The same holds true for some of the story, which won’t be spoiled here but involves a new villain with a connection to Miles, a role for the character Prowler that fans of the book and movie will remember, and a growing rebellion by baddies with some wicked technology. One thing that “Miles Morales” does emphasize more than the previous game is tech and gadgetry. In combat, Miles can use devices like holo-drones to fight alongside him, remote mines, and even a gravity well that can suck in enemies. He gains intense powers called Venom that can be used to electrically stun and defeat bad guys. And these tie into the tech-heavy aspect of the narrative, but it’s a game that’s undeniably thin in terms of both story and major set pieces. It’s arguable that the best action scene in “Miles Morales” comes early with a fantastic sequence involving a runaway Rhino, who Miles literally has to ride through settings in the city, including a detailed mall set up for Christmas. As much as I enjoyed playing all of “Miles Morales,” it never quite tops that spectacle again, content to settle into some pretty familiar beats in terms of storytelling and structure.
It’s also a relatively short game, running about eight hours in total, with a few more for those who like to explore and stop every crime in the city, or collect every item in it. “Spider-Man” released some solid DLC and one hopes that the same happens for “Miles Morales,” a game that sometimes verges on feeling more like an expansion than a legitimate sequel.
Ultimately, the story of “Miles Morales” feels secondary to the experience of “Miles Morales,” and that’s going to be the dividing line on which players of this game decide how they feel about it. It’s a game to get lost in, swoop through the city, do tricks, stop crimes, customize your character, and just marvel at the incredibly smooth experience of gaming on the PS5 (for the record, the load times are insanely non-existent). When you dig into the story or lack thereof, it comes up short, and some buyers will groan about the short playtime (although I would always argue that I’d take a brilliant 8-hour game over a padded and repetitive 30-hour one every time). But while it’s thin narratively, it’s so rich with pure fun that storytelling weakness can be forgiven. Something to keep in mind is that really feels like a mere preview for what’s to come in this generation of gaming. And how great is it that it’s Miles Morales who is leading the way to the future?
Sony provided a review copy of this game, which will be released on November 12th on PS4 & PS5