Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales returns players to the New York City of its predecessor. But the political climate in the real world has changed significantly since Marvel’s Spider-Man came out in 2018, with months of protests against police brutality taking place in cities across the country following the death of George Floyd in May. Insomniac Games’ new title takes current events into account in an unambiguous way, paying tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement with a massive in-game mural that unlocks after you complete a line of sidequests.
As Games Radar reports, you’ll find the mural upon completion of a series of sidequests in which Spider-Man helps out various people in New York, and specifically in his home neighborhood of Harlem. When you knock out all the quests, you receive the Uptown Pride suit, which is black and yellow–the colors associated with Black Lives Matter. The cutscene awarding you the suit takes place in front of a mural featuring the slogan.
Miles is a half-Black, half-Puerto Rican teenager, and his experience is a major part of his character, both in the game and the comics that inspired it. Still, it’s notable for a big-name game to take such a prominent stance, especially since game developers and publishers are notorious for backing away from politics–even when their games seem to pretty clear in their messages. The BLM tribute in Miles Morales also comes after Insomniac was criticized in 2018 for making Peter Parker’s Spider-Man work so closely with the New York Police Department, especially after other nationwide protests against police brutality.
GameSpot’s Jordan Ramée wrote in his Spider-Man: Miles Morales review that Miles Morales stumbles in pacing and in differentiating itself from its predecessor, but it’s still a superhero journey worth taking, specifically because of its focus on Miles’s identity and experience.
“It’s a bit of a bummer to see Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales trip up at certain points, but thankfully, that doesn’t happen often,” he wrote. “The game wastes little time jumping you into Miles’ story and rarely lets up on the brakes, packing the young wall crawler’s first solo outing with more super powers and radio chatter than the game needs. And yet, despite its frantic pace, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a compelling open-world action game that helps highlight why Miles is so special: his culture. It’s Miles’ unique differences and earnest attempts at figuring out how to protect his community that make him into such a wonderful hero, not the mask he wears and superpowers he wields.”
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