Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for around eight years and has definitely seen his share of trouble at this point. Most of his enemies are locked up at Riker's Island Prison thanks to his heroic efforts. The story starts in Peter’s room, a camera pans throughout showing us newspaper clippings covering Spider-Man's previous adventures. There are also inventions and photos of friends and family scattered around. Peter wakes up in his apartment to the sound of police chatter broadcasting through his phone. He quickly springs out of bed, grabbing his suit and a snack, then jumps out the window to tackle the dangers beyond.
After this brief cutscene you’re free to roam the city as New York's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Immediately you are airborne, swinging between buildings, over pedestrians and heavy traffic. Moving around the city by any means feels smooth and fluid. Spider-Man can quickly zip to most points on buildings, lamps, rafters and more. Jumping off these points while moving launches our hero through the air, keeping his momentum at full speed. It is the large range of movement, realistic animations and the well realized recreation of this busy city that makes traveling from mission to collectible so fun.
Expect to see iconic family, friends, newcomers, and villains mixed in throughout the lengthy story. While some characters have smaller roles than others, they are all used in a meaningful and unique way. One great new addition is Spider-Man’s largest and most menacing threats, Mister Negative. A unique aspect of any Spider-Man story is how the two lifestyles of Spider-Man and Peter Parker intertwine yet are also kept separate. Moments where Peter is out of costume resonate with the player because you see how he carries himself through what most people experience during a time in their life. The sometimes unbelievable and overwhelming reality we live in. There are ups and downs. Relationships come and go. Your home and finances may alter. The world will present changes when and where you don’t expect them. You can’t help but laugh or get choked up along the way, because you can relate to his situations.
Collectibles that you gather from Peter's backpacks are spread throughout the city and usually recap story moments dealing with villains or moments from his past. Such as a vile of sand, a piece of Mysterio’s helmet or a Spider-Man plushie to spoil a few. I was always eager to find these and learn more about what I missed during his younger college days and early superhero career. New York is packed with other goodies and side activities including: Crimes, challenges, research stations, Black Cat stakeouts, and side missions. Completing activities rewards the player with experience and with enough Spider-Man will level up, earning the player skill points. Redeeming these points will unlock enhanced moves for combat, navigation or stealth. Additionally, most activities earn you tokens of different types, which are exchanged for gadgets or new suits. All suits are unique in both look and "suit power" and span various eras of Spider-Man lore.
Prepare to find yourself in lots of brawls while swinging around New York streets. You’ll be fighting down dark alleys, open parks, busy intersections, rooftops, inside buildings and even standing on runaway vehicles. But have no fear, Spider-Man is focused. Similar to Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham series, the combat is extremely fluid; there’s a button for dodging, attacking, jumping, throwing, webbing, swinging, etc. Combos can be chained together using these sets of buttons along with your gadgets. Spider-Man’s gadgets range from the standard web shooters to suspension grenades and all are selectable from a convenient weapon wheel. You need to strategically juggle between your vast arsenal of gadgets, attacks and dodges to gain focus while at the same time utilizing Spider-Man’s speed and mobility to stay alive in every fight.
Each encounter with enemies has the potential to feel very tense. Multiple enemies will not hesitate to attack you with guns, melee weapons, gadgets and their unique powers. The fights usually consist of a single group of baddies: Demons, gangsters, escaped criminals or Sable troops. Each group has a few archetypes within, such as a Brute, which is a larger enemy that deals more damage versus standard enemies. Shield wielding foes will have you finding a way to take their cover or get behind them while in combat. Other enemies may carry electric rods that can stun you or guns that will keep your dodging skills sharp.
Insomniac’s adaptation is a nostalgic trip through the web crawlers comic book lore and was definitely a breath of fresh air. There was more than enough quality content within the game that kept me intrigued even after the credits rolled. Side missions, collectibles and challenges are plentiful. Moving smoothly between all the various combat and traversal mechanics is part of what makes Spider-Man so addictively spectacular. Every gameplay element comes together with such polish. From parkour, swinging and climbing to combat, audio and fan service. Pairing the fast and immersive gameplay with a refreshing story based around Parker’s past, present and future is what makes Spider-Man truly amazing.
Check out the first 15 minutes below,
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Initial Release: Sep 7, 2018
Reviewed on: PS4
There was more than enough quality content within the game that kept me intrigued even after the credits rolled. Side missions, collectibles and challenges are plentiful. Moving smoothly between all the various combat and traversal mechanics is part of what makes Spider-Man so addictively spectacular. Every gameplay element comes together with such polish. From parkour, swinging and climbing to combat, audio and fan service.