The title screen of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales hit me like a subway train. It shows the title character, in a fur-lined winter coat and salt-speckled Timbs, as he taps away on his phone and listens to music while riding public transit. From the coat to the boots, I have been that kid. And for the first time in my gaming career, I looked like him, too. But the déjà vu doesn’t end there. Start playing the game, and you’ll feel like you’ve done much of this before, too.
You most likely did it two years ago, when Insomniac Games first released Marvel’s Spider-Man and established a refreshing take on the world of the eponymous wall-crawler. Just like their heroic protagonists, both games are working from the same genetic blueprint. When so much between these two titles is the same, the differences become even more crucial. And that’s where things get complicated.
Let’s get this out of the way: in terms of scope, size, and basic time to complete, Miles Morales is a shorter game than the original. Insomniac’s latest version of New York City is functionally identical to how it was before, which makes sense given that’s how cities work. But locations of major setpieces in the original, like offshore supermax prison The Raft (located in the East River for plot-convenient Spider-access) and Oscorp Tower, are entirely absent in this game. Even with some newly-added locations sewn into the fabric of NYC, most of them fail to feel like substantial additions. I cleared the game with 100% completion in under 20 hours, and I probably could have finished the main story in about 10-12 hours.