REVIEW: Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS5)
It’s been two years since Insomniac Games launched their take on one of the most iconic superheroes of all time with 2018’s Spider-Man becoming a runaway success as an exclusive title on Sony’s PS4 console. Realising the immense fandom around this game and the imminent launch of their next gen console, both teams worked together (with Sony even acquiring Insomniac Games in the process) to bring the next instalment in their Spider-Man story to the PlayStation 5 as one of its biggest launch titles. Also launching on the PS4, Spider-Man: Miles Morales has a lot to live up to with fans all over the world clambering to control this new version of Spider-Man for the first time. Does it deliver and does it work as a fitting launch title for Sony’s latest and greatest home console? Read on to find out.
The storyline for Miles Morales continues from where 2018 Marvel’s Spider-Man and its DLC ‘The City That Never Sleeps’ left off, where Miles Morales was bitten by a genetically-enhanced spider and gained powers similar to Peter Parker’s. A year after the first game’s conclusion, Miles has trained under Peter and has fully integrated himself into the role of a Spider-Man, but he has yet to gain the experience. He must balance supporting his mother’s campaign for City Council and defending both his new home in Harlem and the rest of New York City from a gang war between the Roxxon Energy Corporation and a high-tech criminal army called the Underground, led by the Tinkerer.
We can’t really get into too much more of the story for fear of spoilers but it’s definitely another healthy portion of good old fashioned ‘life at home/life as a hero balancing act’ narrative we’ve come to love from the Spider-Man universe. There are also some nice nods to larger themes such as the strength of community against large corporations, family bonds and taking ownership of your actions. While we do wish the main storyline was slightly longer, there are still loads of sidequests to do after the credits roll so we finally got around to finishing a lot of the jobs we had been sent on the ‘Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man’ app which is actually a clever way to see any odd jobs that need doing around the city.
There’s also a New Game+ option to start the story again but will all your skills, ability and gadget upgrades unlocked, if that’s something you’re into.
In terms of gameplay, things haven’t departed too much from 2018’s title but there are a few new tricks up Miles’ sleeve to help freshen things up a bit. Pretty early on in the game, Miles discovers explosive powers that set him apart from his mentor, Peter Parker. Throughout your playthrough, you’ll need to master your new bio-electric venom blast attacks which add a whole new ‘punch’ to fight scenes. You’ll also develop a new camouflage ability as you progress through the game which lets you get the jump on more difficult enemies without them even knowing you’re there.
When it comes to your web-slinging acrobatics, given that Miles is still learning ‘the ropes’, I, for one, could feel a lack of experience in his traversal and swinging capabilities, compared to how smooth and effortless the first game made Peter Parker look. Now, I think this was actually intentional as Insomniac Games wanted Miles not to be as skillful as Peter seeing as he’s still getting used to everything but, for me anyway, it actually detracted from the overall gameplay experience which is unfortunate.
Thankfully, like the previous titles, there’s a whole myriad of upgrade options available for your suit, your gadgets and even your own combat and traversal abilities so, as you progress through the main and side missions, build up your skill points and complete the various ‘challenge’ courses such as the one for traversal, you’ll become a lot more like the Spider-Man depicted in the 2018’s game.
One thing I really must note is how good combat and web swinging feels on the new DualSense controller, each one of your punches, web shots and venom blasts give a reassuring yet varied rumble thanks to the super-refined haptic feedback tech inside the controller. The adaptive triggers also give a slight tension to your presses when swinging across the city. Playing with headphones connected up to the controller and 3D audio switched on in the console’s settings also adds a whole new level of immersion with the ability to have what feels like your very own ‘Spidey-Sense’ when it comes to locating enemies around you in a fight.
We reviewed Spider-Man: Miles Morales on a PlayStation 5 hooked up to a 4K/HDR TV and it really is a sight to behold. 2018’s Spider-Man was already a fantastic showpiece for the PS4 but, with the improved graphical power of Sony’s new console, Spider-Man and the New York he inhabits never looked so good. With the PS5, Insomniac Games were able to implement a comprehensive level of raytracing to the visuals which, to put it simply, makes all the reflective surfaces in the game realistically reflect their surroundings.
This might not sound all that impressive but, when seen in action, it adds a whole new level of immersion to the world. Now, as you swing past the many glass-bound skyscrapers dotting the virtual New York’s skyline, you’ll be able to catch your reflection and the world around you in their windows.
Even down at street level, you, cars, passers-by and everything else in the vicinity is reflected accurately in the shopfront windows and even off the sides of the cars themselves. Miles’ own suits, depending on their materials, along with his visors, reflect the environment around them. There’s also an updated photo mode, which I’ve already used way to much to capture the amazing visuals, that will let you add additional lights to a scene to really capture that perfect shot.
The game runs at 4K/30FPS with the new raytracing technology enabled but there’s also a 60FPS mode that removes this but doubles the framerate to make gameplay twice as smooth. For me, I played with raytracing enabled but I know others can’t wait to have a 60FPS Spider-Man title to play on their new console.
What I will say though is that the final boss battle is also visually spectacular but the camera needs a little refining as it was getting lost quite a bit.
For the overall presentation, a couple of tweaks I made to make the picture as pin sharp as possible was to go into the display settings and turn off ‘chromatic aberration’, reduce ‘motion blur’ to 5 and reduce film grain all the way to 0. Now I know some people will like the filmic look but I prefer as clean an image as possible and the above tweaks definitely helped to achieve this.
As a launch title, Insomniac Games really knocked it out of the park. Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a great showcase piece for the new console with its impressive raytraced visuals, intuitive use of the DualSense controller and overall high quality storytelling. Along with this new title, Insomniac are also releasing a remastered version of 2018’s Spider-Man to utilise the new graphical power of the PS5 console but getting your hands on it isn’t as simple as a direct upgrade patch for the PS4 version unfortunately. We cover how the go about getting both Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the remastered version of 2018’s Spider-Man below.
Pricing & Availability
As we’ve mentioned, Spider-Man: Miles Morales launches on both PS4 and PS5 on November 19 in Ireland. Buying this standalone expansion of the game on PS4 for €59.99 grants you a free PS5 upgrade. If after buying the expansion, you then decide that you want to purchase Spider-Man: Remastered, you can for another €19.99. Coincidentally, you can use the same upgrade path if buy the Miles Morales standard edition on PS5.
There is, however, a simpler way to get the full Spider-Man experience on PS5. If you opt to purchase the €79.99 Ultimate Edition of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, you will get Miles Morales on both platforms and the Spider-Man PS5 remaster.
There has been some controversy surrounding PS5’s backward compatibility with PS4 saves, with Sony originally stating that players’ Spider-Man PS4 save would not transfer over to next-gen. Thankfully, however, Insomniac has recently stated that players will now be able to transfer save data over to the PS5.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales was reviewed on a PlayStation 5 console using a code supplied by Sony PlayStation Ireland.