Released last September, I finally had the opportunity to sit down a play though this PS4 exclusive. And I can confidently say that this blew me away. The gameplay is some of the best in video games, the graphics are stunning and the story is original, funny, interesting and at times emotional. Everything in the game has obviously been made with love and respect for the universe of Spider-Man and Marvel in general, and is easily one of the best current gen games published.
I’ll start of with the gameplay. Never has traversal and combat been so good. An integral part of the mechanics is web slinging, which not only being the main traversal tool, but a key component of the combat system. Whether you quietly swing from point to point to web up your enemies without the others noticing, placing web traps around the map, or going in webs a blazing with webs that can be electric, high impact or spread from enemy to enemy, the combat rewards you for mastering and tailoring it to your play style. In addition, there is rarely a time that you ever feel the need or want to fast travel across the map as it manages to be both open but have a sense of scale that matches the feeling of Manhattan. This is exemplified by the perfect web slinging mechanics. Swinging, jumping and shooting from building to building never ceases to be fun.
The graphics are also extraordinary. Spider-Man perfectly blends comic book art with a sense of realism and has some of the best character models ever rendered. From the way that Peter Parker’s hair moves, to the dynamics of character movement, everywhere you go feels a part of a single unit, cohesive to the point of real immersion. This extends to the actual map. Insomniac Games obviously took a lot of time and effort to create a Manhattan that feels real, yet is firmly within the Marvel Universe, sprinkling in landmarks such as the Avengers Tower. And finally, they have taken extreme measures to create an amazing collection of Spider-Suits to choose from during play time. From Noir Spider-Man, The Scarlet Spider, Spider-Man 2099 and everything in between, each costume is handled in a way that shows the time spent perfecting this game.
Last but not least is the story itself. While an introduction to this new rendition of Spider-Man, Insomniac Games cleverly places the events of the game eight years into to Spidey’s career, adding a deep sense of mythos and history not afforded by an origin story. This also allows for the story to immediately jump into the action. Each character is written true to their comic counter-parts and all interact with each other as if they have known the other for ages. Special mention goes to The Sinister Six. Each villain feels as if they are true characters as opposed to caricatures, whether that be Rhino and Scorpion bouncing off of each other, or the emotional baggage that Doc Ock and Mr. Negative carry with their relationship with Peter. All of this comes together to tell a story of actual meaning and gives players a reason to care. And as an aside, the final moments of the story might be the most poignant Spider-Man minutes ever written, truly showing pain and character growth.
Spider-Man swings into an amazing first game in what seems to be a Marvel Gaming Universe, and perfects every aspect of it’s narrative, gameplay and graphical moments. A truly Spectacular 10/10.
Spider-Man is available to buy in stores and from the playstation store at https://store.playstation.com/en-ca/product/UP9000-CUSA02299_00-MARVELSSPIDERMAN