While being a spin-off, or a quick follow-up, to Insomniac Games’ 2018’s Marvel Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales is a world of its own. Nearly a year following the narrative of the 2018 release, Miles Morales gets bitten by a genetically modified spider. We get to witness Miles Morales juggling between the life of being a lowly teenager that’s dealing with his father’s passing and being a web-slinging superhero in the streets of New York. Young and inexperienced, and having been trained by Peter Parker himself, he has doubts about whether he could live up to the mantle of Spider-Man or not.
At the beginning of the game, we get to see both Spider-Men in action where, while following a police convoy carrying prisoners being sent to the rebuilt RAFT, Miles inadvertently releases Rhino, along with the other prisoners. Wreaking havoc on the snow-covered streets of Manhattan and shopping malls, Miles showcases his new powers and combat prowess.
Miles Morales retains the 2018’s core combat gameplay with a few kinks to make it a little bit distinct; one being Miles emitting bioelectricity, enabling him to charge his punches to deal massive damage or to allow for crowd control. Outside of combat, he could use it to tether circuits or power up generators. Miles can also use some gadgets in his arsenal in addition to his web shooters such as the Holo-Decoys and Remote Mines, which you could string up to your combos adding variety to how I engage in combat. All of which allowed me to get the upper hand in sticky situations. Another ability that sets Miles apart is his Camouflage ability which allows you to have that stealth approach whenever you want to thin out enemies’ numbers; particularly useful to use when having to create space and time to escape when spotted.
Swinging mechanics are also more refined and fluid. As seen when zipping around the city, despite some flair and smoothness to his web-swinging movements, we could sometimes see there is a bit of clumsiness to it, as he still getting used to his superhero status. Despite that, his air tricks tend to compensate for the clumsiness, with his own unique animations that reflect his personality and style.
Winter season is now in Manhattan. Much like the previous entry, Manhattan is pretty much the same map but with added details. Streets and buildings have more graffiti, and you feel the Christmas spirit in the city all thanks to the awesome decorations. The Day/Night cycle has its beautiful winter mornings to cold, windy streets at night. Manhattan is now more vibrant and colorful due to the festive season. The decorations really capture the yuletide spirit one could expect being in Manhattan. The music, street art, and fashion make up the overall aesthetics of Miles’ personality and character in the streets of Harlem. One thing I admire is the mix between the “superhero” music and hip-hop music, really adding in that unique difference and, at the same time, a combination between the young Miles and experienced mentor Peter Parker.
If you weren’t annoyed enough, we have J Jonah Jameson’s ever-present voice return, ranting off in his radio show, still slandering both Spider-Men despite all the good they have done. But now, we have a new voice, in the form of a podcast, titled Danikast, hosted by Danika Hart – who is an avid supporter of Spider-Man. Both of which can be heard during your web-swinging patrols across the Manhattan streets. Hearing them clash opinions adds a new vibe to the time roaming around, but if it suits you, you could always turn these off in the Options menu, I preferred to have mine turned on just so I could hear the commentaries these characters have to offer, often to prompting Miles to have certain reactions to them.
You could also explore more of the city outside of the main story by tackling Side Quests, featured on the new FNSM (Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man) app. Here you can choose side missions and street crimes, missions include tracking down Underground Caches and providing with you tokens that you could use to upgrade your suit’s tech and gadgets. The FNSM app is a streamlined approach to how you could do side quests by providing you with a list of available missions, select whichever you prefer then a waypoint would guide you to it. Though little, it saves you the need for aimlessly swinging through the city waiting for a random event to happen and gives you more meaningful interactions with some of the New Yorkers as well.
While it is great playing Miles Morales on PC and having played it a considerable amount of time, it was not without its issues. At random times, the game unexpectedly crashed, either by the game itself or my PC rebooted on its own. Others may have experienced something else entirely when it comes to the game’s overall polish but running the game on an AMD Ryzen 5600X and GTX 1660 Super with 16GB DDR4 memory was surely troublesome for me. I tried tinkering with the Graphics options to my PC’s recommended settings and there were little to no crashes anymore. May it be I was tackling a side quest or in the middle of a fight during the main story, good thing the checkpoint system saved me from being reloaded to the very start of a mission or going through a puzzle or fight sequence.
Now I haven’t had the opportunity to play this game on the PS5, instead played it on PC using a DualShock 4 (DS4) controller, wishing I had experienced the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers feature on the DualSense controller. And I also went on to try playing the game on an Xbox Series X controller. Although the Xbox controller had a more tactile feel and was easy on the hands due to its size, I preferred to use the DS4 controller due to years of using it and because of personal preference.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales is a more streamlined experience than its predecessor. With a smaller roster of characters, it gives a more focused, emotionally charged story with its various twists and turns. I would still recommend giving the first game a go, as it really compliments this game’s strength story-wise. But if you would skip that and get right down to this Spidey’s story, then it shouldn’t be a problem. It is still a great superhero adventure in its own right.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales (PC) – Review
Almost perfect if not for the nitty-gritty. If it’s quite there but not enough to push the boundaries, it’s still an awesome game.
Emotionally-charged storytelling for a tight-woven story