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Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (for PlayStation 5) - Review 2020


Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4 was deservedly a hit, and it stands as one of the best comic book video games ever made. Though it’s not a full Spider-Man 2, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a way for developer Insomniac Games to give us a taste of the future. This not-quite-a-sequel to Marvel’s Spider-Man follows its predecessor’s story with a slightly smaller, but just as spectacular, experience. It’s an excellent PlayStation 5 launch game, and at $49.99, it’s slightly less expensive than “full” games, such as the $69.99 Demon’s Souls remake. If you want to spend the possibly now-standard $69.99 retail price on a Spider-Man title, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition adds a PS5-optimized version of the 2018 Spider-Man. Either way you play it, Spider-Man: Mile Morales offers plenty of web-slinging fun in a beautifully reproduced Manhattan.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales city

Back in the Webs

The game takes place about a year after Marvel’s Spider-Man’s events, which revealed that Miles was bitten by a radioactive spider and got arachnid powers just like Peter Parker. As the new Spider-Man, Miles has been training under Parker in his spare time, balancing being a student with fighting crime as an apprentice web slinger. Peter has to travel to Europe for a few weeks, leaving Miles as the only Spider-Man to protect New York City. So, of course, a crisis brews from The Underground—a terrorist group—to challenge the young hero.

The action plays out just as it did in Marvel’s Spider-Man. You sling webs and swing through the city with the R2 trigger, zipping faster with additional tricks like springing off of rooftops and launching yourself into the air. You fight criminals with punches, web yanks, and various spider-gadgets, timing your hits in between pressing circle to dodge at just the right time to maintain combos and avoid damage. Miles eventually develops extra spider-power-related tricks that let him hit even harder and sneak by enemies, but the general controls and gameplay are identical to Marvel’s Spider-Man.

The City That Never Sleeps

Manhattan is just as detailed, if not more so, than in Marvel’s Spider-Man. Though it’s not a perfectly accurate Manhattan recreation, this digital Manhattan is loaded with recognizable landmarks and architectural diversity, from The Battery to Harlem. It’s also filled with collectibles and activities, though not quite as many as in Insomniac’s first Spider-Man game, since this is a somewhat shorter, smaller game. You can find caches of Underground technology and time capsules Miles hid years ago with his friend, Jules, and go on various side missions to help the New York City’s citizens. The landscape doesn’t feel quite as dense as the one in the original Spider-Man title, but there’s never a lack of things to do.

As you play and complete missions, you earn experience and gain levels, along with collecting activity and tech tokens. These elements let you learn new skills to improve your combat, web-swinging, or stealth, and upgrade your spider-gadgets. You can also unlock a dozen or two different Spider-Man suits, just as in the previous Spider-Man. These suits are varied and entertaining, and include a Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse costume that lowers Miles’ frame rate (only his character model, not the rest of the game) to emulate his film appearance.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales map

A Spidey Side Story

Spider-Man: Miles Morales’ main story isn’t quite as long or involved as Spider-Man’s. It has a fairly direct, fast-moving narrative with relatively simple (but well-performed, thanks to the voice actors and facial animations) interpersonal drama. It doesn’t have its predecessor’s massive set pieces, and the stakes don’t feel quite as high. This is very much a side story rather than a full sequel, not attempting to meet Marvel’s Spider-Man in size or scope. It’s still a very satisfying adventure, and Miles is a great character to play as.

Besides, if you want the epic scope of the first Spider-Man game, just spend an extra $20 for Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition, which includes a PS5-optimized version of Spider-Man and all of its DLC. Like with Marvel’s Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Miles Morales has no multiplayer element.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales swinging

Looks Spectacular

Spider-Man: Miles Morales looks fantastic on the PlayStation 5, regardless of the graphics setting you choose. Fidelity focuses on a 4K picture and all available visual effects, while delivering consistent 30-frames-per-second movement. Performance renders at a slightly lower resolution (and upscales to 4K), but with fewer visual effects to deliver a consistent 60-frames-per-second rate. Both modes look very good, with Performance appearing impressively smooth and Fidelity looking incredibly crisp.

I stayed with Fidelity for most of my play time; the extra detail and higher resolution really looks much nicer. It’s a shame the PlayStation 5 can’t deliver Fidelity looks at 60fps, but even rendering such detailed 4K graphics at a solid 30fps is impressive. I didn’t experience any frame-rate dips in either mode.

Not a Full Sequel, But a Fun Follow-Up

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is an excellent follow-up to the equally excellent Marvel’s Spider-Man. It isn’t as long as the first game, and mostly reuses the same map, but Miles’ adventure offers the same entertaining, web-swinging action. The fact that it looks so good is a nice bonus on top of an already strong PS5 launch title.

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