Superhero movies are a dime a dozen, but superhero games are still a rare breed. As of August 2018, the Batman: Arkham games were about all we could look to for modern superhero games. Insomniac, the studio behind Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive had other ideas, though, and after years of previews Spider-Man finally dropped into our laps.
There may be spoilers ahead.
As a reviewer, I complete many more games than most people, but it’s rare that I get to spend extended time with a game I like, pushing it to its limits. Spider-Man was one of the few. After I finished the story, I went through and got 100% on the game, including gold medals on every event, as well as taking the time to unlock every collectible. And then I started it over again on the next difficulty up and tore it to pieces a second time. If we could get trophies twice, I would technically have double-platinumed Spider-Man.
This game captures the essence of what it should feel like to be a superhero and to be Spider-Man in particular. Simply navigating the world is exciting and exhilarating. I wasted hours just swinging around the city. Insomniac found the perfect balance that makes it hard to screw up but easy to feel like a master. I could drop down to swing fast, or climb high to pull off sick stunts. Slipping through alleyways was immensely never ceased to be satisfying. When I got into a groove, combat was no less acrobatic, and I was making use of almost all the techniques and moves Spidey had available.
Underpinning all of this was a great story that rethinks some aspects of the Spider-Man story. Good writing and voice-acting gave us two awesome villains and a great rendition of ol’ Webhead himself. Doctor Octopus is a classic villain, but Spider-Man made him tragic. It managed to turn Mr. Negative into a top-tier Spidey villain, too, when Spider-Man’s rogues gallery is already topped only by Batman.
I’d also be remiss in not mentioning the game’s excellent photo mode, which had me pumping out enough pictures of Spider-Man to please even J. Jonah Jameson himself:
— Eric Frederiksen (@piratesyar) September 12, 2018
If Insomniac can build a follow-up that compares favorably to this game, I’ll be impressed. Spider-Man is the first big Marvel game in a long time, and I’m hoping it’ll act like Iron Man did for the MCU, kicking off a series of very playable games that will release of the next decade. I’m kind of looking forward to getting older when I think of it that way.
If you own a PlayStation 4 and you didn’t pick up Spider-Man this year, you’re missing out.
Make sure to check out our original review of Spider-Man from September.
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