Marvel’s Spider-Man succeeds as a commendable current-gen superhero game with elements worth the mention. Be it the game’s mesmerising visuals, the fluid web-swinging mechanics or the capoeira-inspired combat style, Marvel’s Spider-Man doesn’t fail to impress and enthral the player with its forever-awake city.
Insomniac Games, the web-weavers of Marvel’s Spider-Man has put a soul into New York City, making it a character of its own. As many might presume, the game isn’t just about Peter or Spider-Man and their whereabouts but a city that’s constantly evolving. If you’re the Antony of this city, the city is your beloved Cleopatra.
As once said, no art is perfect, and I doubtlessly believe that. It is agreeable Marvel’s Spider-Man has made a name for itself as one of the best superhero games, but like every chemical element, exceptions are to be present. Diving deep into the gameplay mechanics, visuals and noticeable details, I smoked out plenty of flaws that could have been executed better.
Over 100 outlets have already reviewed and scored the console-exclusive web-swinging saga, of which, over 13 gave it a perfect score. The question of the day is, can a game actually be perfect? Is Marvel’s Spider-Man flawless enough to have a perfect score? Have other reviewers blatantly disregarded its drawbacks? The answers to these, lie within this review.
WHAT IS MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN ABOUT?
Writing a detailed introduction to Spider-Man, its origins and whereabouts will do no justice to the well-received character. We all have grown up reading Spider-Man comics, watching the movies and animated episodes. If not, I’ll presume you know him anyway.
First pitched by Marvel Comics editor and head writer Stan Lee during the 1960s, Spider-Man has come a long way since its creation. With innumerable animated and comic episodes, 10 standalone movies and 30+ video games, the teenage superhero has his name webbed across the globe.
Talking about Marvel’s Spiderman, as in, 2018’s Spider-Man title for the PS4, it is a creation of Insomniac Games, the studio well-known for titles like Sunset Overdrive, the Spyro series and Ratchet and Clank titles. Insomniac collaborated with both Marvel and Sony for a fluid development process, making the game shine as it does.
LET ME REVIEW IT
The vast city of New York never sleeps. Robberies, drug deals, kidnappings and threatenings are occurring across the city. Who’s to be held responsible? A shit ton of people. But who’s to prevent such mishaps?
Your friendly neighbour, Spider-Man.
You play as 23-year old Peter Parker and his alter-ego, Spider-Man, solving crimes, helping pedestrians and crime victims, busting supervillains and also progressing in your not-so-superheroic personal life. As Spider-Man, you’re the running vehicle of the city. Busting criminal warehouses, seizing drugs and illegal cash, duelling masked enemies and putting your not-so-friendly supervillain playmates behind bars.
As Peter Parker, however, you’re a charmed nephew, but with pride problems. A praised lab assistant, but underpaid. A loveable boyfriend, but broke up. And yeah, throughout your journey, the game won’t miss an opportunity to remind you how terrible of a tenant you are. So, be prepared.
During the initial gameplay, Spider-Man busts a criminal mastermind and incarcerates him. Although it should have done the city well, terrible things start happening. Taking advantage of the situation, other supervillains start emerging and in no time, the city is plunged in complete chaos.
Martin Li, whom you’ll meet within the first hour of the game is an interesting character in Insomniac’s Spider-Man. He’s the founder at F.E.A.S.T., an NGO that helps the unsheltered and starved feel at home. He’s an award-winning social-worker and philanthropist, but behind his cheerful face hides a devil with anarchical motives.
In the course of your gameplay, you’ll meet other familiar faces, such as Electro, Rhino, Vulture and Scorpion. These mastermind villains only get to be on the screen for very short periods of time. The game frames them as accomplices of the main antagonist, and nothing more.
If we analyse the story from Peter’s point-of-view, it is a slow-paced emotional tale evolving from the very first moment of the game. In many instances, the game starts taking a dark turn. But as you’re about to lose yourself in it, the game manages to pull you back to its optimistic, yet fascinating theme.
One of the numerous things I truly admired, was Peter and MJ’s relationship. Right from the beginning, they’re broken up and their relationship is unmentioned. However, with the slow-paced progression of the story, Peter and MJ draw nigh and their relationship is eventually strengthened once again.
In many cutscenes, Peter and MJ share some short-lived, yet adorable moments. These reflect their co-relation and how Peter’s relationship has always been about these momentary moments and vice versa.
Alongside Peter, the game will also put you into a few situations, where you’ll play as MJ and a special character that is introduced later in the game. These missions are basically sneak-in, sneak-out, meant to proceed in a much linear way.
The gameplay in Marvel’s Spider-Man was an entirely new experience for me. I haven’t played the Batman games which makes Spidey’s combat easily the showrunner for me. Insomniac Games have developed an intriguing and stylish combat system, that shimmers with a charm of its own. The kicks, the punches, the dodges and most of all, the finishers are minutely detailed and satisfying.
With every hit, the Dualshock vibrates, creating an illusion of solid impact. You don’t just witness the hits, but feel the impact that makes it believable. Just like in God of War, when you slash an enemy with your axe, you feel its weight and how impactful the hit is.
Another prominent feature is the traversal. No other game, except for Spider-Man 2 has come so far in terms of it. The game lets you swing across New York City right after the opening cinematic, which is a clever way to make you feel like Spider-Man. Pun intended.
Whether you’re walking on the footpaths, greeting your fans and taking selfies with them or just sitting on the top of the Avengers Tower, you’ll never get bored. The city is lively, interesting and just a calm and fulfilling experience.
The sound design is ear-soothing and mesmerising. Right from the beginning with the original soundtrack (OST) to the finale, your ears would love the experience. Even during complicated situations, the music plays its part for a diverse experience. And above all, the wind effect while you’re air-diving is a genuine obra maestra!
WHAT IT LACKS
Like every game, Marvel’s Spider-Man has its drawbacks. Nothing major, but a few that made me curious. Starting off with the facial expressions. Just try to have a look at Peter or MJ when they’re talking on the phone or entangled in a tensed situation. They’re smiling, lips don’t move and if they do, they don’t synchronise. Even when MJ’s about to get caught, she has a creepy smile.
With everything that Insomniac has managed to achieve with this title, this seems awkward and something that could’ve been remedied.
The story is decent. Although I appreciate it and will continue to, it could have been deeper and connecting. In the finale, the game makes an effort to show a connection between you and the antagonist, but it fails.
And like everyone has pointed it out, side-missions are tiring and repetitive. I did a bunch aiming for the Platinum trophy but felt wise to give up. I’ll save them for a boring day.
MY FINAL IMPRESSION
Marvel’s Spider-Man is an impressive superhero tale that showcases a brilliant art in a right and courteous way. Insomniac Games has set a bar, so high, for superhero games, that has set a challenge for developers to get creative and craft their own tales that stand out from the rest.
Marvel’s Spider-Man costs $59.99 on Amazon.
What do you think about our review of Marvel’s Spider-Man? Do you think this game is worth it for the price? Let us know in the comments below.
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