Marvel Spider-Man PS4 Review
We finally have the Marvel Spider-Man PS4 Review that you’ve been waiting for. Does Insomniac deliver the definitive Spider-Man experience? We take a deep dive.
The Spider-Man franchise has seen it’s fair share of releases as a game. With less than a handful that is actually great titles. Off the top of my head, I can recall Spiderman 2 and the criminally underrated Ultimate Spiderman from the PS2 era of games. Pretty much everything else that’s been released since then has been, just ok or downright mediocre. Spidey deserves much better. Enter Insomniac and the highly anticipated take on the character. And we have played every facet of this release and bring you our Marvel Spider-Man PS4 Review. Let’s dive straight into the action and see what’s what.
Insomniac has crafted a brand new original story for everyone’s favourite wallcrawler. The game kicks off with Peter Parker, having already been Spider-Man for the past 8 years. Peter is also a struggling Scientist working as an assistant to his Mentor Otto Octavius. Constantly having to balance his day-to-day life with being a seasoned Superhero and has already had his fair share of adventures over the years leading up to his biggest moment yet when he takes down his greatest nemesis, King Pin. Unfortunately, his greatest victory turns out to be very short-lived.
Taking KingPin out of business then opens up this well-realised version of New York City for all manner of attacks from all sorts of thuggish scum. Little did Peter know, King Pin actually kept the city from spilling out of control in his strange way. His demise leads to an all-out attack from a gang known only as the Demons lead by Mister Negative, Martin Lee.
Without getting into Spoiler territory, you can absolutely feel the love that Insomniac has for this character and his world. Peter Parker is such a relatable and lovable character that you can’t help but feel for the poor guy when things begin to spiral out of control. Phenomenal voice acting from everyone involved making this a believable story with special mention to the actor playing J Jonah Jameson. It must be said though, that the final act does drag on a bit before it reaches its heartbreaking conclusion. Not to mention suffering a little bit from being predictable in some of its supposed plot twists.
However, none of that detracts from this entertaining hero journey that has been brought to life unlike any other Spider-Man game before. In a nutshell, they’ve absolutely nailed the tone of the character and world. Even in the moments when it gets rather dark. You’re absolutely going to be in love with this version of Spidey and I won’t blame you if this becomes the definitive version going forward.
Though the story is good even with its faults, the gameplay is exceptional. There’s no question that this is the very best Spider-Man experience on any gaming platform. Period. It’s all about the feeling of swinging through the open world city as Spider-Man. Granted you’ll have a bit of an awkward start. But once you get used to it, you’ll be flinging yourself all over the city in a way that’ll have you believing you actually are Spider-Man. You’ll be stringing together all sorts of crazy mid-air moves in a way that’s intuitive while challenging to truly master. Amidst the swining, you have a police scanner that lets you know when random crimes happen in the game world. The amount of crimes do tend to get rather repetitive but they’re some entertaining distractions from the main story missions.
There’s more to it than just the swinging. Spidey, erhh, borrows heavily from the Batman Arkham series when it comes to combat. The combat mechanics work very similarly with a few minor changes. Instead of a counter attack, you have a dodge and a Web Strike attack that lets you tether your opponent with a web before landing an attack. In some cases, you can pull the enemy closer to you instead. In addition to the basic attacks, you can juggle enemies in the air while throwing in the large arsenal of gadgets. My personal favourite being the Impact Web, which one hit web to wall your foes and the Trip Mine web. Always fun watching enemies get tethered to each other with that trip mine.
Players also get one more “feature” from the Arkham series in the form of stealth arena segments. You know the ones, that involves you sculking around on high ledges and street lights stalking your foes below, taking them out one baddie at a time. It must be said, this is a straight rip-off. But hey, if you are going to copy from someone, Copy from the very best in the business.
There’s also a few mandatory stealth sections which have you playing as alternate characters such as Miles Morales and Mary Jane Watson. Sadly, these are the lowest point of the whole game, usually feeling like they’ve overstayed their welcome once doing it for the fifth time, can I please get back to Web Slinging instead? Some gamers might be put off by Quicktime events but they’re handled very well never becoming the annoying slog they are in other titles.
The OpenWorld Map is one massive playground that’s littered with all sorts of activities to partake in. From side missions to challenge events and the highly fun takedown of Demon and Fisk bases. This is horde mode the Spider-Man way and it’s glorious. With each wave adding harder and varied enemy characters. You find yourself learning to use every gadget and skill in your arsenal to survive by the skin of your teeth. Overall, the gameplay is varied and a heck of a lot of fun even though a tad repetitive. But again, not to sound like a broken record, it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. I wish they didn’t have the Ubisoft Tower Map unlock mechanic though, that’s played out in 2018. Still a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Let’s get the whole puddle gate scandal out of the way right now. No, this game has not been downgraded in any way or form. Do you want puddles? There are parts of the story that happens in the rain and you’re bombarded with puddles everywhere the eye can see. Not to mention that the geniuses at Digital Foundry have already debunked this whole downgrade saga. Happy? Good!
Spider-Man is a masterclass in visual fidelity on the PS4 console. There’s an absurd amount of detail even in places most gamers aren’t even going to notice. The facial animation is among the very best (Andromeda, take notes please) with special mention to Peter Parker and the huge amounts of emotions conveyed by his face in and out of the mask. I absolutely love how every character in this game looks, real. What I mean is that everyone seems like an every day Joe without anyone seeming like the generic overgood-looking people Hollywood is obsessed with. After all, the idea is that anyone can be Spidey beneath the mask. Very well done.
The lighting and HDR implementation in this game is quite subtle but works quite brilliantly. It just fits into the whole aesthetic of the game. Sure there’s no dynamic day/night cycle, but Insomniac Games handpicks the weather, time of day to match the mood of the story. And once the game is completed, you are free to select your day/night preference from the menu. Whether you are playing Spider-Man on a regular PS4 or a PS4 Pro, this game is a feast for your eyeballs.
Simply put, this is the very best Spider-Man experience ever created on the medium. It borrows from a lot of other games from varying genres, however, it only handpicks the best in the business to bring it all together in a well-executed fashion. Best Spidey sure, best superhero game? I’m afraid not. That honour still belongs to the reigning king, Batman Arkham series. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a game you shouldn’t pick up immediately. It will absolutely be worth every penny you paid for it. Now, where’s my credit card so I can put money down on those upcoming DLC story expansions?