Flying High in Marvel's Spider-Man
Aunt May is a great moral compass for Peter, especially when he doubts himself
Combat is fluid and fun. Easy to learn difficult to master
New York has never looked better!
Did I say stealth was the weakest part? Oh, I apologize, I meant to say the puzzles. Imagine playing a game where you can climb walls, swing from the city rooftops, and stop a car chase while being shot at by bank robbers then it comes to a screeching halt when you are forced to pick up a tablet in game and solve the most mundane of puzzles. One puzzle is similar to the Bioshock pipe game where you redirect the electric current to the goal using different pieces in a grid like fashion. The other puzzle is a kind of match the lines in various sets of blocks with the pieces provided. I usually like a good puzzle thrown into my action/adventure games for a break in the action, but usually they are better when thrown into the game world, think Uncharted or Tomb Raider where you use your tools or ingenuity to solve problems. These are just boring and not what I want to be doing when you are frickin’ Spider-Man. I get that they want to show how much of a genius Petey is but dang these were a slog. However, there are a few world puzzles like zapping an electric box to open locked doors. Could these even be considered puzzles when all you do is follow the wires on walls to the box? I don’t know about that.
Easter Eggs a-plenty
They trickle out the skills you acquire at a pace that feels right. Once you get the hang of one new trick you’ve learned, the game gives you a new one for your toolset. This also goes for the way the game doles out your collectables. Early in the game, when Pete gets his new flashy suit after his previous one gets torn up from fighting Fisk, his old backpack trackers light up on the map. These are great to collect because they show you what Peter has been doing as Spider-Man for the past 8 years of his tenure, filling you in on all the details of his life until this point. Soon after more things to collect and do open up. I really appreciate this instead of dropping a metric shit ton of map icons on you, the game lets you breathe between collectables and it never feels like a chore.
Peter is worried about MJ getting in danger but no longer is she a sidelined character.
One way the story changes up its gameplay is letting you play as other characters. At certain points of the story you’ll find yourself playing as MJ and another well-known Spider-Man character Miles Morales. During these segments you’ll find yourself sneaking your way through areas, trying to avoid getting caught while doing investigative work, or just trying to make it to safety. I appreciate that they tried to change up how the game’s story is shown to you rather than just through the eyes of Spider-Man. While having the game slow down to a point isn’t necessarily great, playing other characters does change things up and allows the heavy action pieces to breathe.
Finally, we have the story. I can’t say for certain that I didn’t see the twist coming, but they heavily hinted it when we first see Otto Octavius. The story will take you back to his lab, where you work, and each time you visit you see the subtle hints as Otto declines mentally and where he is pushing his technology toward a familiar goal. He isn’t the only character Peter deals with personally and in costume, there are a wide array of main stay Spider-Man villains including the Sinister Six themselves! For most of the story you are facing Martin Li. When you first meet him, he is a friendly business man who wants to make his city a better place by running the shelter along side Aunt May. Later we learn of his alternate personality of Mr. Negative. Holding a long personal grudge with the city’s mayor, Norman Osborn, Mr. Negative makes it his personal goal to make him suffer for a traumatic past inflicted by Osborn. After putting down Mr. Negative and sending him to “The Raft”, the high security super villain prison, all hell breaks loose. Your mentor, Otto Octavius, reveals himself to be the master mind behind the attacks on Norman Osborn. Throughout the game you see Otto’s personality deteriorate as you try to help him with his work dropping hints of his inevitable future as Dr. Octopus. The story balances these little hints perfectly until the moment arrives he is revealed as your enemy. I still gasped even though I saw it coming because you can see how much it hurts Peter making Otto the hardest villain to take down. The game ends with a fabulous conclusion of a fight making it satisfying and heart breaking to say the least.
Special suit unlocks let you use the Spider-Man of your choice.
I won’t give everything away here as there are more surprises to be found. I can easily say this is one of the best super hero games since the Batman Arkham series without a doubt. Insomniac has something special on their hands and I hope to see more within this new take of the Spider-Man world. They have set up a magnificent universe sprawling with easter eggs hinting at a bigger Marvel world. The game ends with you wanting more and hopefully more is what we will get. I highly recommend this to any fan of Spider-Man or anyone who love’s action games with heart, and heart this game has in spades…or spiders.
Special thanks to Taylor Kowitz (Channingtater) and LockeandKey
Follow me on Twitter at @neo_aoshi
All Images are Property of Marvel’s Spider-Man for the Sony Playstation 4 Console.