Marvel’s Spider-Man: Dream Fulfillment, or Disappointment?

Damen Phillips, Staff

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Marvel’s Spider-Man has been sticking out in gamer’s heads since its announcement in 2016. Now, it’s finally here, and the question that has been standing out in everyone’s head is if the game actually lives up to all of the promises that developer Insomniac Games made.
With Insomniac Games assuring players that the game will have fun gameplay, a great story, tons of content, and the best web-swinging mechanic to ever grace a Spider-Man game, the stakes were high, and it was obvious to everyone that if Insomniac Games let the people down, then the game would go down in history as one of the great disappointments in all of gaming.
Well, now the game is here, and we can finally answer the question, is Marvel’s Spider-Man as speculatar as the webhead himself, or will it fall into the shadow of 2004’s Spider-Man 2?
Starting out with arguably one of the most important parts of any Spider-Man game, is the swinging as good as Spider-Man 2’s? Well, I can say with utmost certainty, that the Marvel’s Spider-Man web-swinging mechanic is not as good as Spider-Man 2’s. In fact, it is better.
It was obvious from the wonderfully done opening that a lot of time was spent on the web-swinging mechanics. The swinging itself is responsive, and there is a ton of potential in every swing. They were so expertly crafted that the mere act of just web-swinging from building to building is one of the most enjoyable parts of the game. The mechanics were also carefully crafted as to have as few situations as possible in which the player is brought to a complete stop while swinging. If you’re stopped while swinging, you can more often perform a recovery move, and you’ll jump right back to the action with a swiftness.
In reference to all other mechanics, everything is solid. Combat in itself is rather simple, with gadgets being the main mechanic that shakes combat up.
On the topic of gadgets, they’re all rather useful, however, I never once found myself relying on them in a fight. They aren’t quite meant to be the main weapon in combat, as they’re meant to compliment how you play. For example, depending on how you play, one gadget could be much more useful to you than others.
If you’re the type of player to try and take care of stronger brutes first, then the electric web will likely serve you best. However, if you desire to incapacitate as many any enemies as possible, then the Web Bomb will be one of your favorites. Personally, I found myself usually the default web slinger for my gameplay, however, I never once felt held back by making it my main gadget. All of this being said though, the gadgets were made to be switched from one or the other on the fly during gameplay.
Continuing on to the next biggest part of Marvel’s Spider-Man, stealth plays a giantantic factor in this game. Stealth can be used while playing as Spider-Man, however, stealth is a requirement when playing as Mary-Jane Johnson. Her sections of the games were actually surprisingly fun, as the stealth mechanics are well-done. The stealth is not quite at the level of “make one wrong move and you have to start over,” but, you definitely will need to use your brain during these sections. That being said, I never found the stealth sections all that challenging, with the reason being as long as you’re taking your time, you’ll be absolutely fine.
Throughout the time building up to the game’s release, it was revealed that Spider-Man had been around New York for eight years. This, in my opinion, was a really good idea, it allows for a Spider-Man story that isn’t about how he got his powers, and the high school coming-of-age story. Instead, it’s much more of a story about Spider-Man juggling the struggles of being the young adult Peter Parker, and being a superhero.
At that, the story does very well. It allows for certain things to be done that could not be done if Spider-Man was still in high school. The story itself also does a few things that have either never been done, or were incredibly rare throughout all of the Spider-Man stories. Those rare events are also done rather beautifully. However, I won’t go into too much detail about the late story to avoid spoilers.
I will say that the opening to this game is the best of 2018, hands down. The games doesn’t do too much to hold your hand, but also doesn’t just throw you in and expect you to know how to do everything. It has the perfect blend for a tutorial. The opening also casually reveals all of the information that is needed for anyone to understand the story. It has Spider-Man going after Wilson Fisk, also known as Kingpin, with high hopes of putting him in prison.
After the opening, the story remains rock solid, with great characters and an excellent pacing that keeps everything going at a proper speed that lets the player allow everything to sink in. However, it’s not paced to a point where it would make no sense to be doing any side missions.
Speaking of side missions, these are some of the most enjoyable parts of the game. Finding the backpacks that are scattered around Manhattan lets you learn more about the story of Spider-Man, including what characters have been defeated, as well as doing some relationship and character building for our main character, namely Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Mary-Jane Johnson.
Other side missions include Bases, where several waves of a certain enemy group attack you, and clearing them out with reward you with a base token. There are also naturally occurring crimes. These range from break-ins, muggings, carjackings, and more. These reward the player with crime tokens. The last form of side missions come in Research Stations. These are focused on giving the player a certain challenge while rewarding the player with research tokens.
Altogether, Marvel’s Spider-Man is one of the best games to come out of 2018. It surpasses all of the hopes and dreams that were planted in gamers’ minds, while also catching us off guard with how the game does certain things. It’s a wonderful game, that deserves a spot on your shelf.
From the amazing story, incredibly fun gameplay, stellar swinging mechanics, and altogether competence, it is more than fair to say that we have a new Spider-Man game to judge all else against. Marvel’s Spider-Man was the game to dethrone Spider-Man 2. Because of this, I can do nothing but recommend this game.

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