A hero reborn

Insomniac’s latest game brings out the best parts of being Spider-Man


Joshua Roy, Staff reporter

Spider-Man for the PS4, developed by Insomniac games, is the developer’s first attempt at a superhero game. The result is a well-paced, beautiful game with solid mechanics and only a few minor problems.

One unique quality of Spider-Man is the way he swings around Manhattan effortlessly with his trusty web-shooters and incredible agility. Insomniac did an amazing job of portraying this feeling while moving around New York City. The controls are not perfect; It took a little practice to get the most out of every swing, but I enjoyed learning how to swing around the city faster. Even though there was a fast travel system, I rarely used it because it was too much fun to swing along New York’s city streets.

The map itself is detailed and immense. It was hard to stick to the main story missions when there were collectibles to be found, races to be won and citizens to be saved. They tended to be mildly repetitive, but it was still fun just web swinging around the city to find them. Each side mission would reward you with different types of tokens you could use to buy new suits with new abilities or upgrade your wheel of spider-gadgetry.

Insomniac also did a great job of adding landmarks throughout the map. You could use their detailed photo mode to take pictures of a mix of real New York landmarks and iconic Marvel buildings.

The plot is touching and satisfying. By focusing on the many aspects and problems of Peter Parker, you’re experiencing not just when he’s wearing the Spider-man suit fighting villains, but also his smaller struggles of holding onto a job and a girlfriend.

The pacing of the story also shifts nicely from large, over-the-top boss battles and set-pieces, to smaller sections. They were based on stealth and using your many gadgets to outsmart your enemies. Insomniac even lets you play a few small stealth sections as MJ, his girlfriend, which was a nice surprise.

Insomniac games have always been known for their creative weapons, and gadgets and their latest title delivers on that aspect as well. It was great to see enemies whipped to a wall by a strand of web shot out of a spider-mine I had just strategically placed, or watch a large bunch of baddies slowed by a web grenade that went off in their midst.

If it weren’t for this added level of creativity, the similar recipe of punching and dodging would have gotten stale a lot sooner. Even with the added gadgets, the combat got repetitive towards the end of the 15 to 20-hour campaign, although the constant quips and sarcastic comments from the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man kept a smile on my face.

The entire game, from swinging around Manhattan to crawling around a ceiling in an abandoned warehouse, looks amazing. The lighting is beautiful and swinging around the city at night is especially gorgeous. I never got tired of just admiring how much detail was put into every crevasse. Alleyways were full of garbage bags and trash cans that Spider-man could throw at enemies, while  rooftop construction sites were scattered with pipes he could zip through. It was easy to tell every part of the game had been carefully thought out.