Not your average neighborhood Spider-Man.

Superhero games are hard. History has proved that. Most people can name off the best of the best without even thinking about it. When Sony announced they were crafting a new Spider-Man game with developer Insomniac at the helm, it seemed like a match made in Heaven. Well, here we are and the latest first-party title from Sony is an amazing one (no pun intended.) Insomniac has taken what made past Spider-Man games fun and tangled it (again not intended) into their spectacular (that one was intended) open-world formula. The end result is yet another quality title from the studio.

First off, forget everything you currently know about the Spider-Man lore. This game follows its own path. It doesn’t mix with the current Marvel movie universe, or any of the previous two outings of movies. This is a standalone story that picks up the antics of Peter Parker and his friends and enemies. He has been Spider-Man for a while so this evades the origins formula.

MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: PS4
Price I’d Pay: $59.99

The game uses familiar characters and villains to establish the world and tell its own story. At the end of the second act I thought things were wrapping up, I thought end was near. Then the final act kicks in, and ended up being the absolute adrenaline rush I was hoping for. I was feeling fatigued with the game after the second part, but the third made me want to jump right back in after the credits rolled. Credit Insomniac for disguising what happens until the end.

Spider-Man is an open-world game with all the normal trimmings, but it also feels like an honest-to-goodness Spider-Man RPG. There are levels and skill trees. New suits and upgrades for gadgets. All the side missions that unlock throughout the game earn tokens that can be used to craft these improvements. So doing these side missions bears ample fruit. Some of them are run-of-the-mill open-world fare, but some involve the best parts of the game: combat and traversal.

So it took me five paragraphs to get here, but yes, the swinging is the best it has ever been. Moving around the city feels absolutely stellar. I could tell Insomniac spent months perfecting the movement of everyone’s favorite wall-crawler. His webs stick to buildings, I rarely smashed into anything thanks to the intelligent mechanics, and the added movement options really make going from point A to point B incredibly fun. There is a fast travel system that unlocks about halfway into the game that I often ignored. I would rather swing.

Combat feels as polished. Think Batman but with much more agility. The notification above Spidey’s head helps with countering enemies, and there is enough variety to make most encounters feel good. The game is also smart about assisting the player. Comboing a guy then dodging incoming projectiles at the last second only to zip across the map never got old. There is also a nice repertoire of moves that can be unlocked. Gadgets also come into play often. I found them all interesting to use, but the web bomb is totally OP.

There are some blemishes in this adventure though. For one, combat tends to become repetitious after a while. There is certainly a lot of it, and missions tend to fall back on that as the game progresses. There are also some puzzle mini-games that crop up early in the game that every time they reappeared, I let out an audible sigh. The most puzzling part though is when things change up. This is hard to discuss without spoilers, but there are missions where players will not be utilizing the best parts of the game. Instead these are boiled down to insta-fail stealth missions. Again these are NEVER fun and I am puzzled every time a developer opts to toss them into their games.

There are also pacing issues towards the end of the second act. As I said my fatigue had set in hard right before the third act. I thought the game was over, and I was ready for it to be. Thankfully that was remedied with the third act, which I finished in two sittings.

The core campaign can be completed in about 20 hours with an additional 5-10 hours of side missions. The array of unlockable suits and upgrades is worth investing into these though. I recommend hitting as much as possible before the third act arrives though. I won’t say why, but reasons.

Visually the game is a master class. Per Sony’s repertoire their first-party games are stunning. Even for a massive open-world Spider-Man has some impressive visuals. They are finicky though. There are times where it doesn’t look as good as others. It must have to do with the world streaming technology as it only happens some of the time. The voice acting is superb and the characters are great. Again I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers.

Spider-Man is yet another outstanding title in Sony’s first party library. PS4 owners should not hesitate to snag it when it drops. The quality they put into these titles is impressive and Insomniac continues to prove they can deliver on big-budget titles. Even with its minor gripes I still thoroughly enjoyed my time with Spidey and the gang. Perhaps we will see another one in the years to come, but for now this is the best our web-slinger has been since the early days of the PS2 era.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Swinging is the best
  • Combat is a blast
  • Great story and presentation
  • Incredibly fun game
  • Stealth sections
  • Mini-games kill the pace
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.