‘Spider-Man: Miles Morales’ swings in with style

Miles is able to equip a variety of different costumes representing different variants of his suit from Marvel Comics. Along with those variants, original suits for the game can be worn such as the pictured Bodega Cat suit where Miles carries around a cat also named Spider-Man. (Photos by Noah Black)

“Be yourself.”

This is the tagline of Insomniac’s recent release, “Spider-Man: Miles Morales.”

“Miles Morales” is a spinoff and semisequel to 2018’s “Spider-Man.”

Released on PS4 and PS5 on Nov. 12, “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” follows the titular Miles as he grows into his own spider-powers and becomes worthy of the Spider-Man name.

“Miles Morales” is significantly shorter than the first game, but at a cheaper price point, this is understandable for a smaller game to tide players over until the actual sequel to “Spider-Man.”

The game takes place a year after the events of “Spider-Man” with Peter Parker training Miles to use his powers, working together as New York’s Spider-Men to fight crime.

Miles has just moved to Harlem after his father’s death and finds himself struggling to find his place, both in his new home and as Spider-Man.

The game starts off with Miles and Peter escorting a police convoy back to the RAFT super-prison before the Rhino escapes, wrecking downtown Manhattan and beating Peter within near inches of death.

This fight with the Rhino is the impetus that quite literally ignites Mile’s passion as he defeats the super-villain with his newly discovered Venom Strike ability, which he can use to conduct his bio-electricity in concentrated blasts.

Miles’ iconic suit from “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is one of the selectable suit variants. This suit also comes with a suit mod that replicates the film’s 12 fps animation style.

After the battle, Peter informs Miles he is taking a working vacation with Mary Jane Watson, leaving Miles to be New York City’s only Spider-Man for a few weeks.

The rest of the plot takes place during Peter’s absence, with Miles uncovering a new plot by the Underground, a technology-based terrorist group planning on sabotaging the Roxxon Energy Corporation’s debut of a new power source.

With the help of his best friend Ganke Lee, Miles works as Spider-Man to uncover the conspiracy behind the Underground’s actions and put a stop to the terrorist attack before it’s too late.

Without going too in-depth in the story, there are many emotional twists and turns the game presents to players, keeping them engaged in the story, even if the story is a bit shorter.

While the basic gameplay of “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” is similar to “Spider-Man” there are a few changes to spice up the game and keep players engaged.

Web-swinging is just as satisfying in the initial game, with momentum and weight behind the swinging feeling just as tight while also allowing Miles the proverbial leg room to add his own flair in his swinging style.

Suit variants return as well, with different versions of suits from Miles’ comic book history along with original designs for the game. Suit mods are also introduced that grant Miles different perks such as extra damage or defense, with two mods to be equipped per suit.

The featured addition is, of course, Mile’s Venom Strike abilities which allow him to use his electricity to punch harder, dash quicker and jump higher.

Much of Harlem and New York’s culture is put on display in different locations in the game. Street murals such as this Black Lives Matter mural are only a few of the set-pieces found throughout the city.

The venom abilities are locked behind different plot points in the story, gradually granting access to the player and creating a satisfying feeling of progression.

While web-swinging, Miles can use venom to give him a boost and move faster or gain altitude in areas where there are no buildings or structures to swing off of.

Of course, the venom ability is not infinite.

There are up to three charges Miles can use to store Venom, with one charge being depleted for each venom ability use.

In order to build up charges again, Miles can execute combos and finishers during combat, much like Peter’s meter charge in “Spider-Man.”

However, since Miles can also use venom while web-swinging, performing mid-air tricks now also grants charges for venom. The trick system in “Spider-Man” felt like a lackluster inclusion, but it is much more rounded now.

Miles has always been known for his stylish swinging unique to him, meaning a trick system was an obvious inclusion for him. There is a larger variety of tricks to perform by simply holding down square and moving the left analog stick in different directions.

Trick combos can be racked up by switching between different tricks mid-air, with larger combos granting larger charges of venom. Web-swinging was already a very engaging system, so adding this additional challenge and level of enjoyment certainly makes Miles stand out as his own Spider-Man.

After all, that’s what “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” is all about, Miles standing out as his own version of Spider-Man. He spends the story developing his confidence, learning it’s okay to not be like Peter.

“Spider-Man: Miles Morales” focuses on Miles coming into his own as a new Spider-Man. A Spider-Man that he can truly call his own.

Whether it be his own suit variety from iterations of Miles in comics or his swinging style, there is one thing that is certain about Miles Morales.

He is his own Spider-Man.

In contrast to the tagline of 2018’s “Spider-Man,” “Be greater,” “Miles Morales’” acknowledges it’s ok to simply be yourself.