Video Game Writing

GAME REVIEW: Spider-Man: Miles Morales

After the huge success of Sony’s Spider-Man game for the PS4 back in 2018, it was inevitable that they’d make it into a series. Plenty of hints were dropped throughout the game for a suspected sequel, and the inclusion of Miles Morales in that game as a minor playable character had excitement stirring. So when Spider-Man: Miles Morales was announced, fans like me were over the moon! Miles has steadily become a huge favourite superhero for many recently (I think the success of Into The Spider-Verse really catapulted the love for him), so to have him feature in his own standalone game as NYC’s newest web slinger was really good news!

Spider-Man: Miles Morales has a lot of great things about it, and I really enjoyed the game overall – it was nice to be back in a game with excellent mechanics and I’m certain I could spend hours just swinging through NYC doing aerial tricks. However, there were a couple of things that let the game down, which sucks as this could have been a perfect 10/10 for me! Bear in mind – this is the first time I’m reviewing a game, which is a fair bit different from reviewing a book! I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.

Swinging through NYC – Bodega Cat suit

Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we?

Spider-Man: Miles Morales is, overall, an excellent game. Getting back into the world of Spider-Man and taking control of Miles when Peter has to go on a freelance work trip with MJ is a good way to set the scene – Miles being fairly new to his powers and the responsibility of being a superhero, as well as now having the responsibility of being ready to protect NYC at a moments notice. With mysterious new gang The Underground making waves and directly targeting the seemingly too-good-to-be-true Roxxon clean energy suppliers popping up across the city, Miles has a lot on his plate.

The story felt well-paced throughout, and there was plenty to do between story missions, like collectibles that would unlock as you progressed. I enjoyed Miles’ growth as a character, as well as the appearance of his friend Ganke who is vital at helping Miles keep his identity a secret as well as making his life easier – new suit mods, a neighbourhood watch app, checking in with Miles from time to time, you name it. Ganke is a well rounded character who cements himself as a great sidekick. I also really appreciated Phin, and the history she had with Miles that slowly revealed itself through the course of the gameplay. One of my favourite collectible side quests was collecting their time capsules scattered throughout the city, as it really gives insight into how close they were as children and adds to the mystery in the story of why they grew apart (which is, of course, revealed the more you play the game).

One of the main things I enjoyed about the game was the fact that it felt full of community spirit. There were tailored side missions that focused on Miles’ Harlem district and the street he lives on, which made it feel like Miles was more in tune with what was going on in his community. This also extends to the Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man App – a creation by Ganke so residents of the city can get in touch with Miles through the app and ask for help, or report crimes for him to stop. I felt this inclusion was a really good way of showing how Spider-Man can be more involved with the people he helps, as well as making more sense than the previous game of the ‘Crime in Progress’ just popping up on the side of the screen. The app made me feel more of a connection to the residents, and like I could instantly check in and see how to help them.

I really love attention to detail in games, so was pleased when I saw that Miles wasn’t just a carbon copy of the swinging Spider-Man models they used in the first game. Miles has his own mannerisms when swinging – he looks wobbly at times, like he’s still trying to find confidence and balance when he’s traversing the city by webs, and I love this so much! It shows that he still isn’t used to being Spider-Man as much as Peter, and that he’s still learning the ropes. His idle animations are fun too; leave Miles perching long enough on the edge of a building will have him humming a tune and tapping his fingers to the rhythm of his hums, which is a great nod to his love of music. Speaking of music, the ambient soundtrack when swinging was great (you can find the soundtrack on Spotify too!) and plays into this love Miles has for music and beats. It’s unique to him – if you think back to the first game, Peter’s ambient soundtrack is very different, which is a nice way of showing how different they are. It’s good to have this variation, and it shows the devs have taken lots of care in crafting Miles fully.

Can’t stop, got a city to save! – Into the Spider Verse suit

In terms of suits and collectibles, I think there was a good range, and it was great to see how much variation there was for Miles and the suits he could wear. From his classic black and red suit, to a homemade suit complete with Timberland boots, there was plenty of option available to see Miles’ personality shine through. I was glad to see the addition of the Spider Verse suit, and absolutely loved the option to have Miles be animated just like the movie in terms of movements and fighting style – who doesn’t love an old school comic book ‘POW’ when fighting an enemy! The animated suit was a nice touch too, as it’s cel-shaded and makes you stand out from the NYC skyline. The collectible missions were fun, and as some of them unlocked through gameplay of story missions, they allowed you a brief insight into Miles’ past and how his friends and family shaped him and his experiences.

Photo modes in games have quickly become staple – it’s something I find myself checking straight away in a new game to see how good of a photo I can take. Spider-Man: Miles Morales doesn’t disappoint in the slightest! The previous game had a very strong photo mode and I’m glad to see the return of it here in this game. It’s practically the same which is nice, and has lots of options to truly take a spectacular photo. I’ve seen some great shots online – the ones in this post are all taken by me!

The photomode in the game is just as good as the first game – Programmable Matter suit

Accessibility features and changing settings for ease for players has been a real necessity lately, and I was really pleased to see how varied the Accessibility Settings were for this game. You can change lots of gameplay mechanics – from swapping button mashing sequences to button holds, aiming and swinging sensitivity, intensity of the controller vibration, and you can even make sure that the camera angles itself towards your waypoints. It’s excellent that these features have been included to make gameplay as accessible to as many players as possible. Hopefully more games will take heed of these menu settings and implement them into their own games. I’m sure that more can be done, of course, but it’s great to see that progress is being made with accessibility options.

As high praise as I’ve given the game, there were a few things that stuck out to me as not being the best that it could have been.

Overall, the story felt way too short. At time of writing, I’ve finished all of the story missions and completed every district to 100%, including the bonus collectibles that were unlocked at the end of the story. I’m playing on PS4 so I unfortunately can’t check my playtime at the moment (unless the PSN wrap up will tell me soon), but I started this game properly on 26th December and had finished all of the above by 31st December. To me, that really doesn’t feel very long – in comparison, the first Spider-Man game took me a fair bit longer than just under a week to finish to the same level of completion as this one. Even though this was a game on its own and not DLC, the length of gameplay of Spider-Man: Miles Morales definitely made it feel like a filler game – something to tide players over whilst waiting for a longer instalment.

I felt like there just weren’t enough ‘secret base’ missions – both for The Underground and Roxxon. I can understand the limit of the Roxxon bases in keeping with the storyline, but surely there would have and could have been more bases and gatherings for The Underground. It just felt like they were over way too quickly, and I think the game would have benefitted from more bases cropping up as the game progressed to show that The Underground still had a bit of presence in the city. In keeping with this, I feel like the missions in the app were over too quickly. Once completed, it would just show a list of what I’d done rather than refreshing crimes across the city. It would have been great if the Crime tab was more active so that you as a player could keep tabs on anything going on rather than scrolling a finished list of crimes you’ve sorted out. It would have been nice to just have these constantly refreshing – even if the crimes were repetitive, it would have been nice post-game to continue with the app.

A small annoyance here – and a minor spoiler – but I wish we were able to unlock the Bodega Cat Suit earlier on in the game. The suit was featured in some of the teaser trailers and I was eager to unlock it as soon as possible to wear it through the entire game – I like to pick a favourite suit – but to learn that this doesn’t get unlocked until after the main story was complete was a shame.

Observing the city and wishing the cat could have been with me through the entire journey – Bodega Cat suit

All in all, I think Spider-Man: Miles Morales was an excellent addition to a game catalogue that Sony seems eager to grow, if the bonus credits scene is anything to go by. I’m looking forward to replaying this game on New Game+ and trying for a 100% Completion Platinum trophy, and I’d happily give this game a solid 8/10!

4 thoughts on “GAME REVIEW: Spider-Man: Miles Morales

  1. I knew already how much you enjoyed this game – loved seeing your screenshots you posted on Insta but reading this has made me really excited to play when I finally get my hands on a PS! I’m now really excited even though I have a feeling I might not be able to get a hold of one until the Summer but adding this to my games to buy list! Thank you Layla!

    Liked by 1 person

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