What is it? A Spidey spin-off with a much more interesting protagonist.
Expect to pay £50/$60
Publication date November 18
Developer Insomniac Games/Nixxes Software
Judged by Nvidia GeForce RTX3070, AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, 16GB RAM
Clutch Official site (opens in new tab)
While I’ve never been a superhero girl, I’ve always had a soft spot for Miles Morales. He’s my favorite Spider-Man – I find him to be a more interesting and personal character than the various iterations of Peter Parker.
That feeling extends to their respective games. Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a great mini-sequel slash spin-off of Insomniac’s 2018 web-slinging venture. At Rick Lane 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 that Miles Morales’ PC port is still “mostly good”. The good news is that it’s a much better game.
Miles Morales is a more streamlined experience than its predecessor. There may be less to do, but most everything is done in a way that benefits Miles and New York. Much of the bloat has been removed – there are fewer sidequests to distract from and the story is much shorter than its predecessor. It’s a perfect opportunity for a tighter, more intense storyline, and Miles Morales delivers.
It starts with a brief recap so I know where Miles stands now. The focus of the story splits between the teen balancing his family life – particularly in the aftermath of his father’s death in the previous game – and performing his new smart tasks as the OG takes a brutal winter vacation. Routine web-slinging shenanigans lead Miles to a serious conflict between Roxxon Corporation and the Underground, a high-tech criminal gang led by the Tinkerer. It has a great deal of superhero-level predictability in its various twists. But the game does a great job fleshing out the cast, giving those predictable moments an emotional charge that offers some forgiveness.
On the way to Miles
A more engaging story is no doubt aided by the fact that Insomniac has somehow managed to make Spider-Man feel even cooler than before. It may be a snow-covered replica of Peter Parker’s New York, but the developer has tweaked its near-perfect web sway to make it even more satisfying. I have more control this time around running through walls and steering around buildings. I defaulted through the controller, but gave the keyboard a shout out and found that port developer Nixxes did a surprisingly good job of translating the input. It took some getting used to, but eventually felt as intuitive as using a Dualsense.
Defeating bad guys is largely the same between both Spideys, but Miles gets a few key additions that set him apart. His Venom abilities shake up the fight a bit, allowing Miles to deal electrical damage to enemies. The hits feel heavy and have nice, punchy camera work to make the fights more dynamic. Overall, though, the core move set remains the same. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but those looking for drastic combat evolutions may be disappointed.
Stealth missions are still plentiful, requiring Miles to delicately balance on posts and beams while quietly trapping enemies out of sight. They’ve never been my favorite, and usually I’m tired of repeatedly scanning each enemy to see if they’re safe from a stealth takedown. Countless times I gave up and threw myself into battle, feeling much more comfortable taking down an entire group of underground goons with my Venom Smash.
With Miles Morales moving to PC from the PlayStation 5, the game is already a graphic feast. For the most part, the gate looks equally stunning, if not better. I experienced some aliasing issues, especially during cutscenes. There were also a few graphical bugs during my few hours in New York, such as textures not loading properly and Miles completely missing from loading screens, leaving a stray gappy web.
I also had an absolute mare with frame drops and crashing. My rig didn’t handle the ray-tracing options very well, and even turning it off found some annoying framerate issues during combat and traversal. It also crashed on me several times, which isn’t a big deal on the gameplay side of things thanks to autosave. But it started to get a bit frustrating to launch the game multiple times in one night. On the plus side, there are plenty of graphics options to tinker with. Reducing the traffic density and disabling ray tracing allowed me to play on high settings with relatively few stutters aside from the crashing issue.
I still recommend playing Insomniac’s first Spider-Man purely because it compliments the power of this game’s story. But for those who just want to kick around wintry New York, swing past skyscrapers at lightning speed and kick bad guys, Miles Morales should be your one and only Spider-Man. It’s easily the hero’s best adventure yet, and it won’t take up much of your time either.