Does whatever a Spider can !

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Reviewed on the PS4

During its release week, Spider-Man sold more copies than any other previously-released game in 2018, it became the fastest-selling video game based on the titular character, as well as the fastest-selling Marvel-branded video game of all time. The game sold 3.3 million copies in the first 3 days of its release, a record as the fastest selling first-party video game release in Sony Interactive Entertainment's history, beating God of War (Yes, it beat God of War) .The game grossed an estimated $198 million, surpassing the $117 million opening weekend box office of the 2017 film Spider-Man: Homecoming (And Tom Holland). PSX18 has been cancelled and Sony’s response included “Now that we have Spider-Man out the door, we're looking down in 2019 to games like Dreams and Days Gone, but we wouldn't have enough to bring people all together in some location in North America to have that event.” That’s how big a deal Spider-Man is.

I dint exactly know what to expect when I picked up a copy of Spider-Man. The fact that it was developed by Insomniac Games, one of the most underrated game studios in my opinion did peak interest, but I have been let down by games based on comic book characters before. Spider-Man is truly entertaining and managed to keep me glued to my couch for its 15ish hours of game play. The game is not all web slinging Spider-Man action either, there is a lot of Peter Parker in there, which flushes out the narrative and brings context to dialog.

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The game is graphically beautiful, the cityscape never gets dull, lighting is masterful and the variety in textures and reflections make the city almost as good as the character models. Character models, especially during boss battles are brilliantly executed and capture the essence of each iconic villain in Insomniacs own style. The game also has an unusually large draw distance which gives you a sense of direction within the game and makes navigating the open landscape a breeze.  Traversal through the game is nearly flawless, as Spider-Man you can swing by, climb and leap from any roof top in the games version of Manhattan, be it the Empire State Building or the Avengers tower. You can trigger web grapples which let you switch direction midair making Spidey incredibly agile. As you progress, you discover interesting and more efficient ways of getting from objective to another. It’s easy enough not become tedious but rewarding if mastered. Unfortunately, this fluidity in motion doesn’t work as well indoors or during boss battles. It might be necessary to trigger certain cut scenes but does cause some awkward interactions. Don’t get me wrong, the AI is pretty good and makes for some intense gameplay, minions do not wait and attack one after the other, they rush at you with everything they've got and the variety in their arsenal makes each type a little different from the other. combos are much harder to master when compared to the likes of Batman Arkham series. The game also sticks to 30fps at 1080p on the PS4, which is good for a console but a game like this deserves a windows port.

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The game has one of my favorite health regain systems, where you have to earn health, the harder you hit, quicker your focus bar fills up and the better chance you have of survival. There’s a whiff of Marvel cinematic in the game and I don’t just mean the sound track. The pacing of the game could be more even, it almost feels like the game shifts in difficulty every 10 minutes, which makes beating up goons on the streets and side quests more entertaining than the sometimes repetitive nature of boss battles.

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The game also give Spidey and amazing arsenal of gadgets to choose from and customize. Trip mines, drones, electric webs, web bombs and even a suspension matrix let you stall, stun and combo enemies in ways only limited by your imagination.

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Spider-man himself learns a few tricks through skill points.

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Customization is not just limited to his loadout either Spider-Man gets a plethora of suits that trigger nostalgia and grant access to special abilities. Each suit give you access to a different ability like instant focus meter to escape a near fatal situation and once you unlock the suit you are free to use these skills at any time. Each suit can also be customized further with the use of mods.

You can get through the game by focusing on the main quests alone, but I feel you would be missing out as some of the side quests not only add to gameplay but to the narrative itself. Honestly, I wish the game had more quests than it does now which is high praise for a game with such depth. As Peter Parker you struggle with your boss, your student and even MJ. The story is diverse and immersive, often nailing balance between action and emotion. This game is a must buy and defiantly worth both your time and money. Gorgeous visuals, brilliant music, storytelling and combat mechanics make up for any faults in pacing.

 

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