After all the brouhaha about Peter’s new model, well, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales will be coming out nevertheless on 12 November 2020 for most territories on the PS4, ahead of its PS5 release. The first impressions has been accordingly updated for the full release. Beware of spoilers.
THE NEW OLD NEIGHBOURHOOD
There are four difficulty options available in this title:
- Friendly Neighborhood
For reference, this review is based on the Amazing difficulty. There is an option for New Game Plus.
Miles takes up the mantle of being Spider-Man, but both he and Peter Parker are referred to as “Spider-Man”, so some NPCs will make the distinction of calling Miles the new Spider-Man. Well, if both of them are around, then where did Peter go to? Mary Jane got a job vacation, and Peter’s her photographer. Off they go then, conveniently put on the bus to let Miles do his own thing. Fortunately, Peter can still do his tutorializing, with plenty of hologram training spots for Miles to come across and help his protégé improve or unlock more of his skill set. Thanks!
The story itself is post the original Marvel’s Spider-Man and its DLCs. The 17 year old Miles is eager to prove himself to the people of NYC, while they would much rather have Peter. With Peter off on vacay, New York City only has an inexperienced teen – he’s Spider-man, but nonetheless lacking in training – to protect it. That doesn’t do much for Miles’ confidence, but at least he has Ganke Lee to help him out, both in and out of costume as needed.
As Miles, you’ll be tangling with both the Underground and Roxxon Energy:-
- The Underground is lead by Tinkerer, who wants to stop Roxxon Energy from deploying the new Nuform reactor. They’re fighting back quite violently, to put it mildly. From “just” a gang, they’ve transformed into a powerhouse crime organization which has suddenly acquired some real high-tech stuff, and worse still, Tinkerer may not be the “true” mastermind…
- Simon Kriegen’s Roxxon Energy seems to be viewed favourably by the public, and their Nuform reactor boasts the ability to provide clean energy to power the city. A shame that it’s failed numerous safety tests, so its deployment will be harming many lives, at best. Not that the public knows, of course. This is all for their own good.
A SPIDER-MAN DOES WHAT A SPIDER-MAN DOES
As with the previous game, you can swoop around the city to collect Time Capsules, sweep either the Roxxon Reactor or the Underground Hideouts, git gud through hologram trainings, stumbling on Underground caches and whatever else that gets your Spidey Senses tingling. The random occasions of crime likewise still do crop up all over for you to web up random thuggish dude #153167.
Skills are broadly divided into three types:
Peter was focused more on close combat or web-related skills, while Miles is more on building his unique abilities, namely Venom and Camouflage. If you’ve seen Into the Spider-Verse, you should know where this is going. The Venom bar is basically Peter’s special power bar, with Miles being able to utilize it to execute your Venom skills, or heal yourself. Miles’ bio electric charge is utilized in all the Venom skills, and accordingly, are all also able to inflict stun effects. It also comes in handy for quite a few puzzles in the game. Camouflage is exactly as it says on the tin: it turns you invisible, and most enemies will lose aggro on activation, so you can make a quick getaway.
Back from the original game are the suits. At the moment, we’ve got 19 of them, with some requiring story progression to unlock, while others are craftable when you have the resources. The suits also don’t modify the game besides changing your appearances, but some mods unlock when you obtain the associated suit. Speaking of mods, there are two of them: Visor Mods and Suit Mods. These too can be crafted so long you meet the criteria, applying buffs like decreasing enemy attack, or increasing your health regen.
To further spice up your web slingin’ life, you can be further aided with gadgets in four flavours:
- Web shooters
- Works just like Peter’s
- Akin to a summon in RPG games, you summon an AI-controlled hologram that will attack and distract enemies on its own
- Remote Mine
- Well, it’s a remotely detonated mine. It will probably only take out one enemy, but you can plant one on a fuse box to take out more enemies in its radius
- Gravity Well
- Zarya ult some mooks in a small radius and follow that up with your sick combos
Finishers are still in the game, and yes, there will be skills which will encourage you to do so. As the name suggests, these finishers would be a one hit knockout for the regular guys after you accumulate enough on your combo chain and eliminate some sorry dude.
TIME TO THROW HANDS
If you’ve played the original, it’s essentially more of the same. Run circles around the mooks with plenty of environmental items to toss into the mix, and yeeting them off edges is still a valid way to quick clears – don’t worry, they’re still nicely webbed up ’cause heroes don’t kill. With the variations of Venom skills, you can do some juggling with stunned enemies, and mix it up with some camo action and they won’t know what hit ’em.
The stealth sections are much simpler this time round: press R3 to scan the area, and L2 to (optionally) tag enemies. Tagging will let you see if you can take down the enemy safely, so you can avoid breaking cover. If you still go for it, you can re-establish stealth using your camo. Considering the relatively short cooldown on using camo, these sections are basically trivialized.
With the two main enemy factions, they have their own perks as befitting who they’re aligned with. Underground, unlike their name, are able to scale to higher heights with fancy gizmo weapons, while Roxxon has the bog standard private security loadout. As you get further into the game, they’ll get quite tired of you constantly punting them around, and will come better equipped with stuff like visors that can see you through your camo, shields for absorbing Venom attacks and the like, so don’t get too complacent!
The evolving enemies means combat in general can be much tougher since you can’t mindlessly spam your attacks, from your auto combos or skills. It gives Miles his own identity, while keeping the base mechanics familiar to those who’ve played the previous game. For Miles fans, you can look forward to his character growth, and queue up What’s Up Danger? for when that time comes as you go through NYC through new eyes, meeting characters new and old.
Spider-man’s that big household name now post events of the first game, and Miles has some really big shoes to fill. This game is Miles’ chance to prove himself, that he can live up to the name, the legacy, while he contends with both himself, and the public’s opinion of him. Is he going to be just Peter 2.0, or Miles, dammit?
Hold on tight till you get the game in your hands, and till we too can unleash the full review! The web swingin’ is as fun as ever, which may be just enough reason to get it, besides gushing over Miles and declaring him best son boy of the year. The game feels like a playable extension of Into the Spider-verse, alas lacking the other Spider-people, so while we wait for the sequel to the movie, this is what you can get to strap in for the incredible ride.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW.
As a whole, the game has 16 main missions, which can take around 8 hours to finish. This does not include the side quests where you can spend a variable amount of time to complete. As for the completely adorable and viral cat, it’s a suit option. You will need to finish the final mission, then clear a new quest that appears to unlock it. Since suits don’t have additional powers in this game, it amounts to just having it for adorable-ness factor, and a special animation on executing finishing moves where the cat lands the final hit.
You’d probably be spending most of your post-main story time to hunt for collectibles or clearing out the side quests. There aren’t many unique bosses when compared to the previous game, primarily only featuring Prowler, Rhino and Tinkerer, some of whom you’ll fight multiple times. Depending on where the post-credit stinger goes, that could be grounds for some tantalizing DLC.
As for skills, gadgets and certain suits, the final upgrade is only available in New Game+, which adds that bit more to play time. You can worry less about spending overly long in going through stuff you’ve already seen, because the game is already pretty damn optimized even playing on “just” the PS4.
When compared to the first game, Miles’ game feels much shorter. If you don’t rush the main story, though, there’s plenty to hunt down, with way more variations of random crimes to pepper around on your swinging bouts, like one to prevent the hack of a helicopter. Miles, moving up in the world.
The later game enemies do hurt though, like how pride comes before a fall. This was on Amazing difficulty, so you can imagine Spectacular difficulty would mean a one-hit KO from these dudes. While we mentioned Miles’ camo trivializing stealth sections, when it comes to the Underground faction especially, their ability to move from low to higher elevations means there still is room for error on your part, still requiring a certain level of finesse.
While we can complain about the actual length of the game, what’s there is really well written, so Marvel and lore fans can dig right in to the details sprinkled all over the game: social media feed, quest flavour text, and random podcasts from JJJ or Danika Hart.
Last but definitely not least, the credits pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman. Rest in peace.
|Miles’ unique and fun abilities||Main campaign seems too short|