When I booted up Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on , I felt a surge of excitement I rarely feel at the start of a new console generation. Swinging around a snowy New York City and checking out Miles’ new Harlem neighborhood was absolutely wonderful — this is a with swagger.
Past PlayStation launch games haven’t been terribly inspiring — I remember waiting months for a PS2 game that blew my mind (it was 2001’s Onimusha: Warlords), and I held off on buying a PS3 until Metal Gear Solid 4 came out in 2008. By the time the PS4 rolled around in 2013, I accepted that it takes at least a year for a new console to hit its stride.
The launch lineup for Sony has learned from experience. With Miles Morales, it’s found a clever middle ground. It clearly knew developer Insomniacs couldn’t knock out a full sequel to Spider-Man PS4 in time for the PS5’s launch, so it opted for a smaller, Uncharted: Lost Legacy-style game — a $50 standalone expansion that satisfies our need for something fresh., which and , is pretty thin too, but
A new Spider-Man
Miles Morales is a breezy game that’ll take less than 20 hours for you to get to 100%, but swapping from Peter Parker to his charming young protege opens up a bunch of new storytelling and gameplay possibilities: Miles has his own supporting cast to develop, unique spider powers and new gadgets.
You can see the framework of the 2018 game holding it all up (along with a few minor glitches that’ll likely be patched), but it still feels original and runs like a dream on PS5. It definitely helps that I jumped from a launch PS4 to a PS5 — I skipped the— so it’s the maximum possible upgrade to 4K resolution running at 60fps.
The game also loads astoundingly quickly (when I am supposed to make my cup of tea?!), and the Peter’s new face (also seen in the stunning PS5 remaster of the original game that comes with the $70 Ultimate Edition) — I got used to it almost immediately once he started speaking.‘s fancy haptic feedback makes you feel each web Miles swings from. It’ll also introduce you to
It’s also not really a next-gen game, since it’s available on PS4. In the midst of athat’s making people understandably leery about dropping hundreds of dollars on a new console, that’s definitely the best move — why lock the out of the new Spidey adventure? It says “No pressure, get the new console .”
The Nintendo Way
In giving such a high-profile exclusive a cross-gen release, Sony is pulling the same move Nintendo did with two Legend of Zelda games — Twilight Princess came out on GameCube and in 2006, then Breath of the Wild hit both the Wii U and in 2017 (the latter stands as the ). They’re much bigger games than Miles Morales, but the stylized visuals put less strain on the hardware.
It clearly worked for Nintendo, since the GameCube and Wii U were Nintendo’s least successful consoles, while the Wii and Switch are . Microsoft had the same strategy in mind with Halo Infinite coming out on and , but the suggested it was too ambitious.
So I’m all for smaller, more focused games to kick off a generation. A full-fledged Spider-Man sequel will inevitably come in a few years, when the PS5 is in full swing and more people have made the leap to next-gen.
If you opt to get a PS5, Miles Morales is enough to dive into, along with the Demon’s Souls remake for hardcore players and a massive backlog of PS4 games via . If you’re sticking with PS4 for now, the new Spidey adventure is a charming preview of PlayStation’s future.