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I played the entire Marvel’s Spiderman Miles Morales campaign and side missions with a singular goal in mind. UNLOCKING THE “INTO THE SPIDERVERSE” SUIT. Along the way, I web swung through the game’s entire campaign, side missions, challenges, and collect-a-thon, realizing that the journey is more fun than the destination, and before I know it, I was in New Game Plus, the suit unlocked just another milestone among the many that I had achieved already and others which I was yet to. Why is this superhero formula so addicting, and how has Insomniac perfected it, let’s find out.

Move Like A Spider, Sting Like A Spider

It all begins with the combat. As Peter Parker, your combat was more defensive: dodge, get in a few hits, dodge, rack up a combo, dodge, finisher, dodge. With Miles, you have access to his Venom Powers (think of it like a Spider’s sting) which manifests itself as multiple electric focused attacks, which add a more attacking facet to the entire combat gourmet. This lets you play more proactively instead of reactively, and allows you to take down even stronger enemies that the original Spidey might have struggled with. Now you don’t have to continuously spam the dodge button and yet stay close to enemies, you can move away, assess your options and take down the biggest threat, throw down an AOE attack, or just plain zip to the farthest enemy.

And if “soft superhero stealth” is your thing, then Spiderman Miles Morales improves upon that too. Mile’s powers to turn himself invisible (Camouflage, something else that differentiates him from classic Spiderman) lets you run and sneak around enemies instead of always relying on overhead beams and street lamps. Now you can walk up to unsuspecting enemies, and take them out. It’s also a really easy Undo button when you get caught in the middle of taking down enemies or make an incorrect/accidental/stupid landing.

Finally, the web-swinging is still as good and sweet as it was the last time. There are no more upgrades that block you from trying out different moves in the air this time, so you can start experimenting right away. Insomniac has also made a conscious effort of making Miles’ web swing looks way more amateurish than Peter’s, and it is straight on point with a 17-year-old up and coming super hero.

The Origin Story

Being a 17 year old is a big part of Spiderman Miles Morales. With Marvel’s Spiderman, Insomniac told a story about a superhero comfortable in the skin, in his roles, in his responsibility. Peter knew how to take the compliments and the complaints, the success and the failures in stride, and that was a big part of the story told in the main game.

With Miles, however, we see a still green teenager who has just lost a father, moved to Harlem from Jersey, and now has Spider powers; given the responsibility to protect his neighbourhood as the first Spidey goes for vacation. He doesn’t know who to trust, how to react to mistakes, and how to respond to situations, and that’s clearly shown in the narrative that follows Miles. Even in the superhero world, he has to compete with the more established OG Spiderman, as the people of New York are initially lukewarm to him.

And when I say New York, I mean Harlem. Insomniac takes the Friendly Neighbourhood part very seriously this time around, and you will notice that while the entire map from Marvel’s Spiderman returns, the main theatre for the action remains Miles’s immediate neighbourhood Harlem. This is where his triple threat conflict with Underground and Roxxon (think of it like a poor man’s Oscorp) play out.

From The Eyes Of The Spider

That doesn’t mean New York doesn’t look fine as hell though. It’s winter on the island this time, and the weather swings between day, night and snowfall, with a full on snow storm towards the end of the game. I got a chance to play the game on the PS4, and the PS5. And while the games look really good on the PS4, the Ray tracing on the PS5 just blows everything out of the water. The city is full of details, both from the NYC lifestyle, and some Spiderman/Marvel/Avengers lore. There are also loads of collect-a-thon items to rummage through which explore the life of Morales with his family and friends.

All of this is tied together with some excellent Hip Hop beats. There is a genuine case of just pulling up your headphones, turning down all of the other sounds, and just swing through the city listening to the game’s playlist. It feels apropos, it feels curated, and it just fits in with the theme of Miles Morales being a music producer when he is off the clock.

And to top it all off, the loading times are just insane. Sure on the PS5, a 3 second load time right into the game from startup is downright jaw-dropping, it’s the optimization that the game has on the PS4, which has me amazed. A game that looks so good, and is so filled to the brim with details, has no business loading up in under 10 seconds on a 8-year-old console.

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Look, there is not a lot to complain about Spiderman Miles Morales. Most of its criticism will come from areas that are not a direct part of the game. Yes, the main campaign is short, coming in at about 6-7 hours. Yes, the game is probably over-priced as a stand-alone DLC. But those factors tie up into each other. As time goes on, the price will drop and the length of the game will become more cost-efficient. When you do decide to buy the game though, you will feel the tightness in gameplay, narrative, and progression too. Because of the short game, the skill tree feels more compact but impactful (no skill in the game requires more than 1 Skill Point). Similarly, the narrative moves from beats to beats, never staying too long on a character. Finally, there are none of that science mini-games, and all challenges, etc. are a direct implementation of the skills that you have learned or are already using.

Real Talk

Look, if you already have Marvel’s Spiderman, and you are short on cash you can probably wait it out to play Spiderman Miles Morales when it has better pricing. If you are going to buy it though, don’t sweat it too much, because you are getting your hands on a great game and you will not be disappointed. If you have a PS5, I don’t think you have a better launch game to play than Marvel’s Spiderman Miles Morales. Insomniac Games, take a bow. Before I go, here are some Ray Tracing enabled screenshots captured on the PS5.

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