Marvel's Spiderman: Miles Morales Review
Insomniac Games is on a roll and continues to prove itself as one of PlayStation’s best first party studios. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is their most recent release and is no exception. Though on the shorter side, it forced them to cut the fat that its predecessor had and instead fills it with fun and meaningful content , resulting in the studio improving an already perfect formula.
There are many things that separate Peter and Miles as Spider-Men. Their style of fighting is one, but their fashion sense is another. Especially with “Into the Spider-Verse” being so fresh in our minds there are things we expect to see in an adaptation of Miles Morales. Not having Miles bounce off city buildings in Air Jordan's was a bit disappointing but the suits Insomniac has created ooze with personality and bring out their own version of his unique style. I found myself changing suits so often because I couldn’t decide on a favorite. Another thing of note is its soundtrack which is just as important to separating Peter and Miles as characters. Where Peter usually is accompanied by an epic orchestral score, Miles is associated with trap beats and modern hip hop music. Lecrae also lends their talents to the soundtrack of this game. Clearly Insomniac was going for a similar Miles Morales anthem like what has become of “What’s up, Danger”. Although it doesn’t quite reach that level “This is our Time '' certainly inflicts the emotions it's trying to invoke.
Not that we were expecting anything less but this game is certainly easy on the eyes. Whether it's running at 60 FPS in Performance Mode on PlayStation 5 or you’re taking advantage of ray tracing to ogle the reflections of New York's skyscrapers in Fidelity Mode. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is no doubt a pretty game and takes full advantage of the PlayStation 5’s graphical capabilities. This is very clear when you are in the game’s dedicated photo mode. While you are zooming in on Spider-Man’s suit to see the threads of fabric or the pores on Rio's face you can see the talent of the studio in each pixel. The game isn’t without its bugs though. There are reports of the game hard crashing some unlucky players consoles not allowing them to turn on their system at all. Certainly, something to be wary of and do not take lightly with such expensive hardware. My time playing this game, however, was on a PS4. There was a difference in visuals but not enough for it to weaken my experience. I was still blown away by the level of detail that was able to be produced on what is now a 7 year old last-gen system.
The story of Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is one that has a lot of heart, though it is not without its comic book and superhero clichés we’ve seen time and time again. Fans of the comics and honestly just fans of the superhero genre, in general, will see the twists coming a mile away (or should I say “Miles” away) but I’ll say it one more time: this story has so much heart. Miles has such a nerdy charm to him. He is a genuine guy wanting the best for the people around him, especially his family. Completing the main campaign did not take me nearly as long as it did the first game, but for the most part, the story doesn’t feel rushed. Where Marvel’s Spider-Man felt like a good season of a tv show Miles Morales feels like a special episode of your favourite cartoon. Insomniac’s take on all of the main characters, feel creative, and fresh yet still stay true to who they are at their core. There are of course similarities, but you can tell Insomniac’s Miles Morales apart from his comic and recent silver screen counterparts. Though the campaign may be on the shorter side there are still loads to do once the credits roll. There are quite a few enemy hideouts to clear and fun challenges to complete that offer additional backstory to Miles and the characters that surround him. I won’t spoil anything for you but I highly encourage you to complete the postcard scavenger hunt as well as all of Peter's Holo-Challenges. It’ll be worth it: promise.
You begin the game as Miles Morales (of course), the new Spider-Man, about to accompany Peter on important Spidey business. Miles is eager to prove himself to his mentor, and although he has great power he takes on too much responsibility and the mission quickly goes south. It’s fun to see Miles adjust to the superhero life. Watching him go through the struggles Peter faced but in his own way. Nadji Jeter is back as Miles Morales and brings the young hero to life. He plays a slightly nerdier version of the character but still brings forth that smooth and effortless cool that attracts us to the character in the first place. There are some moments that may make some players cringe but for the most part the message about family, community, and being true to who you are standing tall. Acclaimed actor, Troy Baker does an absolutely fantastic job as Simon Krieger, the smooth talking and a bit unhinged, Head of Research at Roxxon Energy. However, he is very much a cookie cutter villain and I found myself wanting a bit more from the character who is ultimately just a tool to move the main plot and more important characters forward. That said those “more important characters” are written well. I enjoyed listening to the back and forth with his best friend/side-kick, Ganke Lee. The awkward yet very cute flirting with his childhood friend Phin, and the earnest and genuine relationship he shares with his mother, Rio.
The game doesn’t make you wait long at all before throwing you into the action and allowing you to do exactly what you want: SWING! Just as it felt to web-sling as Peter for the first time back in 2018, it feels just as exciting with Miles. His style of swinging is more energetic and free flowing. His personality shines bright through the way he traverses New York. It makes the swinging feel fresh even if you beat the 2018 game just moments before picking up Miles Morales. This does not feel like a simple copy and paste. From the moment you first dive off a building, to the second you perform a trick in mid-air, you can immediately tell that traversing through this world as Miles is going to be a blast.
The combat system was something already praised by fans of the first installment and Insomniac only improved upon it with this entry. Miles adds his own personality to basic combat but there is an extra layer that is added with Miles’ unique abilities. First, we have his electric powers, also known as venom, granting Miles the ability to attack his adversaries with a great burst of stored bio-electrical energy. Allowing you to not only stun your foes but absolutely send them flying with a powerful throw. His second ability may be not as flashy but is just as useful: camouflage. Miles can temporarily go invisible during combat to help sneak up on an unsuspecting criminal or help him escape an overwhelming situation. I wouldn’t say this ability makes stealth easier, however, after all, there are still enemies that have the ability to detect you while you’re cloaked. Instead, it adds another layer Peter doesn’t have and allows you to take on these encounters in more than one way.
Gadgets also make a return. Miles has significantly fewer of them in his arsenal, which makes sense as he is just beginning his superhero journey. Much like I did in Marvel’s Spider-Man I did not use these high-tech weapons often. It is a lot more fun to swing, punch, and web-up your enemies than it is to send out a hologram dummy to do it all for you.
I cannot wait to see what is in store for Miles and Peter in the upcoming sequel. Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a fun time and a heart-felt adventure that will have you hooked until the credits roll. Insomniac Games builds upon what they crafted in Marvel’s Spider-Man but it's the characters and Miles’ devotion to his community that makes it stand out. I caught myself choking up more than once but in the end, I was always left with a big smile on my face.
And that’s the Borderline Bottomline for Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Review Written by Rauwshan Warner