Marvel’s Spider-man is the best thing to come out of the Marvel Universe outside of the blockbuster films.
The game is absolutely stellar and mixes action, story and puzzle solving with grace and pace. It’s the kind of game that sucks 50+ hours out of your life without you realizing what has happened.
The story begins with Peter Parker struggling to pay rent. Parker is 23 years-old and is working with the police to take down organized crime boss Wilton Fisk.
The game approaches the story in the same way that the most recent movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming, does. There’s no background about ol’ PP wandering into the lab and getting bit by a spider and discovering he has powers. Instead, it thrusts you right into the action to take on Fisk.
After dispatching of Fisk, the game transitions into acts where Spidey takes on specific bosses. The first act is largely to teach the player how to handle Spidey’s skills and battle tactics but get the ball rolling. The second and third acts both assume that the player has mastered the controls and combos and offer new challenges in Manhattan.
The game can be broken down into three modes: combat, transversal and dumb boring stuff. Combat and webbing through the city are spectacular, but in an effort to mix up gameplay, Insomniac Games added in segments of sneaking and puzzle solving.
The puzzle solving is very straightforward and is a good way to slow things down between action-packed missions.
The sneaking segments have the player take control of either Mary Jane Watson or Miles Morales. The player waddles around crates and other stock objects while creating distractions to sneak past guards. They’re boring and feel like chores the player has to do before getting back to fun web time.
While Spidey is the star of the game, Manhattan is a shining supporting actor. The bureau is expertly crafted to look like the real Manhattan with districts and landmarks to boot. The beauty of the city makes the experience of playing as the web-slinger feel all the more immersive. The developers also added bits of Marvel lore like Avengers Tower and Dr. Strange’s Sanctuary to further establish Marvel’s Universe in the game.
I found myself on several occasions climbing to the top of the Empire State Building and just looking at how beautiful the game looks. It also offers a photo-mode where Spidey can take selfies and action shots that have inspired entire Reddit pages dedicated to the game’s mind-blowing graphics,.
Manhattan is approached in the same way that Empire City is approached in the original Infamous game. Each city is divided into districts with specific tasks to complete in each district. There are crimes to stop, camps of enemies to be cleared and collectibles to be found.
Clearing the districts earns you tokens that you can use to purchase new suits and upgrade Spidey’s gadgets. Learning to use Spidey’s web gadgets is one of the most satisfying parts of the game.
The game heavily encourages the player to explore Manhattan by having moments after finishing a main mission where there is no active mission and Parker will say some dialogue about patrolling the city.
The cliche review statement about the game is that the player REALLY FEELS LIKE SPIDER-MAN. While cliche, that statement is absolutely true. Swinging from webs off the Empire State Building feels so right. The physics are consistent and falling from buildings while transitioning to web swinging feels so smooth that it has to be real.
Outside of the sneaking segments and the occasional movement hiccup (sometimes Spidey is really insistent on sticking to buildings), there is almost nothing to complain about.
The music is good, the game feel is good, all the suits and upgrades Spidey gets are cool and there’s DLC around the corner. It’s expertly made and is an absolute blast to play.
Story by: Connor Sanders