After sitting through three live-action movie series of Peter Parker’s story, Insomniac Games finally gives us the faithful Spider-Man on-screen adaptation that we deserve.
Spider-Man on PS4 doesn’t feel like a game. It feels like a movie with some awesome stealth sequences and emotional beats, all webbed up into one action-packed and exhilarating 20-hour ride.
I went into this telling of Spider-Man in a wary fashion. And who could blame me? I’ve lost count of how many failed adaptations of Spider-Man that we’ve suffered through by now, game, movie, or otherwise.
They say when your expectations are low, you can only ever have a truly awesome experience. And have an awesome experience I did with my playthrough of Marvel’s Spider-Man.
The best parts of this Spider-Man game don’t come from the free-roaming open-ish world explorations, or from the mostly fun and Arkham Asylum-like combat. In the oddest turn of expectations, the best parts of this game are the chilling and cinematic quick time events. I know, weird, right?
The quick time events are sort of a big deal because they take a lot of concepts from the Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland Spider-Man movies. It’s almost as if the dev team did an intensive study of all of the live-action Spider-Man films, chose the best moments, and reworked them in beautiful fashion to fit in a 2018 video game.
The city exploration is probably the best out of any Spider-Man game, although it’s hard to tell, because this is where nearly all Spider-Man titles blend together. However, it’s almost as if Insomniac Games knows this, and thus they give the player the full functions of leveling up without forcing too much exploration on us.
The game deals in XP and gives you skill points for every level up, giving it a bit of a Tomb Raider reboot feel. But once again, it should. This is a reboot of a separate universe Spider-Man video game (series?). If it’s going to fit in with the big boys, it needs to keep up with the latest and greatest features of a 2018 video game.
Spider-Man PS4 lives and breathes. There are a lot of character building moments structured off of subtle moments that are usually unheard of in other triple-A video games. This story of Peter Parker feels like it matters, perhaps as much as it does in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Everything about the physics of this game feels slick and zippy. The web-slinging is great, and it’s a rarity for Peter to get caught up in a fire escape or building awning. Spider-Man is easily more agile than ever before, which gives you every opportunity to enjoy the process of swinging at top speed across the city.
The boss battles, like many Spider-Man games before it, are flashy, but leave something to be desired. They’re big and eventful, but on the standard difficulty, they all played rather predictably; I beat almost all of the Sinister Six in one go.
That’s not to say this game doesn’t present a good challenge. If you’re into stealth, know that this game does it really, really well. Enemies are smart, and it requires all of your wit to take down a base without alerting other foes.
There are some weak points in the Mary Jane and Miles gameplay sections, as they’re both not (yet) superpowered. It is nice to see their perspectives, but this all could have been done sans the clunky gameplay via the convincing motion capture cutscenes.
But that’s really it. The game doesn’t have an Achilles heel to pick at, and that’s what allows it to leave a lasting impression. It’s not often that we get such a brave and loyal comic-book adaptation of a mega-popular Marvel superhero. If you’re looking for a great way to see the world through Spidey’s eyes, then look no further than Spider-Man PS4.