Let’s get this out of the way first: Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a spin-off from the main Spider-Mangame that came to the PS4 in 2018. Furthermore, it’s a spin-off that carries on pretty much right where the main game left off, which makes it more like DLC or an expansion. More on that later.
Combat encounters always feel visceral…
If you played Spider-Man back in 2018, this will feel very familiar. You swing gloriously through the city in a way no Spider-Man game has ever captured before, you go Batman Arkham series combat mode and stealth mode, and you generally just spend most of your time laying the beat down on bad guys. There are small spurts of detective work, or rather “follow the highlighted stuff” mechanics, but this is a superhero game: it’s all about violence against the bad guys. And therein lies this game’s greatest strength: there’s never a point at which the combat gets boring. Combat encounters always feel visceral, and the cinematic angles help to make you feel like a certified digital superhero trainee. You might even believe you could pull some of these moves off, though I personally don’t suggest trying. And when getting into combat would make your life miserable, the stealth mechanics that are essentially lifted straight from the Arkham series also feel just as visceral… sometimes to the point where you wonder why no one notices or hears the loud thuds and grunts. Still, in terms of gameplay, it’s all solid mechanics. But that last word also hides a more negative issue: this game didn’t build the foundation for these mechanics. No, this was all built in the main 2018 game, and adding venom attacks only makes you feel flashier than OG Spidey. The foundation wasn’t made for Miles, it was made for Peter, and Miles is quintessentially a copy-paste character. Not much work was done to make Miles feel different.
The credits roll in about 8 hours…
This is where it starts to get a little offensive. The credits roll in about 8 hours, and that wasn’t 8 hours of steaming ahead: I did several side missions just to see how those pan out compared to the main missions. I even unlocked all the first-playthrough skills, and though I found the mods to be far less useful, I upgraded the ones I needed to by fighting street crimes and doing some collectibles. And while the main missions themselves do feel polished and exciting to play through, there’s something a little off about having a whole game disc/installation for what represents probably the majority of players’ desire: to see the story through and just be strong enough to lay waste to criminals. In fact, that’s what starts to look “criminal”: this was $50 for what easily amounted to DLC for the main game. The price to content ratio here is simply not good value.
It’s not new, it’s just enhanced.
You might be hoping this is where the game makes up for its price tag. That’s a negative: this game is REALLY good-looking, but in a sort of once-again-last-gen-dialed-up-to-11 way with sugar on top. That sugar is primarily ray tracing, and it is implemented quite skillfully. And because it’s not a twitch shooter, I wholly recommend playing in Fidelity mode because of this. But close inspection leads to another easily surmised conclusion: you’ve already seen this world in the 2018 game. Sure some indoor levels are built for this game, but this is by-and-large the Spider-Man 2018 game world you know and love. It’s not new, it’s just enhanced. And I emphasize it does, indeed, look really good, but it’s definitely not a technical marvel of what the PS5 is capable of, not in the slightest.
… this just can’t stand alone as a game.
I absolutely adored the main attraction in 2018. Sure, I wasn’t here to review it at the time, but it was a blast to play, and I had never felt as close to being a superhero since the Batman Arkham series. So I went into this ready to get back into kicking bad guy’s asses all up and down the streets of Manhattan. And I did just that… except, I did that before, too. And I’ve seen all of this before, felt all this before. It pains me to say this, but it all was so “before” that this just can’t stand alone as a game. It’s DLC, and it’s overpriced. It even feels like it has a $10 Sony tax on it. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s still incredible to play and look at, it just makes it a very poor value-per-dollar proposition.