Just like its PS4 sibling, Spider-Man: Miles Morales starts off swinging. You’re thrust into its gorgeous and sprawling approximation of New York, arms flailing as you give chase to an aerial prison transport. Instantly, you feel like you’re embodying a new character - a different Spider-Man. It controls exactly the same, but the animation work is astounding, selling the fact that Miles Morales, the real Spider-Man’s protégé, is less experienced than his mentor.
Morales’ swinging isn’t as elegant as Peter Parker’s. He looks like he’s struggling against the momentum as a web catches the corner of a skyscraper and sends him arcing through the sky. Jump at the end of a swing and he hurtles headfirst towards the ground, often backward, which then segues into a reverse swing to the next point, his body twisting with effort against the laws of physics. It somehow feels more thrilling than it did in the last game, and every frame teases you to bring up photo mode to snap a perfect picture. Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a beautiful, fluid game.
It’s strange booting up the first triple-A game of a new console generation. People are expecting to be blown away like they were with the jump from SD to HD. But here the improvements aren’t quite as readily apparent. They’re mostly in the finer details, due to PS5 games being able to hit a native 4K - the fuzz sticking out of a tear in Miles’ jacket, the bobbles of fabric clinging to his jumper, the glow of neon on a sci-fi rifle, how flakes of snow melt after landing on your suit, and the ray-traced reflections in every pane of glass or polished surface. It also just feels smoother - whether you’re playing in 30fps fidelity mode or 60fps performance mode - thanks to a frame rate that stays locked. Spider-Man is a perfect showcase for PS5.