I’m swinging high above the streets of New York and man I love the people of this great city. They call out and cheer my name, I hear over my podcast app that Jonah is once again ripping me apart. What can a super-powered spider-man do? Guess I’ll have to talk MJ about this next time I see her. It is at this point that I realise I’m not Peter Parker, I’m Graham Day. I have no superpowers (that you know of) and I don’t live in the city that never sleeps. Instead, I am playing Marvel’s Spider-Man from Insomniac Games and I can’t believe how immersive it is.
I’ve swung through New York many times over the years. Spider-Man games have been with me since I was a child. The first Spider-Man game I played was the appropriately titled Spider-Man (2000). It was so much fun and from that point on I played a Spidey-centric game annually. Now we come to 2018 and there is a resurgence in the popularity of the famous wall-crawler. This is likely due to the introduction of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to the hyper-popular Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This is where Marvel’s Spider-Man comes in. Starring Yuri Lowenthal, Laura Bailey, and a whole host of celebrated actors Marvel’s Spider-Man is the definitive Spider-Man experience.
What immediately grabs you is the cinematic style of the game’s narrative. It is far more impressive than previous iterations. From the stunning graphics to the compelling storytelling it pulls you into this make-believe world so well. In my opinion, this is the best Spider-Man film that has ever been released. Yuri Lowenthal is also the second-best Spider-Man we’ve had, Andrew Garfield is number one (come at me if you dare). He’s been Spider-Man for 8 years and he’s seen a lot of action. He’s taken on many recognisable names, Electro, Rhino, and Vulture, who are currently imprisoned in the Raft.
This Peter is different though from previous incarnations as several notable villains have not appeared. Not only that several key figures in Peter’s life are absent. This is clearly an alternative universe which adds further fascination to this narrative. Look out for Spider-Geddon in the coming months of Marvel comics as this Peter will join the ranks of the Spider-Verse spider-people.
Do whatever a spider can
Spider-Man’s movements have never felt more fluid. He bounces from building to building with the grace and ease of well a human-sized spider. The dynamic movement is just so simple and user-friendly. There is one issue with this gameplay however. It’s not new. It’s like all previous Spider-Man games were various experiments trying to master the movement of Spider-Man. All these experiments lead to Marvel’s Sider-Man which is the culmination of all these previous attempts. It’s perfect in its execution but it is nothing you haven’t seen before from previous Spider-Man outings.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of Marvel’s Spider-Man is the development of Peter’s powers/skills. This further enhances the experience of playing as Spider-Man. These skills enhance how you move as well as how you fight. This is where Marvel’s Spider-Man once again gets interesting if somewhat unoriginal. The combat is basically a modded version of the Batman Arkham series. The gameplay in my opinion though suits Spider-Man more than Batman because you can easily explain it because of Peter’s spider-sense.
He dodges his foes with ease, you can chain his combo’s together causing devastating damage and it feels so satisfying when you take on 20+ enemies and by the end of it all you’re standing triumphant over their unconscious bodies. Fighting enemies on rooftops is a unique affair because you can knock them off instantly taking them out of the fight because well you’ve killed them. My friends pointed this out multiple times stating that I would kill many criminals by webbing them up and then kicking them off rooftops, or slinging car doors at their heads. Many people may play a secondary game of the body count you can rack up in this game.
What is a great inclusion is that Peter is not the only playable character and this breaks up the gameplay. This allows players to flex their puzzle solving skills. I won’t say who the other playable characters are but there is more than one 🙂
On top of this is a gaggle of goons that Spider-Man has to take throughout the game. You get to utilise all the various gadgets and skills you obtain to bring all these guys down. Unlike most games, Marvel’s Spider-Man’s combat is difficult and nuanced enough that you have to use every gadget at your disposal otherwise you will lose.
There wasn’t a single gadget available in my arsenal that I didn’t enjoy using. Easily my favourite was the web bomb which hits an enemy and explodes outward trapping all enemies near them. This leaves them all open for your punishment.
On the subject of enemies. Marvel’s Spider-Man has several noteworthy boss battles and they’re a lot of fun. They’re incredibly cinematic. Unfortunately, they are somewhat similar in execution. You fight them, they have awesome and epic abilities and then you figure out their routine and from there the fights get pretty simple. Even the final boss is fairly easy. Even on the harder difficulty levels. I would recommend the Spectacular difficulty as it is a decent challenge for most gamers.
As you play the game and complete the various missions in the game you earn tokens which you can use to unlock skills. These “tokens” are gained by solving crimes, bringing down criminal bases, beating challenges posed to you by enemies, and researching various items across New York. This brings me to my favourite aspect of Marvel’s Spider-Man gameplay.
The Spider-Suit makes the Spider-Man
In Marvel’s Spider-Man Peter is an accomplished engineer/scientist and because of this, he is continually inventing new suits to help him with his crime-fighting endeavours. After the first 20 minutes of the game, he designs a new suit (the one you’ve seen in the trailers) and from there he utilises the new ability he gains from it to help him take on the criminals of New York. As you level up Peter and complete side missions more suits become available to you. They each have unique abilities that you can then mix and match with other suits giving you your own unique Spider-Man suit. There are over 20 suits available for you to unlock and they range from suits that are decades old from comic runs that have become iconic to a few suits that have recently shown up in the MCU. They’re very cool and you will spend a lot of your time trying to unlock them simply due to their impressive designs. You will divide the number of tokens you to either upgrade your gadgets or to buy new suits. Either way, you are improving Spider-Man’s arsenal and it’s a lot of fun expanding the capabilities of Spider-Man to deal with the many enemies you’ll be facing out there on the streets of New York.
With great power comes great responsibility
The game clocks in at approximately 20 hours but if you want that Platinum Trophy that number will easily double. Marvel’s Spider-Man is easily the best Spider-Man game. Not only that it is the best Spider-Man film. With the combination of addictive gameplay and a compelling narrative, this is a must play for any fans of Spider-Man. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to save my city, Spider-Man out.