Review: Spider-Man


Photo from gameplay.

Garret Roberts, Assistant Arts and Entertainment Manager

A common theme among video games since their conception has been one thing: superheroes. Offering a way to become one of these characters and use the powers present in comic pages, Spider-man has been featured in games as early as the NES. Marking his first appearance in a game by Insomniac Studios, can “Spider-man” compare to the beloved games of the past?

The plot follows an older Peter Parker who has been Spider-man for multiple years. After capturing The Kingpin, a mysterious group of criminals known as the Demons show up and begin to wreak havoc on the city. It’s up to the Spider-man to protect New York and find out who is leading the new criminal organization.

“Spider-man” sets itself apart from other games about the hero through its fluid gameplay. Playing similar to the Batman “Arkham” series, Spider-man fights criminals in large groups using punches and gadgets to aid him in combat. With a mix of “Spider Sense” and webs, Spider-man has plenty of options in fighting his enemies.

Each instance of combat in the game feels fun, rather than a chore or roadblock. Whether completing a story mission or stopping random crimes around New York, there are plenty of fun and creative ways to stop criminals. One of the most interesting ways is through stealth, webbing enemies to walls or sneaking behind enemies to get an ambush ready.

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The suit mechanic home screen. Photo from game play.

Adding to the fun is the multiple suits you can wear on your Spider-man. From classic suits seen in movies to niche references like the “Spider Noire” suit, there is no shortage of interesting and aesthetically pleasing outfits to choose from. Each suit comes with a special ability as well, allowing variety in how you fight enemies.

Not all of the gameplay is combat. The web swinging and exploration mechanics iconic of Spider-man games is sure to impress even the most dedicated fans. Swinging through the city feels fast, but it is easy to control and vary. Whether you want to swing around corners or run on walls, the experience of getting around the city is enjoyable and rewarding.

Sprinkled through the city are various collectables and side quests to give the world life and the dynamic feel of New York. Backpacks that are webbed to buildings contain items from Spider-man’s past, which all reference comics and movies from the history of the character. Later in the game, more collectibles come available, such as pigeons and Black Cat stakeout locations, so there is no shortage of items to find.

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Anywhere in the city can be explored. Photo from game play.

The game’s side missions include clearing out enemy strongholds, investigating dangerous chemicals in areas around the city and stopping active crimes. The reward for players completing these mission is tokens used to unlock more outfits. It only takes one or two missions per suit, so completing the missions between the portions of the story feels rewarding as you enter the next scene wearing a new suit.

The game, despite its many successes, does have some issues. The main story takes some time to get itself off the ground, being stuck behind tutorials and world building. If not for the gameplay to add entertainment, the begining hours with the story would drag on for much longer than casual players would be willing to invest.

Additionally, the game can often feel linear and boring during story missions. A lot of the fun comes from exploring the city and the various ways to take care of enemies. Escorting cops in the main story and portions where you aren’t controlling Spider-man often feel slow and lengthy.

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New York has all of the normal landmarks, as well as a few staples of the Marvel universe. Photo from game play.

Overall, “Spider-man” for PS4 is a fun and engaging experience. Casual and hardcore Spider-man fans can find fun in the game–allowing for hours of gameplay from an investment into the game. The experience of playing Spider-man is certainly worth your time and investment. With the great power of owning this game, make sure to play with responsibility.