“Marvel’s Spider Man” Swings to Success

The main cover of the Wall-Crawler’s new adventure.

by Noah Phillips, ’21

It’s a claim that has been made time and time again for many superhero games, but I have to say it: Insomniac Games’ “Spider-Man” for the PS4 makes you feel like the titular wall-crawler in this very fun, challenging, and compelling adventure.

The plot of the game is pretty simple: Peter Parker has just arrested the notorious Kingpin and all is well. That is, until an old ally, Martin Li, is revealed as the leader of an evil organization known as The Demons, and is also the supervillain “Mister Negative.” Now it’s up to Peter to save New York, while encountering classic characters such as Silver Sable, Mary Jane Watson, Miles Morales, and many more. All in all, the plot is simple but fun, and I found myself very invested in the story, even feeling pretty distressed at critical moments of the story such as the ending involving the fate of a pretty critical character.

First off, I just have to say this: the combat and web-swinging gameplay is beyond words amazing. There were so many moments during this game where I was fighting off large groups of criminals or swinging high up in the sky where I just had a huge mental excitement breakdown from the thrill of swinging around the city and fighting bad guys, it’s that great. To elaborate, there are so many ways to fight off opponents: webbing them up, launching them up into the air, stealing their weapons, throwing objects into them, etc. and it all works like a charm. Same thing with web-swinging: whether you’re parkouring along the sides of skyscrapers, skydiving off large buildings, or zipping through the streets, this game is fun in many regards.

But it’s not just those two elements that make the game as great as it is: literally everything else in the game is super cool and easy to control, which is good because there’s a lot of things to do. You can swing around the city and take pictures of landmarks, fight off enemies at tons of enemy bases, look around for cameras set up by Black Cat, take on several challenges from a mysterious character (which I won’t spoil who it is as it’s a pretty surprising reveal who it turns out to be), collect tokens to craft new gadgets and classic Spider-Man suits, climb on buildings to collect old backpacks of Peter’s which contain loads of “Spider-Man” easter eggs and references, and even listen to radio chats by everyone’s favorite Spider-Man hater: J. Jonah Jameson.

The in-game NYC map offers many activities and challenges to do.

Speaking of all these characters, there are a lot of them in the game, and they’re all really great. Spider-Man’s his typical quippy self, but there’s also characters such as Aunt May who’s running a homeless shelter called “F.E.A.S.T.”, Norman Osborn who’s your typical no-good mayor who’s the driving force of the game’s villains due to their personal ties to him, MJ and Miles who are almost ripped straight out of the comics (you also play a fair amount of missions as the two of them doing stealth levels), and the classic “Sinister Six”, including villainous staples such as Electro, Rhino, Vulture, and Scorpion, and even a surprise member of the group who I won’t spoil, but I didn’t expect them to show up in the end.

This games version of the dreaded Sinister Six.

However, regardless of all these good points, there is one area where the game truly falters, and it’s not game-breaking, just frustrating: the difficulty spikes. Seriously, this game is fun most of the time, but there are several moments throughout the game that become very unforgiving and difficult, especially in the last third of the game when you fight the “Sinister Six.” Again, it’s not deal-breaking to any extent, but it’s something that I feel needs to be brought up due to how it stands out as a negative aspect. Also a minor flaw, and this only happened one or two times, but the camera, as great as it is, can toy around at a few critical gameplay moments, and that was sort of annoying, but again, nothing even close to deal-breaking in the long run.

In the end, “Spider-Man” for the PS4 is easily my favorite game of 2018 by a long-shot and by far the best and most fun modern game I’ve played in a very long time. If you own a PS4 (sorry Microsoft and Nintendo owners), “Spider-Man PS4” is definitely a must-play and must-own, and I’m gonna give it a solid and well-deserved 9 out of 10.

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