Developer: Insomniac Games
Release Date: September 7, 2018
When Insomniac Games announced in 2016 that they were creating an open-world Spider-Man game, gamers around the world were shocked. Some people were filled with excitement, while others were cautiously skeptical. After three years of patiently waiting, Spider-Man has officially swung into action and it was worth the wait. Here are some pros and cons of Marvel’s Spider-Man.
With fifty-six years’ worth of comics, it’s tough to recognize a unique and gripping Spider-Man/Peter Parker story, yet somehow Insomniac Games found a way. The team took pieces of many fan-favorite story arcs and mashed them together to create a rather refreshing spider-man tale. The story begins with a twenty-year-old Peter Parker, making his way through life while also balancing his time as his crime-fighting alter ego, Spider-Man. Peter is newly single and working as a scientist alongside his idol. He occasionally finds time to help his Aunt May at F.E.A.S.T, a homeless shelter in central Manhattan run by a kind man named Martin Li. The story begins relatively slow but picks up near the end of the first act. While the story isn’t relatively shocking or groundbreaking, Insomniac successfully tells a relatively humanizing story about Peter and the struggles that come with being a hero. Peter Parker is an incredibly relatable protagonist who makes it extremely easy to root for him.
For the past fourteen years, Spider-Man fans around the world have been waiting for a proper successor to the beloved Spider-Man 2, a game adaptation to the second movie of Sam Raimi’s classic Spidey trilogy. Spider-Man 2 revolutionized and simultaneously mastered the art of web swinging. Swinging from building to building while gaining momentum is one of the most satisfying gaming experiences I have had in years. The New York City setting is a giant concrete playground where you can swing to your heart’s content. Spider-Man is very agile building up velocity while mixing different combinations of swinging which is exceptionally satisfying. It is fun and fluid, making it never routine when going from mission to mission. The game has a built-in fast travel system, but I guarantee you’ll find yourself wanting to venture over to waypoints yourself rather than using this feature.
During the story, Peter will occasionally be filled in on events in which MJ would go rogue — trying to help Spider-Man gain extra intel or help. These “stealth” missions are the epitome of boring gameplay. MJ utilizes gadgets that help her distract enemies so she can proceed to her destination while staying hidden. The AI in this game dull and is unresponsive, making these missions irritatingly slow. Getting the attention of the thugs as you throw multiple distraction gadgets took me out of the game. There were also moments when MJ was wholly exposed to an enemy, but they walked past her as if they didn’t see her. To make these missions even more tedious, the characters feel uncontrollable making it a challenge to sneak around, which is the purpose of these missions
This past year, we were spoiled with a few pure cinematic experiences such as God of War which featured virtually no loading screens at all. This experience left a positive impact on gamers and helped the overall flow of the story. Marvel’s Spider-Man, on the other hand, is littered with overly long loading screens. The essence of the story gets bogged down due to its vast open world map as well as the day and night system. It makes sense why the developers needed to include them, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me audibly groan each time that annoying black screen popped up. Finish a mission? Loading screen. Do one of the many side activities? Loading screen. Enter a building? You guessed it — loading screen. Now it didn’t affect my overall experience that much, but it did change the overall pacing of the story which is crucial in a game like this.
Marvel’s Spider-Man mixes fun gameplay with an endearing story about Peter Parker trying his best to balance his life and fighting crime. Combat and web swinging are both immensely satisfying. I never got tired of doing both in my thirty plus hours of playing. Even though I completed the game last week, I still find myself coming back to swan dive off the Empire State building and swing around the city. Besides some pacing issues in the story and the abnormally long loading screens, Spider-Man is a must own game for any PlayStation owner. I’m looking forward to seeing where Insomniac takes this iconic character next.
I would rate this game an 8.5/10