One of the signs of a good game is the ability to make something as basic as traveling around a map fun. There are plenty of games that attempt to make moving fun, but that is usually through an accessory such as a vehicle or a power-up. Spider-Man games have often tried to make slinging through New York City a blast, but have often missed the mark, making it cheesy or limited. I can safely say that Marvel’s Spider-Man finally makes web-slinging around New York City fun again.
After the Sony Press Briefing, we were sent outside to visit a replica of Marvel’s version of New York City, complete with people painted as statues, street vendors, and a hot dog stand. At the center of this was a station for us to check out Insomniac’s web slinging game, Marvel’s Spider-Man.
The demo throws the player in the action immediately. Spider-Man is on top of the city with Yuri Watanabe in his ear giving him details about crime around the city. Immediately, I’m given the ability to web-sling around the city and it feels great. Each time you sling down, you’re shown points that you’ll sling from to continue your momentum. There’s also the ability to dive quickly or shoot forward quickly. It felt like everything around the city was designed to give me the momentum I needed or recover quickly even if I missed the sweet spot.
In addition to web slinging, I had the ability to run up a building if I wanted to, which went hand-in-hand with web slinging perfectly. When nearing the top of a building, I could hit X to sling quickly to the top of the building and propel myself upwards, into the air, to get back to slinging around the city. There’s also the ability to perch on top of a building and get a good look at my surroundings, finding side quests and main missions to accomplish. This demo wasn’t short of content, as both times I went through it I ended up doing a completely different.
One of the sidequests was through “Harry’s Lab,” where there appeared to be a problem with the water pressure in a water tower. Unfortunately, I ended up making the problem worse when tightening a valve as the water tower ended up bursting holes and required a web-patch-up job immediately. The other quest I found, which was the intended, was more action-oriented.
I haven’t even touched on combat yet. When Spider-Man encounters thugs, it becomes almost a wave-based action game, where there are a wide variety of moves to use against these criminals. I could punch them with square or hold square to knock them into the air and continue my combo. I could also either pull criminals towards me or zip to them, pounding their faces into the ground as I approach from above.
What felt better than punching, however, was dodging. If I was facing a certain way, I could slide beneath the criminal’s legs and hit them from behind or dodge from side to side. And lastly, I could hit L1+R1 to grab a nearby item and throw it into a criminal, even a grenade thrown by one of their allies.
With as chaotic as Spider-Man could be, I felt like every web-sling, every punch, and every dodge was completely under my control. I can see a path for the game to include more combat options as there are different unlockable gears similar to how Ratchet & Clank handles its weapons. These include shooting webs or throwing a trip-mine to pull enemies together.
Lastly, I got to fight my first boss of the game, Shocker. We fought in a bank and it felt like a classic boss fight. Dodge his blasts, wait for an opening, figure out his weakness. While this fight followed the standard three-hit formula, it felt good to figure out the strategy to beat him.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is shaping up to be one of the best superhero games in recent years. With fluid movement and the feeling of complete control, Insomniac seems to have its spidey-senses on what could make this game a hit. It will be released on September 7th, 2018 exclusively for PlayStation 4. For more news and hands-on experience out of E3, stay tuned to Gaming Trend for more news and in-depth coverage.