Marvel’s Spider-Man: Review

Playtime: 18 Hours-ish. Almost the perfect length for a story, but there is a ton more to accomplish in the game.

I originally didn’t want to play Spider-Man on release. However, when I heard about the length of the game on twitter from Insomniac Games, the developer, I jumped in right away. I’m glad I did. I find it hard to stay invested in longer games, but Marvel’s Spider-Man is just right. The game delivers on an enjoyable experience from start to finish without overstaying its welcome. In fact, it’s one of the few games I can’t wait to get back into directly after finishing. And I will as I search for that platinum trophy.

I feel like its important to point out I don’t follow the comics. I only follow the Marvel films, so my expectations for a Spider-Man story might be different than a comic reader.

TL,DR: At the end, as per usual. No Spoilers.

Marvel's Spider-Man_20180908141641.png

Graphics:

For the most part, Marvel’s Spider-Man looks great. You exist in a beautiful digital recreation of New York City. Every piece of the city is detailed and a pleasure to view. Spider-Man and most side characters look incredible throughout the entire game.

Seriously, I felt like I was looking at a game made by Quantic Dream. The faces looked phenomenal and emotive. With a couple exceptions. Sometimes, one of the main characters looked odd and misplaced. It’s like their face was blended to the rest of the world correctly. There are a couple occasions where I was really put off by the distortion or some other weirdness going on with a couple characters in some cutscenes. The difference was displayed more obviously compared to other characters in the same scene. These instances didn’t detract from the overall game but are worth pointing out.

For the most part, the cutscenes were wonderfully rendered. Every single cutscene looked incredible with tons of detail and amazing colors.

My usual complaint, which I may have to retire considering every game suffers, is that the enemies sometimes looked the same. I will say that you fight enemies differently based on their abilities, so having them look the same helped the combat and was only a small diversion.

There are some awesome suits to use in the game. I love being able to choose my version of Spider-Man and spending time in the world as that version. I’m glad there a ton of options so that each gamer can have that same choice. I think it’s cool getting to choose a small aspect of the game that makes it feel like my own experience.

The game looks great from start to finish, with some minor oddities and mishaps.

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Sound:

The sound never really stood out to me in any meaningful way. It sounded fine during combat and cutscenes. I only had one issue with sound cutting out during a single cutscene. But, that was fixed by restarting the scene. Not a major issue.

The music felt a little bit too expected. The game has the Marvel stamp of approval and it’s really apparent with the music. The music felt like a Marvel, for better or worse. The music maintains Marvel movie quality but doesn’t branch out or try anything new.

The voice acting is spectacular in the game. I think Mary Jane Watson, who is played by veteran voice-actor Laura Bailey, steals the show. She nails this performance. Yuri Lowenthal plays our titular character and does a great job. As do the other major characters. I don’t want to spoil any of the other characters because many of them are a surprise. On the whole, the voice actors do a great job.

I can’t say enough about the quality of the voice acting. I think that team at Insomniac Games deserves a ton of credit.

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Technical:

The game performs well, looks great, and functions at a consistent FPS throughout the game. The cutscenes moved into gameplay seamlessly and provided a clear indicator when I was playing and not watching. I never wondered if I was supposed to interact.

I was glad to have that knowledge. I want to feel like I’m part of the experience and not like the developers are trying to pull one over. That never happens with this game though. I felt like my time was respected.

Besides that one weird cutscene sound issue and some minor clipping issues when web-slinging, but that’s really it. The lack of bugs is actually impressive for the scale of this game. In a world where games are played in bugged states or in early access, Insomniac deserves credit for releasing a quality game.  

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Gameplay:

In a surprise to no one, the gameplay is great. The web-slinging and the combat are tons of fun. Like God of War earlier in the year, Marvel’s Spider-Man manages to make the entire game worth the time spent. Few games make every aspect of the gameplay fun and important.

Moving from place to place might be more fun than the combat itself. That isn’t to say the combat is anything but entertaining. But, with a Spider-Man game, roaming New York City is half of the fun.

I never got bored, either. I feel like there are times in many games where I get bored or start to lose interest over a long period of time. That never happened with this game. I was happy to do whatever was necessary to keep the story going or keep looking for that next Spidey suit. I was happy to be distracted by crime in the city or by taking pictures of cool buildings when I wasn’t doing either of the main components of the game.

Every aspect of the game is fun and well conceived. As I mentioned at the start of this review, I can’t wait to get back into the game and see more of the minor details and just spend more time in the world Insomniac Games created.

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Story:

The story feels like par for the course. It is fun without taking many risks. There are a couple moments in the game where I expected something incredible to happen but was let down each time.

There two distinct moments in the game where the story could have taken an unexpected turn for the better, but Insomniac chose to make the easy choice. I think they played to the masses with the story and made sure everyone would like the story. I understand the desire to keep that appeal because that is logical from both a business and storytelling perspective. So, I’m not surprised to see them go a certain way with the story, I just think there were opportunities to make the story excellent.

I am impressed with Spider-Man’s character because he makes some tough choices throughout the game which played out well.

I loved many of the side characters as their development and interaction alongside Spider-Man made sense most of the time.

The character of Spider-Man is exactly what you expect. And, I’m sort of glad I can say the game is what you expect because it’s like gaming comfort food. You can just play this game and appreciate the experience, even if there are some minor issues. But, I feel like Insomniac had more fun with and told better stories for the side characters.

For me, MJ stole the show. There are other great side characters that I won’t reveal, but they’re all pretty great.

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Overall:

The whole game is defined by the word: fun. My time felt well spent and I enjoyed the experience. I would have liked some more risks from the story aspect, but I can appreciate their desire to tell a story that everyone will enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

 

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