‘Spider-Man’ PS4: a review

   Ever since I was young, I’ve been in love with the character Spider-Man. Out of any other Marvel or DC superhero, he was, and still is, my favorite.

   When Sony and the company Insomniac announced their new Spider-Man video game back in 2016, I was excited but skeptical. With Spider- Man, I was really hoping this would be the title that would make me a fan of Insomniac games again and I’m happy to report that I got my wish.

   Spider-Man, on PlayStation 4, is a technical marvel for the modern age. It is fun and one of the Insomnia’s best titles in their first party lineup.

   If you are a fan of the Spider-Man character, there is a high probability you will love this game. Even if you are unfamiliar with anything regarding Spider-Man, the story itself is disconnected from the modern cinematic universe and is its own thing.

   Fans of the Spider-Man universe will find familiar faces. The game allows for great character interactions between the main cast and the problems each are going through. The storyline is not groundbreaking by any means. For me, the game play is the most important.

   The defining element of any Spider-Man game is ability to web sling around the city. The web slinging system was revolutionized with Treyarch’s 2004 game, “Spider-Man 2.”

   Insomniac’s approach is the best it has ever been implemented. The way you web sling is always attached to the buildings, but you must keep in mind the momentum of your traversal around the city.

   You must build up your speed in different ways. One way is by running up a building and attaching a web at the top to slingshot yourself over it.

   As you level up, you unlock different abilities. While it might take some time to get used to the new system, by the end of the game you will become a true web-slinging master.

   There is a lot to do outside the main storyline. You can collect backpacks, take pictures of city landmarks, or do side-quests that focus on different criminals.

   While you are exploring the city, you can stop crimes in the town. The combat in Spider-Man is simple, yet satisfying.

   Although it is not complex, it makes up for it with by having different crime fighting strategies. Some enemies have different ways in stopping them. It is not just simple button mashing. You must pay attention to certain enemy properties or you will be punished for it.

   As the game progresses, you can unlock gadgets that can be used in combat to shoot different sorts of webs at enemies, such as the electric web, web bombs, or impact webs that can stick those criminals to the wall.

   The game also includes a few stealth sections that can help you avoid combat entirely at different points in the story. The stealth moments usually boil down to finding the right enemy to take down without alerting anyone.

   The problem with using it outside of the main campaign has to do with the enemy bases, which can be done at any time. There’s no point to stealth outside of the main quest line because, even in areas that allow for it, you still end up doing combat.

   At certain points in the story, you take control of Mary Jane and Miles Morales. These sections were the low points of the game for me. You slowly sneak around enemies to avoid detection and do not have much variety early on in the game. The idea of these sections gets tiresome because they are heavily scripted, boring, and are mandatory.

   While variety is commonplace in a lot of games, the ways Spider-Man tries to do it is less than stellar. There are sections in the game that use puzzles to make formulas, and to re-route voltages for machines. These sections may skipped or turned off completely in the main menu.

   Another problem I had was the constant use of quick-time events. The scenes use timed button presses with your only input being to press a button at the right time.

   While it can feel satisfying, the game uses it for moments that do not feel necessary. I do not feel like I accomplish anything spectacular when all I do is smash “square” to lift rocks while an epic orchestra plays in the background.

   As for the games difficulty, the normal setting felt too easy. I started the game on hard and somewhat challenged, but at times even that felt easy.

   While I do not usually talk about game graphics, I feel the amount of effort and attention to detail Insomniac put into every aspect of this game is phenomenal. From the different ways Spider-Man moves to the reflections off buildings. They made New York City feel alive.

   Overall, I enjoyed my time with Spider-Man, and highly recommend it to fans and people who are interested in it. I would like to see how they improve upon the problems that I had with a sequel. This is Insomniac’s best game since 2004 and, as a first-party Sony title, it is easily their best in the lineup that will appeal to a lot of players.

Anthony Renteria

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