I’ve always enjoyed a bit of Spider-Man, and for as long as I could remember, Spider-Man has been Peter Parker. From the cartoons I watched as a kid, to the game and movies that defined the character for a lot of us, Spider-Man has been a pasty white fella called Peter Parker. I’ll be honest with you and say that I didn’t even know there was another Spider-Man until I saw the Into the Spider-Verse movie, but I saw where Insomniac’s series was heading with the end of the first Spider-Man game by the studio.
But what does any of that matter? It doesn’t. It’s still a Spider-Man game and you’re still getting a wholesome Spider-Man story with the usual tropes of redemptions, friendship, right versus wrong – the usual comic book stuff, then.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales obviously takes a turn by throwing Peter Parker off into Europe on his holidays while Miles Morales, still very much a Spider-Man-in-training, remains as the lone protector of New York. The Avengers are busy elsewhere, apparently…
Pre-release there was a lot of rumblings that Spider-Man: Miles Morales was just DLC being sold as a new game. I myself thought that was the case, too, but I’m happy to say that I, and the other idiots, were all wrong. This is a full-on game, albeit a little more streamlined with its story. Speaking of which, this is perhaps my favourite part of the game – the story. By putting Miles front and centre, Insomniac can tell stories that players haven’t seen before in a Spider-Man game. They’re breaking much new ground but it’s nice to see a bit of change that subverts expectations and leaves me wondering: what next? Rather than the usual question of when will Aunt May pop her clogs? Peter Parker has been around for 60 years almost, and we’ve all come to expect certain things from his stories. Miles is new blood and, for many of us who don’t follow the comics, a fresh take on a beloved hero. Sure, Miles still battles a lot of the same problems that Peter does – or did – when he was new to crawling walls and swinging around town, but I still appreciate that it’s a new character that I can learn about, rather than the same old, same old.
I liked Miles’ story, even if it was a bit predictable at times. What I didn’t like was once again being presented with a map stuffed with icons. It’s a problem I had with the first game and the repetitive nature of it does my bonce in. But you may enjoy it, and I suppose it is the only way to really keep you playing in its world once you’ve hit the story’s end. So on one hand, I despise the repetition, but on the other, it does keep me web-slinging around the wonderful and wintery New York, which I really enjoyed.
Gameplay hasn’t changed much in this semi-sequel. You’re still bashing bad guys with the familiar Arkham-style combat, but Miles has a few tricks of his own with his extra powers. These come into play with some of the game’s puzzles, too, where you’ll have to use Miles’ bioelectricity to power generators or his invisibility to sneak around. The puzzles aren’t too taxing but they give the sense of something new, even if the majority of the gameplay is still hooked on the previous game. That’s not a bad thing as the first game did a lot right and made playing as Spider-Man a blast, but I suppose I expected more when I shouldn’t have.
Outside of some new puzzle mechanics, some new powers and fighting moves, there’s not really much else new in Miles Morales. It’s a continuation rather than an evolution, and that’s OK. It’s a decent game that’s easy to play through and very easy on the eye, which brings me to my next points.
I started the game on PS4 and it wasn’t great. It was fine and it worked well and looked decent enough, but I had crashes and freeze-ups happening often. It was so bad that once I knew my PS5 was on the way, I stopped playing completely so that I could play the game as it was originally intended – on PS5.
And I’m glad I did. When I was playing on PS4, I couldn’t shake the feeling that things had been cut away or downgraded. Booting up on PS5 told me that I’d made the right decision. Everything is so much smoother, responsive, and stable. In a dozen hours of gameplay on PS5, I’ve not had a single crash or freeze. I’ve had the odd glitch here and there, but nothing that made me put down the controller and start daydreaming about playing the game on PS6…
The big headline for Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PS5 is that it does ray-tracing, and it does it really, really well, at least compared to what I’ve experienced on next-gen consoles so far. Ray tracing means you get real-time reflections which bring scenes to life in a way that wasn’t previously possible. It looks really good too, but there was a caveat up until recently.
With the original release you have the option to play in 4K at 60fps, or, 30fps with ray-tracing and a lower base resolution. There was no way to have ray-tracing and 60fps together. But now there is with a recent update, and that’s the mode I’ve used for the majority of my time. It looks great and even though the resolution is noticeably lower, most people won’t see a difference but you’ll feel the difference with those extra frames. I cannot understate how good it is to play a Spider-Man game at 60fps, and the fact it can look so pretty while doing so is the cherry on the top.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is being billed as a full-fledged game – and it is one – but it doesn’t feel like a true sequel, more a side-step to give Miles his time in the limelight before Peter returns and the two can work together in a proper sequel. I’m looking forward to it, but in the meantime, I’m more than happy with Miles Morales, and I’m excited to see what Insomniac can do with this fresh character and hopefully, a proper, fully fleshed-out sequel.
Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales PS5 Review
- Overall - Fantastic - 8/108/10
Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a safe and sensible semi-sequel that holds the line nicely. The few gameplay tweaks are welcome and the introduction of a new playable Spider-Man is a great touch and opens the door to new stories. Some stability issues on PS4 Pro are annoying, but the experience on PS5 is flawless, outside of a few odd bugs here and there.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PS5 and PS4 Pro.