No game has quite captured the greatness of Spider-Man until now. This is a game where you can just web sling around the city for hours. Or at least until you run into one of the many random crimes you need to stop. Either way, it is still GOTY material.
It’s been a little while but the world’s favorite web-crawler has finally made his return to video games. Marvel’s Spider-Man, developed exclusively for the Playstation 4 by Insomniac Games, is an Open World Action Adventure game following a seasoned Spider-Man. Released on September 7th, 2018 Spider-Man on PS4 reintroduces the world to the hero we love long after he’s gotten accustomed to having great power and great responsibility.
Spider-man is a comic book hero so it is only right that his game look like a comic book. The colors are vibrant and beautiful. Buildings, landscapes, and other components of the world find just the right balance between looking cartoonish and looking hyper realistic. People in the world share a similar level of detail whether they are primary, secondary, or extra roles. The fluidity of Spider-Man’s motion is absolutely astonishing and every suit has it’s own tiny details that were clearly taken very seriously during development. The minor area where the game falls a little flat is in the water. Sidewalk puddles look great (despite all the pre-release nonsense) but the surrounding waters of Manhattan feel a little lacking. That’s not a big deal because that water serves more as a boundary than anything else. Spider-Man PS4 doesn’t ever become the “game to show” when thinking about showing off how incredible video games but that hardly matters.
Comic book games have a tendency to have good stories. Sounds like a no-brainer considering the source material is nearly limitless. Spider-Man PS4 has a great story. Instead of trying to retell the origin story that has been done a million times, Insomniac drops us in what feels like the ending of a comic book series that we never read. It starts huge with a boss fight against an important well known boss that sets the tone and pace for the rest of the game. This isn’t a training wheels Spider-Man in his rookie years, this is a Spider-Man whose biggest struggle has become balancing being a super-hero and a person. And Insomniac was not afraid to include all of his struggles as part of the game. Spider-Man maybe doing great but Peter Parker is falling apart. All of this before the true antagonist of the story is even brought into play. The pacing feels amazing and even the side missions find a way to include what’s happening in the main mission without feeling forced in to it. Spider-Man PS4 is the best comic book available to play because it would have been one of the best comic books to read.
The commentary steals the show. While swinging across the huge city of Manhattan the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has so many conversations with himself, that it feels like he may be breaking the fourth wall. But his commentary is amazing. And when Spider-Man isn’t commenting on the world himself there’s a variety of things to listen to like Jameson’s new talk show, the police radio calling out crimes around the city, or just the sounds of all the citizens with the varied opinions. That’s not all though because the team at Insomniac did an amazing job making the in game New York sound a lot like the real life New York (reviewer is a real New Yorker). Trains, buses, taxis, and sirens are all the rage and sound incredible. Major credits for an amazing voice acting cast as well that includes that includes stars like Patton Oswalt, John DiMaggio, Joe Quesada and Robbie Draymond, who absolutely nailed being Peter Parker and Spider-Man.
One of the most important things to consider when playing a super hero based game is that you may not get to do all the cool things your favorite super hero can do. That is far from true in Insomniac’s Spider-Man game. In this iteration, it feels like the team made a checklist of every possible thing Spider-Man is known to be able to do and made sure that we could it. And then they piled on a bunch of stuff some of us may never have even thought about. Thus Spider-Man delivers the most satisfying gameplay of not just any comic book game but of any open world action game. Side missions and fetch quests are so well integrated into this world they created, that they never feel like a burden or un-exciting. The way the team handled everything web based is spectacular. Whether it be swinging through the city or bounding an enemy together with Web fluid it feels great to be Spider-Man. The control and stability of the character alongside the camera motion eliminates a lot of the awkward motions that typically hang around in games with a lot of explosions and super powers. Alternating suits never feels like a burden because of the ability to modify every suit with cool upgrades and the gadgets. They are crafted as the story progresses just heighten the experience without making the game too easy. Gameplay feels like it was also designed around the idea of being Spider-Man.
After playing 13 hours in one sitting (not even joking here), Spider-Man is officially the most fun game of 2018. At no point throughout the entire gameplay experience was there the slightest hint of boredom or desire to do anything else. The variety of missions makes it exhilarating to switch between the different every day task of being Spider-Man. Be the fighting Spider-Man who goes around beating up thugs and criminals. Or be the sneaky Spider-Man who quietly takes down enemies and uncovers secrets. Or maybe be super nerd Peter Parker who just wants to get his life together and make technology that changes the world. There is so much to do in this version of New York that no one thing ever becomes repetitive. It’s all just Spidey style fun.
Six or seven years ago the idea of a licensed Marvel game was a terrifying premise. Deep down the fear of a development studio butchering a favorite Marvel character in video game form was very real. Two or three years ago the idea of a licensed Marvel game ever existing again was almost wiped from the realm of possibility. Now this year the arrival of Spider-Man on PS4 has made for not only one of the best gaming experiences of this generation but also sprung hope for more. Spider-Man is a game everyone should, and probably will, play. Insomniac, please give the world more of this greatness.
Post PAX East festivities! This past weekend the video game industry came to visit the northeast New England region. A place also recognized as Boston. And although it didn’t bring a ton of news, the news it did bring was insane. Collaborations, new projects, and single player second year DLC. Yea feel lucky, cause I damn sure do. Here’s why:
1. Fantasy Raider 1.
That seems like it will be the exact title of the upcoming project from Square Enix. To open the PAX East gates Square Enix announced a cross over project of two of its biggest franchises, Final Fantasy & Tomb Raider. There wasn’t any other information reveled so time to go into hyper speculation mode. I think it would be amazing to introduce some sort of lore that ties the two worlds together with one being present/past and the other being present/future. Either way I’m excited to see what comes of it, so long as its not a damn Pachinko machine. Looking at you Konami.
2. Final Fantasy XV lives on.
A few years back. Ok, maybe a little bit more than a few years but who’s counting. I remember conversing with my co-workers about DLC. I would always say to them, all I would want from DLC would be story expansion. You know like, when theres still more to the story but not necessarily enough for a full fledged sequel. Fast forward to 2018, and for the most part that’s what we get. Anyway, on to the news. Final Fantasy XV will be receiving new story based episodic DLC all the way through 2019. That is amazing because of how long the string of content for this game has been. Imagine a world where you fall in love with a game and instead of being given a full blown sequel that wasn’t necessary, you get episodic additions to the game you love. That’s he direction we could be heading in the games industry. That, and of course Battle Royales.
3. Return of the Dragon.
Everyone’s favorite purple dragon is back. Don’t believe me? Find another purple dragon nearly as popular as Spyro. I’m not even gonna wait because I know you won’t. Spyro the dragon is returning for the second time. This time however, he’s coming back in true form. Activision announced the Spyro remastered trilogy, featuring the first three games to make the dragon a star. Much like the recent Crash Bandicoot Trilogy, the remaster will feature upgraded graphics, modernized controls, and a reimagined take on the original music. The game will be available on September 21 for PS4 and Xbox One and no mention of a Switch version in the works.
4. Spider-Man, Spider-Man, spins a web when he can.
This week Spidey showed up to drop gems about his upcoming game. First the release date. Spider-Man will be arriving exclusively on a PS4 near you on September 7th, 2018. Plans for DLC were also briefly highlighted stating in will come in the form of a three part campaign with new villains, suits, missions, and more. And speaking on suits, this new Spider-Man game will allow us to dress Spidey up in over a dozen different suits from various comic story lines. A collector’s edition was also announced with more info coming in the summer, but it will come with all DLC included just like the Deluxe edition. Insomniac, the developers, also made a big deal to note there will be absolutely no micro transactions in the game.
5. Vive Pro Starter Edition.
With VR finally reaching a point of mass general interest, the manufacturers have also started finding better ways to cut cost on production. This perfect middle ground genesis is the type of thing that results in price drops and special bundles. In this case we are getting a special bundle from HTC. Taking feedback and backlash into consideration, HTC has announced a new starter kit for the Vive Pro VR system. This special bundle includes the Vive Pro Headset, two Vive 1.0 controllers, and two 1.0 base stations for $1100. Considering all of that is necessary to use the system it makes a ton of sense to see such an aggressive pricing. When considering the cost of all things separate that’s about a $300 savings. Pretty good if you ask me.
6. PC to Console, Console to Switch.
So before any Nintendo fan boys come at me for not calling the Switch a console, understand I do it with the highest respect. The Switch is not a console. It is so much more. That however is save for another day. Today let’s talk about Firewatch, the incredibly unique adventure game, coming to Nintendo Switch. The Switch version will include system specific upgrades, although most of those will be under the hood. And no date was provided. On the flip side, I am very excited for a new RPG being ported from PC to Console. As rarely as that happens, it is my pleasure to share with you Divinity: Original Sin 2 is coming to PS4 and Xbox One in August. Featuring 4 player online and local split screen Co-Op, Divinity is a story based action RPG that looks phenomenal.
7. Is that a new… Challenger?
Warner Bros has obtained the rights to distribute and publish IO Interactive’s Hitman. Wasting no time with this new muscle, Hitman: The Definitive Edition will be releasing on May 18th. And with rumors floating around the world of a new Hitman coming, it’s very possible we may see some version of the nemesis system in everyone’s favorite modern day assassins world. This is the real outrageous news though. Here comes a new challenger! In the most abstract way. Right now you can hop on Kickstarter and support the Street Fighter Board Game. I don’t even know how to explain the incredible thing that is this project. I mean for real the only bad part about it is the price tag but as a collector’s item its well worth it. Dive in and see for yourself.