PLATFORM: PS4, PS5 (REVIEWED) | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man took the superhero gaming genre to spectacular peaks and heights back in 2018 (you can check out our review of it here). Now, at the dawn of a new age in gaming, Insomniac has delivered yet another stunning game that brilliantly kicks off the next-gen in style. Despite being introduced in the comics back in 2011, Miles Morales didn’t truly hit popularity until 2018 thanks to both the phenomenal Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (the best Spidey movie ever made in this writer’s opinion). In the previous game, we saw him get bit by a genetically-advanced spider by the game’s end. This game picks up one year later, with Miles having to rise to the challenge of being ‘New York’s only Spider-Man’ for a few weeks after Peter Parker decides to leave to help Mary Jane abroad.
Everything that made the first game so much fun playing is carried over here and still works exceptionally well. The combat hits the perfect balance of being both tense and exciting. At the same time, the web-swinging is taken to another level, proving to be slightly better than before, thanks to Miles’ unique new animations and the tricks that he can perform. He differentiates himself more from Peter, who moved with much more poise and grace due to him being a more experienced web-slinger. Insomniac has done a lot of work to make sure that Miles feels different to Peter, moving as if he’s not entirely confident or comfortable zipping around, and he’s expressive enough that you immediately notice the difference. Also notable is that unlike Peter, Miles doesn’t rely on using web-gadgets as much to defeat his enemies, instead depending on his bio-electrical venom blasts, which produces some visually-stunning takedowns.
Speaking of visuals, the open-world of New York has never looked more gorgeous. It’s still a sight to behold on PS4, but it’s on a whole other level with PS5, thanks to the option of switching between Fidelity Mode (which produces some mind-blowing lighting and ray-tracing effects) and Performance Mode (which has the game running at a very smooth and crisp 60fps). Honestly, you’re going to be pretty torn about which mode to select here. Despite it being a short game, clocking at around 8-10 hours, the story still manages to have a lot of heart to it, and that is carried through to the very end, where emotional stakes are very high. Nadji Jeter reprises his role as Miles, and he is still effective as he was before, brilliantly carrying the emotional weight the game requires from him, plus Yuri Lowenthal is phenomenal as Peter in the few scenes that we see him. If there are any gripes to be found, it’s that some of the scenes needed to expanded upon more and given more time to breathe. The catalyst villain, Simon Krieger, also comes across as a one-note generic evil businessman, lacking the nuance and depth Norman Osborn had in the first game.
If Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse taught us anything, it’s that anyone can wear the mask and be Spider-Man, and that is never truer here. Spider-Man: Miles Morales is the perfect kick-starter to the PS5 generation, providing game-changing graphics, an emotionally-rich story, fluid gameplay, and lifelike performances. If you loved The City That Never Sleeps story DLC from the first game and thought that was a perfect expansion of the world Insomniac created, you’d think the same here. If you want the ultimate experience, the PS5 version is highly recommended, when you can. If not, the PS4 version works just as well, and will undoubtedly provide plenty of web-swinging fun to keep you going.