Game screen shot
Marvel’s Spider-Man by Insomniac Games for the PlayStation 4 does an excellent job of making the player feel like the titular web slinging, wall crawling hero.
Swinging around the rooftops of Manhattan feels both fluid and fun, and the game offers a great story of a more mature and experienced Spider-Man and his alter ego, Peter Parker.
Combat in the game is smooth, being similar to Rocksteady Studio’s Batman Arkham series. The player has many tools at their disposal, such as different web attacks, gadgets and special power ups. Although at times the game feels slow and has old fashioned mechanics, it is an impressive game and a must play for any fan of the character or for those simply looking for something new to play.
It opens not with a tired origin story of how Spider-Man got his powers, but instead, puts the player right into the boots of an experienced hero and his struggle between protecting New York City and having a normal life as Peter Parker. His everyday problems such as overdue bills, managing a relationship with on and off again girlfriend Mary Jane Watson and a job as an assistant in the lab of Dr. Otto Octavius allows players to care and relate more to the character
At the heart of any Spider-Man game, the web slinging is a huge mechanic and must be nailed for the game to feel just right. It is honed and intuitive in Insomniac’s comic book beat ‘em up. The R2 button launches a web to the nearest building and pressing the X button at the right time will build momentum and shoot Spider-Man into the air. String these together, and the player can vastly swing through the streets of Manhattan, which is stunningly re-created to include such landmarks as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
Many classic Spider-Man villains make an appearance including Wilson Fisk, The Shocker, The Vulture and Doctor Octopus. Fighting enemies revolves around chaining hits to make combos. The more hits landed, the deadlier the combo. Players can parry enemy attacks, opening up more opportunities to take down harder foes. Tokens are earned by completing missions and side quests that unlocks new moves and spider gadgets, such as a flying spider drone that zaps enemies with a laser. When not doing main missions, the player can partake in repeating side quests such as taking down a group of bank robbers or stopping a car full of armed thugs. Collectibles such as backpacks are scattered around the city, giving incentive for the player to really explore New York City. There is plenty to do in this game, with my play-through clocking in at just over 17 hours.
The only problems with Marvel’s Spider-Man worth mentioning is that for one, sometimes the game feels slow. When you are swinging through the city at high speeds, the game feels amazing, with heroic music playing in the background. At a standstill, however, such as if the momentum of web slinging is lost, it feels sluggish and can be annoying to get back in the air to swing to the next destination. The second thing is the games use of load screens after the character goes through doors. In 2018, open world games, such as these rarely have to make the player wait up to 10 seconds to enter a different building. If the player strays too far from side quests, the game warns that the mission area is being left behind, bringing back memories of games that are a decade older. It is admittedly a minor complaint, but it can break a player’s immersion into the games. Otherwise, a great story.
Overall, besides a few pacing issues, Marvel’s Spider-Man is a fun, action-packed experience. It is a must play for any fan of the character or comic books in general. Even players not familiar in Spider-Man’s lore will still find the game’s high flying and action-oriented gameplay enjoyable. The game’s riveting story and unlockables, such as new spider suits and abilities, keep the player engaged throughout the campaign, while the gameplay truly makes one feel like Spider-Man every step of the way.
Christopher Jaramillo is a senior majoring in communications with an emphasis in journalism. In his spare time, he loves to play the latest video games and is a die-hard PlayStation fanboy.