March 22, 2019 at 2:04 PM #635
Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding
Does what a Spider-man game should do!
What do I want in a Spider-man game? I want proper web slinging action. I have a list of other desires, but really what makes Spider-man shine in the video game format is the ability to traverse city environments by using his web shooters and swinging from building to building, and performing acrobatic leaps and flips along the way. And this game really delivers on this feature. While the game has many strengths, the travel is definitely the biggest one. There’s a slight learning curve but it doesn’t take long to feel comfortable moving around New York City.
If the web-shooter based travel is the #1 strength of this game, then the NYC environment is a solid 1A. Much of NYC is captured her in solid detail, and the graphics look terrific even on a launch PS4. I can only imagine how impressive the game looks on a PS4 Pro. As I played the game, I almost started to take the quality of the city design and appearance for granted. The emphasis is almost always on Spider-man and his abilities, though there are plenty of "stop and smell the roses" beats in this game.
#2 is the story. It’s good, it’s got a bit of weight to it, and I found that it made me have some sympathy for certain villains while at the same time, disliking them greatly for the choices they’ve made. Some of the lesser super villains have a little back story but are generally regarded as guys that Spider-man has historically defeated time and time again. There are bits of flavor attached to main story pieces, as well as optional collectibles.
The combat is good, though at times it can feel repetitive. You do get to unlock gadgets and skills along the way that make you more powerful, and they change combat and exploration a bit, but most fights end up feeling like the same thing over and over. To an extent, this is a pacing issue as many side-quests boil down to stealth attacks or just beating a bunch of people up. You have spider-sense and a dodge button and you’ll typically use that a lot while performing the proper attacks to defeat the type of henchmen you’re facing. Some of the gadgets are cool but it’s uncommon that they really change your 1v1 engagements. Most of the fun gadgets end up being crowd control. And it’s a blast at first! But if you’re going for the super easy platinum trophy, you will just kinda do the same thing over and over.
There is something a bit derivative about the game in terms of its overall exploration structure – you get to a new area, unlock all the towers to display stuff on the map, and then you have some side-quests in the area, and so on. I’m not sure if Assassin’s Creed was the first to establish the formula, but it’s in that vein. Some side-quests are a blast – looking for pictures of landmarks, finding backpacks… all good stuff. But the combat based crimes and bases are the ones that drag a bit as I mentioned before. My end-game experience was 2 hours of waiting on building tops for crimes to occur so I could web bomb and punch people, rise and repeat.
If you’re going for the platinum, I would just advise you to plan out your challenge tokens so you don’t have to do the most difficult challenge levels in the game. Unless that’s your cup of tea!
The only other issue was that I found some glitches to be a bit annoying – the game crashed on me, and I got stuck inside buildings (you aren’t supposed to get into). If I didn’t get stuck in the building, certain enemies would with an annoying regularity. In the 20-30 hours that I played the game, I had these types of major issues a half-dozen times and almost entirely when I was just grinding for the platinum. Not the end of the world, but, it was annoying.
Overall, this game was really good. The story is awesome, and traveling around NYC is amazing. The platinum is easy to get, though it will make the combat feel a bit repetitive. The game is well set up for side content with DLC and likely sequels.
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