Review – Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PC)
I think there’s little I can say about 2018’s Spider-Man game that hasn’t been said already. One of my favorite PS4 exclusives, it was the one game that did the impossible, removing the old Spider-Man 2 game from the mid-2000s from the throne of “best superhero game of all time”. A “spin-off-quel” of sorts, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, came out two years later, as a launch title for the PS5. I… did not play it at the time. I was being consumed by the twin threat that was playing Demon’s Souls and Cyberpunk 2077 pretty much at the same time, so I had to ignore Miles Morales for a while. With its brand new PC release, and the fact Sony’s Steam releases have been pretty good as of late, I now have the perfect chance to find out what I’ve been missing. Let’s swing into the action.
My biggest worry before playing Miles Morales proper, was that fear I was going to play what was essentially a standalone DLC, with very little substance when compared to its big brother. Being short and unmemorable, all while being sold at a near-AAA price. Also, was I really going to go through an origin story when the 2018 original itself skipped that tried and true “with great power blablabla” nonsense we’re all tired of hearing? Neither of these concerns were warranted, however. I definitely should not doubt Insomniac’s ability to deliver great experiences at a fraction of the development time required by other studios. Miles Morales, as you all know by now, is its own thing. It deserves to be held in the same regard as the 2018 Spider-Man game, despite its shorter length, and it’s a phenomenal game as a whole.
There are tons of elements in Miles Morales that make this game stand out, but first and foremost, we need to talk about its plot. This is the main reason I fell for the game so quickly. I’m not saying the plot from the 2018 Spider-Man game wasn’t good (it was AMAZING, pardon the pun), but Miles Morales hits differently. It knows the titular hero isn’t as mature or ready to tackle cosmic beings, world-destroying menaces, and the like. The game threw some big baddies at me, with a sizeable threat, but it also managed to make the overarching plot really personal, down-to-earth, and relatable. Miles doesn’t know that many people, he is still fresh as a Spider-Man (although he has received training), he is trying to become a superhero as cool and important as Peter Parker himself. Speaking of…
Peter is mostly absent from the game as a whole. He shows up in the very beginning of the game, as the mentor to Miles, and from then on mostly via phone conversations, as he is on vacation. Yes, it sounds a bit bizarre, a bit lame, but it works for the whole “my mentor is gone so I need to mature by myself” vibe of the plot. Also, the less I have to see this ultra-childish Peter Parker face, the better. It just doesn’t look anywhere near as acceptable from the 2018 game, save for the character’s voice. Every other character looks great in cutscenes, Pete is the only one who decided to reside in the deepest marshes of the uncanny valley. Thank goodness for mods.
But graphically, Miles Morales is clearly superior to its 2018 counterpart, not only because it features an option for ray-tracing (I never even bothered using it), but because it just looks much better in general… while running at double the framerate. It allows for much smoother gameplay, especially when it comes to swinging around an icy cold Manhattan with your webs. Not only that, but the four year interim between the original Spider-Man game and the PC version of Miles Morales made me finally get 100% used to the web swinging traversal system, making going from A to B one hell of a fun breeze. The same can be said about the camera. Either I got used to it or Insomniac tweaked it a bit. Whatever the case, it feels better than before.
One thing I loved from Spider-Man: Miles Morales is that Insomniac did its best to make Miles feel more than just a skin swap of Peter Parker. Not only does he move around town in a more joyful, “I still haven’t lost my innocence” kind of way, but his combat moveset is more varied than Pete’s, all due to his comic book superpowers being featured in the game.
For the uninitiated, or those who have sinfully not watched Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (seriously, go watch that right freaking now), Miles has a few extra superpowers when compared to Peter Parker. He can control electricity, meaning that he can throw electric webs at circuits to solve puzzles, perform area of effect bursts of energy, and stun brutes with a massive Venom Punch. Furthermore, he has cloaking skills, making stealth sections even more fun, if not a cakewalk. I loved these new abilities and gadgets, but I have to say I still don’t like how Insomniac wants me to perform three button combinations for some of these skills.
Being a much shorter game, Spider-Man: Miles Morales needed to add some extra features to make its overall package feel less like a standalone DLC and more like the actual game it is. It all boils down to the Friendly Neighbor app, which throws a few scripted (and well-animated) tasks at you, with better writing and payoffs than the side activities from the 2018 game. Those are still here as well, but in less numbers. It’s less about quantity, more about quality in this case, and I’m more than okay with this approach.
I have no major complaints about Spider-Man: Miles Morales. If anything, I have just minor nitpicks or the feeling that, maybe, the 2018 game did something better than this one. That would mostly center around the voice acting, which is good, let me be clear, but not as good as the previous game. Nadji Jeter does a good job as Miles himself, but he doesn’t come anywhere near as Yuri Lowenthal’s now-iconic role as Peter. Then again, it’s just a minor gripe. Even if I didn’t like the voice acting that much, I did like the soundtrack, be it the score comprised of orchestral tunes mixed with trap beats, or the half a dozen licensed songs included in the mix, such as Gente de Zona’s “La Gozadera“.
A likeable protagonist, new abilities and a personal, down-to-earth story made up for the fact Spider-Man: Miles Morales is shorter than its 2018 predecessor. It’s a game with enough qualities to stand on its own, one that proves that Miles isn’t just some fluke character being pushed by Marvel over the past few years. Not only that, but this PC port is the real deal, with some pretty good optimization and performance. Whether you play this on a PC or PS5, you’ll have a blast. Though I may now think this version is slightly better than its console counterpart just for the fact you change Peter’s face to the 2018 one with a mod…
Not 100% optimized for PC (one or two hiccups here and there), but still shockingly pretty, running at a juicy framerate and just looking plain awesome while doing so. But that new Peter face feels wrong. Just wrong.
Maybe we’ve just gotten used to how the camera works in these Insomniac Spider-Man games, or it just works better in here. The new abilities are a blast to use (although they still require odd button combinations), and traversing through Manhattan at 60fps is delicious.
I loved the soundtrack even more than the one from the 2018 game, and loved the two or three licensed songs included in the mix. While I did enjoy the voice acting, it didn’t feel as good as the one from the 2018 game, at all.
Fun Factor: 9.0
A likeable protagonist, new abilities and a personal, down-to-earth story made up for the fact Miles Morales is shorter than the 2018 Spider-Man game. Web swinging for the sake of it has never felt better.
Final Verdict: 9.0
Spider-Man: Miles Morales is available now on PS4, PS5, and PC.
Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB..