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Learning To Love Marvel's Spider-Man

Learning To Love Marvel's Spider-Man

Eventually, every superhero will get a videogame adaptation: from Superman to Batman, to even The Incredible Hulk; all these guys and gals and others have their own strengths and weaknesses. Whether it’s the Arkham series’ breezy combat or Superman 64’s monotonous gameplay, they all stand out in their own unique ways. But perhaps the hero with the best track record of releases is the web-swinging wonder known as Spider-Man. From the PlayStation One title all the way to this year’s Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on the PlayStation 5, very few heroes can match this web swingers' consistency and quality, save for a few examples that didn’t quite pan out but still had good qualities that others didn’t. He’s been doing pretty well for himself as of late. So as someone who enjoys the Spider-Man universe, you would think I would enjoy the latest release as well, right? Nope.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the recent direction of the PlayStation brand and its overreliance on cinematic third-person action games has really turned me off from its current efforts. Growing up in the early 2000s definitely didn’t help with that. Back then, the company would publish almost anything it could get its hands on, leading to an incredible amount of variety in its releases. Fast forward to now, and it feels like there are a lot of similarities between the exclusives on the PlayStation 5, which makes the system feel insignificant and kind of worthless. So when I first learned about Marvel's Spider-Man, I shrugged it off as yet another example of a game that can’t be bothered to trust the player and refuses to let the main character stop talking.

For the most part, I was correct when I said those things because it has many quick-time events, web-swinging requires almost no skill, and there is an abundance of lengthy cutscenes and boring stealth sections. That just reassured my decision to skip this game for as long as possible whilst turning my nose at it because I just couldn’t be bothered to play something a little different. It wasn’t just that it had a lot of flaws and fell into the trap lots of other open-world games manage to fall into; it was the fact that my favourite videogame company growing up had fallen from grace and became a shell of its former self. On top of all that, PlayStation was already making several anti-consumer decisions (which continue today, by the way), and all of this just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Learning To Love Marvels Spider Man 2

But the developers at Insomniac took all those flaws and managed to make a damn good game out of them. What? After all of that, I like it now!? The thing you love the most is the one you’re most critical of. Marvel’s Spider-Man is just an awesome time all the way through. It might have some hiccups, specifically the various stealth sections, but being able to swing around the city at an enormous speed while taking on bad guys and finding backpacks just never gets old. I think it’s easier for me to look past the downsides because the rest of it is so fun that I often forget about all the negative stuff.

The story is great, too, and it was surprising to discover all the tender moments throughout the experience, especially Peter and MJ’s relationship, as well as the heartfelt moments you spent with Miles Morales. These were refreshing because AAA games have become too comfortable telling generic and safe stories. Insomniac deserves some respect for having the guts to tell an emotional plot in a world where many other companies are too afraid to do that.

This title is stuffed with fan service, and it’s a blast to be rewarded with rare suits and upgrades for exploring the city and doing random side missions. You’re constantly unlocking something, and it feels good to do that due to the expressive moment system. One of my favourite side activities is looking for Peter’s lost backpacks because not only do you get to use the web-swinging to its fullest potential, but you also have to turn your spidey senses on and get used to the layout of the city. Then there is the Black Cat camera mission, which involves tracking down her cat toys and hopefully snapping a picture to figure it all out someday. There are so many ways to get sidetracked in this game. Almost all of them feel rewarding and worth your time.

Learning To Love Marvels Spider Man 3

Marvel’s Spider-Man went from something I swore I would never play to one of my favourite videogames from the last decade. It’s far from perfect, and I didn’t even mention the wonky physics or all the copy and pasting found throughout New York. But none of that matters right now because I’m happy I finally gave it a chance, and it’s a shame it took so long for me to do so.

Jon Wilson

Jon Wilson

Staff Writer

Lover of dogs, video games, and Fall.

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