Marvel game goes Miles above expectations

After hours of rigorous gameplay, smashing the X button over and over, and finally defeating the final boss, the last cutscene plays. You feel a sense of joy circulating through you, reflecting on the amazing story and gameplay you just completed. Wiping the sweat off your palms, satisfied with how you devoted those eight hours of your life. Playing through Spider-Man: Miles Morales gave me this exact feeling. It is a beautifully crafted game with exemplary gameplay, storyline, and graphics.

Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” focuses on Miles’ struggle to balance the duties of his civilian persona and his role as the “other” Spider-Man when his new home, Harlem, is threatened by a war between the Roxxon Energy Corporation and a high-tech criminal army called the Underground, led by the Tinkerer.

After training under Peter Parker for over a year, Miles Morales has mastered his abilities and established himself as the original Spider-Man’s partner, though he still struggles to adapt to his new role. While escorting a police convoy carrying prisoners, Miles accidentally frees Rhino, a villain. While Miles stops the other escapees, Peter struggles against Rhino, who eventually overpowers him. Before Rhino gets the chance to kill Peter, Miles intervenes and defeats him with his new bio-electric ability, later dubbed “Venom Power.” 

“Venom” is fueled by Miles’ emotions and grows stronger with his more extreme feelings. It is a large energy blast that can be adapted for a multitude of situations. After Miles gets home, the power in his apartment goes out, so he goes to the central electrical box and uses his newfound ability to restore the area’s power. It’s also really satisfying to use this power to crush the ground, sending a blast through the floor and killing all the surrounding enemies. If I had any superhero’s power, I would definitely choose Miles’ powers, which include Venom (obviously), web swinging, spider-sense, and invisibility. He’s pretty much Peter Parker, but with more abilities.

The game does an amazing job of portraying the complexity of relationships in a way that resonates with players. Miles’ relationship with Phin Mason, his childhood friend, is utterly remarkable. They meet up for Christmas to celebrate after a few years of being apart. Later, Miles finds out that Phin is actually the Tinkerer, the very “villain” he is trying to stop. He has to risk his friendship to save Harlem and all of New York. 

Phin’s character is powered by anger and vengeance. Her brother was the only blood family she had left after both her parents passed away. Her villain is hard to hate because her anger is justified. However, she is blinded by her rage and puts everyone else she loves at risk for revenge. 

The final battle of the game is with Phin as the Tinkerer. After about twenty minutes of pressing the dodge button and mashing X, you finally defeat her. She realizes the gravity of her mistake and that it will cost the lives of the people she loves, along with everyone in New York. Miles deactivates the nuclear reactor with the Nuform inside using his venom power. However, he is pulsing with super high-voltage venom, and if he released it, it would do just about the same amount of damage as the reactor. This adds an insane amount of stress on the player, making the gameplay that much more riveting. Phin sees that Miles is about to explode everywhere and decides to sacrifice her life to save everyone. She uses the technology she got from the underground to jump super high in the air and both Miles and her exchange their final goodbyes. Miles releases his venom, creating a spiderweb pattern stretching across the entire sky. Unfortunately, Phin disintegrates and dies. This scene is so moving, I cry every time. The visual of the web and the sky and only Miles falling back down from it makes players’ hearts drop, processing what happened. There is so much emotion and complexity, not to mention the anticipation of all the storylines colliding in one big bang. In a post-credits scene, Miles leaves an award he won with Phin at a science fair atop Trinity Church in her memory, showing how he truly cared about her even though she almost killed everyone in New York.

The relationships that web together throughout the story are incredibly crafted. Although the game has only been out for three years, I still get a sense of nostalgia every time I play it (nine times to be exact) and am very excited for the second game in the series to come out later in 2023.