Well would you look at that, Josef is reviewing Spider-Man content again. That’s right kids, we finally made it to September, bringing the highly anticipated PS4 exclusive developed by Insomniac – Anyone that’s read content from myself in the past knows that Spider-Man is my favourite superhero of all time, meaning I had a lot of anticipation and hype into this game. The train got faster faster and faster as September 7th approached and I was up at midnight for the game to unlock… Since that point in time I have not been able to put it down. That’s right guys, Insomniac have just gone and made the best superhero game ever made.
Quick foreword is that while being a review of the game, this will also be a huge thank you letter to Insomniac. I’ll be very personal and straight to the point with what I loved. As well as that all the photos in this review are taken using the game’s photo mode so enjoy!
Sony are always knocking it out of the park when it comes to their exclusives and this game doesn’t change that. I had a lot of worries when the project was first announced – Things that seem trivial now like, “Will web-swinging be any good” or “Will there be enough content?” – I’m already sure that anyone who’s played the game is now laughing at those questions as well. The thing is there’s just so much to do in this game and it has been designed so perfectly that even the most simple tasks become a thrill ride… But let’s start at the top, and discuss the main beef of what this game has to offer – That would be the story.
Our adventure takes place in its own Marvel universe, so anyone expecting copy pasting from the MCU or comics should be aware that this is a fresh experience. This is a new take on Peter, Spider-Man and all the characters you’ve come to know over the years; that in turn gives Insomniac so much to work with and work with it they did. I was constantly in awe at the way these characters were handled and the way the story unfolded. There won’t be spoilers by any regard, but there were twists and events that honestly had me screaming. Huge credit to Insomniac for creating one of my favourite versions of Peter Parker and Mary Jane. I have been left hungry for more and incredibly satisfied with the narrative. From the opening alone, I was hooked with some amazing music and gorgeous visuals.
Speaking of MJ you’ll actually get to spend sometime playing as her in slower paced stealth missions. These are pretty interesting and let you grow MJ as someone who isn’t just a damsel in distress for Peter. She’s a badass and she isn’t afraid to prove it. The missions are able to keep tensions high in very high risk locations, beyond that they also don’t interrupt the pace of the story, and help to progress it in sync with everything you do as Spider-Man… Oh and you will be spending a lot of time in this game before you even come near the end of the narrative.
It took me well over 20 hours of playtime to complete the story, and towards the end I went full steam ahead on it. You’ll be constantly distracted by New York and all it has to offer, including hundreds of collectables; I used to hate collectables, like they were just thrown into a game to annoy me… However, Spider-Man features a little something called web-swinging, which makes every little movement you do feel fluid and heroic. Spider-Man 2 was the only game prior to achieve such a fantastic swinging system, but Insomniac really knuckled down and made sure this was something you would want to do every-time you played the game.
You’ll be wanting those collectibles as well, as they actually mean something. You’ll be using the tokens you get by finding them to purchase upgrades and new suits – My god the suits are a Spidey fans’ dream come true. Without getting into the ones that weren’t revealed before hand, they all look gorgeous. The Homecoming suits somehow look even better than their live action versions; the amount of detail put into each suit lets you know that the designer really cares about Spider-Man. I think it’s fair to say the entire dev team does as well.
When the game first booted up I went straight into the highest difficulty and took my chances. On the first taste of combat I was expecting another Arkham clone with Spidey doing ballerina jumps everywhere like some sort of ninja on cocaine… However I died. Pretty quickly. Nice going Josef! I leapt back into the menu to turn things down a notch and got on easier, however I found that during the game as I was upgrading and understanding my move-set more, I was becoming prime time Spider-Man – But not for one moment did the combat become tedious or boring. The options and gadgets you have up for grabs make every fight interesting, and the game constantly scales up the challenge with your progression so you never feel too much like a God.
Another funny thing is that I had a 200 song playlist ready for when I would go swing for a while, however the score through the entire game blew me away. From the moment you take a jump or a swing, this heroic theme starts playing and you’re immediately in the zone. I wish that music would come on whenever I did something in the real world, so huge props to composer John Paesano for nailing moments like this – Both in the open world and perfectly timed story moments. I got a bit tearful at certain moments and the score definitely helped to fuel those emotions.
Me, Luke and Javier are all having an absolute blast with this title. As huge fans of the characters we are all in disbelief at how well made this game really is; every now and then a game comes around that you just can’t stop thinking about, you try play something else but it’s always there – Spider-Man is that game for me right now and the foreseeable future. The game has an addicting traversal system that could be responsible for 20 hours of gameplay all on its own. It’s never felt like more than a privilege to play as this character in such a dynamic open world.
For the amount of content, and the quality of said content you really are getting your money’s worth here. Any fan of Spider-Man should purchase this as soon as possible. A very big thank you to Yuri Lowenthal and the entire team at Insomniac for this experience. I want you to know I’m on 91% completion and won’t stop until I get that Platinum Trophy; this is well on the way for becoming my game of the year come December… But for now you have won this spider-fan’s seal of approval. Spectacular visuals, amazing story, superior combat. All these come together to make, in my opinion, the ultimate Spider-Man game.
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