Spider-Man: Miles Morales is the perfect holiday game
The holidays and video games. While most holidays in the winter season have been around far longer than this relatively young medium, the two have been intrinsically linked together for decades. Certainly, a lot of that has to do with the tradition of often receiving games and consoles on a given holiday, but also a lot of people have favorite games they return to during this time year after year. Some have a wintery element to them, some actually have some sort of holiday element intrinsic to the game (i.e. one of my favorite games to play right around Christmas eve is the original Toejam and Earl simply because Santa Clause is a character in it even if the game itself doesn’t have a particular holiday feel to it), and some are just games for whatever reason you like to go back to during this time of year even if they aren’t really connected to it in the previous ways I mentioned.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales should be another game you add to your regular holiday rotation. Not just because it’s a great game, but it’s the most I’ve felt a game encapsulates what a video game the embodies the holiday spirit should be without going overboard in so many ways.
This isn’t an official review or anything of the game, there are dozens of those out there already, but I’ll use a little bit of space here to talk about how the game plays since I just wrapped it up late last night. In essence, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a much tighter version of Insomniac’s pretty incredible 2018 Spider-Man game. It essentially has the same mechanics with a little couple extras thrown in as nods to Miles’ unique abilities like camouflage and bioelectricity, but not in a way that makes a dramatic difference, this is still the same game you were playing two years ago, just about at half the length. I did nearly everything you could do in the core game (there are a couple of things you can’t do until after you’ve beaten the story mode) and that was about half the time I spent beating the original game. But 2018’s Spider-Man was easily one of the best games of the year and the best Spider-Man game to date so going back for a smaller taste feels great a couple of years later.
I will say I was not able to snag a PlayStation 5 so I did play the PlayStation 4 version on my base PS4 and while it mostly runs great there are obvious things that you’ll encounter like longer loading times, not the same level of graphical flourishes and it definitely stuttered at certain points but this isn’t like some previous generations where the difference between a next-gen and previous-gen version of a game are so vast you shouldn’t even bother with the previous-gen version, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is totally worth playing on your current PlayStation platform.
That’s part of what makes Spider-Man: Miles Morales a pretty ideal holiday game. It doesn’t remotely overstay its welcome, so you can finish it over a couple of days (or maybe even one long day), and go back to it next year and repeat. It also is literally a holiday-game, but it doesn’t beat you over the head with the fact it takes place during the Christmas season. There’s a Christmas tree in Miles’ home, a few decorated spots around New York, and a small beginning bit with J. Jonah Jameson in a Santa outfit but that’s it. You can really engage with that as much or as little as you like. The game just feels like a city during the holidays (in a good way, I know that isn’t always a good thing).
However, what really ultimately makes Spider-Man: Miles Morales feel like a great holiday game is its themes. Granted, these are themes common in everyday life but the holidays, in particular, have strong associations with family and community and those are extremely at the heart of this story and game. It’s about Miles and his family, both biological and extended through close friendships, but also the community of his home in Harlem. This isn’t New York’s Spider-Man, it’s Harlem’s Spider-Man and the game shows that through and through in some really cool ways. Whatever your holiday gaming traditions, if you have a platform to play it on, Spider-Man: Miles Morales should become one of them. It’s the perfect holiday adventure and it’s going to be worth returning to like many of your favorites. I think I have another thing or two to write about Miles Morales in the near future so look forward to that and see ya real soon!