The Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken control of Hollywood and it was only a matter of time before a major studio took on a project for a new video game. Insomniac answered the call when they released Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4 in September.
In 2004, Call of Duty studio Treyarch produced the last well-received Spider-Man game. Spider-Man 2 launched on all major platforms and has, until now, been the go-to Spidey experience. Insomniac’s Spider-Man game found the magic formula.
When thinking about an open-world game set in New York the first thing the studio had to consider was traversing the area. The swinging in this game is spectacular. Gone are the days of latching on to magical pixels in the sky. The player’s ability to zip through the New York skyline is a skill that over the course of the game gets more fluid with adaptation. Gaining momentum and staying in the air is the first hurdle but as the game moves along in the story it becomes more important to learn how to quickly change direction and bound from rooftop to light pole and back to another rooftop. Areas with smaller buildings and parks are harder to navigate and challenge you to learn all of the mechanics the developers have placed in the game. They were nice enough to add some slow down when aiming for points to shoot webs at which makes the tricky turns in the drone challenges less daunting. It is a truly satisfying experience.
The same can be said for the combat. Punching and kicking are great on their own but mastering the gadgets and combos are the way to succeed. Enemies get more difficult to handle when brutes, shields, and rocket launchers are added. It takes a level of finesse to deal with multiple brutes while dodging gunfire and grenades. One thing this game does an excellent job of is giving you step by step tutorial sections when new enemies are added. This makes learning how to handle new enemy types a little easier one on one but players will learn quickly to handle waves of enemies. In my experience so far the combat challenges have helped with combat fluidity. They also contribute resources to make new suits and gadgets.
Finally, the game has a compelling story. It is an original story which is a breath of fresh air. The wonderful thing about comics is that there is always a story to be told. Spider-Man has one of the deepest and most iconic roster of characters which really helps this game. The use of secondary villains is wonderful and I’m sure there are more surprises to come. I am only 50% through my first playthrough so no spoilers here. Be sure to stick around for my final score once I finish the game. There are plenty of side quests and missions keeping me busy as this game has me addicted to the idea of a 100% completion.
Most importantly I think with the success of this game it opens the door for more Marvel games. The gaming community is ripe with theories on the next hero to get a release. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the rest of the Marvel Universe have unlimited potential for video games. Next up will be Square Enix when their Avengers game comes out in the next year or so. No definitive date has been given but I would bet there will be a trailer at E3 2019.
To hold you over, here is the announce teaser from E3 2017.