Marvel’s Spider-Man Review

October 2, 2020

With Spider-Man: Remastered coming out next month, it’s time to take a look back at the original game. Marvel’s Spider-Man released for the PlayStation 4 in 2018. The game received tons of high praise from fans of the classic superhero. This was truly exciting because quality games featuring New York’s webslinger are somewhat rare.

It is commonly said that the 2004 movie tie-in, Spider-Man 2, is the best game to use the hero. If that is true, then how does Marvel’s Spider-Man shape up against the champion from the past?

The flow of combat

Marvel’s Spider-Man uses many combat mechanics that you would find in the popular Batman Arkham series. Fans of superhero games will be very familiar with this gameplay loop. However, Marvel’s Spider-Man successfully gives this style of play an identity of its own. 

Spidey is extremely agile when confronted by groups of enemies. The player will have plenty of options in how to approach a situation at the start of the game. These options only grow as the story and character progresses, too. Various powers, gadgets, and even combos allow for a deep and satisfying combat experience.

Of course, the power balance between enemies is handled well, too. The standard thugs and criminals that players deal with on the streets are much weaker than the foes found in many of the story missions. When the player and Spider-Man contend with a real threat, it’s immediately clear that things have gotten a bit more serious.

That being said, the game isn’t incredibly challenging on even higher difficulties. That isn’t a bad thing, however. Marvel’s Spider-Man is a game that is easy to enjoy and relax with.

Sneaking in NYC

The action-oriented gameplay as Spidey is broken up in several ways. For instance, there are short scientific puzzles that can be completed for experience points at Peter’s place of work. There are also various stealth sections across the game that feature new playable characters. 

Players take the role of Peter’s closest friend and romantic interest Mary Jane Watson as she does investigative work as a journalist. The other character players will enjoy is the Marvel fan favorite Miles Morales, albeit a version of Miles who hasn’t quite adopted the role of superhero just yet. 

In these gameplay moments, the player sneaks around enemies while attempting to accomplish tasks. These aren’t the most polished moments of the game, sadly. They do play well and offer some great story moments. However, they can be a tiny bit annoying on repeat playthroughs, as they slow the game down a bit. That being said, they’re actually pretty easy to just sprint through, so they aren’t a huge deal in the end. 

A story worth experiencing

There have been way too many adaptions of Spider-Man over the years. “Spidey fatigue” may be getting to many fans at this point. However, this version of the Marvel character may just be my favorite take yet. This is due in large part to the incredible acting put forth by voice actor Yuri Lowenthal as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man.

Peter Parker, whose alter-ego is Spider-Man, plays a much larger role in the game than one would expect. From a narrative standpoint, these slow and quiet sections as the humble young man are some of the best parts of the experience. They show Parker as a warm, kind, and all-around enjoyable person. The way that he interacts with those around him simply made me want to see him succeed in all of the best ways. 

Naturally, this adds a bit of sting to the story presented. A long-standing tradition of Spidey lore is that the life of Peter Parker is a hard one. Things rarely go his way, even when he’s trying his best to reach his goals. Although, seeing the lovable character keep his chin up throughout the worst may be uplifting to many people these days. 

That positive outlook certainly comes in handy over the course of the main story. From the start, things aren’t ideal for Peter Parker in his personal life. Things only seem to worsen whenever he does take on the role of Spider-Man, eventually pushing the hero to his absolute limits before the game’s conclusion. However, our hero has a strong support system of friends and family who help him along the way.

A strong cast

The previously mentioned characters of Miles and Mary Jane are terrific as well as extremely helpful within the story. Peter’s motherly figure, Aunt May, is also present and takes on a role that is refreshing for the character. This version of Aunt May is an incredibly capable older woman who is able to run an entire charity organization, largely by herself it seems. It’s quite nice to see a woman in that age group depicted as both kind and efficient in a video game.

Backpacks, challenges, and exploration

An open world game as beautiful as Marvel’s Spider-Man deserves to be explored. Fortunately, there are plenty of reasons to scour Manhattan as the wall crawler. From collectible backpacks that offer neat little Easter eggs to photography spots showing off the beauty of the Big Apple, there’s stuff to find around every corner. 

There’s also a variety of side missions and challenges to take on, as well as crimes to stop. The challenges can get pretty heated in some places, but never feel unfair or too difficult. The side missions are pretty good, as well, but nothing immediately memorable. Although, one side mission allows you to chase pigeons as Spider-Man, so there’s that. 

Final Verdict 

Marvel’s Spider-Man easily takes the top spot as my favorite Spider-Man game. In fact, it may be my favorite superhero game yet. The story feels accurate to the source material while also providing enough twists that even long time Spidey fans will see something new.

Plus, the gameplay is enjoyable enough that even people who aren’t interested in the trials of Peter Parker will find something to love.

All in all, this is certainly an adventure worth going on before swinging into the remastered edition coming out soon! Spider-Man Remastered will be included as part of the Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition for PS5, available November 12.

Category: Reviews

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In this article

Developer:
Insomniac Games
Publisher:
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms:
Release:
September 7, 2018

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