Marvel’s Spider-Man has increasingly become one of the most anticipated games of the year, and not just for comic book fans. Each trailer showed off a cinematically beautiful Spider-Man game, and although the recent controversy behind the graphics being changed before the release – we’re more than pleased to say that it does not disappoint.
This new game encompasses all of Spider-Man’s most memorable characters – from his friends and family, to some of the most iconic villains he’s fought across the years. One thing that really surprised us was how well the segments of the story that don’t need you in red and blue flow perfectly alongside the usual action. There are plenty of moments playing as Peter Parker, but the player also takes control of Mary Jane-Watson and Miles Morales. And it doesn’t feel like a cheap gimmick either. The narrative makes full use of them as they explore their own stories as they’re closely intertwined with Peter.
WITH JAW-DROPPING TWISTS AND STUNNING GRAPHICS – IT’S FULL OF CINEMATIC BRILLIANCE.
And it’s not just the heroes that are developed in interesting ways too, but the villains as well. Through the dialogue between Peter, the NYPD Captain Yuri Watanabe and the costumed evil-do’ers themselves – we see typically underused characters like the Shocker given a genuinely interesting story. And there are some twists and surprise appearances along the way that we won’t give away, but are genuinely surprising. There’s one earlier one tied closely to Peter that we didn’t see coming at all. And that’s what Marvel’s Spider-Man does so well, it draws the player in – making them so invested into this story, only to toy with their emotions as the stakes get higher. It’s one of the best Spider-Man (and Peter Parker) stories that’s ever graced our screens, and we do mean that alongside the various movie adaptations. And that’s largely down to the stellar writing from Spider-Man comics alumni Christos Gage and Dan Slott. But this truly is a cinematic game, and being Spider-Man has never been this good.
New York, Web-swinging and Combat
While previous games have obviously used an open world New York for Pete to swing around, it’s never looked this good. Web-swinging is a key part of embodying the hero, and the game makes it so exhilerating. In fact, you’ll likely delay starting a mission just to swing round the city for a little longer or collect some of the back packs Pete’s hidden across a variety of buildings. His (Peter) parkour skills make accidentally hitting the side of a building look graceful as Spidey leaps over stairwells and air vents with ease. Annoyingly, there isn’t much innovation when it comes to the vast open world. It’s fairly straightforward, lots of buildings to climb and the occasional NPC to talk to or save from thugs. And also, some of the civilian designs across the city really look particularly bad next to the stunning design of the Wallcrawler. But, having New York as a playground isn’t so bad, and realistically – you’re not buying Marvel’s Spider-Man for the civilians are you? Only to save them, of course. Players might be awkwardly slamming into skyscrapers and ending up swinging a little too far than they needed to begin with. But later on, it’ll be hard not to grin when the music itself makes you feel as if you’re in a Spider-Man movie as you glide across the skyline before dropping in on some thugs in a fight.
Speaking of combat, if you’ve ever played any of the Batman Arkham games, you’ll be familiar with the free-flow fighting style. Using Pete’s Spidey-Sense, you can dodge enemies no matter whether they’re swinging a punch or firing a rocket launcher at you. Executing special moves is also extremely satisfying, as is seeing the last thug get beaten by Spidey in slow motion. Since this is a Peter who’s been in his superhero career for 8 years, he’s developed a wide range of gadgets and web-shooter choices that you can utilise at any time. Our favourite is being able to stick an enemy to the wall, great fun.
Oh boy, so this is the reason he’s struggling to pay his rent… Pete has a wide range of unlockable suits throughout Marvel’s Spider-Man, and some of those are absolutely beautiful. Whether it’s the Iron-Spider suit from Infinity War, the home made suit from Spider-Man: Homecoming costume or a whole wardrobe of comics’ influenced duds, it’s really satisfying being able to change his look whenever you feel like it mid-gameplay, straight from the menu. And they’re very customisable too, adding on different abilities or skills that give Pete the edge he needs when fighting off a horde of thugs or a mechanised super villain.
Take the Iron-Spider suit for example (that everyone fell in love with thanks to Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War), it’s amazing being able to play around with that suit. But once the iconic legs are equipped, it becomes even better. They’re fantastic to use in combat, each one of them taking a swipe at thugs and doing a heavy dose of damage. But another favourite suit is the Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider costume, made up of a blue hoodie with and a slick red suit underneath. Wearing this fan favourite costume lets you deploy holographic clones of yourself, confusing thugs and letting you cause some havoc or giving yourself time to heal in a fight. And of course, it’s a fantastic reference to the infamous Clone Saga in the comics.
A Wider Universe
And the Ben Reilly suit isn’t the only reference to the wider universe that Spidey inhabits. With the sprawling nature of New York comes a variety of interesting landmarks, name-drops and references to an equally lengthy list of other heroes and villains. One of the most obvious is Avengers Tower, but we also spotted Doctor Strange‘s Sanctum Sanctorum while swinging towards a mission quite early on. But we won’t ruin who else pops up or is mentioned, but there are some fantastic surprises along the way. Could Insomniac Games be building a wider universe of Marvel games that all co-exist? Who knows, but we’re excited to find out.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is a truly brilliant story that takes Peter and his friends in new directions. With jaw-dropping twists and stunning graphics – it’s full of cinematic brilliance. And although players may have grown up loving some of the webhead’s previous games, this really does give you the best experience at being Spider-Man.
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With (mostly) incredible graphics, a goosebump-inducing score and quite honestly the closest it's ever felt to being the Wallcrawler without putting on a costume; Marvel's Spider-Man is the best game the Webhead has ever had.
- Open World