Need to know
What is it? A Spidey spin-off with a far more interesting protagonist.
Expect to pay £50/$60
Release date November 18
Developer Insomniac Games/Nixxes Software
Reviewed on Nvidia GeForce RTX3070, AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, 16GB RAM
Link Official site (opens in new tab)
While I’ve never been a big superhero girlie, I’ve always had a soft spot for Miles Morales. He’s my preferred Spider-Man—I find him a more interesting and personable character than Peter Parker’s various iterations.
That feeling extends to their respective games. Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a great mini sequel-slash-spinoff to Insomniac’s 2018 web-slinging endeavour. In Rick Lane’s Spider-Man review (opens in new tab), he wrote that it was a mostly good port of a mostly good game. The bad news is Miles Morales’s PC port is still just “mostly good.” The good news is it’s one of a far better game.
Miles Morales is a more streamlined experience than its predecessor. There may be less to do, but almost all of it is in a way that benefits Miles and New York. Much of the bloat has been cut—there are fewer sidequests to distract and the story is far shorter than its predecessor. It’s a perfect opportunity for a tighter, more intense storyline, and Miles Morales delivers.
Things kick off with a quick recap, getting me up to speed on where Miles is at now. The narrative’s focus splits between the teen balancing his family life—particularly in the wake of his father’s death in the previous game—and performing his new spidey duties while the OG takes a cheeky winter vacay. Routine web-slinging shenanigans lead Miles to some serious beef between Roxxon Corporation and the Underground, a high-tech criminal gang led by the Tinkerer. It’s got its fair share of superhero-level predictability in its various twists and turns. But the game does a great job of fleshing out its cast, giving those predictable moments an emotional charge that affords some forgiveness.
Going for Miles
A more engaging story is undoubtedly aided by the fact Insomniac has somehow managed to make being Spider-Man feel even cooler than it was before. It may be a snow-covered replica of Peter Parker’s New York, but the developer has tweaked its near-perfect web-slinging to feel even more satisfying. I feel more in control of wallrunning and steering around buildings this time around. I defaulted to traversal via controller, but gave keyboard a shout and found port developer Nixxes has translated the inputs over surprisingly well. It took a bit of getting used to but eventually felt just as intuitive as using a Dualsense.
Beating on bad guys is mostly the same between both Spideys, but Miles gets a few key additions that differentiate him. His Venom abilities shake up the combat a bit, allowing Miles to deal some burst electrical damage to enemies. The hits feel weighty and have some nice, snappy camera work to make the fights feel more dynamic. By and large though, the core moveset remains the same. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but those looking for drastic combat evolutions may feel disappointed.
There’s still an overabundance of stealth missions, requiring Miles to delicately balance on poles and beams while quietly webbing up enemies out of sight. They’ve never been my favourite, and I usually end up tired of repeatedly scanning each enemy to see if they’re safe for a stealth takedown. Numerous times I gave up and threw myself into the fray, finding slamming down an entire group of Underground goons with my Venom Smash far more pleasing.
With Miles Morales zipping over to PC from the PlayStation 5, the game’s already a graphical feast. For the most part, the port looks equally gorgeous, if not better. I did experience some aliasing issues, particularly during cutscenes. There were also a few graphical bugs throughout my few hours in New York, like textures not loading in properly and Miles missing altogether during loading screens, leaving some stray gappy web behind.
I also had an absolute mare with frame drops and crashing. My rig didn’t get on with the ray-tracing options too well, and even when switched off I found some pesky framerate issues during combat and traversal. It also crashed on me several times which, thanks to auto-saving, isn’t a huge issue for the gameplay side of things. But having to boot the game up multiple times in one night began to become a tad frustrating. On the plus side, there are tons of graphical options to tinker around with. Knocking down traffic density and disabling ray tracing let me play on high settings with relatively few hiccups, bar the crashing problem.
I still recommend playing Insomniac’s first Spider-Man, purely because it compliments the strength of this game’s story. But for those who just want to kick it around a wintry New York, sling past skyscrapers at breakneck speed, and kick bad-guy butt, Miles Morales should be your one true Spider-Man. It’s easily the hero’s best adventure to date, and it won’t eat up a ton of your time either.