Preview: Why Insomniac’s Spider-Man Will Be The Best Spider-Man Game Ever.
When it comes to Spider-Man games, the 2004 Spider-Man 2 movie game still tops the charts. For years, a very prestigious developer has finally been at the helm of a Spider-Man title, Insomniac Games. Last week, guest editor Jacco went crazy for two hours in New York City and came to the conclusion that this PS4-exclusive game is likely to knock Spider-Man 2 off the throne.
Okay, let’s not go too fast. I feel like I only saw the tip of Spider-Man’s gigantic iceberg, but during the first play session the game makes a very good impression. Insomniac takes the license they have borrowed from Marvel very seriously and tackles the universe in a surprising way. Below I describe seven reasons why the original Spyro developer is on the way to making the best Spider-Man title ever.
Scattered across films, animated series and countless comics, dozens of versions of the popular superhero exist. Insomniac Games therefore faces the challenge of doing something original with the spider man, and to my surprise, it succeeded. First, many famous characters are given a twist, such as in Telltale’s Batman series. For example, Peter is a freshly graduated scientist and is apprenticed to a well-known character who normally wants to hang Spider-Man on his own web. The adorable version of Mary Jane Watson is an investigative journalist in this universe at The Daily Bugle and may have a different relationship with Peter than we are used to.
The Spider-Man origin story is avoided and instead the developer tells the story of a superhero in top form. Peter Parker has held the Spider-Man profession for a while and is beginning to question its effectiveness. As a scientist he may be able to mean more to New York City than as a destructive hero, which provides an interesting perspective on his life. It is great how Insomniac gives a twist to Marvel’s franchise, yet successfully creates a familiar atmosphere. The details in Peter’s room, the insane jokes he makes (“don’t forget the hyphen between ‘Spider’ and ‘Man’ officers”) and the convincing bad guys he meets, come straight from the comics.
Swinging feels great
Perhaps the main reason Spider-Man feels so fantastic is the sensational crank mechanism. In short, nothing is inconceivable and you will soon find yourself in a flow that you do not want to get out of for the rest of the day. Swinging is physics-based, so there must always be a building nearby to shoot a web with the R2 button pressed, then release it to fly through the air. Swinging feels really nice and in few games I feel as free as in Spider-Man. It can run over walls, land anywhere and even launch itself like a catapult and fly over the rooftops of Manhattan at breakneck speed. You can basically swing indefinitely, if no PlayStation employee comes to you and tells you that the time is up.
Combat is fluid and spectacular
The combat in Spider-Man is just as fluid. Fights are very reminiscent of the brawls from the Batman Arkham games, but more focused on dodge and hit back. Spider-Man is clearly more nimble than the bat man, because in no time I am ramming Wilson Fisk’s henchmen into the air through the wall, to slap them a few more, then pull myself to the next with Spider-Man’s web . You can also smoothly add manhole covers, car doors and even grenades to combinations, so that you can in fact fight infinitely spectacular battles. Even more impressive is that there is an extensive skill tree that slowly grows the superhero into the ultimate Spider-Man.
Peter Parker is also an absolute gadget freak and has some tricks to stick crooks to the wall unharmed. In addition to his Spider-Sense, which tickles as soon as he gets hit, he also has access to the iconic Insomniac gadget wheel. Unfortunately we could only get started with a souped-up web blob shooter, but in the menu we spotted, for example, a trip mine to glue henchmen together. You can also upgrade the super cool costume with white spider with new modifications that improve certain statistics and, for example, provide more Focus energy. With Focus, Spider-Man can heal itself and do more damage once the meter is fully charged.
A full wardrobe
The red-blue suit with white spider is by no means Peter’s only outfit. In the menu I spotted about thirty other suits, ranging from super cool retro designs to futuristic costumes that wouldn’t look out of place in Cyberpunk 2077. The game does well to keep hinting at the next two designs, which makes the rest a surprise. remains. New suits are unlocked by earning XP and completing side missions in New York for special points. In all fairness, these activities haven’t involved much more than tackling burglars to the ground, but the gift of suits is a great motivation to mess around in the city.
Manhattan is alive
New York City is beautiful by the way, probably the most beautiful version in a game to date. Marvel’s Manhattan consists of nine districts, which are gigantic as far as I could discover. All the attractions are also present, including The Empire State Building where Spider-Man snaps a smile. To my surprise, the Avengers tower shines a bit further, and other Marvel buildings also seem to have a place in the world. New York is full of details that make Marvel fans excited.
New York City is also bustling with life. People will look up when you swing through the park and start a conversation with the superhero as soon as they have the chance. Everything is even more beautiful from above, both when the sun shines over the roofs, and when the city is beautifully illuminated in the evening. In any case, Insomniac has outdone itself again in terms of character models and beautiful colors that really splash off the screen.
Peter and Mary Jane are playable
Finally, Spider-Man is not only about superhero practices, but also the everyday life of Peter Parker and Mary Jane. In fact, early on in the game, you take control of both characters. As Peter Parker, you occasionally solve puzzles in a lab full of fun details and visit locations like Aunt May’s FEAST homeless shelter. As an investigative journalist, MJ also plays an important role in the story and I had to sneak through the Fisk Estate in search of evidence for his dubious accounting.
The fact that both characters are playable gives so much more character to the story than any other superhero game. Spider-Man is just a young adult struggling to pay the bill, even though he’s been a superhero for seven years. Insomniac Games knows how to convincingly portray this humanity in the first two hours, which is the main reason for me that Spider-Man is probably going to be very good. The superhero in me can’t wait for September 7th, because then we’ll see.