GAME REVIEW: Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

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Julian Chua

Unlike some, I wouldn’t consider myself much of a hardcore gamer. However, there’s one video game I have been playing to death recently, and that game is Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

 

Released in November 2020 on the PlayStation 4 and as a launch title for the new PlayStation 5, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is the “half-sequel” to the 2018 PS4 game Marvel’s Spider-Man. In the game, you play as Miles Morales, the new Spider-Man in New York City and the protege to the original wall-crawler, Peter Parker. Recently having moved to Harlem, Miles is tasked with watching over New York over the holiday season as his mentor is away on a trip to Europe. As NYC’s only Spider-Man, plenty of new challenges arise for Miles to face. The game was developed by Insomniac Games and PlayStation Studios and is rated T for Teen.

 

Miles Morales is an absolute blast of a gaming experience. And in many cases, it is able to take the foundation set by its 2018 predecessor and build on it to create something greater.

 

Let’s start by taking a look at the gameplay. In the first game, web-swinging around the city already felt amazing, but this game took it to another level. In contrast to the first game’s six basic air tricks you could pull off while swinging, this game has over twenty performable twists, turns and stunts that make traversal feel all the more satisfying. However, as amazing as traversal is, there’s still one key component to it that I believe needs to be improved: wall-crawling. Crawling on walls and surfaces is a little tedious and confusing at times because it’s so limited. You can only run on walls sideways and upwards, and you can’t even run at all on ceilings. I hope that wall maneuverability can be made to feel less limited in a sequel to this game.

 

 

The biggest changes in gameplay from the original come in the form of combat. As well as the usual punches, kicks, webs, and finishers, Spider-Man now has two unique new abilities: camouflage and venom.

 

Camouflage works exactly how it sounds like: Spidey can camouflage himself into his surroundings. This staggers enemies for a little bit and stops them from attacking you, and lasts a few seconds before you revert back to normal. This ability is helpful in letting you catch a breather during combat, and it also helps you slip into stealth mode quite easily.

 

But the most prominent switch-up in the Spider-Man power set is Venom power. Not to be confused with the Spider-Man villain of the same name, Venom powers are Spidey’s new bio-electricity abilities. These powers can be used in the form of a dash, a jump, or a punch. These are excellent additions to the Spidey arsenal, and they add lots of fun to combat scenarios. Nothing gets more satisfying than electrifying ten enemies at once with the power of a single Venom blast. It really makes you feel like the most powerful fighter in the ring. Of course, the Venom abilities do have their limits. You can’t constantly spam them; you can only bank three of them at a time.

 

Another big change from the original game are the stealth mechanics. The original game didn’t do much with stealth beyond staying in one place and trying to take enemies down with the press of a button. However, in Miles Morales, stealth mechanics have been greatly improved. Instead of just the standard perch takedown, web strike, and melee takedown, there is now so much more. This includes the ability to detonate enemies with mines, many more opportunities to drop objects from ceilings, and the ability to web up enemies from all kinds of surfaces such as walls and ceilings. You are also free to stay in stealth mode for as long as you like, unlike the first game which would

 

 

Now, let’s talk about the story. This is one aspect of the game where I think that the original surpasses it. One problem I have with the story are the villains. The first game had some compelling and memorable villains, but I felt like the villains in this game were lacking in some way. Maybe a couple more hours to flesh them out would’ve helped. That’s another thing with the story. I feel like it was too short, especially in comparison to its predecessor which was around 20 hours long. Miles Morales is only around half that length, so it feels like it’s not enough. It doesn’t help either that there’s a lot less to do after the story compared to everything in the first game. However, Miles Morales more than makes up for these problems with its other amazing characters and its powerful moments. Miles himself is a wonderful protagonist, and his supporting characters such as his mother Rio and his friend Ganke are a lot of fun. There are plenty of thrilling set pieces sprinkled throughout the story, from an opening boss battle with the hulking Rhino to the blizzard-struck streets of Harlem in the finale. And the minor characters that you meet throughout the story make the city of New York feel more alive than ever, and the optional side missions help expand on that. Even though it has some problems, the game is able to deliver a heartfelt story that is worth the playthrough.

 

Though it may be smaller in scale than the original Marvel’s Spider-Man game, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a game that you can revisit again and again. It takes a lot of the things that made the first game great and improves upon them to provide a fresh and new experience. Insomniac Games has proven itself to be the perfect developer for Spider-Man games, and I’m excited to see where they go next. For me, Miles Morales is a 9/10.

 

If you’d like to pick up this game for yourself, it is available for $50 for the PlayStation 4 and 5.