DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published on November 6th, showcasing our first impressions of Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PlayStation 4. Now that we have the game on our PlayStation 5 console, we have expanded this article into our full review of the game with accompanying scoring.

Insomniac Games’ fabulous video game portrayal of Spider-Man in 2018 is followed up with a slightly smaller but every bit as special sequel in Spider-Man: Miles Morales. This time, however, the game launches on the new PlayStation 5, showcasing a breathtaking new level of visual fidelity and bringing with it a remastered version of its predecessor, but more on that in a separate review!

Miles Morales introduces you to the game with a stunning set-piece which will involve you, Miles, alongside Peter Parker, 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 delivering development of 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 are a brand new introduction in Insomniac’s Spider-Man spin-off title. Venom Punch is the first exclusive attack introduced, which is an electrically charged punch attack, stunning and knocking back an enemy with great force. This attack can be triggered when the Venom meter is filled, which is achieved by doing damage and keeping combos rolling. You will also use this meter to heal and perform other Venom attacks as you play through the game.

Insomniac’s ability to create 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).

The game features an in-depth skill trees of attacks and abilities which can be unlocked by earning Skill Points, similarly to the original game. Miles has a roughly equal scope of upgrade as Peter did in his title but the range of potential enhancements are unique and specific to Miles. The skill tree is spread across three branches: combat, venom and camouflage. Combat refers to standard physical attacks, venom refers to any of Miles’ electric abilities and camouflage is the final of Miles’ unique skills, which is unlocked further into the game. Insomniac have interweaved Miles’ unique combat style expertly here, with the game feeling like a perfect balance of fresh and familiar elements. The new attack options go a long way in both making the combat more exciting and establishing Miles as a distinct version of Spider-Man.

Of course, one of the areas in which everyone has been most interested is visuals. How does Spider-Man: Miles Morales look on PlayStation 5? Well, I can confirm that the game is absolutely breathtaking and such beautiful displays of graphics this early in the new generation bodes incredibly well for the future, when you consider the jump made from launch PlayStation 4 titles to, say, The Last of Us: Part II’s visual fidelity. Now, while we would usually go for the higher FPS option, Insomniac’s motion blur and framerate consistency are so excellent in Miles Morales that we actually spent most of the game in the fidelity mode. This mode offers a reconstructed 4K image with a thirty frames-per-second target and some stunning ray traced reflections. The reflections show a spectacular view of the living, breathing city around you through the many glass-windowed skyscrapers you will climb during your playthrough and they do so in a surprisingly high level of detail. I was extremely impressed at how much quality Insomniac have managed to pull from the ray tracing hardware for a launch title and hats off to them for getting such a polished, beautiful product out on time for the PS5 debut. The reconstructed 4K in the fidelity mode is nigh-on impossible for me to discern from native 4K in most instances and it looks sharp, crisp and very high detail. Performance mode drops the ray tracing and delivers, yet again, a very consistent framerate, this time targeting sixty frames, however. This looks stellar in motion and is a brilliant option, but I found it so difficult to choose between it and the magnificent ray traced reflections. Ultimately, whatever mode you use, you will be in for an unbelievable experience on PlayStation 5, one which truly showcases the system at launch.

In terms of story, we start with Miles still learning the ropes of becoming New York’s second friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, lacking 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 a war between The Tinkerer, the leader of an underground gang, and Roxxon Energy Corporation, the proprietors of a new type of clean, sustainable energy… or so they say. This must be balanced with home life in which Miles is busy supporting his mother’s campaign for City Council election. Make no mistake, this is a fully-fleshed out, deep, thoughtful story. The main narrative in Miles Morales runs for approximately seven hours of extremely well written, satisfying missions and Insomniac has pulled off their magic in character building yet again: the relationship between Miles and his best friend Ganke probably even tops that of Peter Parker and MJ, in my opinion.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales 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. The Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man app is where you’ll access most of the game’s side missions, crimes and smaller errands to run for people, however, I found these so fun to do that I was already approaching nearly ten hours played while only being slightly more than half way through the main story missions. There are also a number of Roxxon Energy bases for you to clear out, which replace the role of Hideouts in the predecessor. If you enjoy swinging around, doing random tasks and completing side content, there will be plenty to keep you busy in this beautiful Christmas-themed version of Spider-Man (2018)’s Manhattan.

Another massive time-sink when it comes to Miles Morales is the photo mode. Now, we’ve spoken about incredible photo modes in first party PlayStation titles before, but Miles Morales quite literally takes this to the next level. In Insomniac’s latest act of absolute awesomeness, they decided to add the ability to place your own light sources of varying intensity, colour, spread and softness in scenes, so you can create stunningly beautiful shots of the city like never before. I have certainly spent over an hour so far just in the photo mode and I plan to go back to create more cool shots. We will be publishing a special article with a few of our photo mode snaps on the website very soon! Outside of photo mode, you of course have a plethora of unlockable suits, including the incredible Into the Spider-Verse suit, which when combined with the photo mode, allows you to create scenes so stunning, you would almost think they came from the animated film directly.

Web swinging feels even more responsive and fluid than in 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. Miles animations in the game are adorable in the sense that you can tell from occasional awkwardness in his moves that he’s not as experienced nor as confident as Peter. Small touches like these cement Insomniac’s proven ability for incredible attention to detail.

The final area which must be discussed is music. Wow, have the development team done a brilliant job with this. Just as Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse delivered a stellar soundtrack fitting of Miles’ style, Spider-Man Miles Morales does precisely the same thing. 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 which is delightfully fitting and worthy of going alongside Miles’ incredibly charming character.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a fantastic launch game and one which I would recommend every PlayStation 5 owner to play. The story is memorable, the characters are charming and the visuals are mind-blowing. The game is yet another masterful release in the output of the powerhouse that is Insomniac Games!

DISCLAIMER: This review was carried out initially on PlayStation 4, then on PlayStation 5, both using review code kindly provided by the publisher, Sony Interactive Entertainment.