Spider-Man

Cause I need some fun.

Full stop, Sony PS4 is delivering most of the best games in this console generation.  Spider-Man continues that trend.

In Media Res

The game starts with the assumption that people understand how Spider-Man got his powers, that his Uncle Ben has passed, and his relationship with MJ is in a rough spot.  It also assumes that you know that he is a) web slinging everywhere, b) can shoot webs from his hands, c) is super strong, d) is super smart.

There are no training wheels in that sense, and the powers you have at the start of the game are pretty much the bread and butter for the remainder.  You will gain additional skills/gadgets that tweak your style, but they certainly don’t replace the starting skill set.

Fluidity

If you’ve played the Batman games, you’ll recall that combat there is very fluid.  There are hits, combos, counters, gadgets, and smoke bombs that present what is essentially a dance instead of a battle. Spider-Man takes that up a notch.  It feels like playing “the floor is lava” pretty much all the time, and for that to work well, you need to have solid tools and controls.

Spider-Man is stronger in the air than the ground, and his movement is extremely slick.  He zips across the field, just like you’d expect him to, and with an added weight on each contact.  It feels like you’re moving faster than everyone else, and truthfully you need to.  You are quite weak to bullets, more of a glass canon than a tough brute.

Mini Map

It’s an open-world game with mini-map icons.  The smart thing here is that they are slowly revealed and not at all mandatory (cept maybe the police scramblers to open up the map).  As you progress through the main story, additional sub-content becomes available.  And most of those missions are fairly different.  You may be taking pictures, or scouting for items.  You may have to clear out an open base.  Interspersed with these location-specific tasks are random criminal events – muggings, robberies, shoot outs, car crashes – that you can jump in and out of.  This provides an incentive to just explore the map, cause you’re never quite sure what you’re going to encounter.

Sure, the completion is going to want to collect every backpack, do every research station mission, but you’re never obligated to do so, and the at of doing so does not feel repetitive.   This is a major contrast to something like Assassin’s Creed where it’s the same 2-3 tasks a hundred times.  Feels a bit more like Horizon’s map icons, just with less overall clutter.

Crafting & Gadgets

For the various tasks and challenges you do complete, you’ll get crafting tokens.  These are used to create new suits, some of which come with interesting powers (more power, shock attacks, bullet proof, etc…).  These suits look amazing.  You can further customize them with modifications, like harder hits, less damage taken, and so on.

You also get various gadgets to use in combat.  Drones, web bombs, what seems like a shotgun web shot, concussion hits.  It adds a ton of variety to combat.  You can update each of these 4 to 5 times, improving both their capacity and their efficiency.

The Feels

The interwebs seems full of selfies from this game, and there’s a good reason.  The entire game feels alive, and quite reflective of both Manhattan and the Marvel universe.  The art is superb, the music is solid, and the voice acting is more than impressive.  There are even 2 tracks for Spider-Man… one when he’s standing still, and another for when he’s travelling and somewhat short of breath.

Maybe another way to put it.  It doesn’t feel like Spider-Man was dropped into a random game to smack other people.  Things here have purpose, and the story is interconnected with the various locations.  Even he police jabber on the radio is spot on, talking about neighborhoods you’re swinging on through.  There’s a surprising amount of detail.

Keep Going

I’d guess I’m a quarter of the way through?  Hard to really tell.  I am having a lot of fun, and little of it has to do with the main quest. Just exploring, and finding little odd events to complete is a joy.

Even when I do die (and it happens frequently at the start) I am not frustrated, just realizing that I need to change tactics.  I find myself more amazed at some of the fights I manage to get through.  It’s a fresh feeling and I’m quite enjoying it.

Highly recommended.

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