Insomniacs Spiderman is an absolutely amazing geek fest of a game. There are so many cameos and Easter eggs in this game to find that are pretty cool when you find them. I mean you don’t even need to read the comics to get a lot of the references and cameos of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) like Avengers tower and the Sanctum Sanatorium from Doctor Strange. I don’t read the comic books and I got pretty much all of the references.
The story of Spiderman is unlike anything we have seen before. The first thing I noticed was that it doesn’t start with how Spiderman got his powers. In fact this game takes place 8 years after Peter Parker gets his powers, so he is already an experienced crime fighter. This makes the story feel unique in the sense that it’s just something that has never been done before with this character. What the game tries to do story wise throughout the game is to try and make you care about Spiderman and Peters individual lives. I say individual because you can play as Peter parker in this game and other NPCs like MJ (Mary Jane). What this creates is a blend of storytelling from my point of view on par with the uncharted series, which helps create a bond with characters that you meet and play as. However, the stories is rather predictable at some points and slow after the first mission, but then picks up at an alarming rate later on with some shocking twists that I didn’t even expect. What I was surprised about is how much I cared about the NPCs in the game by the end. I didn’t expect to get gripped into the story as much as I did.
The gameplay for this game is something that I wasn’t overly worried about insomniac ruining because they made some of my favourite games while growing up like Ratchet & Clank. This game’s traveling sense of speed is reminiscent of sunset overdrive which is Insomniacs last game. The web slinging is smartly done and built upon the same sort of physics that the original Spiderman 2 game was made with. For example, if you wanted to swing through central park then your webs would swing from the trees instead of just off screen. This may be overlooked but the idea of it is pretty essential for immersion because it is a more realistic system. The web swinging is based on momentum so you can swing slowly but through web zipping and jumping halfway through web swings you will move through NYC in no time.
The world of NYC has never been this fully realised in a game before. I mean New York just feels alive no matter where you end up. Like for example if you wanted to stroll through Central Park then you will see NPCs playing games and then taking pictures or just sitting down. Yet if you went to Times Square then you will see mobs and crowds of people buying food at stalls, sitting at cafes etc. I believe the world of Spiderman is one of its more overlooked features because without a good world the game gets really uninteresting quickly for me. Since the city is huge there are side missions and activities like challenges for you to complete or crimes to stop. By completing these you earn tokens to improve your character by buying new suits and upgrading gear. I didn’t think much of it until I really got into the system. This is a smart move by the developers. It feels like you are always progressing no matter what you do, which is what keeps most people playing games. It stops it from becoming stale.
The combat system itself is amazing. I say this as being a fan of the Batman Arkham games. The combat system is similar to the Arkham games. The combat is fluid and tense at times because Spiderman may be powerful and agile, but he can’t take that much of a beating. Luckily he can do dodge moves and special combat moves to eliminate enemies within 2 hits. What makes the combat most exciting for me though is the fact Spiderman has such a wide array of gadgets to use while in combat. Either normal brawls or stealth situations you have equipment to deal with the situation. This changes the flow of combat dramatically however this is not all that Spiderman has at his disposal. Spiderman has suit powers and mods. These are abilities that can change everything in a fight in a split second. You earn these powers by crafting suits from tokens earned and these powers can be activated however you will need to wait a certain amount of time to use them again. I think they are really cool however I feel like some of them are useless compared to the starting power “Web Blossom”. Finishers are earned through focus which just means you can use them more often the more stylish you fight (fight without getting hit and use an array of combos).
Summary and Verdict
The Spiderman game surprised me. You see I went into this game very sceptical of how good it will be. But I am glad I gave it a chance. This is definitely one of my favourite hero games ever and the Spiderman game us fans deserve. The way the story is so fleshed out with cutscenes and very emotional set pieces makes the game rather feel relatable. Especially Peter Parkers side of things. Mixing that with the excellence of the world you can play around in and be like Spiderman by solving crimes just makes this game perfect for any Marvel fan and Spiderman fan. The near perfect combat system is just the cherry on top of a wonderful masterpiece. I would give this game a 9.5/10. The game is near perfect. The game is near perfect due to the fact that while in combat I died a lot due to the camera no being able to work well in small inside fighting environments. Plus the story is rather predictable but that doesn’t take away from the emotional twists within the game. I have played this game to high heavens because it is so much fun.