Content of the article: "Spider-Man PS4"
It feels so good to play an original Spider-Man game that isn’t a movie tie in. The last time we got one with an original story was Spider-Man Edge of Time and before that Shattered Dimensions. While fun they lacked the open world element which is the key to creating a great Spider-Man game. In hindsight this game feels like a test to see if there could be a truly great experience with an original story and thankfully it is. Everything about this world is familiar: Peter being broke, he can’t balance out his responsibilities, he’s been a superhero for a while, and he’s already fought some of his major villains, but at the same time it feels original. It doesn’t retell the origin story because we’ve seen it a dozen times. Like a story skipping the beginning and dropping us into the middle. It makes it more fun when you are learning about this new world like MJ being a journalist for the Bugle, Jonah being a ranting (albeit weirdly entertaining) podcaster, and Yuri being the only cop that truly trusts Peter. What does stand out in this new world is that Peter has a close relationship with Otto Octavious who is also his boss/mentor figure. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that Octavious is a key figure in the game since Dan Slott (writer of Superior Spider-Man)helped co-write the game and putting him in was the right call as this new dynamic is heartbreaking when you get to the final act.
Said dynamic would not have been so tragic if it wasn’t for the performances and Insomniac nailed the casting. Yuri Lowenthal is my favorite Spider-Man since Josh Keaton mostly because while Keaton portrayed a teenage Peter Parker, Lowenthal portrays an older version who’s not in high school and has a job, but still isn’t as responsible with his personal life as he should be. William Salyers doesn’t portray the typical mad scientist like others have as Doc Ock instead its a slow burn. You see that he’s excited and happy to be on the cusp of greatness with his research, but he lets his insecurities eat away at him and he devolves into a cold hearted sociopath. Same with Stephen Oyoung as Martin Li, you see show much of a good person Li is and it’s impressive to see Oyoung can easily flip the switch when he becomes Mister Negative.
The open world may not be as impressive and can be seen as pretty basic compared to other games in the genre, but again it is suppose to be a realistic representation of New York so it has a more grounded feel to it. The objectives are vary as there is a lot to complete. Between stopping crimes, helping research stations, catching pigeons, and accepting challenges. Ironically less is more in this situation because there were many research labs and pigeons to find which felt like the developers were padding. Meanwhile the challenges has variation between stealth, drone, and combat and there were no more than four warehouses/bases to clear out. You do not feel overwhelmed or feel like you are grinding because there is not as many compared to the other objectives. Back to the padding I mentioned earlier, I feel like five crimes for every gang/group was a little much, three would have been just right. I’ll make an exception for collecting backpacks and photographing landmarks as the landmarks help you explore the world and you discover some iconic locations in the Marvel universe like Avengers Tower, The Sanctum Sanctorum, etc. The Backpacks gives you items that tie in to Perter’s past like the first time he fought certain villains, an apartment application, a self help book (which he obviously never read), and even why he has so many backpacks in the first place.
There may be a lot of things to do and some of them will feel like they’re dragging out, but there is a reward: tokens. Checking off every single mission and side quest will reward you with tokens which you can use to craft new suits and gadgets and upgrades. I would also like to take this moment to praise Insomniac for allowing us to unlock these costumes in game instead of making them DLC. Because if this was any other studio you KNOW that would be the case. I can see it now “Scarlet Spider Pack”, “Alternate Universe Pack”, or the “Movie Pack”. I shutter just thinking about it. Hell they released new outfits in a free update. Let me repeat that: They released new outfits in a FREE update.
The stealth segments with MJ and Miles, while not as bad as people make them out to be, they do unfortunately stop the game dead in its tracks and every time I’m in these sections I just want to go back to web slinging. Lastly I want to talk about the combat. Yes it has been compared to the Arkham games, but there are some subtle differences between them. In Arkham there is a feeling a precision, every hit that Batman lands is a coordinated strike, you get the feeling that he was trained by martial artist and deadly assassins. In Spider-Mans case the combat is more sporadic, he’s bouncing off of enemies, moving all over the place and every time he’d hit someone it felt like a lucky shot or he only has a brief chance for an opening and tries to make every hit count, as if he is self taught. Sure the combat may look the same, but gives off different vibes.
I think this is one of the best adaptations of Spider-Man ever. Not just as a game, but in any form of media. It’s a familiar, but original world that will have you exploring every inch of it.
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