Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a superhero action game about bad guys who don’t know how to look up, has officially swung onto PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The game unmistakably shares a lot of DNA with its predecessor, 2018’s amazing Spider-Man. Still, there are some quirks to this follow-up, things you should know that will show you the (unbreakable, indestructible, distressingly sticky) ropes in no time.
Maybe you played Spider-Man. Maybe you didn’t. Either way, you should watch the recap. In the main menu, you’ll see a “Previously on....” option. That’ll roll a short video running down the events of the first game, which will either catch you up to speed or freshen your memory. Saves you from having to read through a bland Wikipedia summary!
Anyone who’s seen the Oscar-winning Into the Spider-Verse will know what to expect here. For those who haven’t, first, remedy that, stat. (The film is currently streaming on Netflix.) Second, here’s the rub: Miles Morales has an inherent set of abilities that outshine Peter Parker’s toolkit. Chief among them are the literally shocking Venom skills, in which Miles supercharges his punches with electricity. Here’s a brief video showing them in action.
Without question, the Venom moves are the best moves in the game. As such, you should focus on leveling up the Venom skill tree as soon as you can. One early upgrade allows you to launch enemies in the air, immobilizing them. Another doubles how long enemies will stay electrocuted. One makes it so your Venom Punch, the standard Venom move, can catch even more foes in its blast. That upgrade’s key, because...
You see where this is going. Normally you fill up your Venom gauge as you land attacks. (By tapping down on the D-pad, you can burn some of that to heal.) And if you wait until a segment of the gauge is full, you can use it to perform a Venom attack, shocking a small group of enemies. By investing in the Induction Mesh mod—which costs 10 activity tokens and one tech part, and will heal you a bit with every hit you land on a shocked enemy—you can pull double duty with these attacks. When the mod is equipped, punching the whole group a bunch will heal you right up.
As long as you’ve unlocked them, of course. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you need to wear a certain suit to reap the benefits of the mod it gives you. If you find the Power Pitcher mod invaluable (it is) but think the Homemade Suit looks like a bad Halloween costume (it does), you don’t have to pair them up.
In the original Spider-Man, while swinging through Manhattan, Peter could flip and spin along the cardinal directions. He had style, no doubt, but his bag of tricks was relatively limited. Let’s just say he wouldn’t land on the podium in the X-Games big air contest. Miles, on the other hand, would walk home with the gold, no problem. Seriously, look at this:
You can see the full breadth of Miles’ flips, spins, corks, bios, pikes, grabs, misties, whirlwinds, barrel rolls, and dives by heading to the moves list (the furthest-right tab in the game’s menu). It’s bananas. Like a Tony Hawk character, he can bust out more than 20 distinct tricks. When you’re traveling from one objective to the next, you should make it a point to do these, for three reasons:
- Performing tricks will fill up your Venom gauge.
- Each trick grants you some marginal experience. The better your combo, the more you get.
- It’s cool as heck.
Voltaic martial arts aren’t the only non-Peter ability that Miles brings to the table. Those who watched Into the Spider-Verse will also recognize this one: Miles can turn invisible at the drop of a hat—and yes, it’s a total game-changer. Once you unlock the skill, you can press up on the D-pad to activate your camouflage. The stealth bona fides here needn’t be explained. The combat applications, on the other hand, are easy to neglect.
You can do it in the middle of combat, even if it’s an all-out brawl. This is particularly helpful if you’re getting pummelled. Enemies won’t forget you exist—this isn’t a Ubisoft stealth game from the late 2000s—but they won’t be able to see you. This gives you a moment to recalibrate before getting back into the fight. The camouflage will also cause snipers to lose track of you, making it arguably the most helpful trick in Miles’ book.
At the start of a fight, your best bet is to act quietly, sticking to the rafters and lampposts. (During indoor encounters, you can also crawl on the ceiling.) When you approach an enemy from above, you can tap Square to web them up in a stealth takedown; the game will tell you whether or not doing so will result in your detection, so just keep an eye out for the relevant indicator. Even though webbed enemies will dangle in plain sight, no one else will notice them—because, again, the bad guys in this game are apparently incapable of looking up.
They’ll ruin your day otherwise. Nothing worse than having a 14-hit combo stopped short by a goon’s errant bullet. (You earn a one-hit-kill finisher move every 15 hits.)
Every enemy base—let’s go with the general lingo here, out of concern for spoilers—has one underground cache stored in it. Finding these caches will give you tech parts, a key currency for unlocking suits and mods. But if you leave the enemy base without finding what you’re looking for, you’ll have to replay the whole challenge before you can access the cache again.
While you’re at it, as you’re traversing the overworld, you may see a pop-up telling you to click the right thumbstick to locate a cache. Definitely do so at every opportunity, but be wary that the resulting compass operates on a three-dimensional plane, rather than a two-dimensional one. If you see “83m,” that means you’re 83 meters away in any direction, so you might have to scale some buildings—or, more likely, drop to street level—to narrow the gap.
Whether you’re tackling an enemy base or stopping a crime on the streets, most activities in Spider-Man: Miles Morales come with secondary objectives. These are garden-variety bonus challenges—maybe something about webbing three enemies to a wall, or hitting 10 with Venom moves—but are always worth the extra effort. Each one you complete will give you an ability token, which you can use to unlock new suits and mods. For what it’s worth, I lived by these words and had no trouble unlocking all the things I wanted at a fairly steady clip.
When the game teaches you how to run, it does so in the most Spider-Man manner possible: by having you sprint up the side of a glass-paneled high-rise. What it doesn’t tell you—and what may be painstakingly obvious to players who aren’t me—is that you can do so on flat ground, too, albeit at a noticeably slower pace. You’ll likely spend most of your time in the air, zipping from skyscraper to skyscraper. Still, the ability to jog in, say, an enemy’s computer lab—which has no convenient ledges for Miles to Spider-Man off of—is more than welcome.
Around Manhattan, you’ll see various challenges in three categories: combat, traversal, and stealth. These offer increasingly punishing tests of mettle in the three core tenets that anchor the game. Do them as soon as you’re able.
Each one you beat will grant you a skill, and they’re some of the best in the game. You also can’t earn them in other ways, so it’s well worth prioritizing these challenges. The first traversal prize, for instance, grants you the ability to zip to and launch off of pretty much anything. Meanwhile, the second stealth and third combat abilities help you generate more Venom, which feeds into the punchy-healy feedback loop of Venom attacks detailed above.
You don’t need to hit gold (“Ultimate”) or silver (“Spectacular”) to earn the skills, by the way. Bronze (“Amazing”) will suffice. And to earn a bronze rating, you often won’t even need to clear a certain hurdle. You just need to finish the challenge. Spider-Man: Miles Morales offers up an essential lesson: Sometimes you really can C+ your way to victory.
Sorry, you can’t get it until the end of the game. Talk about incentive! Here’s another shot—you know, for motivation:
Ah, screw it, have a whole gallery:
How’s that for a push?