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Marvel’s Spider-Man Review—The Best Superhero Game Since Arkham



Published by: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developed by: Insomniac Games
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 Exclusive
Genre(s): Open-world Action-adventure
Mode(s): Single-player
Game Type: ,
95/ 100

User Rating
3 total ratings



Spectacular Graphics | Amazing Combat | Sensational web-slinging | Astonishing Story | Superior Replayability


Relatively short

Posted September 15, 2018 by

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Since the release of the original Batman: Arkham Asylum, it’s been a great wonder to many of us why there haven’t been more faithful superhero games to see the light of day. And though there have been a ton of games that had you play as Spider-Man, none has really let you BE Spider-Man. Finally, such a game exists, and if I may be so bold, I solemnly believe Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best superhero game since Arkham.


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The Spider-Man in Insomniac’s story is an already-established hero. He’s had a lot of crime-fighting experience by this point and Uncle Ben has long been dead. This allows them to craft some interesting plotlines for a campaign that I swear I would watch in the theater if it cut up and served as a full-length film. It’s a good Spider-Man story as far as Spider-Man stories go and I genuinely enjoyed it. The wrap even satisfyingly sets the game up for a possible sequel. Honestly, the universe established in Marvel’s Spider-Man has all the makings of a compelling franchise true to the source material much like Arkham was to Batman.


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There are two primary gameplay aspects in Marvel’s Spider-Man; combat, and of course, web swinging. The most obvious comparison I could make to describe Spider-Man’s combat is to compare it to Arkham’st, only, it’s not exactly the same. At first glance, you might think so, but in Arkham, there’s a sort of order to it all, an algorithm that adds a method to the madness. This isn’t too say that Spider-Man’s combat is disorganized, far from it, though it does get pretty chaotic, especially after the more advanced enemy types come in to play. Enemies in Spider-Man attack independently. Though they still adhere to a certain pattern, you’ll often be facing numerous enemies from all sides that will be coming at you with reckless abandon. You’ll have to be quick on your feet and deliver damage as fast as you can avoid them. Thankfully, Spider-Man is a nimble critter. Only until you learn to fully utilize his agility will you feel the thrill to be the human spider. The game also has its fair share of stealth-oriented missions, though some of which are optional. They aren’t as well designed and as elaborate as that of Arkham, mostly just serving its purpose, nothing more nothing less. There are a couple stealth challenges for players who like to play sneaky spider. Nothing super challenging though, but fun nonetheless.

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Web swinging is, of course, the bread and butter of Marvel’s Spider-Man. It’s safe to say that Spiderman 2 is no longer the best when it comes to swinging around tall buildings in a sandbox game. It starts out slow, and there’s a bit of a learning curve to it, too. But not long after, web swinging will become your top 1 activity. The traversal towards your objective marker is almost as fun as the missions themselves. You’ll also find yourself eager to take little detours whenever you come across collectibles or sidequests along the way. After earning a few levels, you’ll start to unlock some advanced moves that improve your web swinging capabilities. By then you’ll have unlocked fun little challenges that serve as a perfect avenue to test your swinging abilities.

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I mentioned levels, that’s because Spider-Man, like most games nowadays, has some light RPG mechanics thrown in. Defeating baddies, doing quests, and performing different moves awards you with experience. Leveling up then allows you to use skill points to unlock new abilities that usually adds a whole new depth to the gameplay in some way. Activities often award tokens too, with different kinds used in various kinds such as unlocking gadgets, costumes, and doing upgrades. There are a ton of costumes waiting to get unlocked, most of which comes with a suit power which you can swap around even when you’re not wearing the suit that comes with it. Unlocking these new super moves and costumes were a huge blast to do. I only wished there were more. Stan Lee knows there’s a metric ton of Spider-Man costumes that deserve to be in it.

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There’s a good chunk of activities to do in Spider-Man’s sandbox. None of they break new grounds for the genre, but they’re good for a decent amount of fun, barely crossing repetitive territory. Sidequests would’ve served a great way to segway in some secondary characters and story, but I feel as though they haven’t really utilized it enough, especially given the extensive roster of characters within the Spidey universe.

Visual & Performance

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I have never seen a more detailed sandbox, let alone a realistic rendition of Manhattan in a video game in my life; no exaggeration. It is an incredible wonder how Spider-Man was able to dish out visuals of such magnitude given the PS4’s aging infrastructure. Even on a standard PS4, the graphics look spectacular. I especially love how Insomniac opted out of including a dynamic day and night cycle like most sandbox games nowadays. The time of day and weather conditions are contextual, only changing relative to the player’s campaign progress. You’ll have the option to manipulate the time of day later on, but this allowed Insomniac to cast breathtaking lighting and weather effects on top of the entirety of Manhattan.

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Uncle Ben knows how much I’ve abused the Photo Mode feature through the course of my entire playthrough, pausing almost instinctively upon every Kodak moment, which is pretty much every 5 seconds.


 Marvel’s Spider-Man does the titular character justice, delivering a Spider-Man that’s both fresh and faithful to the source material. Despite not doing anything particularly new or innovative, fans of the superhero are in for a wild, acrobatic ride. Sony once again adds another breathtaking exclusive title to their already impressive roster.

[This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.]

Dian Raval

Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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