PlayStation 4’s exclusive “Marvel’s Spider-Man” does not just improve on Spider-Man games of the past. It completely shatters the mold for what licensed games are capable of. With exhilarating and equally rewarding gameplay, a remarkable level of presentation polish and heartfelt storytelling, developer Insomniac Games – the minds behind the “Ratchet & Clank” and “Resistance” series – delivers the masterpiece that Spider-Man fans have always dreamed of.
The game tells an original story that follows the hero Spider-Man, who has had his powers for eight years and has finally been able to take down one of his greatest enemies, Wilson Fisk, also referred to as The Kingpin. With Wilson now in prison, a series of events begin to transpire as many of New York City’s criminals seek to fill the void left with his arrest. This includes a new gang called the Demons, headed by a mysterious and powerful new foe named Mister Negative.
The plot features a litany of other famous characters from the Spider-Man universe like Mary Jane Watson, Aunt May and Miles Morales. It also has an assortment of other surprising villains you will discover over time. Spider-Man is certainly the star of the show, but this is also a story that emphasizes the dual lives of both the superhero and regular side of the character.
Peter Parker has his own issues separate from fighting super-powered enemies that are profoundly ordinary and, most importantly, relatable. It is this contrast that has always made the character so special. The game delivers a surplus of moments that are emphasized, like Peter having to deal with talking to girls or his troubles with paying rent on time.
This large-scale and equally humanistic story makes playing through the game a truly cinematic kind of experience unlike most. It is in the gameplay that “Marvel’s Spider-Man” shines the most. The game boasts a massive open-world New York City for you to explore at your leisure. Doing so with the game’s web-swinging mechanics is some of the most satisfying and freakishly addictive experiences I have had while playing a video game.
Even when not progressing through the game’s lengthy story missions, I found myself spending copious amounts of time aimlessly web-slinging across the city just for the fun of it. The game is just that good and makes you really feel like Spider-Man.
When it comes to the combat mechanics, the game feels eerily reminiscent to the “Batman: Arkham” series from developer Rockstar Games. Like that series, Spider-Man employs both a fast-paced fighting system and more meticulous and strategic stealth sections. Both of these gameplay styles work terrifically. There is an astounding variety of ways for you to deal with enemies and obstacles thanks to a plethora of skill upgrades, different gadgets and more than 25 different costumes with each containing special abilities.
There is a constant sense of feeling rewarded when playing “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” which helps keep gamers entertained no matter the task. Even if they focus exclusively on the story missions, there is still tons to play through with side missions, computer puzzles, discovering famous locales, hidden backpack collectibles and much more. It all helps to culminate a package that will keep players happily busy for more than 20 hours at the very least.
“Marvel’s Spider-Man” is a prime example of why I play video games. It delivers on a massive scale with thrilling, fluid and beautifully animated gameplay that never gets even the slightest bit stale. It tells an idealistic but surprisingly emotional story about what it means to be a hero. It enforces how being courageous enough to try to help others is what constitutes true strength and resolve.
It is easily one of the PlayStation 4’s finest exclusives yet, which makes for a true love letter to Spider-Man fans. It will be treasured for many years to come.