I'm a huge fan of the character of Miles Morales, but, when I think of the name Spider-Man, Peter Parker always comes to mind first. This isn't due to Miles being a second-rate character or anything, more just a product of history, and the rich past Peter and Spider-Man have together. However, over the last few years, ever since Into The Spider-Verse released, Miles Morales has been consistently making me question that perspective, and now, after playing through Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PS5, I think I can safely say I have a new favourite web-slinger.
This title follows on from the events of Marvel's Spider-Man, seeing Peter training Miles up as a protegee. During the holiday period when this story is set, Peter takes a vacation with MJ leaving New York in the hands of Miles, right at the same time as when an evil corporation, Roxxon, starts a turf war with a new criminal faction called The Underground. Taking place largely throughout the district of Harlem, Miles finds himself trapped in the middle of the conflict, learning that he will have to be tougher than ever to survive the fight, and the many emotional tasking developments in between.
Since this game is very much a meaty expansion in ways, Miles and Peter have a very similar set of mechanics. Swinging is the same, much of the combat is the same, in fact, the main difference revolves around how Peter uses plenty of gadgets, whereas Miles uses a bunch of new abilities based around bio-electrics. Known as Venom attacks, these are powerful moves that replace Peter's Ultimates, and quite frankly, they make Peter's skillset look primitive. You can smash, punch and charge your way through foes with these abilities that make you look like a lightning bolt on legs, and even more so, Miles even has cloaking up his sleeve, to help him get out of sticky situations.
To account for these new skills, the common street thugs you were used to fighting have been essentially replaced with Roxxon's exo-suit wearing militia, and The Underground's neopunk, cyber-tech armies. Both of these factions have incredibly advanced weaponry, such as The Underground's programmable tech swords that will swat you out of the sky, or Roxxon's jamming electrical fields that limit your skills. Needless to say, Miles Morales will ask you to be faster and stronger than beforehand to stand a chance.
With these new enemies taking over, New York looks a little different, and I mean a little - it's very much still the same map except in winter. There are however, new activities and crimes to handle, among plenty of great side missions that cements Miles as an influential figure upon New York's hip-hop culture, which is reflected throughout the game as it was in Spider-Verse. Furthermore, there are also many new suits, abilities and skills to earn over the course of the storyline, so you can put your own personal flair on the campaign. Whether that means repping the Bodega suit, with Spider-Cat riding in a backpack, or instead choosing the Winter Suit to keep Miles from getting a cold, the choice is yours as it was in Spider-Man.
One of the biggest differences between this game and the original Spider-Man is how the PS5 enables it to be better than ever. There are two modes you can play that can be swapped out almost instantaneously; Fidelity mode offers native 4K with ray-tracing, capped at 30FPS making for a gorgeous looking experience, whereas Performance mode brings upscaled 4K at 60FPS, without ray-tracing for smoother gameplay. Likewise, with the new PS5 hardware, the load times of this game are ridiculously fast. You can fast travel from one side of the map to the other in around 2-3 seconds. That whole sequence with Spider-Man on the subway during fast travel doesn't exist in this game due to how fast it is, instead there is a very brief black screen and bam! You're back in the game.
Similarly, the DualSense and the Tempest audio system make New York feel unbelievably vibrant, and you feel more connected to it than ever before. Haptic feedback makes swinging through the city skyline more responsive than ever, and the hustle and bustle of the busy metropolis is captured unlike ever before with the new surround sound system.
As I mentioned beforehand, Spider-Man: Miles Morales isn't as packed as Marvel's Spider-Man is. The story is shorter and there are less things to do around New York, however, due to it being more concise, the storyline and all the side activities are incredibly tight and feel more rewarding to complete. The main narrative is action-packed and emotionally gripping, and each activity, be it a side mission or a collectible, is bursting with lore to fuel any Marvel fan with a deep desire to want to complete more. There is still enough content to deliver a solid 12-hour playthrough, and then after that, New Game +, with a new, harder difficulty, is already available for you to dive right back into Miles' Spider-Suit.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales is exactly what fans of Marvel's Spider-Man are looking for in new content, but it's also so much more. The signature brilliant movement and combat systems are back, and are fleshed out to suit Miles' unique style. Similarly, there are now two charismatic web-slinging personalities for future storylines to be developed with, each of whom offer differing cultural perspectives for New York to be explored as their stories expand. With the way this title stunningly showcases the PS5 hardware, it's challenging to not be excited for where the series is heading, but until then, this adventure is more than enough to satisfy that burning hunger we've all felt since initially finishing Marvel's Spider-Man.
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