When Marvel’s Spider-Man first came out for PS4 in 2018, we were mostly blown away by its mechanics – the way you could swing from building to building in order to navigate New York City. The game had so much more to it than that, but web-slinging and swinging never grew old, all the way through to the end of the campaign and even the DLC chapters that came after.
The same can partly be said of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a sequel, of sorts, that swaps Peter Parker for his younger counterpart across a roughly eight-hour story. This time, however, it’s joined by some amazing tech wizardry made possible by the PlayStation 5.
The game is also available for PS4, of course, but the expanded graphical features and loading times on the next-gen machine are something to behold. In fact, it can be argued that this is the first, truly great “exclusive” for the console – and a brilliant way to kick start the next generation.
That begins with the eponymous lead character himself. Morales first appeared in Brian Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man comic books in 2011 and was partly created to strike that series (set in an alternative universe) apart from the regular Marvel universe Spider-Man books. He replaced a (spoiler alert) deceased Peter Parker.
However, the black character of Puerto Rican descent became so popular that, even after the cancellation of the Ultimate comics, he was a shoo-in to jump dimensions. This left us with two Spider-Men co-existing (the Spider-verse aside) and that’s where developer Insomniac draws its inspiration for this game.
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It’s a genius move and clearly one that was planned from the start, considering how Morales’ origin story was told in the first game. Also bitten by a genetically modified spider, he has a few similar moves to Parker, including the ability to stick to walls, super strength, and a penchant for flinging himself around the city. However, he also comes with a few new powers that make the game more interesting still.
Morales can zap enemies and objects with electrical energy – a venom strike or blast – and he can turn invisible for short bouts (something you earn later in the game). These both provide some unique gameplay tools that alter some of the stealth and combat mechanics specifically.
In terms of fisticuffs, much is the same as the original game. It’s combo-tastic as you hop, evade and catapult yourself from one enemy to another. Even massive bouts with 10 foes or more are possible to win if you keep moving, while gadgets and web shots will undoubtedly help – if you unlock them in-game.
Also like the first game – which has been remastered for PS5 too, as part of an Ultimate Edition – you can collect different suits that unlock different extra abilities or bonuses. And, even if you settle on the same power-ups throughout, it’s great fun seeing Spider-Man mark II winging around in all manner of snazzy costumes.
Not only is Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales a great game in its own right, it is effectively a tech demo for what the PlayStation 5 is capable of doing on day one. And it should therefore be included in every owner’s library, even if it’s for that reason alone.
Like the new Spider-Man himself, it’s shorter than its predecessor, but it still crams a whole lot of play into both the story and side missions. Plus, New York City has never looked so fine, with its snowy streets and holiday season appeals.
Voice acting is superb throughout too and, if this is a taste of what a full-on Spider-Man could be in future, we’d place our order right now.