We need a new prefix for the web-slinger…
Satisfaction is a wonderful thing, and it is at the heart of everything when I think about my experience with Marvel’s Spider-Man.
It’s satisfying to web swing your way through New York and to watch the events unfold, but ultimately: it is just bloody satisfying to see Spider-Man finally have a video game that the beloved hero deserves.
Insomniac have excelled themselves in creating a rich and lovingly-crafted world for Spidey to inhabit, with an original story that respects the rich source material.
From the moment the game literally launched me into my first web swing, I knew I was in for something special.
Traversing through New York is instantly gratifying and easily a highlight as you slowly master the art of momentum.
It is also an oddly addictive means of getting around, I quickly found myself just burning chunks of time away solely swinging through the streets.
It just feels so good to get around and I can honestly say is the quintessential Spider-Man swinging experience (sorry Spider-Man 2).
Momentum is everything in this game and the excellent main story will zip by in a flash thanks to some genuinely impressive character performances and careful curation to create something we haven’t seen in Spidey’s recent appearances.
I loved the story so much in this game and it really deserves to be consumed spoiler-free, but needless to say it features some of my all-time favourite interpretations of Spider-Man characters and their relationships with each other.
If you are a massive fan of Spider-Man like myself you will be able to roughly gauge the main story beats before they happen, but it didn’t disappoint thanks to the clear love and attention paid to this new universe.
By the end of the games 10-12 hour running time I was completely sold on this version of Spidey, I can’t wait to see where they take things next time around.
Outside of the main campaign I still found plenty of things to do as a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.
Open-world fans will feel right at home as all the side activities and missions will feel pretty standard by now, but they have included just enough to not overwhelm or bore players.
That being said, prepare yourselves for activating towers and taking down goon-filled bases.
Going through these activities never felt like an over-familiar chore, however, and I loved Insomniac’s decision to tie small pieces of Spider-Man lore from this universe to each of the game’s 55 backpack collectibles.
It added a small-win for the player to learn a little more about this version of the wall-crawler before taking control as opposed to having collectibles for the sake of being there.
Whatever you choose to do in this game will reward the player with XP points as well as activity-based tokens which can be used to purchase new skills, suits, and mods.
The game does a really good job of inching out new abilities to the player and allows you to prioritise them as you see fit.
These abilities are largely combat-focused, which is just as well as you will spend a lot of time taking on swathes of enemies.
During the early hours, I was making a massive mistake in relying a bit too heavily on Arkham combat muscle memory.
Rest assured, this is not a carbon copy of that successful system.
The combat does take a little getting used to, but once it clicks you will be taking on large groups of thugs with ease.
Mastering each layer of the combat system is rewarding to see in full swing, particularly when it comes to gadgets, which offer fun ways to break up the hit/counter flow of action.
I came to rely more heavily on Spidey’s growing gadget arsenal during the game’s brief stealth sections.
Stealthily taking out groups is a blast, more so when playing as the awesomely capable MJ, I can’t stress how refreshing it was seeing her in a non-damsel in distress role here.
It is very clear that instead of trying to overstuff the game with every idea possible Insomniac have aimed to get the fundamentals right here.
While I absolutely loved how this resulted in a measured and polished story and experience, there is a part of me which wanted to see more, particularly when it came to bosses.
Balancing between showing too much or too little supervillains will always be a tightrope, but I can admit the game is ultimately better off for displaying some restraint in this area.
That being said, Marvel’s Spider-Man leaves you feeling very satisfied and eager for more.
Fans hoping to see if Insomniac could create the ultimate Spider-Man video game will not be disappointed.
I’d say it’s perfect grounding for what looks to be a really promising and exciting franchise.