The Web Swinging In Miles Morales Is So Good I Want A Tony Hawk’s-Style Spin Off

I loved swinging from rooftop to rooftop in Marvel’s Spider-Man. It’s the only game where I never used the fast travel mechanic once. Okay, I suppose I did a few times, but only because it was funny to make Peter ride the subway wearing just his Spidey mask and his Spidey pants. For the most part though, even if I needed to get all the way from the Financial District to Harlem, I used nothing but web. I was born thwipy.

The developer clearly knew we were all going to take the scenic route too. There are crimes for you to stop along the way, collectibles to find, and angry J Jonah Jameson podcasts for you to listen to while you swing. Peter can slingshot off buildings, run up walls, and even do some fancy backflips. The kid can do it all.

When Miles Morales released, I dove right back into my ‘swing anywhere’ mentality. Even though Uncle Aaron gives him a subway pass, my Miles never rides the rails either – he just takes to the skies. His swings are clumsy and naive, but they have a little bit of hot sauce on them. You can feel Miles, a slightly awkward and geeky teenage boy, puff his chest out when he’s falling through the air.

I love the Miles Morales game, but it’s pretty short even with all the extra bits and pieces scattered around the story. So as soon as I finished, I booted up Peter’s story for another go around, and I couldn’t believe it: the swinging was boring.

This wasn’t just web fatigue, because switching back to Miles’ story made it all feel fresh once again. The problem was Peter. After the swagger of Miles, Peter’s swinging just felt a little stiff. He still has the abilities, the podcasts, and the quips, but it all feels devoid of personality. It doesn’t help that Peter has access to only four tricks, while Miles can call upon 16, many of which have their own variations, plus four different types of dives.

More than that though, you can sense Miles in every single motion as he swings through the city. Peter just feels like he’s the generic base that Miles riffs off from, and that’s not what Peter Parker is meant to be. But that’s exactly what he is. The developers at Insomniac built Peter’s web swinging for the original game, saw how popular it was, and then made sure Miles was able to make it his own. I’m sure when the next game in the series comes out, there will be room for Peter’s swinging to be fleshed out, now that the basics are all in place, but that still won’t be enough for me.

Instead, I want an SSX Tricky or Tony Hawk’s style mashup, where the swinging is the game. As well as – a hopefully much improved – Peter swing style, you’ve got Miles Morales, but there’s also Spider-Gwen, Silk, and May Parker you could bring into the mix, as well as the more unusual Spideys like Spider-Ham and the spider cult protege Anya Corazon. Not to mention that many of the alternate outfits the games currently offer both Peter and Miles actually belong to completely different characters, or that Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland all have different web swinging personalities too.

Basically, right now the swinging is the best part, but is ultimately not that important. Aside from a few chase sections, just can play both games by sprinting around and hopping on the subway, then occasionally running up the sides of buildings. I want a game which makes the swinging a core part of the gameplay. A lot of the time in games, the moving from checkpoint to checkpoint can get a bit stale. Yeah, 4K, raytracing, teraflops, all that shite. It looks nice. But sometimes, I just want to get on with things, you know? Neither of the Spider-Man games make me feel that way, and that’s why I think Insomniac is onto something really special with the web swinging mechanics.

I’d love to see a game take that even further, and instead of the meagre, almost worthless XP boosts Miles’ tricks offer right now, make them the central spectacle. Look at how there’s so much personality crammed into the way Miles falls off buildings, and figure out how to make every character feel like that. Give me combo chains, give me trick boosts, give me special abilities. Let me beat a high score, let me find the letters S-P-I-D-E-Y in a time limit, let me zip between two set locations without my feet ever touching brick.

I know there’s a high chance a game like this would never come to fruition, but I like high chances that I might lose, and I like tall buildings so I can leap off of ’em. Please, give me my crossover.

Next: Forget Chun-Li, Why The Hell Isn’t Kitana In The Mortal Kombat Movie?

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Stacey Henley is an editor for TheGamer, and can often be found journeying to the edge of the Earth, but only in video games. In real life, she normally stays home. Find her on Twitter @FiveTacey

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