Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales: PS5 vs PS4

Sony is going all out this holiday season to promote PlayStation 5. In total, the console will launch with three exclusives, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy A Big Adventure and Demon’s Souls. Of those three, only Demon’s Souls is a true PS5 exclusive capable of making the most out of the new hardware, but that’s not to say that Miles Morales pulls any punches. With a PS4 version for comparison, we can get a good picture of what kind of leap we can expect as more PS5 games launch.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PS5 is broken down into two modes:

  • Fidelity — This mode locks the framerate to 30fps, but enables advanced graphical features like ray-tracing, lighting, and additional effects. Temporal techniques provide an extra high-quality picture from a 4K resolution base.
  • Performance — This is the 60fps mode, turning off the advanced graphical features of the Fidelity mode. Temporal techniques provide a 4K picture from a lower resolution base.

The PS4 version is built on the same technology that powered Marvel’s Spider-Man back in 2018. It was a stunning game back then, delivering a solid 30fps at 1080p on base PS4, and 1440p on PS4 Pro with temporal upscaling to 4K. Miles Morales follows suit, delivering similar results, albeit with new effects like a wintry theme that includes new effects like snow and ice, and additional lighting from lots of holiday decorations. It’s an excellent-looking game on PS4 and stands tall alongside games like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and other graphical gems. If you can’t play the game on PS5, playing it on PS4 is an excellent choice, especially since Sony confirmed the PS4 version includes a free upgrade to the PS5 version.

It’s the PS5 version, however, that truly shines thanks to its next-gen sheen. Insomniac Games was clearly given the time to push its technology on the new console and wastes no time showcasing it. Right when starting the game, Miles Morales showcases numerous graphical enhancements in both modes. Improved skin shaders, more realistic hair and fur, and a sharper, clearer image. Up on the streets and while swinging through the city, it’s not hard to notice improved snow and ice effects, more-detailed geometry and pedestrians, and better draw distances. Both PS5 modes also up the detail on other effects, including smoke and fire. Lighting too appears more vibrant and lifelike on PS5 than on PS4. It’s an impressive and noticeable update over the PS4 version, and players will get a good sense of this right from the start.

Breaking down the differences between Fidelity and Performance on PS5 is a little more difficult with screenshots, but the main difference mostly comes down to what’s more important: ray-tracing and resolution, or FPS. Both versions utilize the same effects, shaders and geometry that put the PS5 version over the PS4 version. Fidelity mode gains a slight edge thanks image clarity, particularly when looking at far in the distance objects. There are also segments, particularly at night, where lighting tends to be more vibrant.

What really helps the Fidelity mode is ray-tracing, which is most notable when swinging through the city, but can also be seen in some of the shots. Whether its cars, glass or mirrors, Fidelity mode provides more realistic and higher quality reflections than Performance mode. Performance mode’s screen space reflections hold up enough, but don’t possess the same level of detail as ray-tracing. A good example of this comes from a night shot with Miles staring at a building. The PS4 and PS5 Performance shot use smoke to cover up a lot of the screen space reflections, but the smoke is absent from the PS5 Fidelity version, allowing players to take in the ray-traced reflections. We’re not wholly sure if this is a bug or not as we were unable to get smoke to spawn any time during that scene while playing in Fidelity mode.

Left: PS5 Fidelity Mode; Middle: PS5 Performance Mode; Right: PS4

Performance mode’s big advantage is, as its title suggests, its performance. Delivering 60fps, this is the smoothest way to play Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The Fidelity mode does try and compensate for this with motion blur. The results are solid, giving the 30fps mode some additional smoothness, but it still can’t compete with 60fps.

Choosing between the two different modes is tough as they both look visually good. It all comes down to which next-gen feature you crave most: ray-tracing or frame rate. It almost feels like Insomniac Games is missing a mode that would have allowed you to get the best of both worlds. One that perhaps dropped the resolution to 1440p, but allowed for players to get both ray-tracing and 60fps. Sadly, that’s not here. As of now, you can’t go wrong with either option.

Loading

Of course, one of the PS5’s most-touted features is its impressive custom SSD. Sony have been touting the ability to virtually eliminate long load times. Considering how painful many late-gen PS4 games got, this would be a nice thing. How does the first major first-party PS5 game do? We’re happy to report that it’s a huge difference.

Whether it’s booting from the home screen, loading a save or fast traveling, the PS5 is nearly instantaneous. This is especially true when booting from the home screen. While the PS4 has to continuously run through all the introductory logos as it loads the game in the background, the PS5 throws players straight to the main menu. Do note that the first time you boot up the game on PS5 you do have to watch the same introductory logos, but all subsequent boots take players straight to the main menu in seconds.

It’s a similar story when loading a game or fast traveling. The PS5 version dumps players right into the action within seconds. Meanwhile, the PS4 version uses longer loading screens as previously seen in Marvel’s Spider-Man.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales launches November 12 on PS5 and PS4.