After making a big splash back in 2018 with Marvel’s Spider-Man, Insomniac Games no doubt has a strong video game series on their hands. So much so that the current story and its timeline is set up to expand with new heroes and villains. The Marvel’s Spider-Man video game series could as well become the Avengers Cinematic Universe of gaming. Instead of releasing a whole new chapter in the story, the developer opted for a bite-sized adventure focused on “the other Spider-Man” Miles Morales. However, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is far from “bite-sized” as it delivered a somewhat lengthy story along while introducing some new characters, combat variations and things to do.
Miles Morales picks off right before Peter Parker needs to vanish to Europe for a few weeks. Miles is now left in charge of protecting the city and while he may have superpowers, he is far from being the best Spider-Man he could be. This plays into the game’s narrative quite a lot as the game not only tackles the idea of personal growth but I got to witness Miles facing the problems of being a superhero. Not to mention, he is “the other Spider-Man” and no one really takes him seriously.
Much of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales remains the same. For those of you who spent endless hours playing the 2018 release, an hour into this game and everything should come rushing back to you. How to gloriously swing across the city, how to perfectly time a dodge and how to beat up the baddies who are up to no good. Thankfully, Miles Morales also expands on the combat by adding in new abilities while introducing some fun side missions to complete too. This is thanks to Miles’ new Venom Powers which lets him use the power of electricity to aid him in combat and even puzzles.
All of this comes together quite nicely thanks to the game’s story which, while not being as impactful as the original, provides some new characters to meet and threats to take down. It touches on Miles’ past, nudges in some adorable moments and further readies the story for a possible Spider-Man 2 game. In short, Miles Morales is your traditional superhero game. There is a few bad guys, a cliche betrayal and some surprising moments. A mysterious group of people called Underground have moved into the city and seek to take control of a powerful energy resource made by Roxxon. Spider-Man gets in the middle of this and things happen which I won’t spoil for you.
While Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is shorter than the 2018 game, it still manages to deliver the action we loved from the first game. Cinematics are explosive, QTEs are intense and, the more I played it, the more the story engrossed me. Even the smaller side missions where I had to save a cat called Spider-Man from a group of bad guys, oozed charm even if it had nothing to do with the main story.
As I progress through the game, I unlocked new skills, suits, upgrades and gadgets to use throughout each mission and side mission. This meant my approach to sneaking and silent takedowns offered new ways paths to take and the moment-to-moment combat saw me string together 100-plus combos and look stylish at the same time. Miles’ Venom moves make combat feel great. He can rack up an ability bar and initiate powerful punches, jumps and slams by using this bar. There’s also a Venom skill tree which enhances this even more by adding addition stun timers to attacks, increases the radius of a powerful electric jump that pulls enemies into the air and stuns them and other great combat tweaks.
If it were not for the Venom moves, Miles would be just another boring Spider-Man, so these mechanics felt like a welcome addition to the game. Not only do they enhance combat, but they also come in handy during other daily use too. Puzzles and some story missions rely on using the Venom powers to charge up generators, and Miles can even string web between conductors to send electricity across them. I enjoyed solving these puzzles, but I just wish there were more of them in the game.
Progression in Spider-Man: Miles Morales is easy to get used to. Everything I did gave me XP and levelling up unlocked new skills and even suits to purchase using event tokens and tech parts. Event tokens are obtained by taking on random crimes and other missions, while tech points are scattered around the city. Suits are fun to experiment with and not only offer cool new visuals but abilities to aid Miles in combat and stealth. These aren’t as dramatic as the 2018’s set of suits, but it would have been overkill to have the Venom powers and crazy suit powers at the same time.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is not without its flaws though. The game, for the most part, is not very long. The main story can be completed in a weekend. However, there are dozens of side missions and collectables to find. There’s also a good set of optional encounters which rewards more XP so you can unlock even more stuff. Then there’s the story which left much to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, it does a great job introducing a new Spider-Man and some loveable characters but there are some nasty plot holes, and not to mention an irritating villain that takes away from the impact the game is trying to make. Of course, some may have a different opinion about that.
While Miles Morales may lack on the story length, the game is absolutely gorgeous on the PS5. The game offers two render modes. One is a performance 60FPS mode and the other a 30FPS with ray tracing. I recommend you play on the 30FPS mode just to enjoy the beauty of the game. Sure, New York City is mostly covered in snow but the ray tracing delivers some superb reflections in every window and puddle of water. The overall lighting looks fantastic too with in-door areas seeing the biggest visual feat. Light bounces all over the show and it is hard to not enjoy it.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales can be completed with a weekend sitting and some may find its asking price a little scary for that. However, the Ultimate Edition does include the remastered 2018 game as well as the new one. This pushes the price up by R170 which is fantastic value for money. Even if you have played the original game, the visual changes and new Peter Parker may give you enough reason to play both of these on your new PS5.
This Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales review was based on a code sent to us by Sony.
Available On: PS4, PS5 | Reviewed On: PS5 | Release Date: 12 November 2020 | Price: R1,199 / R1,369