Spider-Man is not a character short of love in the video game world. The character had one of the most popular arcade machines back in the 90’s with a few oddball characters teaming up with him to deal with his Rogue’s gallery from New York, through Latveria and back. While the animated shows of the era made Spidey a popular character among kids, he received the occasional chance to partake on each generation of game consoles with very diverse offerings. If you need to compare this new game of the web-slinger to anything in the past, you’ll have to go to the beloved N64/PS1 game.
Comparisons as a Form of Flattery
Now don’t get me wrong this might be my ever-present nostalgia talking here about past glories, or the way I have to cope with new technological developments: by comparing them with something of the past. The fact is that this new Spider-Man video game is one of the greatest games ever designed for the character. Many reviewers across the internet have compared the efforts of Insomniac Games on par with the work developed by Rocksteady with the Batman Arkham saga on the same platform. I can safely say that it easily surpasses everything done to date with Superheroes on game consoles.
Classic Spidey for a new Generation
Why make such a bold statement? It’s very simple: Spider-man is an ode, an homage, and a love letter to simpler times, the type of Spider-Man stories that fans over 40 long for. The game itself is set in current Manhattan but is not affiliated to any superhero continuity we have ever heard of. No cinematic references, no comic storylines adapted. Spider-Man is still Peter Parker a young man working as a lab assistant and amateur photographer for the Daily Bugle. His sentimental partner is still Mary Jane Watson, and he has to share duties as the big apple’s favorite superhero and the favorite nephew of his aunt May Parker-Really.
New York, the Living City
The city of New York is the one that steals the show on this game. Insomniac has created a faithful representation of the city where the open environment is just limited by your ability to accomplish the tasks required in the story mode of the game. It might be an old form of limiting your gameplay, but you will have so much to do on each part of the city, that you will forget about the tasks of the main storyline. The game is full of side missions, and most of the rogue’s gallery of the webspinner is here to make him company as he fights the forces of Mr. Negative who is trying to assert control over a city where Norman Osborn is the Major.
New Spidey, New Rules
A lot of things are different in this game, and many of them work for good. Even Spider-man looks differently as his main costume is a redesigned version of the original. Don’t worry though, in the same vein of any Arkham game you can have Peter change into any of his comic costumes as he unlocks them. All the villains are recognizable to some point, either by their powers or by their new design. The police do not play the role of antagonist to Spider-Man like it happens in the comics most of the times or even on his films. Peter uses a smartphone to keep in contact with the forces of law or with people on his life. You need to make time out of your schedule to work and tend to your loved ones! How is that for attention to detail?
The Gameplay Factor
As you can expect Spider-Man does everything a spider can in this game. You have seen him climb walls in hundreds of games before, but doing that on this game puts the experience on a whole new level, web swinging is also the best part of being Spider-Man, and you can take many liberties with that ability here. You will mash buttons a lot, Spider-Man knows how to fight, and he has hundreds of combinations that you will get access to as you keep playing. Dan Slott chronicled the adventures of Peter for more than ten years for Marvel Comics, and he’s the one who wrote the script for this game. The story gives you a sense of reassurance with certain twists that will not surprise you that much if you are a comic reader. This might be the only gripe in an ocean of goodness.