a balancing act that I think Insomniac nailed perfectly.
Finishers work a bit differently in this game. In the first game, you would build up your Focus bar and use it to either heal or perform finishers. In Spider Man: Miles Morales however, Miles gains access to a finisher with every 10x combo he achieves. You can build combos in combat by hitting enemies or dodging attacks. Each finisher is unique to Miles and nothing like what Peter did in the first game.
Instead of building Focus energy, Mile’s builds Venom energy. This energy comes from a slight difference in his powers from Peter’s, as he was bitten by a different spider. It is a sort of bio-electrokenisis power that allows him to stun enemies with electric powers, and even camouflage himself.
As you build this energy you can use it to heal like in the first title, or you can execute a Venom attack. These are powerful moves that will stun your enemies and leave them vulnerable. With this power, Miles has a wide range of ways he can deal with even the biggest of foes. The thug enemies can be hit with a venom attack, and then followed up on with regular melee moves.
You’ll see Miles discover these powers as the story unfolds, and learn how to control them better. It’s an exciting journey that allows him to forge his own path away from Peter’s and become his own Spider-Man. It also makes this game feel fresh and new, instead of just a copy of the first one.
His Venom powers play a huge role, even outside of combat. You’ll recharge devices, hide from enemies and have access to more traversal options. For example, while swinging you can activate Venom Jump and propel yourself higher into the air. This lets you jump over buildings, or any other obstacles that might be blocking your path.
Open world activities such as crimes and side missions, also feel new and fresh. The only crime that was reused was the car chasing one, and even that one feels different. Miles faces his own challenges, missions and enemies in a way that further separates him from Peter.
You’ll complete challenges, fight crimes and collect objects that will reward you with different tokens. You’ll use these tokens, like in the first game, to build more gadgets or create more suits. You won’t have access to as many gadgets as Peter did, but your Venom powers more than make up for that.
Spider Man: Miles Morales Does a Great Job at Fleshing out its Protagonist’s Character
Aside from gameplay, Spider Man: Miles Morales stands out on its own to showcase Miles as a character and how he grasps the new changes in his life. Unlike Peter, he is still a teenager, and balancing the superhero life can prove to be quite the challenge. It’s refreshing to see him conquer his fears and doubts though, and it really humanizes him. Behind every superhero’s mask is a person, and Insomniac did a great job letting you see both sides.
Ray Traced Visuals Impress, but the Game is Capped at 30fps With the Effect On
Graphics are solid, with two options here. The first being fidelity which caps the framerate at 30fps, but allows for added visual performance like ray tracing and enhanced lighting. This mode really shines in every window of the city and the way the light hits the snow. It’s incredible what they were able to do with Spider Man: Miles Morales as it is a cross-gen game.
The second option is called performance and while it doesn’t add the extra visual effects, it does allow the game to run at 60fps. It’s a smooth 60fps as well, and it never dropped below that for me. I had hoped that we would be given both of these in one solid package, and not have to choose between them. I imagine making a title that is also available on the PS4 held them back a bit. Regardless of which option you choose though, you won’t be disappointed. I recommend trying both just to see which one suits you better.
A Worthy Cross-Gen Showcase
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a spectacular title, encompassing everything the PS5 and DualSense controller can offer. It wasn’t a very long game, running at about 15 hours to do everything that is offered. However, what is here is solid and well-made. I can only hope for either DLC or another Miles Morales title, because I had an absolute blast playing as him.
I absolutely enjoyed both combat and traversal in this game. Controlling Miles is an absolute joy, and everything is so fluid. It is so satisfying swinging around the city and zipping straight into combat. The swinging mechanics are fantastic as well. It relies on pure physics, allowing you to decide if you want to jump off at the bottom of your arch and swing forward, or at the top of your arch and shoot high into the sky. Activities and side missions are unique enough to offer a variety of gameplay. Even though the game is short, you’ve got a full city of side quests to complete, and crimes to fight. Insomniac really made playing as Spider-Man as fun as possible without making you feel too powerful. It’s a perfect balance.
Insomniac really outdid themselves with the ray tracing visuals, and the lighting effects. Reflections look amazing and light bounces off surfaces beautifully. However, having to choose between that or a higher frame rate is a bit of a let down for a next gen game. I was hoping for the full package and not being limited to deciding which I wanted to experience. Regardless though, this game is gorgeous and I had no issues with any graphical glitches. It is a smooth and beautiful game.
This city is alive and you can hear every bit of evidence to suggest that. I played both with and without headphones and the 3D audio is incredible. On rooftops, I could hear heaters working to keep the buildings warm, cars in the distance and even pedestrians talking amongst each other. Headphones definitely offered the most immersive experience, plunging me directly into the city. Voice acting is wonderful as well. Miles’ voice changes depending on if you are moving or not. While wall running, you’ll hear Miles’ panting. All of these things come together and make the world so much more realistic and vibrant.
Bottom line, I would have liked to see a longer game. What’s here is brilliant, but I can’t help wishing that they had given Miles a story as long, or longer than Peter’s. They did a fantastic job making him feel human and giving insight into his struggles. His family and friends shine as well, rounding his story out and fleshing him out even more. It’s a wonderful origin story of sorts, getting to experience his first time in New York City without Peter’s help.
Replay Value: 7
As I’ve said before, this game is pretty short. While they do offer a New Game Plus option once you beat the game, there’s not much incentive to complete the game again unless you are after some trophies. Gameplay alone will make me want to play this game again, but that may not be enough for some people.
I feel confident that Insomniac will continue to do right by this franchise. Miles Morales was a great installment and it combines everything from the first game, along with everything new that Miles’ character can bring to the table. His new powers are refreshing and satisfying, giving him his own story to forge. Insomniac made Miles feel new, yet you can tell he was trained by Peter. Everything comes together wonderfully in this title. My only wish is that it was longer, and the graphics weren’t separated into two choices. Aside from those two things, Miles Morales is a wonderful and beautiful launch title for the PS5.
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