Many people liken Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man to the Batman: Arkham X series, and I can see what that comparison arises from. Spider-Man cribs deeply from the sandbox superhero genre. Yes, there’s the story, but don’t worry it’ll wait for you. In the meantime, here are some things that you can do.
And there are a LOT of things that you can do. Crime fighting and creating all the suits and gadgets you’re familiar with (and some that might not be as recognizable) will definitely be on top of most players’ lists. But there’s also a bazillion more random activities you could take part in. Want to take selfies with random costumed guys? There’s that. Just want to websling around town and take pictures of fancy sunsets? Insomniac’s got you there too. Too tired to websling? Take the subway. Wanna chase down some pigeons? You might not believe it, but yes you can.
Speaking of combat and webslinging, that’s where Spider-Man shines. Travel across New York is simplicity and artistry. You can start web-slinging just about anywhere, and since everything is context specific, Spider-Man segues from swinging off skyscrapers to skimming across rooftops, running across walls and twisting through water towers and fire escapes as easily as breathing.
Combat is just about as fluid. There’s maybe a handful of different moves that you can use, but the infinite ways you can string them together as the combat evolves organically really make Spider-Man feel like the acrobatic ballet that he was always meant to be. Sliding through the legs of an enemy to web someone else and then throwing a rocket into the group of mooks that charged up behind you will never get old. Especially since you can smack them into submission in so many different ways. And the heady rush of kinetic momentum that you get whenever you zip across town or sock a guy in the jaw just feels so Spider-Man.
What you CAN’T do, however is play Peter Parker. Yes, there definitely are moments in the game when you have to juggle work, or meeting Aunt May and MJ with your Spidey-life, but those are few and far between (and essentially tied to the main storyline). As someone who feels that the crux of Spider-Man is the interplay between superhero and real-life, I would’ve liked the game to have had a bit more real-life challenges. Tie in the research challenges a bit more meaningfully to the game maybe? Then again, me wanting a Peter Parker management game is a minor quibble. As a Spidey Simulator, Spider-Man shines, and I’m so glad I have the correct platform to play this Sony exclusive.
If you’ve ever wanted to be a friendly neighbourhood superhero, swinging from buildings, quipping and thwipping, then you need to pick up this game.
Spider-Man is out on PS4 now.