Spider-Man 🎵 Spider-Man 🎵 does whatever a spider can 🎵…
Seriously though, here’s my SPOILER FREE review of Spider-Man. I do cover some game mechanics/systems but nothing that should be considered a spoiler and I definitely stay away from story spoilers.
Spider-Man sets a new bar for the Comic book character video game genre. The Rocksteady Batman series raised the bar and few have managed to reach it until now and Spider-Man slingshots past it. The characters, writing, humour, voice acting, set pieces, story, graphics and controls are all masterclass. This is truly a game crafted by a group of passionate fans building their dream vision for a character they clearly love.
Spider-Man is an open world adventure game based on the complete landmass of Manhattan, landmarks and all. The main campaign took me around 26 hours plus or minus to complete with some side activities completed. I’m only 84% complete according to my save file with plenty of things left to do. The city is alive and filled with side missions, challenges and plenty of fun collectibles to boot.
The traversal mechanic of swinging around the city is a joy and something I don’t think I will ever get bored of. The momentum and motion while swinging through the city of Manhattan just feels so right that it had me grinning the whole time with a smile on my face. Besides the standard web swing Spider-Man has plenty of movement options. He can run up walls, use his crawling skills to stealthily climb, hang from ceilings and sling shot himself through and over objects for that extra burst of speed. The options of how you get around are a plenty and all feel so good so that you will gladly cross town and skip using the fast travel.
The combat at first seems simple and similar to other games like Batman but is in fact a very deep system. Mixing stealth takedowns, ranged control, counters, throws, aerial combos, gadgets, environmental attacks, finishers and super moves that allow for many play styles and endless variations. New super moves are unlocked with new Spidey suits and upto 3 mods can be installed depending on your fighting style. An example of a couple mods are there is one that can heal more or another to take less damage, there are plenty that offer many different perks depending on your playstyle. Suit powers and mods can be used with any suit once unlocked. This depth makes taking out bad guys a pleasure and always fun considering there are so many ways to deal with your enemies it never gets old.
Like most modern games Spider-Man implements an RPG style leveling system that unlocks new abilities via 3 different skill trees and a max character level of 50. Gadgets, mods and Spidey suits are unlocked and upgraded using tokens. Side missions, street crimes, challenges, gang hideouts, collectibles and more reward various tokens types used by Spider-Man’s upgrades and unlocks. This system adds rewards on top of doing the task itself and is a great system to motivate you to complete all the various tasks spread around the city.
Graphically Spider-Man is a treat to the eyes with beautiful city skylines, vistas and stunning action set pieces that seamlessly transition into gameplay all enriched in stunning HDR and 4K. Manhattan looks amazing during changing weather and day night cycles, all the famous New York landmarks are there as well. Some sweet easter egg locations for the real comic book nerds are out there too. The combination of the incredible backdrop of Manhattan and Spidey’s fantastic traversal mechanics makes this open world unlike any other and a truly exquisite delight. As a side note any drama surrounding a visual downgrade has been debunked by Digital Foundry and in fact the final retail version of the game is an upgrade from what we’ve been shown at past events like E3.
The story is an excellent comic book story arc like I’ve never played before in a superhero video game. The characters, development and voice acting is all spectacular. Yuri Lowenthal voices Peter Parker and is my favorite version of Spider-Man ever, period. I like Insomniac’s version even better than the already excellent version played by Tom Holland in the new MCU movies. In fact all the characters, including villains are portrayed so well that you easily empathize and relate to them. The game brims with charm and humour that honestly had me laughing out loud. There are some surprising reveals and twists along during the main story that would make any comic book fan happy. Clearly Insomniac new they had a winner on their hands and spoiler alert this game and universe is set up perfectly for a future sequel.
Spider-Man is so good that I felt compelled to write this review and we don’t even really do reviews here. Bottom line is that I had so much fun with Spider-Man, it reminded me of why I love video games and super heroes. Do yourself a favor, you should definitely check it out when Spider-Man releases this Friday on PS4.
Oh and for those who like scores, I give Spider-Man:
10 / 10
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Thanks for reading my review, you can reach me on Twitter @RicF