Marvel has ruled the world of superhero cinema with its endless offerings of well-crafted and critically acclaimed movies, but in gaming, it is DC that has ruled the roost with the Batman: Arkham series and Injustice: Gods Among Us. That might change soon with Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man PS4, a thrilling superhero adventure that combines spectacular web-swinging action, gadgets, and puns with a deep emotional narrative. With Spider-Man, the studio seems to have finally struck gold for Marvel video games, which have mostly been forgettable names in the pantheon of great superhero games. Let’s look in detail at what makes Spider-Man PS4 so good:
Effortless Webswinging Mechanics Make Even Mundane Tasks Fun
The best part about Spider-Man is also a core part of its titular character – all the swinging around. Frankly, the webswinging mechanics have such smooth fluidity that after you get comfortable with the basics (which has a very short learning curve), it becomes a joy to indulge in the jumping, web zipping, crawling, and wall running.
The open world system and all the mundane side tasks that come along usually feel like a chore in many games; however, in Spider-Man, all such tasks are a delight as you jump into parkour mode- running, swinging and jumping the moment you hit the side of the building or encounter an obstacle. Traversing around in an open world just become infinite times better with Spider-Man!
Engaging Premise, Well-Written Characters
Spider-Man mixes original content with familiar Spidey lore – the city of New York is at peace with Mayor Norman Osborn at the helm. Most criminals like Rhino, Vulture, and Electro are behind bars, put away by Spider-Man himself, who has struck up a friendship with the police and works in tandem with them. As the game progresses and things start taking a more sinister turn with the rise of a new antagonist, Mr. Negative, one witnesses an increase in the number of cinematic encounters throughout the narrative, which could actually be deftly woven together to make another hit movie for the MCU.
The characters in the game are very well-written and have a multidimensional aspect to them instead of being all black and white. As Peter Parker, you need to juggle your time between fighting crime and meeting familial obligations (you wouldn’t say no to Aunt May asking for help at her shelter, would you?). As is the running theme in the comics and movies, Peter gets occasionally late and misses out on engagements; other characters may have shades of gray to them – neither is anyone as bad as they seem nor is anyone a pure soul.
Increasing Difficulty Leads to More Exciting Combat and Gadget Upgrades
Spider-Man’s abilities are increasingly tested by new challenges as the difficulty level increases throughout the game, leading to exciting and satisfying upgrades to your abilities and gadgets. You eventually move from fighting random gangs with fists and lead pipes to more dangerous enemies equipped with experimental energy weapons and jetpacks. A number of side missions pop up in the form of enemy bases across the city and they are all smoothly stitched into the main narrative with impressive boss fights.
The gadgets are fun and intuitive to use, and there is no problem of replenishment so you can use them as much as possible. You have electric webs, deployable drones, tripmines, and a suspended gravity matrix to screw the bad guys. The Spidey suit can be upgraded with special powers, such as adding an electric charge to your punches, making the entire combat experience quite worthwhile. Crazy fun!
Minimal Time Lag Significantly Improves Game Quality
Insomniac Games has included some features that won’t make you feel frustrated with the game for even a single bit. Clearly, they respect their users. For example:
- You have the option to save and quit the game at any point you want (not necessarily at a particular checkpoint). You can even save in the middle of a fight or a cutscene!
- It is not necessary to go through every mission or cutscene. You can skip through them at any point.
- If you want to change your suit, you can do so. Even if you are in the middle of a fight.
- Quick loading times.
- If you are keen to rack up higher scores, you retry some missions or reload from some previous checkpoints.
- Tired of swinging around? (Though that won’t happen) There are several fast-travel checkpoints to get you through.
Verdict: Spider-Man for PS4 is probably the best Marvel game ever released, a sure shot game of the year contender for 2018, and possibly one of the best superhero games ever. A thrilling, gratifying adventure that makes you actually feel like Spider-man!