DISCLAIMER: We have not yet received a PlayStation 5 console to play through review titles, however, we will be receiving one for the EU launch. In the meantime, we have been given access to Miles Morales on PlayStation 4. The write-up today serves as our initial impressions of the game from what we have played thus far, however, we will be holding off on our full review until the PlayStation 5 launches in Europe on November 19th.

Miles Morales introduces you with a stunning set-piece which will involve you taking on Rhino in a battle which stretches across the city. The serves as an excellent way to introduce you to Miles’ unique gameplay mechanics, while also serving as an advancement to the relationship between Miles and Peter as student and mentor. While elements such as standard melee combat and web shooting will be familiar, Miles’ electrically charged attacks will be a new introduction in Insomniac’s Spider-Man spin-off title. Venom Punch is the first exclusive attack introduced, which is a an electrical attack-from-above on an area. This attack can be triggered when the Venom meter is filled and filling it involves doing damage and keeping combos rolling. You will also use this meter to heal as you play through the game.

Insomniac’s ability to recreate their own take on the characters of Miles and Peter in a compelling way, a way that makes you care about them deeply, is shown off to perfection in Miles Morales and you can sense the bond between them instantly, right from the off. Miles is a character in his own right, make no mistake about it: Insomniac have given him as much love, care and attention as Peter and his charming, distinct personality shines through in this title. Spider-Man: Miles Morales feels familiar, yes, but it is certainly far, far more than a simple rehash of Spider-Man (2018).

Miles features his own, in-depth skill trees of attacks and abilities which can be unlocked by earning Skill Points, similarly to his predecessor. Miles features a roughly equal scope of upgrade as Peter did in his title but the range of potential enhancements are unique and specific to Miles. Insomniac have interweaved Miles’ unique combat style expertly here, with the game feeling like a perfect balance of fresh and familiar.

In terms of story, while I haven’t played through the entire title on the PS4 version, if the portion I have played is anything to go by, Insomniac Games has delivered on narrative, as they always do. Miles is still learning the ropes of being New York’s second friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man and lacks the confidence that Peter exudes. However, Peter has to leave the city over the Christmas Holidays and Miles is left alone to deal with the rising threat of The Tinkerer, the leader of an underground gang. This gang is at war with Roxxon Energy Corporation, the proprietors of a new type of clean, sustainable energy. This must be balanced with home life in which Miles is busy supporting his mother’s campaign for City Council. Make no mistake, this is a fully-fleshed out, deep story.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales also has a variety of side quests, including the usual city collectibles, special holographic training sessions setup by Peter for Miles and an app which allows local residents to submit requests for help to Miles. There will be plenty of content to keep you busy in this beautiful Christmas-themed version of Spider-Man PS4’s Manhattan. While we have not yet had the opportunity to see the game running live on PS5, Insomniac have yet again pulled off some stunning wizardry in getting the game running beautifully on PS4. The game looks just as good as the 2018 predecessor and runs at an incredibly smooth, stable framerate on PS4 Pro. If you’re not yet getting the PS5, fear not, you won’t be missing out hugely: Miles’ adventure still looks impressive and plays great on PlayStation 4, with a free upgrade to PS5 and save-game transfer once you get your next-gen console!

Web swinging feels even more responsive and fluid than on Spider-Man (2018), which already did an exceptional job. Insomniac have tuned and refined the system, tightening up the animations and physics and delivering subtle yet impactful improvements. The final area which must be discussed is music. Wow, have Insomniac Games done an incredible job here. Just as Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse delivered a stellar soundtrack fitting of Miles’ style, Spider-Man Miles Morales does precisely the same. The game drops one of my favourite game soundtracks to date and serves as a delightful backdrop for the satisfying gameplay and stunning set pieces, one worthy of going alongside Miles’ character.

While we will not be giving a final verdict or score until we have experienced the PlayStation 5 version of the game, we can certainly say that Insomniac Games is firing on all cylinders going into the next generation and Miles Morales is set to be yet another accolade in their expanding repertoire of top tier titles. We will return after the EU launch of the PlayStation 5 on November 19th with our expanded, definitive review and score.

DISCLAIMER: This impression piece was written based on review code kindly provided for Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PlayStation 4 by Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe.