Marvel’s Spider-Man took me on an adventure I have always longed for in a Spider-Man game. Not only is it a great Spider-Man story for a Video Game, but also a better Spider-Man story than most feature films as well. Insomniac perfectly captures combat, attitude, and struggles of both Peter Parker, and Spider-Man so well. When I eventually completed the main story of the game, it had left me wanting more, more than any other single-player game in recent memory. I was not satisfied with the story alone, I HAD to keep exploring and adventuring as the famed wall-crawler. This game was a wild ride, and hits so many strides for all of it’s characters so well, but never losing focus on the fact that this is indeed a Spider-Man story.
The task at hand for Marvel’s Spider-Man doesn’t seem like it would be something that difficult to accomplish on the surface; make sure the player controls a Spider-Man that controls well, and has a wide variety of combat and web-slinging abilities. However, previous Spider-Man titles have taught us that it is extremely difficult apparently. For example, some Spider-Man games in the past wouldn’t allow the player to even jump and swing through the air. Talk about a crime. While other games give players the same routine encounter just placed in different areas. This list of grievances goes on and on for previous Spider-Man games.
This is not the case any longer.
Insomniac has managed to put the player in a position of great power, with the great responsibility.
The player is constantly upgrading abilities, and always able to access new and interesting suit modification and power-ups. This idea of mixing and matching is a lot of fun. A player never has to feel like stopping one crime scene is exactly like the last. Throughout the game I faced lot’s of different challenges that required me to learn a new button combo for extra points. But perhaps my favorite challenges were the optional stealth tactics. While some story levels require absolute lack of detection from enemies, on most occasions you are free to choose. and the stealth is actually phenomenal too. There are even story driven areas where the player takes control over Mary Jane (MJ) or Miles Morales. While I would much rather play as Spider-Man / Peter Parker for the entirety of the game, Insomniac does a great job at showing me why these areas were in the game, they are absolutely crucial to understand the big picture. By playing as these other characters, the player gets a unique look at the world that Spider-Man just doesn’t.
The only parts of the gameplay I thought were abysmal were the mandatory puzzle features that take place within the confines of Peter Parker’s Job in the lab. These sections were tedious and unnecessary. I was happy when the game allowed me to skip these sections, even if that option wasn’t always available.
Don’t confuse my contempt with a certain aspect, for the whole game though. This is 1% of the game, just one percent I would rather not deal with. I understand the developers had to think of someway to bring Peter as a normal human into the picture, however there are certainly more entertaining and meaningful ways than this.
This story is hands down the best story ever told in a Spider-Man video game, and rivals that of the best Spider-Man movies. While changes are made here and there from the game’s source material, a Spider-Man fan will know that these characters are still authentic to the comics and the characters as a whole. I rarely even read a story this inspiring and heartwarming in The Amazing Spider-Man comics. The story between Peter and MJ is especially heartwarming given the circumstances of their strained relationship.
Fighting this new version of the Sinister Six also leads to some very dramatic moments, including a twist that even if you see coming early in the game, will still tug on your heartstrings if you are invested in the story, and its protagonists.
While playing as Mary Jane, or Miles Morales at certain areas may seem like a misadventure to some, it brought some great suspense and insight as to what is going on in the game. After-all, Spidey is only one person. One of my favorite uses of these characters was when the player takes control of Mary Jane, and tag-teams with Spidey to escape a risky hostage situation threatening the life of dozens of individuals. This area was not only mechanically a marvel, but also really pushed how great Spidey and MJ work as a team, and stands as a great example as to why their relationship works so well.
The Future of Spidey:
I love what this game has presented, so much so, that by the end of the story, I was not ready to leave the game’s world. Even after the side-quests, I still craved more. That is why I am so glad Insomniac is working on a New Game + Mode. And, aside from that feature, we are receiving 3 additional story-driven DLC packages. That’s not even considering the ending (no spoilers) of the game provided a look at what the next Spider-Man game would be about.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is not just the best Spider-Man game yet, it is quite likely the best game this year. Rivaling the lives of this year’s God of War. If you want to have a blast in a game that will touch your heart, and have one of the most positive uplifting messages to be found in a video game, this is it.