Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4 was officially announced by Sony during their E3 2016 Press Conference. For this new take on our beloved hero, developing duties went to Insomniac Games, making this their first ever licensed Spider-Man game. This added more excitement and higher expectations to an ever-growing community of fans.

Insomniac Games carries a highly regarded collection of titles such as Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet and Clank, Sunset Overdrive and the Resistance Series. And with this, of course, expectations were high; especially when Warner Bros. and Rocksteady Studios’ Batman: Arkham Series has set the bar high in the superhero game genre.

Did we finally get the Spider-Man title we longed for? Perhaps the one that will stand game-to-game with Batman: Arkham Asylum as an example? Welcome to Gaming Access Weekly’s review for Marvel’s Spider-Man, available on PlayStation 4.

ALONG CAME A SPIDEY

Marvel’s Spider-Man‘s story is a new telling of our hero. The game doesn’t follow the adventures of any previous incarnations; it is an original story created exclusively for this game from the ground up. If I were to find any comparison to previous Spider-Man narratives when it comes to atmosphere, music, humor, character interaction and nature I would say it hits close to the Tobey Maguire days of the web-slinging hero.

Marvel’s Spider-Man begins with a look into Peter Parker’s apartment as he gets ready for his first mission in the game. Newspaper articles, pictures in frames and “Last Notice” letters of overdue bills are shown as part of the apartment decor. Clearly, this is a version of Peter Parker that even after years of experience fighting crime still struggles with living two lives, that of “the man” and “the hero”. In the Spider-Man’s life, the struggle to keep this balance has been a focal point in the comics, movies, and games and in my friendly neighborhood opinion, it also connects well here with the game’s story and character development.

Accompanying our hero on this adventure are fan favorites like Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson (a playable character in certain stealth missions) as well as Dr. Otto Octavius and Norman Osborn in a very different take from what we have seen before in the big screen. You will have awesome encounters with villains such as The Shocker, Electro, Rhino, and The Vulture, just to name a few. Unlike other games in which boss fights just happen, here, the encounters flow smoothly with the game’s story which helps by adding dimension to the characters instead of just showing up to be included in the game.

The world in Marvel’s Spider-Man is full of easter eggs that pay homage to the wonders that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has provided to us. In the game, you will experience a world where, although not physically, a universe of superheroes exists in the game in different ways. One can only hope this new take on our hero’s world will expand into all aspects Insomniac Games only teases at this time. I do have to admit, there is one scene early in the game that made yours truly geek out, and it involves a surprise cameo which I will not spoil here.  But know this, it will put a big smile on your face. Sorry readers, no hints or spoilers!

THE SWING OF THINGS

After watching various gameplay videos hyping the game’s navigational mechanics, I could not wait to start my web-swinging adventures around the open world of Marvel’s Spider-Man. Of all the features in the game, the one I wanted to try the most was the ability to use my web-shooting abilities to transcend between buildings, soar the skies and have that beautiful sunset right in my eyes.

The game runs at 30 frames-per-second even on the PlayStation 4 Pro. Experiencing such a drop in the frame compared to other recent games started hurting the experience and thoughts of “oh man, it did get downgraded” started clouding my spider senses. I started feeling concern and worry that Marvel’s Spider-Man would not meet my expectations based on first impressions; adding to this the controversy behind the downgrade rumors before the game’s release was not proving to be a good influence.

Marvel’s Spider-Man‘s controls have a learning curve that may require some time to get used to. Although pop-up tutorials are present to help you in your first mission, these are too quick and sudden. It felt like a lot was thrown my way when at least in my experience all I wanted was to explore and feel the world at first. Maybe I was just expecting to start the game with a much more slower, hand-holding experience rather than being thrown immediately into an action sequence against our first villain/boss.

Marvel’s Spider-Man combat system resembles the one from the Batman: Arkham Series and Middle-Earth games with a little sprinkle of Watch Dogs 2. You will have decisive moments in the game that will depend on a button prompt, others where you will need to do your best in keeping stealth and take down as many enemies as you can before being detected.

The resemblance in battle animations was so alike that at times I would find myself hitting the wrong buttons out of habit from playing similar games. This is in no way a bad thing, I have loved the challenge and fun learning curve that this game has put me through and the rewarding for doing so is phenomenal and makes you want to progress more. Casting all doubts and naysayer’s bad influence aside I carried on playing and familiarizing myself with the world Insomniac Games created, and I do not regret it.

WITH GREAT POWER…

After some time getting adjusted to the controls, button prompts and puzzles, Marvel’s Spider-Man started showing it’s strength and great power. All the wonderful features that are featured in a high profile AAA action/adventure game took center stage. Here is where the level up system started coming into play, the spider suits started being introduced to their abilities and the story started to unfold. At present I am unable to put this game down, Marvel’s Spider-Man is truly fascinating and addictive to the point any skepticism felt at first is nonexistent!

I will not deny that since mastering the navigation I turn on my console and at times don’t even progress. I just swing through buildings collecting items to craft new equipment, hacking towers to open new sections of the map (somewhat like Watch Dogs) and completing side-quests around the city to gather more XP and level up opportunities. Although many have expressed a feeling of repetitiveness in the side-quests, I take their presence to help me practice newly acquired abilities which are welcome and fun, while also making you feel like a hero who is helping in cleaning up a city from crime and corruption.

I am a believer that it’s the little things that count and here in Marvel’s Spider-Man the very brief interactions with the city’s population make me feel like the true Spider-Man. Walking around the city and using the Square button to interact with the NPC’s by giving high-fives and other types of interaction do add some extra fun to the experience. I was expecting all of the game’s glory to be based in the game’s aerial features, and in this little fun feature, Marvel’s Spider-Man has surpassed my expectations. It does come to show that the NPC’s breath as much life in the game as the city’s skyscraper visuals.

…COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY

When Insomniac Games were given developer duties to create a new Spider-Man game they were given great power by Sony, and with this, came great responsibility. Marvel’s Spider-Man is a game of many layers, here is a game that is not only action-oriented where you will battle enemies, engage in car chase sequences and trap enemies by web shooting. Here we have the full-on Spider-Man experience.

I have found the game to be more immersive when playing with headphones due to the game’s amazing soundtrack. As you walk through the streets and rooftops of New York, press the X button followed by the R2 button to start your web exploration through the city, a beautiful and orchestral soundtrack will take over, making you feel like the true hero. The game’s soundtrack is one of the features in this game that make me feel like I am very close to the Tobey Maguire movies. It provides a truly immersive experience even when you get a call for help on the radio about a citizen in distress or the police asking for help during a robbery. The feeling of urgency the soundtrack adds to the experience does the job well.

Another strong addition to the game is the addictive Photo Mode. During the course of gameplay, I find myself in numerous occasions going to the Options Menu to access this mode with hopes of creating the next epic screenshot. For a game like Marvel’s Spider-Man that includes both gameplay in the skies and on the ground, the level of visuals in a 360-degree environment makes it difficult not to want to take advantage of all that Photo Mode offers. This is a great way to also share with friends your game findings, where you have been or compete on who has taken the best Spidey selfie.

Spider-Man has a plethora of Spider-suits to choose from which are unlocked as you progress through the game. These costumes not only are considered to be cosmetic but each of them brings a new Suit Power move that allows you to change the way you play and battle your enemies. You have the ability to change these suits and their powers at any time once unlocked; they are also available to level up further and sharpen your tactical skill. When you are wearing the suit of your choice and a cutscene comes into play, your character will have that assigned suit on. As minimal as this sounds, I give critical acclaim to the level of detail that Insomniac Game has put into our beloved hero’s game.

HOMECOMING

Marvel’s Spider-Man is an ‘Amazing’ take on our friendly neighborhood web-slinger. The world surrounding the game as well as the action and story will keep gamers immersed for hours and hours at a time. New Yorkers will adore this game! The atmosphere and skyline look beautiful, adding a layer of the bright orange sunset reflecting against the skyscrapers of “The City That Never Sleeps“. This my friends is a worthy Game of the Year nominee and takes its rightful place next to other critically acclaimed games of the past in the same genre. I cannot wait for more Spider-Man from Insomniac Games and their upcoming DLC expansion. Until next time, heroes! Excelsior!

 

Marvel's Spider-Man Review
The Good
  • Amazing open that invites exploration
  • Immersive story
  • Spider Suit RPG Elements provide many options around gameplay
The Bad
  • Graphics felt downgraded from the original trailer
  • 30 fps even on PS4 Pro
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)
1.7

About The Author

Javier C.
Staff Writer

Javier currently resides in Orlando, Florida. He graduated college from the University of Puerto Rico in the field of Tourism and Hospitality where he was also a part of the Honor's English Writers Program. With this, Javier found a passion for writing reviews and editorials about video games and movies later on in life which brings him to be a part of Gaming Access Weekly! He has a soft spot for pets and a love for traveling and music (which he can't live without)!