On September 7th 2018, Marvel Entertainment and Insomniac Games released ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man’ exclusively on PlayStation4. We all know the story; Peter Parker is a bright, young man with good grades and ordinary life like every high school kid in New York City, but one day something happens which changes Peter’s life forever. Peter gets bitten by a radioactive spider during a school field trip and the bite was caused Peter to develop spider-like powers including shooting webs out of his hands, the ability to climb walls with super strength and special spider-senses. Peter must adjust to his new job as a masked superhero as he faces all types of villains and those looking to cause trouble as he attempts to rid his city of corruption and chaos.
Marvel’s Spider-Man allows you to be the hero of the story as you must swing, punch and dodge into action. Every one of these actions sees Spider-Man’s entire body zipping through the air with tremendous momentum, which always look fantastic with amazing animation. Without a doubt, Marvel’s Spider-Man is one of the best action brawlers of the year even competing with Rocksteady’s ‘Batman Arkham Series’ for the open-world crown. The game immediately makes the comic fans feel at home, exploring a world made up of chunks of our hero’s comic history, especially blended with a mix popular and big Marvel Cinematic Universe locations like the Strange Sanctorum and the Avengers Tower.
Peter has the same problems that most people have. His rent is too expensive, he’s never on time for anything and he’s in an awkward relationship with his ex where even a simple text conversation is fraught with misunderstandings and anxiety, but these interactions fill the entire game with charm. As comic fans and Marvel fans will know the best, Peter Parker is one who is comfortable with his place in the world but struggling to make everything work, and it’s great to see him here: it humanises him as we go through an increasingly fantastical narrative. Which is important because the comic book heroes it’s never just about the hero, but the person wearing the costume.
Combat in the game can be rewarding as you can use a collection of moves and gadgets to fight against criminals. Mastering new moves as you unlock them, swing kicking into a group of enemies, disarming one carrying a machine gun or stun baton, throwing him up into the air and finishing enemies with an air combo which feels and looks fantastic when done. There are a lot of extra gadgets and suit powers and while none of them are required to win the fight, finding your favourite arsenal and implementing it it’s where the game’s real challenge lies.
Most of these longer fights are found in Spider-Man’s side missions, which are scattered around Manhattan but always easily located on your map. The main missions contain waves of enemies rushing Spidey which are critical if you want to unlock the game’s multitude of old and new and memorable extra costumes, all of which contain a unique power that can be mixed and matched into play style. Every side objective, stopping random crimes, collecting backpacks full of Spidey mementos stashed around town, snapping pictures of famous NYC landmarks (real and fictional), completing timed objectives like disarming bombs, converts to token that can be cashed in for suit and gadget upgrades. None of these are required to progress your main story, though many contain interesting flavours that will satisfy folks more aware of Spider-Man’s long history.
The main antagonists of Marvel’s Spider-Man are collectively known as the Sinister Six. Fans of the Spider-Man comic series will recall that the supervillain supergroup was first formed by the evil genius Doctor Octopus way back in the ‘The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, originally published in 1964. However, for this game, Insomniac changed it slightly in an interesting way from the group’s original roster. Here’s the full line-up of the Sinister Six as they appear in Marvel’s Spider-Man:
- Doctor Octopus – Otto Octavius
- Mister Negative – Martin Li
- Electro – Max Dillon
- Rhino – Aleksei Sytsevich
- Scorpion – Mac Gargan
- Vulture – Adrian Toomes
In addition to the remastered Sinister Six, Spider-Man will also face off with the forces of sable, headed by none other than Silver Sable herself. Beyond that, there are appearances of several other characters who are sometimes allies, sometimes enemies such as:
- Shocker – Herman Shultz
- Kingpin – Wilson Fisk
- Silver Sable – Silver Sablinova
- Taskmaster – Tony Masters
- Black Cat – Felicia Hardy
- Norman Osborn
- J. Jonah Jameson
Of course, Spider-Man is also joined by a host of special allies, including the loveable Aunt May, the determined Mary-Jane Watson and the young Miles Morales. Spider-Man also gets occasional assistance from the NYPD’s own Captain Yuri Watanabe.
Players will clearly see that Insomniac has put time and care into making Spider-Man the quippy hero we’ve come to expect, and the world-building in the game’s writing paints a clear picture of Peter Parker, the social media feed found on the map screen, has some particularly relevant gems that capture what Spider-Man’s life would be like if he lived in 2018.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is available exclusively for PlayStation4.
Marvel’s Spider-Man – Official Gameplay Launch Trailer: