As we all know, Spider-Man was released on the PS4 last week to overwhelming positive reviews from across the board form both players and critics alike. Even after fans on Twitter were furious that the game had been given a “significant downgrade” in graphics compared to it’s E3 demo a few years ago. This was of course not the case as the developers at Insomniac Games were quick to respond to the players worries and assure them that the games graphics had not been downgraded. And trust me, it definitely hasn’t.
Spider-Man looks absolutely stunning from the get go. We are introduced to Peter in a small opening cut-scene with him donning the iconic costume, then its straight into the web-slinging. And that’s where the game really shines, the web-slinging feels so fluid and realistic to control. Spider-Man swings freely through Manhattan with ease, even if the player hits a wall or misjudged a swing Spider-Man doesn’t just stop in his tracks, he runs along a wall and leaps off of it, not slowing the movement down a bit. It also helps that Insomniacs version of New York is so stunningly beautiful, swinging through Times square in the middle of the day with the sunlight bouncing off the windows is absolutely incredible, and the same goes when the game changes to night, the city lights of New York while sitting atop a tall building is transfixing.
What also is spectacular (eh, see what I did there?) is the combat. Spider-Man combat in earlier games such as Spider-Man 2 were lacklustre and clunky, but Spider-Man PS4 uses free-flow combat quite like the Batman Arkham trilogy uses. And it work damn well with Spider-Man, you take out bad guys left right and centre with a combination of kicks and punches mixed with web attacks. Just like Batman, Spider-Man has a large arsenal of gadgets that he can use on enemies such as electric webbing, or a small Spider-drone that shoots energy bolts at enemies to distract them. He can also use the environment around him by picking up trash cans or boxes with his webs and throw them at enemies. It’s a really fun take on the combat system that made the Arkham games so great.
But where I was most surprised was the story, going into the game I wasn’t expecting much. I thought it would be just another Spider-Man video game story that wasn’t really that interesting with 2-dimensional characters that didn’t do much. But I was very wrong, Spider-Man PS4 has an exceptional narrative that focuses not only on Spider-Man, but on Peter Parker and the people in his life.
We are re-introduced to characters such as Mary Jane and Miles Morales who you actually play as during the main story missions of the game, and even help Spider-Man in certain missions. The story really builds onto what we already know about existing characters but also adds it’s own spin on things. But what I really love about this story is that it isn’t an origin story (we all know how Spider-Man got his powers, we don’t need to hear it again) this is a Spider-Man in his prime who knows exactly how his powers work and knows that he has a responsibility to the people of New York to protect them.
Spider-Man PS4 shows us how amazing superhero games can be, and I think that the web head really needed a fresh new game that wasn’t a movie tie-in, but it also needed a studio dedicated to getting the character right, and Insomniac has definitely done just that.