I mean, wow. I didn’t think after playing God of War that any other game would come along this year to equal it but Spider-Man is another exceptional exclusive title from Sony. So what makes it so good? Well, feel free to read on and find out.
The Spider-Man franchise has a good track record when it comes to game adaptions and this title, in my opinion, tops the list. There’s no one feature that commands this lead, more it’s the balance of the game in general and the overall good implementation of just about every aspect of the game. We’ll start with the graphics which are exceptional. The game is set in New York city which you are free to explore from the start. The city is split into a number of neighbourhood which reflect in game the character and landmarks of the real city. It’s not an exact replica but is an exceptionally good representation which is as close to photo realistic as the PS4 can handle. It’s quite easy to lose hours in this game just exploring the city with its, harbours, dingy backstreets and central park. There is a day/night cycle as well as some great atmospheric weather effects which really add to the realism.
The storyline doesn’t follow yet another Spider-Man origin story, which let’s face it has been done to death in all the movies and game that have chosen to portray it. Instead, we get a grown-up Peter Parker who we get to witness battling to juggle his personal life, family, job and relationship with being an established Spider-Man, already with a host of enemies and fans alike. It’s great fun just to walk the streets with him, having selfies taken with fans and getting randomly attacked by his enemies lackies. Even more fun, though, is swinging through the streets. What this game gives that, I can’t remember any other Spider-Man game giving, is the balance between time spent as Spider-Man and as Peter Parker. In most games, Peter Parker takes a back seat to his flashier alter ego but in this one all the action and drama is centred around Peter Parker as his friendships and encounters all get pulled into the web of action that carries the narrative forward. Spider-Man fans will also be happy to know that they’ll be able to beat up many their favourite Spidey villains throughout the game.
The web swinging in this game takes a little getting used to, being more involved than the usual hold down a button to swing automatically. Instead to have to press and hold the button to start the swing and then release at the end of the swing to start the next. The gives a lot more control over the swinging, allowing you to control the speed and momentum with which Spider-Man traverses the skyline. There is also a boost style button which give a more horizontal rather than an arc based swing which is good when you’re cruising at the top or above the tops of the buildings and need to keep a straighter trajectory. There is a fast travel which is unlocked not too far into the game but I must confess to using it rarely as swinging is the most enjoyable way to traverse the city and skipping it almost seems a waste. As with most open world games there are plenty of side quests and optional objectives to complete from collection backpacks and completing research quests to attacking enemies’ strongholds and tackling crime. There’s never a dull moment as Spider-Man.
To add to the strong storyline the game also has some decent customisation options from visual options, such as changing suits to functional options by choosing super- powers and suit upgrades. Spider-Man also gains skill points as he levels, which you can use to purchase new skills, with XP being earned both by combat and for completing research mini games as Peter Parker, which is a great touch and adds a nice feel of variety into the game. In fact, the game has a great feeling of pace with action based sections being broken up with storyline and research sections to give the game some natural feeling breathing spaces. It even forces you to take time out of the main story questline occasionally to explore the city, which doesn’t feel in any way forced but a natural lull in the action.
The combat is fluid and very polished with options for all out offense and stealth, very similar to the batman games. There are quite a few forced stealth sections which did get a little tiring by the final third of the game but they are mostly included from a storyline point of view, but a few less or a little more variety in them would have welcome. The combat, with Spider-Man succeeds in making you feel progressively more badass as the game advances and you unlock more and more of Spidey’s signature moves. This culminates near the end where you find yourself taking down pairs of super villains at a time because, I guess, just one isn’t challenging enough for our Spidey
There isn’t really any aspect of the game that lets this title down. At an absolute push, you could say that some of the animation on the minor and background characters doesn’t quite stand up to the quality of those in limelight but that is a very small issue and many might not even notice.
All I can say Is that I’ve immensely enjoyed my time both as Spider-Man and Peter Parker. If you have a PS4 then this game is almost certainly a must play. Even if you’re not a massive superhero fan you may still find enjoyment here due to the variety of gameplay on offer. For me, this title is right up there with God of War, as one of the best game releases this year. If asked to choose between it and God of War, I just don’t think I could do it. They both sit in joint first place, for me. I look forward to the release of the first piece of DLC so I can get more Spider-Man action.