Game: Marvel’s Spider-Man
Rating: T for Teen
In the Marvel comic book universe New York City is inhabited by many illustrious superheroes, from Avengers like Iron Man and Vision to Hell’s Kitchen’s Daredevil, we New Yorkers each have our favorite crusader, yet none are quite as near and dear to the city’s heart as our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
A Whole New Spider-World
Marvel’s Spider-Man swings exclusively onto the PS4 system in what has been one of the most anticipated releases of 2018. Over the years the web-head has produced some of the best and worst adventures throughout his tenure in the gaming world. It is with this in mind that developer Insomniac Games—the team behind such series as Ratchet & Clank and Resistance—has worked tirelessly to give us the most authentic and just plain fun Spider-Man experience ever, to which they have succeeded. I still have fond memories of playing Spider-Man 2 on the original Xbox all those years ago, swinging through New York was jaw-dropping to witness for the first time and insanely addictive to play. Insomniac Games has seemingly looked at that game’s engine—along with the fanfare it received—and attempted to expand upon it with a gorgeously recreated New York City that lives, breathes, and hosts brand new super villains. But what would all this be without a good Spider-Man story to get stuck into, pun intended.
This iteration blends together well-known Spidey lore and in doing so creates its own unique universe that exists outside of the comic books and movies, much like the Batman Arkham games. Here Peter Parker is not new to his red and blue suit, in fact he has been donning the mask for quite a few years, although that does not mean he has yet faced all of his famous villains. For instance, Parker does not begin the game working at the Daily Bugle for the explosive J. Jonah Jameson, instead he works in a lab for Doctor Octavius, who has yet to transform into the super-villain better known as Doctor Octopus. Parker is trying to hold down his job and deal with various criminals when a new evildoer enters the fray, one who can seemingly control those around him with negative energy. With your help Spider-Man must defeat this newcomer along with a whole host of other classic bad guys.
Your Very Own Playground
As a New York resident you will likely recognize many faithfully recreated landmarks while free-roaming around town, including but not limited to the likes of the Freedom Tower, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and many, many more along with some invented ones too, such as the Avengers Tower. This is another aspect that makes this title so enjoyable. Soaring amidst the sky-scrapers is never dull, though if you want to drop down to pedestrian level and give a fan a high-five or take a selfie with an excited bystander, you can do that. There are also plenty of side-missions to partake in and collectibles to find like old backpacks that Parker has left scattered around the city. Performing these tasks will level you up giving you access to new suits, moves, and gadgets, which will come in handy during battle. The fighting system seems heavily inspired by the Arkham games.
Spider-Man’s spider sense will tingle, notifying you when it’s time to counter, other than that you can unleash button-mashing combos that will have crooks hurtling into the air or sticking to walls. Some of the most satisfying gameplay is to be had when sneaking up on enemies. There is nothing quite like balancing on a streetlight only to tie a mugger up with some web and leave him dangling for the cops in the light’s glow.
The graphics themselves are some of the best the system has to offer. Faces are detailed and ooze emotion. New York is bursting with activity: boats sail on the river and planes soar over the skyline, pigeons flutter by as you zip over and between buildings, while pedestrians holler for taxis—I never felt so much like Spider-Man. No matter how good it is, nothing is ever all gravy. There are a few drawbacks in this open world. Some random crimes that take place feel either too frequent or somewhat repetitive. Admittedly this is a very small gripe.
Small gripes aside, Marvel’s Spider-Man is one of the best super hero experiences ever, and certainly the best within the last few years. If you are a Marvel fan do yourself a favor pick this one up.