Written by Pat Kerley [Please note that this review contains some spoilers for the game]
With great power comes great responsibility, and a multitude of tedious tasks. Marvel’s Spider-Man is an open-world action-adventure game with a few RPG elements, where you step into the suit of everyone’s favorite webhead.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is a brand-new adventure for the web-slinger, standing strong against all other media the character has been in. The story takes place with Peter Parker in his early twenties, having spent a good few years as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
It begins with a bombastic battle that leads into a fight against the formidable King Pin. But it’s after that, that you are given your freedom from then on to explore to your heart’s content.
In my opinion, the story keeps a great steady pace and ramps itself up near the end where you have many boss fights from Spider-Man’s backlog from Rhino to Electro to the more obscure like Tombstone and Mr. Negative. This game Marvel’s Spider-Man offers one of the best stories for the superhero, outdoing the movies quite easily in my opinion and captures the characters quite expertly.
All the characters in this game feel great, most with motives that are easy to understand where they are coming from which makes them more relatable. One thing I do have to give applause to is the voice acting, at one point it really pulled at my emotions in ways I was not expecting, and Spider-Man’s quippy nature was spot on.
There are side quests and multiple objectives that you can do outside the main story and they are a bit of a mixed bag overall. You have interesting quests on the side through challenges from Taskmaster which can vary from following a drone that drops spheres that you need to swing through to taking out a bunch of thugs silently and quickly. There are scores for these challenges to achieve and make them much more appealing to do. You also have quests from Harry Osborn to keep the city fresh and clean, with each of his missions being different from each other and makes it stand out amongst the other side quests.
Then you have the random crimes that pop up all over the city, raid bases full of foes, tasks to track down backpacks, landmark photography that while fun, to begin with, grew tiresome and repetitive way to quickly.
While I was going for 100% completion, I found myself growing bored with the game while doing them. I, in particular, have to reprimand the backpack tasks and the landmarks missions as it felt more like a chore.
Despite the flaws, the gameplay is rock solid and it excels in one area that is phenomenal and that is the web-slinging. The sense of movement and mobility is fascinating and there is a handful of different ways to traverse through the city that becomes your playground.
From web zipping to normal swinging and launching yourself off a building, it gives a cathartic feeling that is rare in games, never did I want to use fast travel as the pure enjoyment I took from swinging around the city was too much to pass up and is easily one of the standout features the game has to offer, it truly makes you feel like Spider-Man. Also, parkouring is easy on button solution and works effectively, if at sometimes a bit janky, being able to run up walls gives incredible momentum and allows you to always keep at an enthralling speed.
Combat in the game is well handled and the inspiration from the Batman Arkham games can be easily seen, being able to mix up combat in the sky and on the ground is a fantastic feeling. You can always thrust yourself into combat when enemies are far apart by zipping to them with a web and continuing the combat. Your Spidey sense radiates around your head when you are about to be attacked giving you a chance to dodge out of the way.
You then have gadgets that can be used for a multitude of purposes from the basic Web Shooter to the more advanced options like the Suspension Matrix which causes enemies to float in the air for several seconds and the Trip Mine which can change the way you go about when being stealthy. The gadgets aren’t necessary to use, as at points I completely forgot that they were ready to use, but they are versatile and can get you out of sticky situations and really help when doing the combat challenges.
There is a variety of costumes that you can unlock in the game, each coming with its own ability, either a super move or a boost to Spider-Man.
A cool feature is that once you unlock a suit you can use the ability from it on any other suit so you’re not restricted.
The focus meter is another clever mechanic which you fill up by beating up the bad guys and once you do then you have two options, you either heal yourself or you can do an instant takedown move. It creates a great balance as you decide to dwindle down the enemy force or make sure you can heal yourself, it can lead to interesting moments within the game and make you feel like a real superhero when you take the bad guys down in a stylish manner.
You then have the RPG like elements, you gain experience and level up, growing stronger in general along with unlocking skill points which can be used to upgrade Spider-Man. My favorite includes a skill that allows you to perform a second instant takedown on normal enemies when they are near to the first enemy you take out.
You have missions outside of being Spider-Man that are a nice break sometimes. But I found that when you’re handed over the reins to play as Miles Morales and Mary Jane it just really made me want to return to being Spider-Man.
There is no denying how drop-dead gorgeous this game is to behold with your eyes. The level of detail is quite ridiculous as you will see furnished rooms through windows, the sprawling landscape and the wonderful views you can witness from high up places.
Yet it has its fair share of problems when it comes to glitches. Ones that I came across involved enemies hanging from absolutely nothing and motorbikes just at a standstill in the air. All these little inconsistences nibble away at the game and take you out of the moment you were experiencing.
Marvel’s Spider-man is a brilliant game in a lot of aspects, however it does have its problems.
With tedious side quests that become a chore and a number of glitches within the game, there is much that can be improved upon in updates to the game or for a sequel.
However, with a solid combat system that will leave you satisfied, a fantastic story that was thoroughly engaging with a fantastic, emotional finish and the ever so enrapturing freedom that comes with swinging through New York, Marvel’s Spider-Man is still a must-buy game!
If you’re looking for games similar to Marvel’s Spider-Man I would recommend any game from the Batman Arkham Knight, Infamous Second Son and Gravity Rush 2.
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