Initial release date: November 12, 2020
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Mode: Single-player video game
Composer: John Paesano
Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
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This generation of PlayStation has kicked off in a MAJOR way with Demon’s Souls, GodFall, and now Spider-Man: Miles Morales. This game is an expansion to 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man and follows up a year later from the last DLC of that game with this being in many ways a interquel between Spider-Man and whatever the sequel is going to be. Think of this as the Infamous Second Son: Second Light to Infamous Second Son as it is shorter than the main game yet stands on its own with its own story to tell and and placement in the story’s timeline. The question here is does Spider-Man: Miles Morales exceed the bar that was set with the 2018 predecessor or does it feel like a quick cash grab that should’ve stayed DLC? Let’s find out!
The game kicks off with both Spider-Men, Peter and Miles, battling Rhino which ends in Peter getting hurt and knocked out leaving Miles to face him alone and in the process of the fight Miles activates his Venom Strike abilities and subdues Rhino. From there Peter informs Miles that he will be going to Europe with MJ for a vacation/work and is leaving the city in Miles’ hands to protect and then gives Miles his very own official Spider-Man suit. From there Miles vows to protect New York and become Spider-Man in Peter’s absence.
If you played Spider-Man 2018 then you’ll feel right at home with this game because basically everything from that game is here in this expansion with a lot of new things exclusive to Miles.
You still swing about New York and have free access to almost any area in the city and can complete the various main missions and innumerable side quests with crimes you can stop along the way. The core gameplay still focuses on exploration and beat-em up action, you’ll find yourself traversing to another point on the map and then find an area full of enemies that you’ll need to use your various combat skills mixed with Spider-Man’s web slinging to take care of foes.
What's new is that Miles has exclusive abilities that Peter doesn’t have access to given his being bitten by a completely different genetically engineered spider than Peter was bitten by; granting him the abilities such as his electricity infused attacks called “Venom Strike” (no affiliation with the character Venom) which can break through guarding enemies leaving them open or knock them into the sky to juggle them for some combos and while in this state enemies take more damage than normal and are surrounded by a yellow electricity.
The other ability that Miles has is the ability to camouflage himself allowing you to utilize stealth way more easily than you could with Peter and many side missions will take advantage of this ability from needing to take pictures of characters and more.
There’s also the inclusion of the Haptic Feedback with the DualSense controller which gives you various feelings of tension when you’re web slinging and then there’s various vibrations based on what's going on in the game, however, it’s a bit overdone in my opinion and not revolutionary in comparison to how its used in Dirt 5 or Astro's Playroom.
There isn’t really a lot of massive changes between Spider-Man 2018 and Spider-Man: Miles Morales other than a new Spider-Man to play as and a few different abilities and gameplay functions. This isn’t bad as this is essentially an expansion/continuation of the original game.
This game is GORGEOUS but then again so is the original 2018 release and the remaster of it. Miles and crew all look superb and the lip synching is on point. The characters are a perfect blend of realistic looking and video gamey looking if that makes sense. Miles Morales is voiced and modeled after actor Nadji Jeter and there are times when I struggle to not think the in game character isn’t the real life version as everything from subtle animations and movements are all there from the real life actor and its awesome.
Now let’s talk about the extra benefits you get if you play this game on PS5 with a 4K HDR capable monitor or tv and that’s the ability to play the game in Fidelity Mode with 4K with Raytracing enabled offering this game to some of the most breathtaking visuals and breathtaking games ever made visually. The reflections on surfaces, windows, and puddles along with minute details in the clothing and facial details is astounding especially for a launch title.
There’s Performance Mode which gives you 4K (or 1080P) if you output doesn’t support 4K) and the blessing of 60FPS but without the added graphical fidelity of Fidelity mode or the benefit of Raytracing, however, web slinging at 60FPS and the general faster more lifelike feel of 60FPS is just glorious through and through and is my preferred mode of playing the game.
The city has never looked this beautiful in a game ever as the vistas and the streets themselves feel so alive and vibrant. The various people moving about the city and the conversations going on and the various podcasts you can listen to do so well to immerse you into this world. The level of detail in the buildings, streets, weather effects, and more are all superb.
This game has an amazing title theme with some hip hop flavor added to Spider-Man’s theme to reflect that this is Miles’ story and game and not Peter’s.
The voice acting in this game is right up there with being on the level of quality of an Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and that’s to say that it’s incredibly natural and life like and believable.
The OST is remixes of a lot of what you heard in the previous game with a few new heavy hitters and some atmospheric ones too based on the mood and scene you’re in.
All in all the audio is top notch quality!
Miles’ voice can be grating at times, as I know he’s supposed to be a nerdy teenager but man it comes across at times as incredibly annoying. I’m not a fan of Miles as a character even with being black and Hispanic myself. I do feel he has his good moments as a character but is overall just…..annoying, however, he does come into his own as the story continues in the game and grows into a character I slowly started to like and look forward to seeing where this version of Miles is taken.
I am not a fan of the new change to Peter from what he looked like in the original 2018 release as it feels as If it’s done to make him seem more like Tom Holland although that’s not the reported reason for the change. I feel like if this was his look in the original game then I’d not have an issue with it but changing his look this dramatically just doesn’t sit well with me.
The fact that when you fight the Underground group you ultimately are only fighting a handful of the same recycled enemies and there being very little visual distinction in the enemies. I understand this was done to free up resources in the engine but I’m honestly unimpressed by this.
The biggest issue I have with the game is the fact that even with the PS5 being as powerful as it is, we still have to choose between visual fidelity or performance in games and this game is no exception. You can’t have this game running at 4K with Raytracing turned on and 60FPS so you’ll have to decide on either running the game in Fidelity mode with 4K and Raytracing turned on with a FPS limit of 30FPS or choose Performance mode where you get 4K with 60FPS and no Raytracing. I should not have to choose and don’t like that this isn’t capable as it is to have a high frame rate and all the bells and whistles turned on.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales is the defining launch exclusive for the PS5 and goes to great lengths to show us what exactly the new generation of consoles is truly capable of from both a performance and visual fidelity standpoint. It really goes a long way to showcase how amazing this game is and why exclusives matter even if this is technically not a PS5 exclusive like Demon’s Souls. With phenomenal gameplay, story, visuals, and more; Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a game you should definitely add to your collection and is a MUST OWN if you have the PS5.