Spider-Man: Miles Morales was announced as the main launch title for Sony’s PlayStation 5, but players in general were long confused by the nature of the title itself. Is it just an extension of the first game, or is it a full-blown sequel? While the game’s publishers have tended to market the latter category, we tend to approach the former. Still, Miles Morales is still a fun, exciting and visually dazzling expansion, as long as it lasts.
Given the bad news, it’s worth mentioning that Spider-Man: Miles Morales is indeed a very short game. Although it is available for only $50 on PS4 and PS5, the main campaign lasts only about 10 to 12 hours, including an occasional engagement with side activities along the way. In our play-through, which now has an overall completion percentage of 87 percent, we started on a Saturday and had completed most of our time by Monday. There is, of course, additional content that true completion researchers can delve into, but Miles Morales will amount to a weekend of gameplay for most people.
As short as the adventure may be, it is still an exciting journey that you cannot deny. The game takes place shortly after the events of Marvel’s Spider-Man in 2018, when Peter is pulled from his superhero duties on a world tour with Mary Jane. In the absence of OG Spidey, Miles’ job is to keep an eye on New York while his mentor is absent. Needless to say, this seemingly simple idea turns to chaos when it is discovered that the energy conglomerate Roxxon and its sleazy leader Simon Krieger are using the Nuform energy reactors in a way that could lead to the destruction of Harlem and all of New York.
But Miles’ confrontation with Big Tech is only one facet of the story, as he also has to deal with the underground, a roving gang of anarchists hoping to prevent Roxxon from controlling Nuform at his own discretion. This group is led by a newly invented female version of the Tinkerer, who becomes a truly magnificent villain thanks to her lightning-fast movements and her ingenious use of electrical energy.
Without going too deep into spoiler territory, the Tinkerer also provides a certain emotional resonance for a narrative that some might desperately need. Apart from a short sequence of Christmas dinner and some poignant moments with Miles’ Uncle Aaron, there is simply not much that could prompt serious investment. Compared to the simple deadly viral plot of the first game, this story of corporate intrigue and corruption has not taken up as much of our attention as it probably should have. At certain times, we were honestly not quite sure what we were fighting for.
Fortunately, the fights and the moment-to-moment storyline in Spider-Man: Miles Morales are flawless enough to make up for any potential narrative flaws in the game about ten times over. For those who have played the 2018 predecessor, the combat system of Miles Morales is largely identical to the first, but just as deeply and satisfactorily reworked. There will almost certainly be a learning curve for newcomers, but different levels of difficulty allow newcomers to overcome this hurdle at their own pace. The only real new additions to the list are Miles’ Venom Powers. These amount to a series of attacks characterized by an electrical charge capable of stunning groups of enemies at once. Taking advantage of stealth, the poison blast and poison charge eventually become a thrill, but these moves only really come into their own after you’ve upgraded and levelled your Spidey quite a bit. By then, you’ll probably only have about a quarter of the campaign left.
This focus on electricity also reveals one of the campaign’s biggest weaknesses, and that is the recycled “generator wire after the puzzles”. Throughout history, you will be asked to use spider sense to track wires leading to a power source about a dozen times. These activities are fine, there are just too many of them. This campaign is best done during the big set moments on bridges and during the few boss fights you will encounter with the rhino, the tinkerer and others.
If you don’t hunt down insidious enemies in the main missions, you’ll spend most of the game commuting through different city districts and doing side activities. The herv