Warning: Spoilers for the game’s story are included in this review.
Story: As a long time comic reader, many of which have been Spiderman stories, I always go into these sorts of games expecting the worst. Superhero games are generally thrown together as some sort of promotion to coincide with a movie release (think Iron Man, 2008), so the stories are generally the least important part of the project. I have been burned too many times by the likes of games like Superman 64, Ultimate Spiderman etc that I go into these a bit gun shy. This isn’t always the case obviously, with the Batman: Arkham series being the shining star among the dead.
However, the story in this game is very, very good. I wouldn’t say ‘Amazing’ (I hate myself), but really good and entertaining. The feeling I had when playing Spiderman PS4 was very similar to the feeling you get when you start binge watching a show that you really love. I found myself taking literally every free second I had to jump into the game and knock out 1 or 2 more main story missions, eager to see what happens next.
Seriously, spoilers are in the next 2 sentences. You’ve been warned.
While the story was entertaining, and really one of the better overall Spiderman stories I’ve seen across any medium (comics, movies etc), it became a little predictable at times. My main issue came with the eventual turn that Dr. Otto Octavius makes. I’ve read and heard from other’s that they were glued to the edge of their seats with anticipation as to whether or not he was going to eventually make the ill-fated turn to Doc Ock. He seemed to be swaying back and forth between likeable, smart, father figure and crazy scientist hell bent on seeking revenge against Norman Osborne. Unfortunately, I did not have that same level of anticipation. Maybe it was because I’ve read so many comics and have seen this story play out time and time again, but I saw it coming from a mile away.
I loved everything with Mr. Negative and his relationship with Aunt May and F.E.A.S.T, and I honestly wished Insomniac had not advertised Mr. Negative as the main villain of the game, so that we could have been surprised by his eventual turn and that struggle that he had with betraying May and her trust. The game could have easily been carried by Negative, but the bait and switch they gave with Octavius being the actual Kingpin was really well done, and a welcome twist to the story.
Gameplay: What can I say about his game? It plays and feels fantastic. The love and time put into the smallest aspects of the game really shows. Many times I felt myself wanting to push aside story missions and side quests to just swing around the city, taking in all of the sights and sounds of New York.
The combat borrows very heavily from the Batman Arkham series, but adds enough to it to make it feel fresh. You still have the same type of general button mashing style combat, with other quick time events thrown in to allow for other combat scenarios. IE: throwing missiles back at the enemy that launched them or a command that allows you to zip away from the mass of people trying to kill you to take on one of the enemies outside the main group.
Graphics: This is the first game in a long time, for me, that really felt like it was being lived in. Swinging through the streets and around buildings felt like it was really happening in front of me. There was obviously a lot of time and effort put into the visuals. Small things like rooms being filled with furniture on random buildings that didn’t really need to be there showed me that Insomniac took the setting just as seriously as they did the story. All of the character models looked great, with a special shout out to the facial animations in the cut scenes. Great job all around.
Overall: Spiderman PS4 is my favorite game of 2018 so far. I rarely, if ever, complete a game 100%, but in this case I was enamored to march on through each and every side mission and activity. I felt the need to, and I also felt like I owed it to Insomniac games to see and experience every nook and cranny of this universe they have built. I am extremely excited for the future of this franchise, and look forward to all of the already announced DLC.