When it comes to console exclusives this year, Sony has knocked it out of the park with their release lineup. Of these, one of the most anticipated titles was Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Building upon the base game of Marvel’s Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Miles Morales sets itself apart with an overflowing amount of personality, distinct winter setting and general improvements to the mechanics from Marvel’s Spider-Man, all wrapped up in a better looking, next-gen package. By improving on so many quality of life features and introducing new story beats that feel both similar and different to fans of the original game, Spider-Man: Miles Morales sets the bar incredibly high for next-gen games.
As someone who lives close to New York City and commutes there often, it is always a treat to see a game so painstakingly recreate the city and take attention to even the little details that make it such a unique place. With Spider-Man: Miles Morales, these little intricacies become entire story beats and characters, living in the form of Miles’ friends and family, as well as his neighborhood. I was absolutely blown away when I saw the trailers for this game and I was equally delighted when I finally got to play through these scenes. The game kicks off incredibly well, with a thorough tutorial segment and cinematically amazing boss fight, and this really sets the pace for the rest of the game. What began as simple tutorials becomes a set of challenges spread throughout the city to unlock abilities, and the boss fights only feel more impactful not only in a gameplay aspect, but in story importance. At its core, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a story of growth, and Miles learning how to trust himself and be the best Spider-Man he can be with the experience he has. This is displayed astonishingly well in not only the fighting, but in the traversal, the character interactions, and overall story. Every aspect of Miles feels so true to character, and very few games have achieved development of this level. I really not only relate and root for Miles, but also want to see him grow. Even this feels like it has been accounted for, as the skill trees and story based progression make it feel like Miles is growing as you play the game.
My favorite aspect of Spider-Man: Miles Morales has to be the traversal. While combat is also incredibly smooth and varied, having many ways both with combos and environmentally to take down enemies; even this is impacted by the game’s method of traversal. Now more than ever with the PS5 controller it feels utterly amazing to swing through the city. As you push in the triggers to thwip around, you feel the resistance of the webs! It’s astonishing and even a bit challenging at first, but this haptic feedback from the controller adds an entirely new dimension to the game, making it feel like a more immersive and involved experience. As I stated earlier, the traversal plays into the combat incredibly well, being able to swing into action in whatever fight you find yourself in. Knocking enemies into the air and swinging up to continue a combo never gets old, and swinging from one fight to the next feels as smooth as butter. Traversal is arguably most important in stealth missions, having you direct Miles from vantage point to vantage point in order to take out all the enemies in an area unseen. Normally, I’m a very run and gun player that doesn’t really engage with stealth. In Spider-Man: Miles Morales however, I thoroughly enjoy the stealth segments. This is mainly due to the movement options available and the ability to distract enemies with webs, allowing Miles to tie them up without a sound. The flashy takedown animations combined with really feeling like a spider make these stealth segments incredibly enjoyable compared to what can be an incredibly stationary segment in other games.
Marvel’s Spider-Man was an incredible title in its own right, but Spider-Man: Miles Morales does nothing but improve on the already introduced formula. Due to the length of the title, Spider-Man: Miles Morales places the player into more of a mid-game state if compared to the original, starting you off with traversal options like tricks unlocked from the get-go, as well as giving a comprehensive combat tutorial that encompasses your new powers as well. Spider-Man: Miles Morales feels more built for the PS5, with the environment’s particle effects due to the snow and the haptics of swinging from building to building feeling incredibly immersive, as well as the dialogue’s lip-syncing being on point. Everything feels like it was optimized for next-gen consoles, even compared to the remaster of the original. This even goes into the character focus, having Miles’ combat more focused on his new Venom powers versus Peter’s trove of gadgets. Not only do these differences in character feel like you’re playing an all new game, the focus on developing Miles’ new powers keeps you invested in his journey to grow into his own Spider-Man.
With the release of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, it really hits home that we’re in a new console generation. Games of this magnitude are nothing to scoff at, and even with its relatively short length of about 15 hours, Spider-Man: Miles Morales delivers a fun and engaging experience for that entire runtime. Outside of the length, this is an utterly spectacular game in every regard, and a necessary purchase if you have a PS5.
Score: 9 out of 10
Reviewed on Playstation 5