So my second most anticipated game for this year behind God of War was Spider-man.
2 years ago we saw the debut at E3 of a CGI trailer. It looked amazing, but usually the CG stuff does, it is damn hard to get a gauge of how a game will be from that initial tease.
Hence why I think so many developers are now showing off in-game footage 1st and foremost, so we all have a rough idea what is being show is real.
So fast forward to last years E3 where we finally got to see Spidey in action, and it looked amazing. Jaws dropped in the auditorium, yet we still held on with a little skepticism, as we have all been burned by companies like Ubisoft before.
But this year, 2018 E3, that was when the curtain truly got pulled back and we had our first real taste of a close to finished product that made all us fanboys drool.
Well the day is finally upon us, and I can tell you up front, after having just hit a Platinum on the game, it 100% lives up to the hype.
I can;t recall a time in recent memory where a game lived up to the hype Spider-Man has built up.
Front to back, this game is nearly perfect.
The story is fantastic, with lots of little unexpected twists and turns. Some are predictable, but it is hard not to be when you have so many years of comic history and movies behind it.
Yet through all that Insomniac still made a very solid entry to the Spiderverse.
The only gripe I can offer about the story is the pacing. for the first 80% of the game, the pace is rather leisurely, you complete missions at your own pace, and that holds true start to finish. But the game goes from just a friendly neighborhood spider doing his thing, to a bullet train in no time.
The final act is 100% action, back to back boss fights.
This is after about 25 hours of build up.
So it just felt a little jarring after the way the rest of the game played out.
When Spider-man really shines though is in the game design. The city traversal is top notch, from web swinging to wall running, the game is just fun. And that is a key element here.
We have had a lot of open world games, that by the 40hr mark you are absolutely sick of running on rooftops or diving into haystacks.
Spider-man never loses that feeling of wonder though, There is just something cathartic about swinging around the city mindlessly. Stopping to take down the occasional thug squad.
As the game progresses you get more and more swing abilities as well, from doing fancy flips in the air for bonus xp. To the ability to drop from the sky like a bomb on a group of enemies.
The only part that falls apart a little is in the later part of the game when you unlock the challenges.
2 of these types of challenges will have you racing after a drone or chasing down bombs in a limited time frame. Completing them requires little effort for a Bronze medal, but if you are trying to unlock all your gadget abilities and suit add-ons, then you need to hit gold on every one of the 14 challenges.
This becomes an issue due to the traversal mechanics.
Because you have to go as fast as possible, the system starts to show its flaws. That nice leisurely swinging, now becomes a frantic button mash, with Spider-man gabbing onto things you do not want.
Like swinging into a wall and now he is crawling up it. Totally breaking the flow, and blowing your chance at a gold medal.
Now the good news is, you only need enough challenge tokens unlock all his suits to get the Platinum trophy, so you can pretty much get bronze on all of the chase challenges, and still end up with enough tokens from the other 2 types, a combat and a stealth challenge.
Those are still timed and tough, but without much effort I was able to get gold on most of them, giving me enough medals to get all the suits, plus some left over to upgrade some gadgets.
Lastly we have the graphics and sound.
The sound is Spider-man is outstanding. The entire theater was filled with New York, from sirens whining in the distance to the bustling crowds. Every little detail fills your room with a Atmos setup. Helicopters whirring overhead, to thugs tossing taunts, I don;t know that I have heard a better sounding game in terms of environmental ambient noise.
When closing your eyes, you would be hard pressed to not know you wern’t in NYC.
The graphical side of things were a sight to behold as well in glorious 4k/HDR.
While I had to adjust my normal HDR levels a bit due to the overall darkness in the game, it was all in all one of the better looking HDR presentations so far.
They really knew how to milk the power of the PS4 Pro to its fullest.
Aside from the HDR, the game overall looked amazing. The trees swaying in the wind in Central Park, the towering video screens in Times Square. All of it looked outstanding.
Another cool little feature Insomniac added in was interior building details.
Most games will show lights and such in building that give you an idea the city is at least awake at night.
BUt here, Insomniac actually added in 3d looking images into windows. So you could see furniture, sinks, offices, you name it.
Now it was all a clever trick as they were all just flat 2d images, but they felt deep, like you were peering into people private spaces. This is just another little nuance that added to the realism in the game, gave it a sense of reality we do not often see.
All in all Spider-man is a masterpiece, you can see the love and care that went into making it in every little detail.
So hats off to Insomniac for a brilliant job, and here’s to hoping we don’t have too long to wait until Spider-Man 2 swings onto our consoles.
A web-tastic 9/10 and a high recommendation for anyone who loves open world games, or NYC.
One last thing, this is hands down the best costume in the game: