“Spider-Man: Miles Morales” official box cover art, available for PS4 and PS5. Insomniac Games/Sony
Sony Entertainment released their latest console, the PlayStation 5, on Nov. 12, alongside various incredible launch games, including “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.” The follow up to the developer, Insomniac Games’ 2018 title “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” acts as more of a spin-off story set a few months after the conclusion of the last game. Taking control of a brand new character, with his own story, powers and style that shines brightly throughout the entire game.
Miles Morales is a smaller game compared to its predecessor and honestly benefits from that, still set in Manhattan with a now snow-filled coat of paint and a bigger emphasis on Harlem. The game revolves around this neighborhood, even implementing a gameplay feature called the “Friendly Neighborhood” app that keeps track of crimes, activities and side missions. The side missions are more focused on Harlem, as previously mentioned, small stories from the neighborhood for players to get to know and get more connected with the city.
There’s the owner of a corner bodega, Teo, that asks for the player’s help rescuing his stolen cat that he names Spider-Man. A deaf street artist Hailee is investigating a criminal organization that wants to take over Harlem. These kinds of characters are the ones that make the player feel a lot closer to this one neighborhood compared to the 2018 title.
In the game, the street artist Hailee puts it best when she signs, “There’s been a Spider-Man protecting New York since I was a kid, but to have one here, whole cares about me, my home… it means everything,” Miles then responds in sign language, “It’s my home too.” Miles Morales is a relatively new character in the world of comic book superheroes, an Afro-Latino Spider-Man from Brooklyn was a big shift from the familiar Peter Parker. Only recently being spotlighted in the 2018 film “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse,” Miles brings so much heart to the table, having so many great moments of banter between all of the characters, messages of self-belief and positivity among a community, and pure style.
While at its core, it’s pretty much the game as it’s predecessor, the slight changes in not only gameplay or the world but in the animations and dialogue make this title stand strong on its own. The way Miles looks back at the camera as he dives off a building, his much looser movements while swinging around the city have a sense of swagger and style. Even his combat animations and new powers grant him his own unique feel and make him more distinct than Peter did in the original.
Being set a few months after the original, all of these characteristics about Miles make sense since he’s still learning how to be Spider-Man and it’s a theme throughout the game, about him trying to separate himself from Peter Parker and becoming his own hero. He’s given the responsibility to protect New York while Peter goes off to vacation, and it’s up to Miles to try to uncover a conspiracy with a corrupt energy company and a high-tech gang of criminals that are going to war with each other.
It’s a shorter and simpler story that doesn’t break much ground but does serve as an excellent ride for the player to do the classic Spider-Man fighting and sneaking around now with newer abilities. Miles is now equipped with “Venom Strike” powers, electric-based powers that players can use in combat that are made to deal with larger groups of enemies, which are a great addition and adds more flair to the combat. Miles also has camouflage, allowing him to become completely invisible under a timer that makes stealth sections much faster and more forgiving.
Another great addition to the game is much more accessibility options, allowing the player to change the game and tailor it into making the experience for everyone as enjoyable as possible. Small changes like simplifying combat and web-swinging, along with even bigger changes like mapping abilities to a one-button press, highlights certain characters and enemies for players who have trouble seeing and reduces camera motion during gameplay.
“Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales” serves as not only an incredible sequel to the 2018 original title but as an impressive launch title for the PlayStation 5. It’s a game that shines so bright on its own and its much shorter length makes for a more enjoyable experience than the first game. Streaming many of its features and mechanics, the story adds up to an overall much more condensed and better gaming experience.
It’s one of the most positive experiences in video games this year so far, it’s a heartwarming game all throughout, it’s nearly impossible not to recommend as a player’s first game on the PlayStation 5 and is even available on the PlayStation 4. It’s the smaller details that can really make the game unique, the different and more stylish animations, the hip hop trap drums added to the theme of the game that intensifies as you swing through the city and the characters and friends players make in Harlem that calls Miles “our Spider-Man.”