There was a big showing of Marvel’s Spider-Man at this year’s Gamescom 2018. I got my hands on the web slinger, so here are my thoughts of the game.
Spider-Man’s world is beautiful to look at. The visuals are truly stunning. The demo had you swinging through the detailed streets of Manhattan with ease. People, vehicles and buildings populate the surroundings, each with a great level of detail. It’s a massive space, but you can always take it down to ground level at any point. You can talk to passersby or even pose in a selfie with them. Hop on a car and ride it around town or even stop a random crime in progress. All this before you do what Spider-Man does best!
So with a massive world to explore, how do you get around? Web slinging of course. Movement is extremely fluid aa you swing from building to building with speed and ease of a simple push of the R2 button. Spider-Man is a truly physical character, so how you position the left analogue stick will determine the direction. You can take sharp turns around street corners to changing direction in mid-air or even pull off tricks and somersault without touching the ground. There is a real sense of speed while web slinging. A lot of work has gone into making movement as fluid as possible and Insomniac have nailed it.
To reach roof tops, just run towards a building. Hold the R2 button and Spidey will start sprinting horizontally up the building. There are loads of additional moves to zip you mid-air or move you towards swingable buildings. From my playthrough, movement is butter smooth and is continuously fast paced. If you hit a building, you start wall running. Hit the ground, you start sprinting. Basically, if you are moving in a direction, it was very easy to traverse the environment without interruption.
Next up is the combat mechanics. Again, Spidey’s movement during combat is slick and fluid. It is akin to the type of commbat popularised by the Batman Arkham series. You have a punch, kick and parry moves, but due to the acrobatic nature of Spider-Man, you zip between enemies, which looks fantastic. These base moves are then bolstered with additional skills. Such skills include webbing and using objects in the environment as weapons, which can take out multiple enemies at once. You will have a number of gadgets available that can deal damage to several enemies, along with a charged moved that charges due to combat and releases a shower of web attacks, disabling your attackers.
Although there are loads of action packed fights, there are opportunities for more stealth like combat. This allows you to distract, split up and takedown enemies, easing combat in those moments where you are highly outnumbered. Moves and gadgets will unlock from the XP you earn throughout the game.
During the playthrough, there were several available to enter. I was able to take on missions of my own choosing. They ranged from story missions, side missions and random crime missions. There are markers via map and on screen prompts. Spidey has a sonar-esque system similar to Spidey sense, which is activated by R3. This pops up a visual marker for you and to alert you of dangers. Some missions were combat based, chase events, bomb defusal and boss battles.
There are also a number of collectable backpack pickups dotted around the city. More collectable style missions will be available in-game too. There will also be side missions based on research posts that are accessed by the player. One such mission saw me track and analyse a chemical seeping from vents. This involved following pipes true the city (using the sonar ability) and then had a simple analysis mini-game, where you had to match the sequence of the chemical, matching images to a visual sequence. It was simple enough, but am sure there will be harder or time based versions of this mini-game.
With only a short amount of playtime, I thoroughly enjoyed the game. It was easy to pick up and play from the beginning. Movement was so fluid and along with the combat, it really feels so easy to control Spider-Man at a base level. With more time and practice with the advance moves, you will feel like a true superhero. Insomniac Games truly know what makes Spider-Man good, similar to how Rocksteady and the Arkham series reinvented and reinvigorated how we played a Batman game.
Marvel’s Spider-Man comes to PS4 on September 7th.