Is there a better way to usher in a new console generation than with a brand new Spider-Man game? Probably not so let's swing to it.
Right off the bat, I know the main thing that you're wondering is if Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a sequel, spin-off, or some sort of stand-alone expansion. I'd classify it as a side-game in the same vein as inFamous: First Light and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy in that it doesn't quite feel like a full-fledged sequel as it's set in the same city, features very similar gameplay, and is shorter than its mainline counterpart. Speaking of which, 2018's Marvel's Spider-Man is one incredible game that's a must-have for any PS4 owner who loves action games so how does this live up to its legendary predecessor? In short, I actually prefer this game for a multitude of reasons that I'll discuss in-depth in a bit. For now, I merely wanted to give you a general overview of what to expect when you suit up as Miles Morales.
As I briefly discussed in my PlayStation 5 First Impressions Review, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales boasts excellent performance with its seamless world-rendering and top-notch visuals. With that being said, I hate to be a bummer and say that it doesn't quite feel next generation but it really doesn't. Its performance is next-gen for sure but the quality of its visuals aren't much of a step up from many AAA PlayStation 4 games. I'm not sure if this is an indication of what the future holds but more than likely, games will continue to push the graphical abilities of the PS5 for years to come and I can't wait to see something truly jaw-dropping.
With that out of the way, I absolutely loved the cast and story of Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Its premise is that Peter Parker leaves New York City and puts Miles in charge of being the city's only Spider-Man in his absence. From then on, Miles discovers a looming threat to the city and there are constant twists and turns throughout his journey that frankly had me on the edge of my seat as I couldn't wait to see what unfolded next. I would even go as far to say that this game has a more engaging story as well as a better cast of characters than the first game. Miles himself is an extremely relatable and likeable guy who's incredibly kind-hearted which contrasts with his fighting abilities as they are arguably superior to Peter Parker's. Plus, his family and friends are a delight to watch, too.
Speaking of fighting, Miles Morales has some truly impressive abilities in his repertoire. For starters, Venom skills can be unleashed which provide a boost of electricity that can knock down a whole gang of thugs. Whether you're smashing the ground or punching an adversary with a fistful of lightning, it's super-satisfying stuff. On top of this, you'll also learn Camouflage skills that make Miles Morales able to fight while completely invisible. These moves in particular add a layer of strategy to combat that I didn't expect and you can imagine how fun it is sneaking around while picking off enemy guards. Overall, this new move set is brilliant and actually makes combat feel more fluid.
Just like in the previous game, you can fling yourself around New York City while discovering a load of things to see and do. For example, there's a FNSM App that citizens can use to get Spider-Man to help them, Time Capsules that add to the characters' back-stories, caches left by a mysterious organization known as the Underground which grant you materials, Roxxon Labs that are fun to destroy, training missions, side missions, and hideouts that you can infiltrate. On top of all this, it's great fun to unlock new suits and mods as well as level-up to fill out skill trees and upgrade handy gadgets such as holographic allies that fight alongside you and remote-controlled mines which reminded me of the power-up in Bomberman. All of these extras come together to make one rewarding formula.
Before moving on, I just wanted to mention a few subtle aspects that I enjoyed. First, if you gain the upper-hand when taking on a gang of criminals, they might give up and drive away then you chase them and hopefully catch up so you can take them down. Another part of combat that I enjoyed is when you team up with another superhero as you can actually cooperate. For example, I punched an enemy into the air then my partner slammed them down to the ground which was simply awesome. Finally, the weather effects are stunning and I particularly liked traversing the city when it snowed. It's touches like these that elevate the experience to new heights.
As I mentioned, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales isn't as lengthy of a game as you'd expect which especially disappointed me as I enjoyed playing it more than the original. That being said, I also felt that this could have done more to differentiate itself from its predecessor as traversing the same city with similar gameplay felt a bit "been there, done that" at times. Perhaps the developers could have taken advantage of the DualSense's haptic feedback and adaptive triggers to make it feel at least a bit more different. Last but not least, I wish the villains were more exciting as I didn't get any sense of dread while confronting them like I do in similar games.
Without a doubt, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a much more enjoyable game than the original and it shows off PS5's performance brilliantly. It's too bad that it isn't longer because I loved every minute of it.
- + Familiar gameplay with awesome new abilities and smoother combat
- + Fantastic story and cast of characters
- + Gorgeous visuals with stunning performance
- - Doesn't quite do enough to differentiate itself from the 2018 game
- - Shorter than you may expect
- - Villains aren't all that exciting