When it comes to superheroes, I’m as big of a geek as they come. In my younger years, Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man was my favourite hero of all. There was something incredibly infectious about his personality; whether it be the terrible jokes, the love he has for his family, or just the simple fact that he went from a geeky kid and a bit of a victim to a web-slinging, crime-fighting genius overnight.
My love for Spider-Man helped me conquer a childhood fear of spiders. I probably wanted a radioactive eight-legged friend to bite and imbue me with my own powers. Alas, I’m still that comic book-obsessed nerd I was all those years ago, but now stuck in an adult’s body. Turns out however, that me and those of you like me were ahead of the curve. It’s now cool to be a nerd. The world’s fallen in love with superheroes more than ever before, and we’re suddenly a part of an incredibly inclusive group.
So, when it was announced a new game would be coming exclusively to PlayStation 4, my excitement levels peaked right away. The aptly-titled Marvel’s Spider-Man looked to be the most freeing and intense superhero game players would ever get their hands on, and now, after completing my first playthrough of the game last night (September 12), I can confirm it’s all of the above and more. Insomniac Games have managed to dodge all of the pitfalls that would have been extremely easy to fall down, and prove that they’ve not just created a title because it’s a job they’ve been given to do, but because they’re huge fans of the source material.
Thrown into the midst of New York and the shoes of a Spider-Man eight years into his superhero career, players take control of a Peter Parker who has left his job at the Daily Bugle and moved on to the world of science. His brain is celebrated by those around him, and we’re allowed a true look into his personal life and relationships, as well as the action his alter ego finds himself at the centre of.
Plenty of familiar faces make an appearance, with the more easily recognised characters for casual fans mixing amongst those that perhaps only those more well-versed with the Spidey-verse will be able to pick out of a crowd. It’s a fantastic combination of personalities, with writers able to delve into the psyche of all involved. You may be going up against a Big Bad, but the majority of them will allow a little empathy; especially so when it comes to the situation they’ve found themselves in. At times, they’re a victim of circumstance, and you wonder if they’d always been destined to be bad, or if they could have lived a more fulfilling life.
Spidey’s combat isn’t an incredibly intricate and detailed one, but it does enough to maintain interest throughout the entire adventure. A skill tree ensures that new talents allow for fresh combinations and beautifully designed battles, along with a whole host of gadgets that can help you get the upper hand in a fight. Crowd control is essential, as you’ll often find yourself up against multiple enemies with a number of different weapons and skills, and whilst it may take a little while at the start of the game to find your groove, once you maneuver your way into it, you’ll be feeling like a fully-fledged superhero.
The open-world sandbox of New York is a beautiful place to explore. Coupling the incredibly lifelike surroundings with the game’s brilliant Photo Mode - which includes the options for a Spidey-selfie - means you’ll not only spend hours running through the game’s narrative, but taking shots to share across your social media. Once you’ve unlocked all of your swinging abilities, you’ll be zipping across from one side of the map to the other in no time at all.
When all was said and done, I cried. I realised that I was going to miss seeing exactly what these characters were getting up to, and felt like I had reached the end of a road that I wished I could experience for the first time all over again. I laughed with the cast when they laughed, and my eyes filled up with tears when they were going through various traumas.
I don’t want to give anything away, as any fan of this world should be allowed to experience every detail of the game for the first time when they’re in front of a screen, controller in hand.
The narrative woven throughout this adventure was unlike any I had seen before, and those who had the job of ensuring they put together a compelling and thrilling ride can pat themselves on the back. Not only is this the best superhero game we’ve ever played, but it may just be the best Marvel Universe (aside from those in the comic books) to have ever come to fruition.
Thankfully, there are plenty of side missions and challenges to check out before you truly reach 100% completion. With three DLC packs also scheduled for release before the end of the year (not something I loved pre-launch, as I’m not a big fan of a company deciding they’ll take already-completed material out of a launch game to gain more money), we can be sure that there’s more journey to be explored. Bring it on.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is available now exclusively on PlayStation 4. A review code was provided to Female First in exchange for an honest review.