Insomniac Games came out swinging with its first foray into the world of Marvel’s iconic wall-crawler, but this spin-off has even more vigour and verve than its PlayStation 4 predecessor. Booting – in less than 10 seconds, we’re eager to add – with a shot of protagonist Miles Morales on the subway, the release takes no time to set out its uber-cool stall, with the hero strutting down the vividly rendered suburbs of Harlem to a hit hip-hop song on his headphones.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is effortlessly awesome, but it’s also relatable in a way that all the best comic book stories are. In fact, it’s interesting how this is very much an origin story, when the Burbank-based developer was so eager to avoid that with its inaugural entry into Marvel’s world. The story picks up shortly after the events of the first game, and Miles is still very much trying to find his feet as New York City’s other web-slinger.
This is a plot about becoming Spider-Man, but as with Peter Parker in the previous adventure, Insomniac Games is eager to take you behind the mask as much as possible. This means there are lengthy missions where you’ll find yourself simply interacting with friends and family; one particularly great sequence sees you dining with your nearest and dearest on Christmas Eve, as the sound of carol singers and crunching snow can be heard outside.
At the beginning of the game, the two Spider-Men are aiding with the transportation of a prisoner back to the Raft, when Miles makes a mistake that leads to his escape. The developer flexes all of its technical chops during this 30-minute sequence, as you race through shopping malls, city blocks, and much more. It’s spectacular, and just one of many larger-than-life set-pieces that will find you genuinely gasping at times.
Shortly after this introductory mission, Peter Parker departs for Europe on a work trip with Mary Jane Watson, and thus Miles is entrusted with keeping the citizens of New York City safe. It isn’t long before a gang war breaks out between two nefarious factions: Roxxon, a shady pseudo-science corporation, and masked vigilantes known as the Underground. Perhaps predictably, the motives of these sparring squads are intertwined with Miles’ personal life, thus forcing him to make some difficult decisions.
There are some really great characters here, and while the plot is as pulpy as you’d expect in places, you can’t help but root for Miles who’s unbelievably likeable despite his obvious self-doubts. The pacing of the story is just right, and while it’s not as substantial as its predecessor, it’ll take you a good 10 hours or so to roll the credits – and that’s if you only engage in light open world busywork along the way.
If you’re not partial to open world collectathons then you may not be all that enamoured with this spin-off, because it is much the same in terms of structure. New York City – which has been given a wintery, festive facelift – is very much a playground for you to swing around in, gathering up objects like Time Capsules and Postcards. As with the previous game, though, there are some imaginative activities here: one thread sees you sampling sounds from around town to make music with.
And the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man app plays host to a bunch of different narrative-driven side-quests, which range from tracking down stolen toys through to searching for lost cats. Insomniac Games always finds a way to put a twist on established mechanics, and as such there’s less repetition than you’d typically find in games of this kind. That said, you can guarantee that you’ll be busting up bad guys at some point, and the combat also gets some new wrinkles compared to the last game.
The big difference between Miles and Peter is the former’s Venom powers, which enable him to charge bio-electric blasts. You need to use these against certain enemies to break through their defences, and as you progress, you’ll need to vary up your attack types in order to overcome different obstacles. The control scheme – already quite overwhelming – definitely stretches the number of available inputs on the DualSense controller, but it’s satisfying once you find a flow.
Miles actually has access to fewer gadgets than Peter, so combat is more aggressive and less Ratchet & Clank as a result. The stealth gameplay, however, is far superior due to the cloaking abilities of the new hero. This means that you can temporarily turn invisible, and toying with enemies who have no idea where you’re going to approach from is a lot of fun. There are some issues with the AI getting stuck in geometry that we encountered on occasion, but nothing too distracting.
We should stress that it all looks and sounds absolutely sublime on the PS5, as you’d expect. There are two visual options available, with the primary mode providing a smooth 30 frames-per-second with raytracing. It’s frankly mesmerising to see the glass exteriors of New York City’s skyscrapers reflecting each other as you swing by, but an alternative 60 frames-per-second option with raytracing disabled looks equally impressive for entirely different reasons. It’s honestly a tough choice!
Whichever specification you select, though, the overall asset quality and art direction is quite extraordinary. The original game had some meticulously detailed environments, but here Insomniac Games’ art team has really upped its game – especially in the bustling Harlem district, which has clearly been given the closest attention as it serves as the primary backdrop to the story. The soundtrack also slams, with hip-hop beats imbuing an entirely different vibe to the traditional orchestral score.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is effortlessly cool. The overall gameplay structure may prove samey for those who failed to fall in love with Insomniac Games’ previous effort, but everyone else will have a blast with this generous spin-off story. Great characters, tons of activities, and some epic set-piece moments round out a must play superhero romp – and with the developer on this kind of form, we can’t wait to see more of the full-scale sequel that it’s inevitably cooking up.
Hello everyone! Happy to take your questions about Spider-Man!
Damn, the internet exploded
Part of me’s honestly still not sure about this one. I really did enjoy Spider-Man for what it’s worth but the DLC kinda already felt like more of the same. For this to be another game with a new character and still be yet more of the same... I dunno if I would put down the money for it. I’ll wait for a sale I reckon.
Can't wait to try this and the first game remaster
Sounds interesting for sure. Less focus on gadgets was a bit of a disappointment personally, but improved stealth is a big thumbs up.
Spider-Man was one of the few games I completed 100%. When it came to the DLC I found myself sticking to just the main story as I was a bit fed up of the side-stuff by then. Not sure if I want to go through it with this. I guess I'd want to do a bit, to level up the perks and such and unlock things, but still feel a bit of dread at the thought of doing all those crime ones again.
I was going to save this for Christmas, but I reckon I'll get it out of the way at launch.
Demon's Souls and Cyberpunk for Christmas....
Ugh, say that again: Demon's Souls and Cyberpunk for Christmas. 🤤🤤🤤🤤🤤🤤🤤
@swagbag713 Not tried the PS4 version, no.
I’m gonna skip this but damn, the loading times are insane.
Great review, the most frustrating thing is I will get my copy next week but the PS5 won't arrive until the week after! Talk about torturing me 😂
"More of the same" is fine when it comes to Spider-Man. Adored the first one and really excited to play this even if it's an expansion rather than a sequel.
@PeterN80 They're back, but they're not required for suits!
Poor Miles. As soon as he gets trusted to guard the city alone all heck breaks loose.
Wow I've just watched DF that got me really excited. Both modes ray tracing or performance sound, look great. I'll try to avoid spoilers about the story.
I never played the first one, so will probably get the one that includes that too. If I can get a PS5 onlime at launch that is..lol
Is there a comparison of the original remastered? Now that embargo has lifted.
I bought the PS5 digital version which said it came with the PS4 version, but I’m not seeing “purchased” on the PS4 version. Hmmm. I was going to plat the PS4 version right away as I don’t know when I’ll be able to get my hands on a PS5.
I love the first game but after putting 90 hours into getting the platinum and fully completing all 3 DLCs (and lots of extra just messing around), I'm afraid I'm permanently burned out on this formula.
I'll probably buy it on a $10 sale eventually.
This and Astrobot put the PS5 day one way ahead of PS4 day one. Sony kicking the new gen off right.
Good to hear its a decent length, 10 hours a good run time. I see no competition between 30 fps with RT or 60 without. I'll be 60 fps every day. For me framerate > visuals > resolution. Although I'm planning on upscaling my TV to 75" so I guess at that point resolution may become more important.
Good to hear the load times live up to expectations. Once under 10 seconds it becomes meaningless for me, It takes 10 to have a sip of tea after all.
While I really liked Spiderman, I'm not in rush for more but will pick this up in the summer when there is always a shortage of releases.
@get2sammyb Great review! I got the platinum for the first game because it was very reasonable in terms of difficulty. What is the platinum difficulty like for this game?
Just saw a complete walkthrough of the game and my God Peter's face is awful. I would love to know the genius at insomniac that gave the okay for this.
@get2sammyb Are we at the point already where PS4 versions of PS5 games will no longer be covered/reviewed here? If so, fine, just curious.
@get2sammyb Not to get pedantic over review scores, but you're review reads like a 10/10 and I was surprised to see an 8 at the end. What would have made it a 10 for you? More mission variety? Less complicated control scheme?
@get2sammyb I loved the first game and bought the dlc some time ago but never got around to playing it. Would you recommend playing through the dlc prior to mm?
@Mostik Lol yea now that sucks, getting the game and it doesn't even come with a manual so you can't even do anything with it until the following week.
Looks really great in performance mode 👍🕸
I’ll pick it up after adequate time at SL125 in Demon’s Souls and plenty of Nazi Zombies!
@AJDarkstar I think they did the same thing with watch dogs legion. Not sure consistency should be weighed in the score.
@phillyjeff Erm what's woke about this game? 😂
Are there a lot of re-used assets or re-skinned enemies in this game?
@WanderingBullet well yes there's reused assets. The first and second games share characters and a city. Some enemies in these types of games (at least common crooks) are almost always reskinned ala arkham asylum-knight. It'd honestly be dumb of them not to reuse a lot of things
I bought it mainly for the remaster, I'll play this as well, seems pretty good.
Looks cool. Hopefully by the time I buy it, it will still be trending.
@glassmusic since you bought the PS5 version, you got the remastered PS5 version of the first spiderman. Unfortunately, you won't be able to play it without a PS5. But if you call Sony, they may be willing to refund you so you can buy the PS4 versions.
I’m referring to Miles. It wasn’t showing up as purchased on my PS4, but it’s since shown up.
Great review of Miles Morales! I skimmed over most of it because spoilers, but looking forward to playing as Miles .
I haven't been this excited to play a game since Spider-Man (2018) came out.
What graphical mode will people try first?
I will go for the raytracing mode first to test my PS5/TV.
The previous spider man just barely kept me entertained. Im just not much into superheroes and in open worlds so that was still better than I expected. I did enjoy the heck out of Batman Arkham Asylum back in the days. Man that game was good.
I seem to be the only person who thought Spider-Man was average at best.
@get2sammyb Does the gold edition have the original built into the disc or as a separate download code? Also do they appear as separate icons on the home screen? Thanks.
@__jamiie It's a download code, they're separate icons.
Did you feel the exaggerated swagger of being a black teen while playing it?
Got mine yesterday as I am from UK and ps5 only just released have to say not bad game did enjoy it but was too short should have been dlc i completed it same day .if you just do the campaign nothing else its 5 hours max ive done about 8 hours as with collectables and other stuff . Am disappointed in the game as a hole
I'm loving this so far, but does anyone else feel like it's a bit less polished and refined? Not any major issues, especially given that 2020 has been a touch challenging to work in, but it seems like Miles has the tendency to hang and stick to surfaces when wall running OR will web boost to the incorrect boost point sometimes...
I love it, amazing graphics even on PS4 Pro, intense battles and action scenes...for me is outstanding. The only thing that is not cool is the PS4's fan, which is quite loud, but will be much better with PS5. I hope next year to grab one. Enjoy!
This is one of the best Spider-man games that I’ve ever played. I love about how they let us play as Miles because we get to use his powers just like in the comic. I also love the songs that they used in this game was well and the graphics in the game from PS5 is so real, even if it cause the console to get heat up. Sony never disappoint me the it comes to the Spider-man games.
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