While Marvel Studios continues to dominate the movie market. It’s been a long time since the heroes have taken over the gaming space. Marvel’s Spider-Man not only brings this iconic hero back to gaming, but builds the best representation of this heroes universe to date.
You join a Spider-Man that’s not some green horn hero that just got his powers. He’s been at this for 8 years, put away some of his most iconic villains and is now living with the consequences of living these 2 separate lives. His relationship with MJ has fallen apart and he can barely keep up with his rent. You see the toll of being a superhero has taken on him as everyday Peter Parker. That struggle is only exacerbated when the crime world is shaken up, and all sorts of gangs are vying for control of NYC. The collectibles like spider-man’s backpacks, and the mad rantings of J Jonah Jameson only add to the history of events. Giving every moment more weight and making me invested in tracking down every secret and bit of radio chatter I could find. I truly wanted to see how the history of events shaped the current Spider-Man world I was living in.
Some of this is caught in the usual open world trappings. You’ll soon find yourself climbing on top of a radio tower revealing a bunch of icons that lead to optional objectives. Spider-Man moves at such a pace that I never felt bogged down by most of the side missions. There’s definitely activities
I enjoyed more than others, like using my movement skills to stop waste spills, or combat trials which help unlock a bevy of suits from the hero’s history. Outside of those, most are just mini-games that felt a little archaic. I just wanted to swing and run around this big city, not stop and do a pipe dream mini game. That being said, you can enable a skip feature on these puzzles so you don’t have to bother with them. It felt alot better to me once I enabled that as it allowed me to get right back to swinging and leaping around the city.
Speaking of the movement, its feels just as good as it looks. Hit the trigger and go into full swing. From a swing you can quickly zip to any perch or building edge, allowing you to get the lay of the land or a point to jump off for more speed. If there’s no place to immediately swing from you can pull yourself forward with a button press helping you course correct and find your next building to swing from. Holding down the trigger while on the ground lets you go into full sprint which will let you run up buildings or move around obstacles easily in your path. There’s so much in terms of vertical and horizontal movement options that feel rhythmic and satisfying to control. Not to mention you can do this all from the get go, you only get more options as you level up and unlock skills and the pace for unlocking them felt just right.
The same can be said for combat. A string of combos into a launcher feels just as satisfying to pull off as a well-timed web swing. You can use all kinds of gadgets to web up enemies, and powerful abilities you unlock from suits all have a style and grace that make you feel just like a powerful superhero.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best realization of not only one of the most iconic superheroes of all time, but fully captures the Spider-Man universe and makes it it’s own. But like the current trend of Marvel films, the game is more about building the universe than telling a story. Which leads to some very open threads towards the final act. You can tell they hold back and just leave you with some major teases for future installments. I would of liked a little bit more of a satisfying ending, but what’s there still resonated with me and made a Spider-Man I really cared about. Insomniac has raised the bar for superhero video games, and I can’t wait to see more of what they have in store for our friendly neighborhood hero as they build this new universe.
This game was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro system with a retail copy of the title purchased by the reviewer.