Playing Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4 got me thinking… How many times did you jump off sofas as a kid while having a bathroom towel pinned to your shoulders? How many times did you go to a party and have your face painted as Spider-Man’s?
Playing out the adventures of a super hero is almost every child’s dream. Now, with the help of video games, we’re able to fulfil our wishes in spectacular fashion! We can now don our capes and use our special powers to (virtually) save the day! With Marvel’s Spider-Man this is arguably the closest you’ll feel to being everyone’s favourite super hero.
I have said this before and I feel Insomniac Games’ version of Spidey is spot on in representation. The awkwardness of Peter Parker to Spider-Man’s agility, the character is exactly how I would have imagined from the comics.
Mary Jane Watson (MJ to her friends) is a reporter for the Daily Bugle and an ex-girlfriend to Peter (yep, that’s new). MJ plays a key role in the development of the story and at parts you also get to control her. We also see Aunt May voluntarily working at a homeless shelter known as F.E.A.S.T. and everyone’s favourite, Miles Morales!
In addition, more from Spider-Man’s comic book roster make an appearance keeping things fresh. For example, Black Cat (an old romantic flame and anti-hero) pops up now and again keeping the web swinger on his toes. Silver Sable, however, is a bit trigger happy against our hero. Lastly, let’s not forget the very accurate delivery of J Jonah Jameson. Via radio podcasts, JJ is telling everyone that Spider-Man’s a menace!
I’ll get you next time, Spider-Man! (spoilers)
Spider-Man is nothing without his line-up of bad guys and the PlayStation 4 adaptation doesn’t hold back here either. Start the game by taking down Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of crime, swing through the streets chasing Shocker and use your spider strength to take down Tombstone. The game also gives us our very own Sinister Six! Doctor Octopus, Scorpion, Vulture, Rhino, Electro, and Mr Negative. So, there’s a lot of characters to keep Spidey fans happy.
With great power comes a great story (spoilers)
The game starts off as Spider-Man in full swing. At 23 years old, Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for the past 8 years and so has already established himself as the number one problem for bad guys. Opening the game with a mission to take down Wilson Fisk, sets off a chain of events not good for New Yorkers. After Fisk’s incarceration, we see the rise of another powerful menace in Mr Negative.
Mr Negative and his goons are taking over Fisk’s properties as part of a bigger plan to attack innocent civilians on a large scale. Whilst all of this is going on we see the very excellent arc of Dr Otto Octavius go from scientist to super villain. When we see his eventual turn to Dr Octopus, and understand his motivations, the ante is turned all the way up for our favourite wall crawler. Having to juggle between so many villains as part of the main plot, Spidey must save the day.
Lookin’ good Spidey
Swinging around New York has never looked better. Whether high-fiving civilians at ground level or perching on the edge of rooftops, the visuals are impressive. The facial animations during cut scenes are great and really brings out the individual characters. The different Spidey suits you pick up throughout the course of the game are just as lovely you would imagine.
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man
Marvel’s Spider-Man actually lets you be the everyday hero from the source material. Stop street muggings, drug deals and store robberies as you swing through the streets in amazing super hero fashion. To see more crime in the city, you’ll first have to activate the police surveillance towers, that also allow you to uncover more areas of the map.
In addition to everyday street crime, you also have FISK hideouts where you fight wave after wave of goons, research stations side missions, photographing landmarks and (my personal favourite) backpack recovery. The latter has Spidey recover old backpacks from different locations across the city for a nice little tidbit of history. There’s also a host of additional side missions (catching pigeons!) to keep you entertained away from the main missions.
Upgrade your special abilities and weaponry to enhance your fighting style and webbing. For example, use electric webs to stun enemies and impact webbing to engulf bad guys in a bigger case of web. Unlocking all of the fighting abilities and upgrades – as you level up – adds an extra layer of depth to fighting. Use stealth or go in webs a-blazing! Influenced by the Batman Arkham games’ style of fighting, I works great in this game. During battles, the spider-sense indicator over your head, warning you to evade, is a perfect fit.
It’s just so… Spider-Man!
The infamous Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man once told us he created Spider-Man as a way for young people to relate to. Having Peter Parker face every day problems was part of his character and what made him stand out in an otherwise overcrowded super hero space. In Marvel’s Spider-Man, this aspect is captured perfectly. For instance, see Peter Parker get evicted from his apartment for overdue rent and start a mission to find your belongings (that have been thrown in the trash).
In addition to finding your bag, part of the game is figuring out where to sleep for the night. This nicely leads into an organic evening with friend and ex-partner MJ. The night starts off well with Peter Parker cooking while MJ investigates clues. After getting an alert for a residential break-in we see Peter in his Spider-Man costume about to jump to the rescue when MJ says “did you just leave your clothes on the kitchen floor?” It’s all so Peter. It’s all so Spidey. The Spider-Man world and characters are just captured so well.
So, is Spider-Man only for the fans?
In conclusion, Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4 is every Spider-Man fan’s dream. If you’re not a Spidey fan will you enjoy it as much? There’s a lot to do and the game is full of great set pieces and charm. Watch Spidey ride the subway or catch up on his social media feed, for example.
With so many different types of missions and collectables there is a lot of content to keep you engaged and entertained throughout. I would strongly recommend everyone give Marvel’s Spider-Man a play. Whether you’re a Spider-Man fan or not, the game gives so much to be excited about. In addition, with the news of a Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales game PS5 on the way, it’s not hard to see why that game is highly anticipated.