Spiderman is very much Marvel’s answer to DC’s Arkham series. It certainly shares a lot of the same mechanics and rhythm based combat first introduced by Batman; but yet introduces its own twist to the entire package to create something new.
The Spiderman demo at PlayStation’s E3 conference only lasted 10 minutes, but provided plenty of opportunity to get a proper taste of what the game has to offer.
This is a game about traversing an open world map in ways that you never imagined possible. In this case, meaning the ability to run up walls and swing from across buildings. It really shouldn’t work, but the Insomniac Games has designed a system that makes it a literal joy to web-swing between missions.
Running across Marvel’s version of New York city takes a bit of getting used to, since walls and buildings no longer represent barriers and obstacles. Instead, they are opportunities to demonstrate some extreme parkour skills. Spiderman is perfectly capable of sprinting straight up walls and barriers, and can also leap into the air to begin web-swinging.
Adding to this are random encounters that occasionally see criminals try to make a run for it in cars. Leading to car chases across the map, ending with Spiderman being able to leap onto the car and take out the law-breaking occupants.
To be honest, we’ve seen large parts of this in Batman: Arkham Knight. But, the difference here is literally day and night. As in most of the action in Spiderman takes place in the day time. Allowing us to fully enjoy the adrenaline rush of swinging through the air on spiderweb.
Combat follows the same rhythm combo system that’s become a staple of the action-adventure genre. You get two types of basic attacks, gadgets that can be deployed, and a reaction-based counterattack. Some gamers have been reporting that Spiderman requires a bit more coordination than other similar games; seeing that it doesn’t really have a automatic target locking feature.
Spiderman is also capable of using the environment to defeat enemies. Ripping doors off cars to swing at targets, pulling scaffolding over, and flipping manhole covers to use as projectiles. The moves are not necessarily more effective than just punching things, but they do look very impressive.
One thing that just feels weird is the introduction of Yuri, a member of the NYPD. A completely new character who feeds Spiderman information about points of interest or potential quest points. A sidekick for the wall-crawler doesn’t quite sit right for someone who is generally terrified of forming close relationships because terrible things happen when he does. Unless this is foreshadowing and the famous Parker luck kicks in somewhere along the game.
Overall, Spiderman doesn’t bring too many new ideas to the table. But what it does do is take a lot of familiar elements and merge them into an enjoyable experience. It also gives us the best Spiderman game ever made. Capturing the pure rush and joy of webswinging across New York city at high speed. That alone makes it worth the price of admission.