Marvel’s Spider-Man Review: A Fantastic Ride as the Webslinger

Marvel’s Spider-Man by the talented creators at Insomniac Games is without a doubt an interactive dream come true for so many comic book Spidey junkies, myself included. We have longed to experience our favorite web-head on the grand stage with all the bells and whistles worthy of Marvel’s namesake. Thankfully that time has finally arrived. Marvel’s Spider-Man is one of the best games you will play this generation.

Like Rocksteady’s herculean development efforts which brought forth the undeniable Arkham series featuring The Bat, Insomniac Games has crafted their own tour de force interactive story featuring a mature Peter Parker. More than familiar with his Spiderman abilities and forced to maintain a duality of existence amidst the ever-growing pressures of his superhero alter-ego, challenges are mounting, becoming ever more difficult for the would be simple life.

While there have been plenty of stories told of the web-slinger from various story-arch’s, Insomniac intelligently tells a modern-day story of the famed superhero with relatable attributes, taking the idea of Spiderman, as well as Peter Parker to new heights. The narrative approach here does not waste your time with an origin story – we all know about the high school kid who was raised by uncle Ben and aunt May, who was eventually bitten by a radioactive spider.

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For Marvel’s Spider-Man, Peter Parker is an adult with rent and bills to pay. Yet, despite the common day-to-day hassles of getting by, often the superhero duties of saving lives must take precedent and from the start the game oozes with vintage Spiderman nostalgia and you will love it.

Insomniac wastes no time throwing players head first into the action as The Kingpin and his well armed goons are raided by the NYPD. Ever present to take in all the sights and sounds of the mayhem before swinging into action, Spiderman makes an appearance once things get out of hand for law enforcement. Eventually, Spiderman is trading punches with the powerful crime boss, but not without adding his elusive dexterity to the mix. This early sequence of events conveniently introduces players to the gameplay mechanics which throughout the full experience continues to build upon itself, making you an increasingly more powerful webslinger.

If you ever wanted to truly live the life of the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’, here is your chance! Insomniac give players full control of the perfectly implemented web-swinging action, regardless of player error.

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While swinging through the big apple the artistry at which Spiderman maneuvers becomes an intoxication affair of empowerment. Swing into a building incorrectly and Spiderman effortlessly performs a wall run just before leaping into a swan dive from any height. Even if it seem as though Spidey has no room to swing or buildings may be out of reach, you can easily perform a web-zip to quickly build momentum. This becomes progressively easy as you learn to sight web-zip targeting icons while swinging through the city. Don’t get me wrong, there is a gameplay mechanic learning curve here, however it is more than forgiving – the longer you spend pushing through the myriad of encounters the more confident you become living out your Spiderman dream ride.

In fact, while Marvel’s Spider-Man does offer a suitable fast travel option due the games substantial map size, I rarely used the option, as swinging through the gorgeous city was always an exciting avocation. Sure, there were main story objectives or side-quest missions located across the map, it didn’t matter, I wanted to swing everywhere!

Perfectly integrated within this high-production is a dynamic combat system. Similar to the before mentioned Arkham series, just with a unique Spiderman flair, Marvel’s Spider-Man introduces a skirmish system founded on a rather straightforward approach with an array of choice advantages.

With our Spidey senses on full display, players are constantly alerted to incoming attacks, at which point an impressive list of countermeasures can be executed. As your Spiderman’s powers and abilities gradually increase the massive list of countless encounters become that much more awesome as Spiderman’s cat-like quickness and agility is abundantly showcased.

Combative encounters are implemented as a free-flowing jungle gym of opportunities. Objects within the environment are weapons – ripping doors off cars or throwing motorcycles, manholes, or even taking away enemy weapons such as batons, assault rifles, RPG’s, grenades, bats and more are all commonplace. You will often find yourself surrounded by enemy combatants, yet you will have a smile on your face as Spidey is also equipped with some cool gadgets and powerup skills to even the odds. Learning the important skills of utilizing web abilities to hijack weapons from enemies and the like becomes an exercise of alertness, which may cause some frustration early on. Enemies are quite unforgiving when there numbers are high. So, don’t be surprised if multiple enemies are firing kills shots while others are simultaneously shooting RPG’s at your head. Even still, heavier thug types can be a hand full early on as you’re trying to get your head around the controls.

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Thankfully, those gadgets mentioned before can be upgraded using tokens, which are acquired by completing a vast amount of side-quest missions. Off the beating path of the games main narrative, Spiderman will have his hands full assisting his pal Harry Osborn, developing chemical compositions aiding the nearby marina, capturing runaway birds for research, freeing citizens from turf wars, as well as from their vehicles, assisting the local NYPD in car chases, stopping drug deals, in addition to making the occasional stops at the lab of Dr. Otto Octavius.

Impressively, Insomniac managed to incorporate an assortment of Spidey suits which when unlocked all preserve their own unique attributes, which can also be mixed and match with other suits. Such a wonderful touch, this allows players to customize their playstyle. This composition of dress options, gadgets and power skills when harmonized with the players understanding and mastery of the combat amalgamation becomes a euphoric achievement.

The world of Marvel’s Spider-Man is a living breathing world. Filled with NPC’s leading their normal lives, the sighting of Spiderman certainly raises eyebrows and fanfare. On any given street there could be a traffic jam, sidewalks always filled with people, Central Park reveals people jogging, bike riding, couples holding hands. Yet, whenever Spiderman makes an appearance it’s a big deal as people perform organic gestures in praise of his awesomeness. Sometimes you will also have those skeptics who side with the ever present voice of illogical reason from none other than Jonah Jameson, who attacks the airwaves at every chance in desperate pursuit of defacing the character of Spiderman.

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Take a break from swinging from roof tops and take a stroll through the streets among the people and smartphone come flying out the take your picture, some people will take selfies with you, while others will give you a high five in appreciation for all the work you are doing.

The world of Marvel’s Spider-Man is also a Marvel universe and its influence can be seen throughout. From Avenger Tower to the Sanctum Santorum, Marvel lore is boldly expressed. If you keep your ear to the streets and not tune out Jonah Jameson too often you can also hear of the exploit of other Marvel characters.

For Marvel’s Spider-Man, Insomniac has comprised a wonderful story, occasionally coextending allegories of Peter Parkers ongoing struggle of balance. On the one hand Peter Parker understands the purpose of his supernatural abilities, which he has determined to use for good. Unfortunately, even with all his power, saving everyone still manages to escape his sticky grasp. While the story centers around Peter Parker as Spiderman, the inclusion of Mary Jane Watson and Miles Morales as brief playable characters, in addition to Aunt May and other classic key characters such as Dr. Otto Octavius, Norman Osborn, Yuri and Martin Li adds an entertaining layer of depth.

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Not stopping there, Insomniac managed to invite an attractive list of pesky supervillains to the Marvel’s Spider-Man party, such as Silver Sablinova also known as Silver Saber, Kingpin, Electro, Rhino, Scorpion, Vulture, Shocker, Taskmaster, Tombstone and Screwball, yes they are all here. How this tapestry of Marvel’s comic book legends comes together is nothing short of fantastic.

There is much more that can be said about Insomniac’s greatness interactive achievement, however we recommend you find out for yourself and by playing Marvel’s Spider-Man as soon as possible. It is truly something special.

Spidey Review

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