First Impressions: Spider-Man Miles Morales

Spider-Man Miles Morales came out yesterday alongside the release of the PlayStation 5, but it’s also out on the PS4 if you can’t find one like me. I should preface this first impressions with this: I like Miles Morales a lot. As in “he is my favorite take on the Spider-Man character archetype and I’ve seen Into The Spider-Verse 15 times” a lot. I also basically 100%’d the previous Spider-Man game despite some of my issues with it. I was gonna judge the game harshly if it didn’t live up to my expectations either way, and based on the first few hours I’d say it more than meets and exceeds them.

Basic premise is this: it’s been over a year since the previous game, it’s Christmas in New York and Peter is out of town for a few weeks. That means Miles has the Run of the city and has to make sure it doesn’t go to Hell in a handbasket. Sounds simple enough, but the Underground, an up and coming, high tech crime syndicate that’s moved in following Fisk’s operation going Under is causing trouble and it’s up to Miles to make sure things get out of control. This isn’t the full story, because I’m still a ways from finishing the game and there’s stuff I’m omitting for brevity’s sake and to make sure that spoilers aren’t too prevalent, but there’s some interesting stuff that happens to say the least that I’ll get into with the full piece next week.

I’ve so far played the game for about 4–5 hours at this point and the way the game is structured feels more focused and streamlined than the previous game, which is saying a lot considering that the previous game was pretty focused and streamlined for an open world game. For starters, which you still have the entirety of the playable Manhattan from the last game at your disposal, the majority of the story missions so far take place in Harlem which tracks because that’s where the main events take place. The overall scale of the proceedings feels more small scale this time around, with Miles focusing more so on being the titular “Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man” and helping the community with smaller problems as opposed to fighting off supervillains and the like (though it will probably get to that in time). This is even pointed out through an app his friend Ganke makes for him that civilians can use to get in touch and request help, which goes a long way to help live up to the “Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man” moniker.

The game also plays like a similar but different version of the previous game You are a Spider-Man, but Miles has a different enough take on the concept that it feels fresh so far. There have been combat encounters that introduced his Venom Strike ability, an electricity infused punch and stealth encounters that make use of his camouflage being the biggest differentiators; with the majority of his upgrades focusing on those. There doesn’t seem to be much to play around with as with Peter, but I’m excited to give it a try.

If these opening hours for Spider-Man Miles Morale are anything to go by, then I am in for a treat if the game continues to unfold the way it is. Between the smaller scale, more focused campaign and the quicker pace, this could be another front runner for my game of the year as well as another great Spider-Man game. Here’s to hoping it sticks the landing.

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