Spider-Man by Insomniac Games is the latest video-game adaptation of our favorite web-swinger to hit shelves and provides gamers with the most exhilarating Marvel experience yet.
While swinging through the rooftops of New York City is indeed as incredible as you could imagine, it’s actually the rich story and extensive understanding of Peter Parker as a character that cements this game in superhero history.
Whether you’re reading the comics or watching him in Infinity War, who hasn’t wanted to swing like Spider-Man through the air? Well, Spider-Man PS4 gives the audience the ability to finally accomplish that dream. The mechanics for web-swinging take a little bit of getting used to but after a few hours, you’ll find yourself performing all sorts of tricks and utilizing every ounce of momentum you can to swing around.
As for the combat, much like the Arkham Series, the game does a great job at providing a system that is easy to use for newer gamers while also allowing experienced players to mix up different gadgets, tricks, and moves in order to get that sweet high-combat score. You really get a feel for Peter’s flexibility as he swings, dives and ducks out of incoming punches and gunfire – which adds to the fluid spider-movements of the character.
There are also stealth sequences that again utilize Peter’s technical prowess and flexibility to help him navigate through the map and take out multitudes of thugs quietly. What makes these elements so enjoyable is that you have to carefully plot out how you’re going to take on each environment and gang.
However, Peter isn’t the only character you get to play as during the game – you also get to take control of Mary Jane Watson and Miles Morales. Both characters also have to navigate through stealth-like scenarios without the spectacular abilities that Peter possesses but don’t count them out just yet. Insomniac’s Mary Jane feels like a breath of fresh air, who helps to save the day and provide hope to the city in her role as a Daily Bugle reporter who seeks to bring down the criminal elements of New York. Miles Morales also appears in the game as a teenager inspired by Spider-Man to help others out via the FEAST homeless shelter, run by Peter’s Aunt May. The stealth sequences for these characters make the best out of their specific skillsets – journalism and technological prowess.
Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for eight years now much like the classic Amazing Spider-Man run, after being a high-schooler turned college student taking down traditional criminal syndicates such as Wilson Fisk (AKA The Kingpin) and the more colorful costumed creeps such as Vulture, Scorpion or Electro. When he isn’t helping the City from being destroyed with the help of Detective Yuri Watanabe, Peter is also struggling to pay his bills and work as a scientist in his spare time.
What Insomniac does so well with this game is balancing both Peter Parker AND Spider-Man while also hitting the nail on the head for what’s so important about the character. Peter is caring, respectful and does his best to help those around him whether that’s via crime-fighting or simpler things like looking after the homeless in NYC or working to help veterans with new scientific advances. Making a Spider-Man game is one thing but Insomniac pushes the envelope to provide its audience with the purest representation of what makes Peter Parker one of the most inspiring characters in fiction. You actively feel like you’re making a positive difference both in and out of the costume.
A lot of Spider-Man takes inspiration from the long comic book history of the character, but in particular focuses on elements found in the Slott, Bendis and original 60’s run of The Amazing Spider-Man. While there are plenty of famous villains that occupy the game, it’s actually the lesser known character of Martin Lee (AKA Mr Negative) that takes the spotlight and rightfully so – Stephen Oyoung does an extremely good job at playing both a sympathetic and frightening member of Spidey’s rogue gallery.
Throughout the game there are numerous fun nods to the Marvel Universe including Avengers Tower and Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum and references to characters such as Daredevil and Jessica Jones.
There was a little bit of controversy over the white emblem that decorates Peter’s costume, but stylistically it really stands out in a positive way during the game and over time you start to love the new design! (which is lucky, considering you’ll see it again during Spider-Geddon!)
There’s also a variety of classic Spider-Man suits to enjoy wearing which can be unlocked through level completion including the Spider-Man: Homecoming outfit from the MCU, or my particular favorite – the ‘Last Stand’ outfit from Amazing Spider-Man #500.
Insomniac does a great job of adapting the classic designs from the source material and adding their own flair to each specific costume. It doesn’t invalidate the classic designs we’re accustomed to either, in fact you see the classic Electro, Mysterio and Spider-Man outfits throughout the game. But we do get to see a logical upgrade in certain costumes and designs that really stand out and work in a modern context.
Spider-Man PS4 may have perfected the Spidey game formula, but more impressively they get Peter Parker on a level others simply haven’t been able to grasp. While there are some boss fight mechanics that can be a bit repetitive, the game is quite frankly spectacular (pun absolutely intended).