Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: November 12th 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
The game was played on a PlayStation 4 for this review. All photos shown here were taken on a PlayStation 4 as well.
One year after the events of Marvel’s Spider-Man, Peter goes on a vacation trip with Mary Jane. This leaves the city with our new Spider-Man, Miles Morales. When a new criminal organization arrives, it’s up to Miles to save Harlem from the fight between this group, named The Underground, and Roxxon Corporation. Can the new Spider handle this much on his own?
All the basics are back, and pretty much the same as the original game. Right off the bat, I was able to perform most of the tricks I learned from web swinging. That’s not a bad thing at all. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. The basic swinging, combat and stealth are as amazing as ever. If you’ve played the original, just hop in in whatever difficulty you finished the first game and you’re good to go. The enemies are a bit trickier this time around, but not enough to force you to lower the difficulty.
Still, the game does improve once the mechanics get deeper. Miles’ Venom abilities are a more than welcome addition. The Venom Punch alone is amazing to deal with heavy enemies, and the area attack is extremely useful when surrounded. Also, the finishers no longer consume from the energy bar; they become available whenever you do a 15 hit combo. Honestly, it’ll be hard to adjust back to Peter once you get the hang of Miles’ unique skills.
The best improvement definitely goes to the stealth sections though. The stealth is still rather simple, but Miles is capable of turning invisible and can run away whenever you get outnumbered, and it’s a lot easier dealing with the difficult enemies by cloaking and sneaking up on them rather than fighting head-on. The hideouts from the previous game are back, but now they can be done entirely in stealth as well, allowing the player to choose their approach.
The map is pretty much the same. I mean, you are still in New York City after all. The season is different as well as the Easter eggs related events from the first game, which gives a nice change of place. Most collectibles are back as well, with a few new ones, and all side-content rewards you with a new suit, which is always nice.
Story and Characterization
This game is not a proper sequel. It’s more of a spin-off. Which means it’s not nearly as long as the first one. While that isn’t such a nice thing, the game does have improvements thanks to its length. The story has much better pacing. Aside from side missions, there are no dull missions that are just there to drag to story. The characters are pretty well-written, too. Miles shows extremely well that he can do a lot on his own, both in combat and as a character flying solo. The characters are not dumb either; Whenever you think a cliché is about to come, the characters also notice. It doesn’t take long for Miles to realize who he’s fighting against, and that allows the story to do what it does best; The dynamic between Spider-Man and his foes. Truly spectacular.
Another thing that is worth mentioning is how Miles is portrayed in gameplay. A true game writer knows that a lot of story and character development can be done in gameplay sections, and Insomniac knows what they’re doing. Most animations were change to fit the character of Miles. When he web swings, he’s very clumsy, unlike Peter. It’s very sweet to see him go, and I just found charming how he sometimes spins too much in the air and faces the opposite direction. The music that plays during the web swings is also remix with hip hop-like beats. The whole game got adapted to fit Miles in it. Even during fights; Miles is more of a puncher instead of a kicker like Peter. Overall, all these quality of life changes make Miles shine even more.
Playing safe and yet improving what was done before, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a perfect addition for those who want more. Short but straight to the point, it delivers the experience of a high school Spider-Man that an adult Peter Parker just couldn’t deliver. With an amazing soundtrack, characters, gameplay and story, it only makes me more curious to see what they’re going to pull of on an actual sequel.