‘Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales’ For PS4 Is A Masterfully Crafted Spidey Story – Review
New Spider On The Scene
Everything about Miles Morales on PlayStation oozes style. From the bumping menu music to the intro song to the web-slinger himself, this new Spider-Man game is different. Insomniac Games gives Morales a long-awaited and well-deserved turn in the spotlight, and he certainly makes this adventure his own. Just like your favorite TV series, Miles Morales features a nice “previously on” video that recaps Miles’ story so far in the PlayStation Spider-Verse.
There is a ton of content to enjoy in Miles’ first solo outing, but like any good Spidey story, we start with a young hero juggling two lives as he deals with loss, life, family, friends and realizing that with great power comes great responsibility. Armed with his recently discovered “Venom Strike” powers, some new gadgets and a little help from his mentor Peter Parker, Miles vows to protect New York and take up the mantle of Spider-Man.
If It Ain’t Got That Swing
Few things in video games are as fun as swinging around New York City as Spider-Man. Since the PS2 licensed game era, webbing around the American mega-city has always been a delight. What’s different this time around is the palpable joy, energy and youth that comes from Miles as you swing. He’s new to being a hero and you can feel his excitement to be one in each motion. Some will call Miles flailing “unrefined”, but it’s not just inexperience in his swings; there’s also a lot of passion and fun behind this rookie spider.
If you loved Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (and if you don’t we’re fighting) many of Miles’ animations will seem familiar to you. The iconic no-look dives, his grasping swings, flutter kicks and tricks are all here. His swings are a one part homage to the film and the other half is all new. There is an intentional flavor here to be sure, but the style of the move set is distinct from his mentor.
What makes everything better is the game’s “winter break” setting. Swinging around the city with snow in tow is immaculate because Insomniac’s Christmas backdrop really works. Nothing is lost in the transition from Peter (overseas on assignment with MJ) to Miles. The game is the best of what you’d expect from Marvel while being completely original. Both Spider-Men are fully realized characters in their respective games with hearts, minds, and passion all their own. The creators do a great job to establish Miles in his own slice of the city as he’s fresh off a move to Harlem looking to establish himself in the community as a person, but also as a hero.
Speaking of entering a new community, Insomniac Games brings in a whole cast of new characters that make this entry worth playing. The strength of Miles’s story is his family, never in a game have I seen a cast as diverse allowed to have dinner, laugh and just be together. The cast crackles with chemistry from a childhood friend to his best bud and schoolmate, each person adds to Miles’s story deepening his/our connection to Harlem and its people. Peter plays the comedic mentor, momma Morales is a strong woman running for office, Ganke fancies himself a “man in the chair” type of sidekick and J. Jonah Jameson adds to the affair with his signature Spider-Hate broadcasts.
To mention Miles’s family is to mention his background. He is unabashedly a Black man in America, but his Puerto Rican lineage is also on display. While other mediums may miss the mark of both sides of his Afro-Latino culture, Insomniac finds a way to feature both parts of his ancestry without pandering or feeling forced. From the way he interacts with people to the subtle bits of Spanish, every piece feels considered but organic. Spider-Man: Miles Morales is filled with brilliant leading performances from Black, Puerto Rican, and Asian American characters. The color of this cast shouldn’t have to be celebrated but it is, unfortunately, a rarity that Spider-Man: Miles Morales nails,and the diverse cast is perhaps the best part of the game.
What’s Up Danger
As seen in trailers, The Underground is the new “Big Bad” for this entry. Their boss, The Tinkerer has outfitted the power-hungry criminal group with Programmable Matter. The tech gives pseudo superpowers to The Tinkerer’s crew and members of The Underground attack Miles with the wearable technology allowing them to summon gauntlets, blasters and more. The purple-hued effects really pop in fights with baddies, but they’re not the only challenge for Miles along the way. On his adventure, he bumps heads with Roxxon, helps citizens on Ganke’s Spider-App, completes tasks for Hologram Peter and saves the city from random crimes.
As for Miles, he attacks said danger with a host of new suit mods and abilities. A few favorites from the first game return, but true to the comics Miles is a whole other beast. Outside of the carry-over web-shooting and melee combat from the original, Miles’s primary mechanics revolve around his “Venom Power” (no, not the symbiote Venom, but bioelectricity).
As seen in Spider-Verse he electroshocks foes and sneaks around with camouflage. The shock powers are a big feature of the skill tree and make Miles’s gameplay its own. His camo powers come in a bit later, but make stealth sections more enjoyable than ever.
Into The Spider Suits
No doubt by now you’ve hopefully seen some of the amazing suits that our hero gets to sport in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Some personal favorites include the dubstep Daft Punk (not an official name) suit that premiered on the cover of Game Informer (just beautiful), the Into The Spider-Verse suit because of course (did you see those pows and zonks!), and the Spider-Cat suit that took the internet by storm earlier this summer. We won’t spoil what waits for you in the full game, but there is a lot to love about Miles’s wardrobe.
We can keep gushing, did you see the Crimson Cowl suit that Insomniac showed off on Twitter? Like wow, oh gosh, it’s getting steamy in here, so good!
Side Note: Miles fits out of suit are consistently great and definitely greater than anything Peter Parker has in his closet. Miles’s shoe game is pretty good too, I know I know you all wanted the Jordan’s but what he does wear is Chef’s Kississippi (IMO).
Be Greater. Be Yourself.
Overall, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a full game worthy of the PlayStation Studios logo that appears when it boots up. Insomniac Games has masterfully crafted another Spidey story that is unique, fresh, and maybe greater than its first go-round. Miles gets the chance to be great and the PlayStation Spider-Verse is greater with his inclusion. The team at Insomniac clearly cares about its two Spider-Men. Nothing is lost with Peter taking a back seat in this one. Sony has another hit on its hands and they have added another hero to their roster while allowing the character to be himself. It’s time to head back to the city, swing around and protect Harlem. Grab your coffee and fuel up, no matter if you drink it standing or hanging upside down. Thwip Thwip.