What Is It?
Spider-Man is an open world sandbox game that is akin to titles like Fallout 4, Mad Max, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, and yes, the Batman Arkham games. (We will get back to that later.) You traverse New York City—which has been rendered to almost uncanny perfection by the programmers—fighting crime.
There is a main narrative storyline that involves the villain Mr. Negative, but there is an abundance of side missions that incorporate many of Spidey’s greatest foes throughout history. The villains include The Kingpin, Shocker, Black Cat, Silver Sable, Doctor Octopus, Scorpion, Rhino, Electro, Vulture, and Tombstone. Insomniac has done an amazing job of blending old and new villains alike. This does not include the hundreds of thugs you will be webbing and fighting throughout New York.
Here is where there is some debate. Many younger gamers feel that Spider-Man is a derivative of the Batman Arkham games. Those of us greyer gamers know that, in fact, the Arkham series was derivative of the Spider-Man 2 game on PS2 published by Treyarch in 2004. The hand-to-hand (or web) combat uses many of the button combos we have seen in those previous titles but adds a level of fluidity that I have never seen in in-game combat.
Fighting has an immensely smooth and powerful feeling. Changing weapon types in mid-stream is also easy, and before you know it, you are amassing triple-digit combos that will make your teeth chatter and cause your children to leap in the air with the adulation of your crime-fighting prowess.
Spider-Man also allows for the use of skill trees like we see in other popular games these days. Skill points are given at the completion of each level and can be spread out over 3 trees: Innovator, Defender, and Web Slinger. There are many articles and discussions concerning which is more important, but I always feel that you should spend your skill points based on your gameplay style.
Along with the skill trees, you may upgrade your suit. These upgrades allow you one suit power and 3 additional bonuses. But wait, there’s more! You can also create gadgets and upgrade each gadget individually.
You may be wondering what you need to satisfy all of this upgrade madness? The game offers a wide variety of collectibles and tasks where you collect points for invading bases, doing scientific research, collecting black cats, stopping crime in the city, and yes, even collecting pigeons.
Getting around New York also has multiple options. You can walk, run, skim, swing, and even ride the bus or subway. (This is the most amusing way and is what happens when you fast travel.) The gameplay in Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 is as deep as the water around Manhattan.
My Thoughts and Recommendation
If I were to try to summarize Marvel’s Spider-Man in one word, it would be satisfying—tremendously satisfying! I spent many of my dozens of hours playing with a grin on my face from ear to ear. The combat is satisfying, the story is satisfying, swinging around New York is incredibly satisfying, taking selfies at landmarks like the Alias office and Murdock and Nelson is gloriously satisfying.
The game is hard enough to make you feel challenged, yet not so hard as to make you rage quit. The only difficulty you may have is managing your time in the real world or remembering to pick your children up from practice. I played my favorite Spider-Man music—which is the theme to the 1977 movie—(Yeah, I know the movie sucks and is nothing like the comics, but I was 4 when it aired and still can’t get the soundtrack out of my head so get over it! The theme is still amazing!) just to enhance the experience even more.
So, in a nutshell, I cannot recommend Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 enough. It is literally the reason why gamers play video games. Immersion into a world that has been extremely fleshed out where you are a hero that has tasks that are heroic, scientific, and logical—all while managing a personal life and building skills.
I have not even discussed the graphics, which are phenomenal! So much detail with no lag, no load screens (except for fast travel, but it is hilarious), no screen tearing, and no FPS drops. This is incredible for a game of this size and scope! And in the age of pay-to-win, there are 0 loot boxes or DLC upgrades! The money you pay for the game is all you need—almost unheard of in a AAA game in 2018.
Enough talk: it is a 10, people, so go buy it! If I have one reservation it is that the main storyline is a bit scary for young kids and perhaps a bit violent. Seriously, I had a hard time stopping long enough to even write this.
Final Score 9.5
You can purchase a copy of Marvel’s Spider-Man here for $59.99.
You can read my previous article and reviews here.
No copy of this game was made available by Sony or Insomniac Games.