PlayStation fans have recently had a run of exclusive games that received critical acclaim and fanfare. Insomniac Games looks to add another game to the list with Marvel’s Spider-Man. While the history of Spider-Man has been mixed, Insomniac put their efforts into providing the ultimate Spider-Man experience. Does Marvel’s Spider-Man live up to the hype or should we just save hope for the next Marvel game? Hope you have enough web fluid.
No sleep ’til Brooklyn!
This version of Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for quite some time. The story picks up as he’s assisting the police in a raid to take down the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk. We find out taking down the top criminal in the city creates a power vacuum. A new gang, the Demons, is on the rise, and old foes unite to take down Mayor Norman Osborn. With new threats and old, the city plunges further into destruction as it is up to Spider-Man to stop it.
Insomniac utilizes elements from the established comic universe while taking liberties of their own. Honestly speaking, it’s better for it. While the usual things you would expect to see are here, the changes add new story elements. Mary Jane Watson is a reporter for the Daily Bugle. Otto Octavius and Norman Osborn knew each other in school. We see relationships grow and go through ups and downs. We also see Spider-Man question himself regarding these relationships while New York is pretty much on fire.
Spider-Man’s gameplay is probably one of the best I’ve ever played from the property. The swinging is fun. Swinging around above the people as the music picks up to set the tone makes the game feel like an action set piece from a Marvel movie. What separates the swinging in this game as opposed to others is that you need something to attach the web shooters. The game doesn’t rely on something off-screen or the border of your television to swing.
This makes it so that swinging around the city, you could find yourself swinging at different levels depending on where you are in the city. High-rises in downtown NY has you way above ground level while swinging in Central Park can almost bring you down to earth. It’s up to the player to navigate their way through the city or you can fast-travel using the subway and see Spider-Man using public transit.
If you want to take a break from swinging, walking around the streets of New York is a delight. Being among the citizens of New York grounds you a little. Spider-Man has a celebrity-like presence to the public. Some people love him and are in awe while others curse him. Maybe because they listen to J. Jonah Jameson’s show, whereby he bashes Spider-Man any chance he gets. You can interact with people by giving them high-fives or taking selfies with them. On the flip side, an undercover Fisk goon or corrupted Demon will go after you and it’s up to you to take them down.
I Feel Safe in New York City
This brings us to combat. It’s pretty easy to learn the basics. It has one attack and dodge button. However, web shooters, gadgets, and even the environment add combat depth and variety. The frenetic pace of hordes of enemies forces players to think on their toes. Fortunately, with Spider-Man’s agility, and that trusty spider-sense, avoiding hits becomes easier as you develop a rhythm to the fight.
On top of this, there are stealth sections mostly reserved for Mary Jane and Miles Morales. Both of them rely on their stealth and cunning to get out of danger. It’s a nice break from the action. Spider-Man has a few stealth missions during the story, but in free mode, they’re mostly optional.
The stealth and combat draws a lot of similarities to the Batman: Arkham games. The control schemes and stealth elements are similar. However, the pacing is what I feel sets this game apart from the Arkham Series. From traversing the city to the fighting, everything is at a faster pace. As I said earlier, fighting in Marvel’s Spider-Man requires fast reactions. I felt the Arkham series has a more deliberate pace.
The New York City in Marvel’s Spider-Man is a wide open and nice recreation of the real city with a few exceptions. Maybe not every landmark is exactly where it’s supposed to be, but the view from atop Avengers Tower can’t be beaten. It’s the little things that add to the city’s character. With the citizens of New York talking about the current events, break dancers in Harlem, hot dog carts everywhere, this version of New York is a city that never sleeps.
Spider-cop is on the case!
The game;s downsides are few and far between. My main gripe is that Spider-Man’s health gets depleted too easily at times. Granted, Spider-Man isn’t a tank and can’t just absorb damage, but I feel like upgrading the suit would help out with some of that. Also, there aren’t too many different enemy types. You mostly encounter the same ones throughout the city, with only a handful of enemies getting upgrades, especially toward the game’s latter half. The story may be on the shorter side for an open world game, but there’s still a lot to do and discover. That and most of the side quests are essentially the same kinds of missions, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome in that regard.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is a contender for one of the best Spider-Man games I’ve ever played. Spider-Man carries such a sense of duty for even the smallest of side missions. On top of that, he maintains a sense of humor despite the odds stacked against him in fights. While a lot of the fighting is the same, the boss battle with Electro and Vulture is a lot of fun because of its mostly aerial nature…and this is coming from someone who’s afraid of heights.
If you have a PS4, Marvel’s Spider-Man is worth your time, especially if you love the wall-crawler. The story goes through many ups and downs. Peter Parker’s relationships are what drive the emotion behind everything. While I won’t spoil anything, you may have to brace yourself for its emotional gut punches. The story, combat, and swinging bring together the superior Spider-Man experience.
Final Verdict: Marvel’s Spider-Man gets 8 radioactive spiders out of 10.
- Nailed the Spider-Man character
- Swinging around New York
- Spider-Man takes damage too easily
- Lack of variety in enemies
- Side missions can be repetitive