Spider-Man PS4 is the love letter the character deserves

Leonardo Paley

As someone who grew up with a deep love for both comics and video games, I have been waiting for a perfect unity of the two for years. The Arkham games created a resurgence for the superhero genre, but the mechanics held the games back dramatically in enjoyability. When Insomniac Games released their E3 game-play trailer for their new Spider-Man game at E3 2017, I couldn’t help but get excited.

Courtesy of Insomniac Games.

Spider-Man as a character has had a rough time in the mainstream media, with the film series featuring the webslinger undergoing constant changes and reboots. Between Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and recently Tom Holland, the idea of what Spider-Man exemplifies has been ever-fluctuating.

Insomniac has absolutely nailed this identity. The perfect blend of awkward, nerdy and witty, Insomniac’s Peter Parker is an ode to comic book Spider-Man in a way the movies never could nail down. Voice actor Yuri Lowenthal does a phenomenal job voicing Peter, capturing this boyish charm and mixing it with enough maturity of a semi-experienced Spider-Man. In addition, we once again see a return to the genuine New York love the Raimi films captured a bit better than his successors.

The story starts off with a Spider-Man who has been working for Otto Octavius for around eight years. From there, a joy ride of references to the comics begin; filled with genuine love and passion for the source material.

The intro is undoubtedly one of the best introductions to a game I’ve ever played, wasting no time throwing you into the game and establishing not only who Parker is, but where he’s at in his career. The story continues to climb, ping-ponging Peter back and forth around the city in an ever expanding roster of characters, friends and villains alike.

The mechanics have to be talked about for how exceptional they are. Swinging around the city is incredibly rewarding. The combat is in depth, and much more involved than the Arkham games’ two button beat-em-up style. Manhattan is truly turned into a fully explorable open world to maneuver through and around, filled up with endless references to the Marvel canon of New York heroes. Swinging, climbing, parkour–it all feels so remarkably in-tune and fully incorporated.

The game does have some issues that plague the average open world game. Some of the combat encounters get a bit repetitive if you run around the city hunting down all of the side quests and small objectives. The stealth missions scattered throughout the game can be frustrating for a variety of reasons, but to delve into them would give away story elements best left as a surprise. The bosses themselves also find themselves mildly repetitive, the blend of the specific combat encounters with bosses and the quick time events surrounding them can feel anticlimactic.

But it is not in these fights that the game truly soars, it is in the phenomenal world Insomniac has created. The deep and rewarding mechanics of swinging around the city and flowing into combat, as well as the fantastic representations of the characters are truly impressive.

Whether you’re trying to find a game to fill your love of comics, or merely looking for a game with solid mechanics and consistent game play, Spider-Man is a fantastic game. I could not recommend this game more. There are few pleasures as great as swinging around New York City in a Spider-Man game that handles the character properly.

Rating: 4.5/5 sails

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