Turf Wars is the latest chapter in the Marvel’s Spider-Man story and oh boy, it’s good. The story continues on from The Heist downloadable content that teased Hammerhead’s plans for the city. Spider-Man and Captain Yuri Watanabe mount an assault on the crime boss to put an end to the gang war that’s engulfed New York. Unfortunately for the pair, it was never going to be that simple.
She’s been a pillar of strength throughout the main game, but Turf Wars pushes her to question the line between right and wrong.
If there’s anything the Marvel’s Spider-Man team do brilliantly, it’s adapting genuinely silly comic book villains into formidable opponents with real bite. In the comics, Hammerhead is a crime boss with a completely flat head thanks to a metal plate inserted in his skull. And his design in the game shows that he’s clearly been shot in the face, and then had reconstructive surgery. His vicious streak is very present within Turf Wars, showing clear disregard for human life. And although the inevitable fight between Spidey and Hammerhead is a fun confrontation, the real character development here is from the one person not wearing a costume.
This story is about Yuri Watanabe and the trauma that she constantly has to deal with thanks to the super-powered villains running rampant around her city. Will Hammerhead be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? She’s been a pillar of strength throughout the main game, but Turf Wars pushes her to question the line between right and wrong. It’s safe to say that the writing team behind this game know exactly to bend and break the characters in captivating ways. The story continuously manages to feel so cinematic.
Having said that, the chapter does fall foul of the same flaw that came with The Heist – it feels far too short. The story moves at breakneck speed so that by the time the final fight rolls around, there’s an expectation for more plot padding before the action kicks off. We’re left on a huge moment for several characters that promises to radically change the equilibrium in New York. But it’s still hard not expecting more.
Aside from the main story, we’re given a new set of tasks from Screwball and her social-media obsessed followers. They can either be tedious or a fresh challenge, depending on what you’re after from a Spider-Man game. Unfortunately, they felt like a cheap gimmick and it’s incredibly annoying having to race across a building to punch a goon in a spotlight, just so Screwball’s live-stream awards the player more points. We’re also given a whole new set of bases filled with a variety of thugs to kick the living daylights out of. The game keeps that element fresh by adding harder brutes and tech-based goons to push Spidey to his limits.
Overall, if you’re looking for a brilliant story, Turf Wars undoubtedly delivers. Just be prepared to blast through the campaign in a very short space of time. Luckily, the extra challenges will keep players busy for a while afterwards, but it’s simply other tasks repackaged to look shiny and new. But hey, at least the new suits look fantastic, right? (The classic Iron-Spider is our favourite.)