By Hugh Brown
A game like Spider-Man for PS4 is a rare gem. After a long string of poor critical success and sales, super-hero games, specifically movie tie-ins, have been phased out. This game forgets the current Marvel Cinematic Universe and all of the other Spider-Man movies preceding it. In fact, this version of Peter Parker and his story are entirely unique to the in-game universe.
In the game, you play as Spider-Man, but you also play as love interest Mary Jane Watson and local teenager Miles Morales. The story features returning Marvel characters and locations, like Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson, The Rhino, Shocker and Scorpion. In the sprawling in-game version of Manhattan, Oscorp tower, owned by the infamous Norman Osborn, stands tall. The Avengers Tower is also present, although no Avengers show up at any point.
The story is one of the best parts of the game. The people at Insomniac Games (the developer behind everything) clearly did their homework. Aside from an enthralling main plot and characters, hundreds of collectables and landmarks are scattered throughout Manhattan.
The web-swinging is Spider-Man’s most unique power and is done with grace and attention. Different tricks, abilities and animations mean you can swing through New York for hours and not get bored. Web-swinging in an open world was first introduced in 2002’s “Spider-Man” official movie game tie in, and was overhauled in 2004 for the game’s sequel. “Spider-Man 2” (2004) is still considered by many to have the best traversal system yet, but Spider-Man PS4 has taken this system and nearly perfected it.
The combat is serviceable. There are a variety of gadgets and moves to unlock to keep things interesting. At its core, however, punching bad guys is what it is. Different unlock-able Spider-suits bring different special skills to the fight, such as webbing all of the surrounding enemies and using a detachable “Spider-Drone” to help out.
While the game and the world are amazing and detailed, there are some flaws. Many missions spent playing as Mary Jane or Miles Morales involve “sneaking” around enemies to get through the level. The poor A.I. of the guards makes these missions largely easy and repetitive.
The traversal and web-slinging, while fun to do, is a bit too easy. The player can hold down on the “swing” button and the game will do most of the work for you. Still, an interesting mechanic in a great game.
I hope to see more super-hero games like this in the future. Overall, I give the game a 7/10. You can buy Spider-Man PS4 today.