Spider-Man has always been a great fit for video games.
His powers allow for fun gameplay, while his nature as a street-level superhero let him run around and stop random street crime at the player’s leisure. It’s a shame Batman: Arkham Asylum managed to beat the Wall Crawler to the title of “The First Truly Excellent Superhero Game,” all while stealing Spider-Man’s gimmicks. Clearly eyeing the work Rocksteady put into those titles, Insomniac Games (Spyro, Ratchet and Clank) poured enough love into this new game to be visible to the naked eye.
The presentation of Marvel’s Spider-Man is extraordinarily polished, with sharp textures, excellent voice acting and audio design. There are plenty of tiny details abound, to the extent that you might miss most of them if you’re not paying attention. They have different voice takes for Peter Parker’s radio talk depending on whether or not he’s exerting himself when he says his lines.
The core gameplay around which the pretty visuals revolve is rock-solid. Spider-Man’s web swinging is intuitive, fun and has a high skill ceiling, while the combat manages to distinguish itself from the Arkham games by focusing down on Parker’s super-agility and aerial movement above all else. The Ratchet and Clank influence is felt with an array of fun gadgets that help spice up the combat to a degree. The story even dabbles in a few mandatory stealth sections, as Mary Jane and Miles Morales, that aren’t bad.
The structure of the game itself is where the gushing needs to stop dead. Remember how many towers you need to climb in Ubisoft games? And how many bases you needed to clear in Arkham Knight? All back, baby. If you can’t stand even an ounce of busy work, clear out now. For those with a somewhat higher tolerance, none of it is really a dealbreaker, as most of the collectibles do a good job of feeding back into the story.
As for the story, here’s the elevator pitch: “An experienced Spider-Man winds up creating a power vacuum with the defeat of his arch-nemesis, Wilson Fisk — the more traditional fat version — and must deal with a new threat in Mr. Negative, that threatens those closest to him.” Insomniac clearly understands what works best about the character, the tension between the two personas, and delivers on the kind of melodrama I thrive on.
The only problem is a spot of “Arkham Knight Syndrome,” where a vastly more interesting and thematically appropriate spoiler villain sucks the oxygen away from the supposed main threat of the game.
But, in the end, if a game’s biggest flaws are “this one bad guy is too cool” and “totally tolerable versions of Ubisoft busy work,” I’d have to say it’s worth at least $50.
Logan Graham is a senior studying media arts with a focus in games and animation at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Have you played Marvel's Spider-Man? Let Logan know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.