Marvel’s Spider-Man has been among the most anticipated games this generation. The guys and gals over at Insomniac Games, commonly known for Spyro, Ratchet & Clank, Resistance, and Sunset Overdrive presented us with an amazing trailer back in 2016 that floored many. With the game now available to the public, I sunk my teeth into Insomniac’s latest offering. Spidey fans and gamers alike, rejoice, because Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best Spider-Man game ever made.
The game presents an original story, taking inspiration from Spider-Man’s vast source material. The developers even brought on long-time Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott to provide his expertise. We get an older Peter Parker at age 23 attempting to balance his personal, professional, and superhero life as Spider-Man. Insomniac does an excellent job of letting Peter’s personality shine through every story beat. Serious props to voice actor Yuri Lowenthal for doing such a great job with Peter. Previous games like Web of Shadows show that no matter how fun the gameplay is, poor voice acting for our main protagonist can take away from an otherwise thrilling experience.
The game’s presentation during cutscenes is superb. Emotions are conveyed clearly and the appearance of each major character fits well into Spider-Man lore. Not too long and not too short, each scene gives you a satisfying amount of story progression and wastes no time getting you back into the action.
The liberties Insomniac takes with the source material are smart. All scenarios are plausible, and some of the changes they make to the lore are pretty ingenious. You can tell those on the development team love Spider-Man and wanted to do the Spidey-verse justice. The one gripe I have with the story is its use of villains. While the central villains are excellent, a couple of the ancillary ones are not given enough screen time. Lengthening the story by two hours would have likely made their inclusion more substantial.
Let’s get the number one question out of the way; how is the web-swinging? I am glad to say that it is top-notch. Swinging from building to building is the most fluid it has ever felt, web-zipping is masterfully implemented, and holding down R2 to run and parkour over obstacles works beautifully. Admittedly, the swinging animations are not as varied as I had hoped, but the different combinations of wall-running, catapulting, zipping, and swinging you can pull off ensures that you’ll never travel from point A to point B the same way twice.
When I first saw the game’s combat from a gameplay demo, I was slightly put off by the look of the aerial combat. Fortunately, my worries were for naught. Aerial combat is very fun as there are many variations as to how it could go. Will you launch the enemy into the air and follow-up with a combo, or will you already be in the air, snatch them up with you, and incapacitate the enemy by webbing them to a wall? Ground combat is equally cerebral. Your gadgets will play a big role in combat and further spices up the combat even more. The combat always provides you with a challenge, be it simply trying to get a high combo or as crucial as avoiding death. At first crack, combat appears to be simply pressing square, zipping to enemies with triangle, and dodging with circle, but it begins to show its great depth just a mere hour into the game.
There are a few mandatory stealth missions, but I found them to be a good change of pace. Nothing revolutionary here; just perch up on a wall or scaffolding, make sure you are in the clear, and press a button to snag an enemy. The boss battles are tense, visually impressive, and engaging. However, one too many boss encounters felt repetitive.
There is no need to worry about value for your buck. The main story has a satisfying length and there are intricate side missions, hundreds of markers, and persistent crimes to keep you busy for tens of hours more. The big incentive to do them is, naturally, to unlock and wear all the different suits. Let’s just say that I only played about ten percent of the game with the default costume. That is how awesome many of the costumes are.
I am baffled by how phenomenal the game looks even on my base PS4. The draw distances are unreal and the frame rate feels buttery smooth. Seeing the sights perched atop a skyscraper is worlds apart from the now blocky mess offered in previous Spider-Man entries. The one thing fans have been wanting for years is a dense New York, and we get it here. Many pedestrians walk the streets that you can interact with and seeing the traffic bustle beneath you is a sight to behold.
Marvel’s Spider-Man exceeds expectations in so many aspects. Its minor shortcomings concerning boss battles and the need for a bit more plot development of the main story take away little from what Insomniac has made. Marvel’s Spider-Man is a must play. It earns a score of a 9.5/10, an excellent to a masterfully crafted game.
IMAGES CAPTURED ON PS4 AND RETRIEVED FROM
IMAGES OWNED BY SONY AND MARVEL, DEVELOPED BY INSOMNIAC GAMES