MORE of the same is not necessarily a bad thing, and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a perfect example.
Developed by Insomniac Games and released exclusively for the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4, the game follows the adventures of Miles Morales, a 17 year old Spider-Man introduced to many of us in the acclaimed Marvel’s Spider-Man in 2018.
In many respects this new title is the gaming equivalent of a novella – a ‘gamella’, if you will – in that it’s too big to be called an expansion to the original game, but not quite a sequel either.
Sony have form with this before, notably in the excellent Uncharted: Lost Legacy, which brought the full Uncharted experience to a shorter, tighter package, and the same approach works well here too.
The main setup is that OG Spider-Man Peter Parker, who is mentoring Miles Morales, is on holiday in Europe with Mary-Jane over Christmas so Miles is in charge of all Spider-Man related activities, duties and superheroing in New York during that time. No pressure, in other words.
The story that develops in the game is really well done, engaging, entertaining, and hits all the right notes, with some interesting reveals and twists along the way.
The dialogue and writing is excellent, as is the story, keeping the same lighthearted tone with just the right touch of gravitas as the previous game, and Miles Morales himself is a likeable and capable Spider-Man with some neat abilities including bioelectric shock-related attacks and skills.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales looks absolutely stunning on a PlayStation 5 on a 4K QLED screen. The motion is smooth, the city looks incredible, and Insomniac have really pulled out all the stops creating a high-definition digital playground for
The game also takes advantage of the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controllers, with their well-implemented haptic feedback. Besides the usual rumbles in combat, the vibrations from the controller are used to accompany different elements in the story too – such as one scene were Miles Morales is talking to someone on a subway train, and the controller vibrates gently to recreate the train’s wheels going over tracks.
Here’s the thing, though: Story aside, it is essentially exactly the same as Marvel’s Spider-Man. The controls are the same, the combat is the same, the mission structure is generally the same, you do more or less the same stuff, and the game is set in the same city and you’re essentially playing the same character in a number of respects.
The last time anyone did this successfully that I can recall was BioShock 2 back in 2010, so Miles Morales is in excellent company by also managing to pull it off.
For some inexplicable reason, the developers decided to redo Peter Parker’s face this time around, so instead of looking like he’s Seen Some Stuff, we get someone with a far more youthful appearance.
This makes Peter look far too young and the result is that instead of a Mentor-Apprentice relationship between the OG Spider-Man and the teenage newcomer, both of them look about the same age.
It’s a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent game whose main criticism is “It’s still basically more Marvel’s Spider-Man”, which isn’t really a major issue because the previous game was so good that more of it is still excellent.
Even if you missed the previous game, you can still swing leap right into this one – it is a standalone story and while there’s some reference to the events of the previous game, they’re either explained by exposition or easy enough to work out from context.
Overall, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is bright, fun, and a great showcase for what the PlayStation 5 can do and well worth playing.
It might essentially be more Marvel’s Spider-Man, but that’s OK, because that game was superb and this one is the perfect excuse to swing into action once more to do whatever it is that a Spider-Man does.