Marvel's Spider-Man was the best-selling PS4 exclusive ever, especially in the United States where its success was such as to definitively push Sony to acquire Insomniac Games in order to be able to work fully on the future of the franchise. Part of this future came to coincide with the launch of the PS5, in the form of Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales, a stand alone experience that introduced a new story, deepened the figure of the iconic "African-American Spider-Man" by Bendis and Pichelli and launched, through some aesthetic and gameplay changes, the Spider-Verse that Marvel and Insomniac decided to achieve with the first title of the series.
Now, while PS5 owners eagerly await the arrival of Marvel's Spider-Man 2, anyone who owns a PC as a gamer can relive that experience that until today remained the exclusive prerogative of Sony home console owners. Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales, in fact, has finally arrived on PC a few months after the arrival of the original chapter of the adventures of the friendly neighborhood spider-man.
I've had the opportunity to play the PC version for a few days, testing the various graphics modes, enjoying the potential offered by Dualsense (which, net of some "hacking" with the drivers, proved to be well implemented) and noting the differences with the version originally released on PS5.
As many of you already know, Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales, while maintaining the criticisms of the original, is able to give several hours of entertainment, through a highly cinematic story that presents itself as an important basis for the future of franchise itself.
Miles Morales, A friendly new neighborhood Spider-Man
That Miles Morales has acquired more and more importance within the Marvel universe in recent years is no secret. Born on the pages of the Ultimate series, to replace a Peter Parker who died in tragic circumstances, the African-American Spider-Man, conceived by Michael Bendis and drawn by the immense Sara Pichelli, was one of the most daring bets in the universe of cobwebs”. First black Spider-Man, and fourth character to wear the iconic suit, Miles Morales, thanks to his realistic and dramatic background, managed to enter the hearts of readers in a very short time, gaining a place of honor among the most famous heroes of the iconic Casa Delle Idee. A success that has led him to appear in numerous important projects, such as a film dedicated to him (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) and, of course, the 2018 video game: Marvel's Spider-Man.
In this chapter Miles Morales is still seen as a Spider-Man of little importance, a number two in all respects not deserving of attention from the communities of Harlem and Manhattan. The story opens precisely by showing this difference in height between the two "web weavers", engaged in escorting a caravan of police vehicles and helicopters, intent on transferring all the criminals who fled during the events of Marvel's Spider-Man to the Raft. Due to an accident caused by Miles, one of the helicopters goes down, causing a crash that releases none other than Rhino. The ensuing clash is very violent but will allow Miles Morales to discover that he has electrical powers which he had never been aware of until that very moment.
The clash with Rhino convinces Peter Parker to entrust Miles Morales with the protection of the city during his absence for reasons of private life, giving him a gift of a new costume that manages to differentiate him from the original Spider-Man. Accompanied only by his friend Ganke, Miles Morales will find himself embroiled in a series of events that will make him discover the importance of family, friendship and what the saying that "with great powers comes great responsibilities" really means.
The story of Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales, while being more contained than that offered by the first Spider-Man, offers exciting moments, some interesting twists, rhythm and, above all, substance. Fan service abounds but is never an end in itself and, in some ways, we are faced with one of the best representations of Miles Morales outside of the paper universe.
Venom… but, not what you think
In his paper origins, Miles Morales was stung by a spider that gave him slightly different powers than those repeatedly feared by Peter Parker. In fact, the young man, in addition to the psychophysical abilities similar to those of the arachnids, obtained the peculiar "Venom Strike" which, unlike the iconic name, was not associated in any way with the poison, but rather with the ability to discharge a portion of the bio-electricity charged in his body through his hands, temporarily paralyzing opponents. In addition to the electrical powers derived from the Venom Strike, the young man also obtained the ability to blend in with the surrounding environment, making himself practically invisible and being able to reflect this power even on the clothing worn.
These two important variations on Peter Parker were, of course, exploited by Insomniac to significantly change the combat system proposed with the original title, offering a convincing hybrid between "evolution and more of the same". The Spider-Man Miles Morales combat system stands on the same foundations as its predecessor, proposing a flow strongly inspired by the Arkham series created by Rocksteady and guaranteeing scenographic, frenetic and fun fights. To change, however, the dynamics seen in the past take over the unique Venom electrical powers of Miles Morales, in addition to a series of new gadgets designed to make the game balance less unbalanced.
Among the most significant new gadgets, included in Spider-Man Miles Morales, we can find: an instrument capable of generating holograms that will work in fighting enemies, a gravitational bomb that once launched will attract all opponents towards her and a electric mine which, in addition to stunning the enemies who trample on it, can be applied on the current switchboards, offering the possibility of placing real environmental traps for those who prefer a more stealth-oriented gameplay.
As for Miles Morales' unique powers, I appreciated the inclusion of a cooldown that prevents you from abusing invisibility and a careful management of electric shocks to avoid overusing the most powerful tools in the early stages of the game. Although the balances are much more balanced in the early stages of the game, once Miles has been strengthened enough the difficulty curve will drop considerably, offering an experience that is not very punishing, albeit very pleasant and dynamic.
Finally, the Dualsense gave me pleasant sensations thanks to the haptic feedback, capable of skilfully restoring the effect of the current passing through Miles' hands, and the adaptive triggers which produce variable resistance during the oscillations with the cloth. In principle, however, there is not much difference from the result proposed with Marvel's Spider-Man and, although the tactile sensations are undoubtedly pleasant, if you are used to other control peripherals, the Dualsense will not prove to be a "Game- Changers”.
Midquel o More Of The Same?
Excluding the main story proposed by Spider-Man Miles Morales, all the secondary activities offered by the title reproduce in a similar or improved way what has already been seen in its predecessor. Gone is Yuriko Watanabe, who in this chapter is replaced by a smartphone app designed by Ganke Lee (Miles' best friend). This application will be available at any time of the adventure and will keep track of the secondary missions and all criminal movements in the Big Apple.
While changing in their form, however, the gaming experience offered by the secondary activities present in Spider-Man Miles Morales does not vary much from that proposed with the original chapter. The backpacks are replaced by boxes containing memories of Miles' past, while the crimes are no longer distributed in the various neighborhoods but become an activity that repeats itself cyclically, regardless of the area you are in and can be monitored by the application created by Ganke. The secondary missions, as for the predecessor, follow the main game mechanics, albeit a lower presence of side activities makes the overall experience more enjoyable for those who want to complete the game 100%..
As expected, there remain a whole series of costumes inspired by the universe of Miles Morales, or the Spider-verse in general, which will delight the most ardent fans of the franchise, some of which are truly surprising in their realization and inspiration. In the same way we find the resources to enhance the various gadgets and to unlock the various costumes available to Miles Morales… in short, nothing new under the sun but everything inserted in its place in a very methodical way.
Our technical evaluation
From a technical point of view, which is the part that interested me the most in this context, the title runs really well, promising top performance even with non-optimal graphics cards. Now, premise, why won't you find AMD in the next few words? Simple enough: the drivers weren't available yet, which is why I limited myself to a few small tests on Nvidia graphics cards. Below is the banquet used for the test:
Without beating about the bush, the game manages to guarantee over 90 FPS with a 1660 never dropping below 65,8 fps. This in Full HD with all settings turned up (a remarkable result for a video game as visually beautiful as Spider-Man.
Clearly by raising the bar things improve a lot: with one 3060 in ray tracing with DLSS 2 quality mode and everything at the maximum I never dropped below 70,8 FPS, reaching an average of 100,3 fps.
In Quad HD with a 3070Ti (you can find it on Amazon) never dropped below 110,7 fps, with an average of 148,9 fps keeping ray tracing and DLSS 2 in quality mode. Graphically, the improvement dictated by the change of resolution is clear and New York literally comes to life.
Given the extreme optimization of the game carried out by the guys at Nixxes we wanted to have fun in 4K resolution by experimenting with the 4090, Nvidia's flagship right now. Now, the funny part is that with DLSS 2 it runs slightly worse (in terms of fps) than a 3070Ti (we're talking about 125,8 fps), but clearly at double the resolution. But… if we set the new DLSS 3, the game flies, reaching 170,9 fps with ray tracing and everything maxed out. A remarkable result, which confirms how truly superlative DLSS 3 is in these contexts.
In general, therefore, Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales is really well optimized, consequently if you are considering buying the game on PC, perhaps even having old hardware, no word: you will play great and you will also enjoy a not indifferent visual spectacle.