Review: ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales’

A spectacular introduction to the character and PlayStation 5

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2020 is the first time in eleven years where a Marvel Cinematic Universe film has not been released. And maybe after 23 films nearly back-to-back we needed a break. And yet at the very end of a disastrous year, a superhero story that is bold, brave and unique arrives to save the day. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is both a sequel and a fresh start for one of the best superhero video game franchises. Miles Morales offers a proper introduction to both the title character and the new hardware offered on the PlayStation 5.

The game starts where the title character is still coming to grips with his new powers and abilities that he discovered at the end of Marvel’s Spider-Man, which smashed records during its release in 2018. Peter Parker has left for a photography session overseas leaving Miles to watch over New York City and take up the reigns as Spider-Man. Almost naturally trouble ensues and Miles is left to deal with an ordeal between the Roxxon Energy Corporation and a new terrorist organization known as the Underground. And in true Spider-Man fashion, Miles has some personal connections to each set of new villains, causing him to pick his battles carefully as both Miles and Spider-Man.

As cliché as sounds, this game literally makes you feel like you’re Spider-Man in ways the original only dreamed of. The game features new, improved graphics and haptics on the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller that make every punch, jump, and bioelectric Venom shock a unique experience.

And while this game can be played on PlayStation 4, it almost is an injustice to not experience this game for the first time on the new PlayStation 5 (if you can manage to get your hands on one, that is). The DualSense controller takes the experience over the top with adaptive triggers that cause every web shoot to have slight tension that feels as though you are the one slinging each individual web from your wrist.

And even though the game only offers around seven hours in its main story, it improves on nearly every aspect of the original 2018 game. But don’t get it confused: This is a game about Miles Morales. Key aspects like blending the booming orchestra that was used in the first game’s soundtrack with hip hop give Miles a unique beat that perfectly encapsules the spirit of the title character. And fans of the film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (which was the first major introduction for general audiences to Miles Morales) will feel like they are almost playing a video game adaptation of the Oscar winner.

Whereas Marvel’s Spider-Man placed players in the hands of a more seasoned and well-trained hero, Miles Morales does almost the complete opposite. When Miles jumps off a skyscraper and slings a web, it feels like he’s doing it for the first time. He spins as the web glides him throughout New York City. He occasionally will be facing the wrong direction before he catches himself. It’s these little moments that flesh the humanity of the character in ways the main narrative could never hit on in such a short time.

These moments along with the excellent story make Miles such a distinctive Spider-Man. He is influenced by the past while still maintaining his own sense of character and purpose for the future. Miles Morales respects the Spidey lore and the infamous “with great power comes great responsibility” while still maintaining to be a Spider-Man for the ages.

Dereck Majors is a junior secondary English education major with a minor in film and media studies. After transferring from Penn State to Slippery Rock, he joined The Rocket as its movie review columnist. After graduation, Dereck plans on teaching English and film classes at the high school and college level.

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