Marvel's Spider-Man (PlayStation 4) Review

By David Lovato 25.01.2019 2

Review for Marvel

Spider-Man games have been hit-or-miss throughout the years, in large part due to the unique nature of the hero's superpowers. Developers have struggled to strike a balance between letting players feel like their friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, and giving them too much free reign. Treyarch's adaptation of Spider-Man 2 has long been the gold standard for the series, with subsequent iterations seeing a steady decline in quality ever since. When publisher Activision's contract with Marvel ended, fans wondered who would be next to take on their favourite wall crawler, and eventually, Insomniac Games stepped up to the plate.

Perhaps what Marvel's Spider-Man gets the most right, is putting emphasis on the swinging, climbing, and general acrobatics behind Spider-Man. Combat, stealth, and the skill tree elements are all relatively simple, but work together in big ways to make high flying, hard-hitting, stomach-twisting swings, flips, kicks, and combos all just a few button presses away. Insomniac definitely nailed what it should feel like to be Spider-Man in a videogame, and this isn't just from a technical standpoint; while many titles before it dealt with the classic rise of the superhero, Insomniac opted for a more experienced, veteran Peter Parker. To offset this, the game features a few sections where players control Miles Morales, giving the origin story edge to the game, but leaving the focus on the main hero, Peter Parker.

Insomniac have crafted a story worth of the Spider-Man name. They took quite a few artistic liberties with the story, but have done a better job than some of the official comic writers as of late. Characters stay true to character, but are put in situations or given abilities they haven't had in other Spider-Man media, which makes for a lot of interesting twists and turns. Spider-Man fans will see a lot they recognize, but in shades of colour that keep things fresh and entertaining. The game's voice cast does a phenomenal job bringing these classic characters to life, and the writers behind it all deserve props for their top-notch handling of the various personalities involved.

Screenshot for Marvel's Spider-Man on PlayStation 4

This isn't without its flaws, yet even those can be boiled down to being solid but overly distracting side-missions. The stealth missions, for instance, where players take control of Miles Morales or Mary Jane Watson, while integral to the story, quickly become tedious. The same can be said for the puzzle-solving mini-games. Most of these are relegated to one area, but this does little more than let players decide when they want to slog through these boring, tedious quests. Still, these aren't overly complicated and don't take long, so they never quite get in the way of the whole experience at large. The skill tree elements also come across as weak, with most of the necessary skills being available from the start, and earned skills only serving to offer minor improvements along the way.

While the writing is strong overall, the relationship between Peter Parker and Mary Jane more often than not falls flat on its face, with a lot of cringe-worthy moments where the two characters - mostly just in how they interact with each other - rely almost exclusively on two-dimensional "fighting couple" clichés. That said, the main focus is the relationship between Peter and his mentor, Otto Octavius, and this is an emotional powerhouse of a story that the team executed flawlessly. One aspect that also falls short is in the bonus costumes; this is always one of the most hotly anticipated aspects of any Spider-Man game, and while a few of the included costumes are fun nods and Easter Eggs for superfans, the vast majority of them are obscure, detract from Peter's abilities more than they add, or are just plain visually uninspiring or too visually similar to each other.

Screenshot for Marvel's Spider-Man on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

There are myriad good reasons why Marvel's Spider-Man is the best-selling and highest-rated Spider-Man title in years. While it has a few glaring flaws, they pale in comparison to all of the things the team at Insomniac got right. A well-acted, strong story serves as the backbone for an experience that just plain feels right for Spider-Man, and fans and newcomers alike won't be disappointed by this trip to the Spider-verse.

Developer

Insomniac

Publisher

SIEE

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I'm still so impressed how this has sold. I'd love to see a motion controlled web-slinger in the future.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I stopped playing Spider-Man quite abruptly to focus on covering RDR2, this review reminds me I definitely need to return to it pronto. Great read!

I love just web-slinging around New-York, for me it's one of the most best open-world experiences for ages, in terms of fluidity of movement. It beats parkouring around roof-tops in Assassins Creed in my book, and Spider-Man's skill-set certainly streamlines a lot of the action. 

That said, I totally agree about the sneaking and puzzle sections, I'm a little beyond the point of the worst offender - I'm certain I know which one you're referring to. That one took me ages to do, mostly because I was so bemused I was being forced to do boring things that have no place in this title. It certainly killed the pacing which had been near-perfect up to that point. 

( Edited 25.01.2019 17:38 by The Strat Man )

Tom Barry [ Reviewer - Editor - Resident Sim-Racer @ Cubed3.com ]
RufDog Racing: Team Cubed3 | Current C3 Sim-Spotlight Feature | Follow RDR on Twitter |     

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