This action game builds on the success of the previous title, and thrusts a new hero into the spotlight with a familiar, yet fresh spin on the wallcrawler. It's notable to see elements that have carried over as the Spidey story has continued in Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales. For example, if you swing by Fisk Plaza, you'll see it boarded up due to the Kingpin's arrest in the first game. You'll still see plenty of car chases, muggings, or crimes for Spidey to stop as he swings through the city, providing him experience to improve his skills. Thanks to Peter's training (furthered by a series of holographic challenges scattered around the city), Miles works on his combat, stealth, and traversal skills as he grows into his role as Spider-man. Initially, he starts with defending his neighborhood, but he expands that focus to the rest of New York City. Over time, he discovers and embraces his new abilities, like his powerful electrical Venom strikes that stun opponents or his camouflage powers that give him an extra advantage in landing stealthy takedowns of enemies. Chaining these moves together becomes seamless, and as you gain additional abilities and skills, you start to feel like the superhero as well. Similarly, this feeling carries over to web swinging through the city, thanks to the DualSense controller, where you actually feel the tension of your webs as you swoop through the streets based on how tightly you pull the triggers. It's incredibly immersive, and helps to draw you in as you move from one place to the other. This riveting gameplay is just as solid in the Windows port of the game, which features PC optimized graphics, a range of monitor setup support for gaming rigs, and native Dualsense controller support for computers. This port is virtually seamless, with perhaps just a bit of a load time for scene transitions that are longer than the console versions. Even better, if you have a Steam Deck, you can take the webslinging adventure on the go, which looks and feels incredible on the portable device.
But the thing about the Spider-Man character has always been the emotions and heart that the young man feels in balancing his superhero duties and his alter ego life. Miles, like Peter Parker, is trying to figure out his path: he's moved to a new neighborhood, with new friends and a new school. He's still dealing with the loss of his father. And he's got awesome responsibility as a new superhero. Without spoiling any plot points, the game does an incredible job of capturing his inner struggle as Miles comes into his own as Spidey over the course of the game. His self-doubt and confusion about what to do is replaced over time with faith in his abilities and a swagger that's confident without being cocky. This is coupled with the significant positive messages that are presented from start to finish. From the tagline of "Be Yourself. Be Greater," to Miles' incredible support system of his best friend Ganke, who's constantly motivating and helping him during missions, the game pushes Miles (and by extension, the player) to do good deeds and be a positive force in the world. What's great is that as the game goes on, the people in Miles' neighborhood are won over from being cynical about Miles as a knockoff to being someone fighting for them, going so far as to claim him during a pivotal moment by stating that, "He's OUR Spider-Man." It's just one of the feel good moments that lands perfectly without feeling forced or hokey. The biggest issue that arises in Miles Morales is that the game is somewhat on the shorter end. There aren't nearly the same amount of villains as the previous game, and if you're a veteran of action games, you'll probably fly through some of the content quickly. But don't let that throw you off – this title is a great showpiece for the PlayStation 5 or Windows PCs, and easily lays the groundwork for future downloadable content and sequels for this franchise.