Spider-Man: Miles Morales excels in everything it tries to do. It delivers a great sequel to Insomniac’s 2018 Spider-Man game while putting the focus onto a whole new Spider-Man. The game has a fresh new story, different powers and abilities, lots more easter eggs, and great new characters. And it does all of this while sticking to the same basic formula that made the first game so great.
Although I’d argue that the story for Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a relatively simple Spider-Man or at least generic superhero story that revolves around secret identities, and old friends hiding villainous alter egos.
But I don’t think that takes away from how enjoyable the game is. A similar argument applies to the 2018 Spider-Man from Insomniac which was another somewhat simple and predictable Spider-Man story. And yet, like its predecessor, here the simpler story isn’t a negative at all, instead, it allows a greater focus on the character development and really helps cement the immersive world filled with compelling heroes and villains, smart easter eggs, clever references, and a great supporting cast.
The game manages to focus on its characters, stylisation and making it feel different enough to the original game perfectly, rather than going out of its way to subvert expectation with a story full of twists and turns. Perhaps Spider-Man: Miles Morales’ largest triumph is how it blends the older style and formula of the 2018 game with some new additions, making the overall experience feel familiar but fresh.
Swinging through New York feels just as amazing as ever, but with an updated and much more Miles appropriate soundtrack feels even more enjoyable.
In a more general sense, the game still revolves around very similar tasks and objectives to the first game, but much like the story, it’s the small details and alterations that make it work so well. Miles’ collectables are time capsules from his childhood, postcards, sound samples for his music, and (with the help of Ganke) Miles has an app that lets citizens ask for help, which makes up most of the side quests.
The app always has extra missions for Miles to help out New York, and that is in addition to the return of random crimes in progress spawning around the city as he traverses it.
Honing in on the more specific differences between Miles and Peter the big addition this time around are Miles’ new powers; Venom abilities and invisibility. Both add a huge amount of variation to the combat and missions. Being able to turn invisible and sneak up behind people really helps on the stealth missions, and the various Venom dashes, punches and attacks add a kinetic sense of speed and power to every encounter. Miles feels rougher and less experienced than Peter did, but he feels younger, quicker, and more powerful.
As well as everything the game adds and updates like the first game Miles has plenty of costume options (with a spectacular Spider-Verse suit, that comes with its own movie-accurate animations), modifications and gadgets, help add a sense of ownership and individuality to each player’s version of Miles.
Staying with that idea, the previous games New York returns, this time with is a slightly updated version of the original map. The Miles Morales version is filled with easter eggs, more J. Jonah Jameson podcasts, more catching stray pigeons, and everything else a fan of the first game could want, but all with several new Miles-centric twists.
Admittedly, some could argue the game doesn’t have enough new elements to it, as once you strip away the new powers it really is a very similar game, but at the same time, that isn’t a bad thing at all. The first game was an incredible showcase of what a Spider-Man game could and should be, and why mess around with that formula if it’s already near-perfect.
Overall Miles Morales is an exceptional game that takes everything that worked with Insomniacs 2018 Spider-Man and adds little details, and nuances to not only improve them but make it feel different enough to focus on Miles. It definitely isn’t a case of “oh, now this is way better, I hope they don’t go back to the last game” if anything I’d hope a future game had the option to be Miles or Peter, each with their own unique abilities, styles (and soundtracks).
All of the positives for Miles Morales stand without talking about the enhanced graphics and almost non-existent load times on PlayStation 5. In fact, the game loads extremely quickly and looks great on the PlayStation 4. The fast travel (for anyone mad enough to not just swing everywhere) is almost instant. The speed, graphics, newly added surface reflections all really shows off the potential of this new generation.
Ultimately anyone who enjoyed 2018’s Spider-Man from Insomniac will love Miles Morales, which plays as a great extension of that world in every conceivable way. Similarly, if anyone hasn’t jumped into the 2018 game, this is the perfect introduction as a smaller (although by no means ‘small’) experience. And Miles Morales does more than enough to set itself apart from its predecessor with some great new gameplay additions, another great story, and a great set of characters lead by the pitch-perfect incarnation Miles Morales.