Spider-Man PlayStation 4 Review

Get ready to swing across the city of New York, fight crime and become the best super hero you can be with Insomniac Games newest adventure Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4. Are your Spidey senses tingling yet?

Gameplay

Insomniac games has aimed the bar exceptionally high here with Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4 and I am glad that they did.  One point I must mention before I begin is that I am not a massive super hero fan.  Sure, I know who Spider-Man, Batman and other characters are but I am by no means an expert with the intricate details of our super heroes.  But that doesn’t matter to me and nor should it to you because Spider-Man takes you on an amazing journey, no matter who you are and pulls you into its world that instantly feels great and one that I am sure you will love.

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Spider-Man is an open world adventure where you explore the city of New York and complete various main story quests as well as a host of side quests to boot.  Throughout the story you play as Spider-Man of course, but also as Peter Parker who is Spider-Man for those who did not know (spoiler alert).  You are quickly introduced to Spider-Man’s web slinging mechanics which as very easy to use.  Pushing the R2 button down will allow Spider-Man to web sling and with the left thumbstick you can control the duration as well as the direction of that swing.  Pressing the X button at the peak of that swing allows Spider-Man to leap further forward before you press the R2 button again to continue forward.  It is very intuitive and in a matter of minutes you are traversing the entire city, running up the sides of buildings and leaping through the skies.  I can really appreciate the work that has gone into Spider-Man in order to make the control system extremely intuitive, free flowing and not a clunky mess which I applaud Insomniac for.

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The main story is extremely solid and will run you approximately 15 hours or so to complete.  This can be extended significantly if you take your time and complete the various side missions and other quests which unlock throughout the game.  For example some of the early side quests that you unlock involve finding all of Spider-Man’s back packs that are scattered across the city in some rather hard to find places.  You need to use your own Spidey senses to follow the sound to your destination.  Other examples of side missions include a photo mode which requires you to take pictures of various land marks that are scattered throughout the city as well.  I found these fun as I’ve never been to New York but thanks to Spider-man, I feel as if I’ve already been and have the photos to remember it by.  Aside from the various collectible’s, there are other side quests and missions for you to complete for various people which I won’t spoil here, but all in all there is plenty to keep you busy in between the main story missions.  In fact, I recommend that you do your best to save citizens, defeat random gangs, help people in need and more as there is lots of XP and rewards to be earnt that ultimately help you level up your character.

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The main story mode is great and don’t worry I won’t spoil that for you here.  I must mention that the story is very well paced and Insomniac has put a lot of effort into telling the story and keeping you engrossed in it.  There are some areas of the game which do feel a little repetitive which include entering a building, taking out all the enemies and then progressing but that is part and parcel with the experience so I never found it overly draining, it just felt familiar.  That’s also probably due to the fact that the gameplay here resembles that of games such as Batman Arkham Asylum, one of my favourite games indeed.  Much of the combat also feels very similar right down to the slow motion actions when you defeat the last enemy in a particular fight or wave.  That brings me to the combat mechanics. 

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The combat in Spider-Man is familiar and evolving.  Spider-Man loves his gadgets and you will find yourself unlocking new weapons or shall I say techniques to disabling your enemies.  You can get through most of the game by mashing the attack button, dodging and jumping out of the way.  However using your web mechanics truly adds to the experience greatly.  The web takedown is one of the early moves you learn which involves web slinging to an enemy and taking them down and then retreating.  However I soon began to make use of other great techniques such as the web trap which places a web grenade on a wall so to speak and as soon as your enemies cross its line of sight, then are covered in webs and pinned against the closest wall.  Also, another attack with I loved to use involved pressing both L3 and R3 triggers which enabled Spider-Man to jump up, spin around like a merry go round and rain webs on all the enemies in sight.  Great for getting you out of that sticky situation.  No matter what you choose to upgrade, use or implement, there is a host of attacks and gadgets as well as attacking combinations to use and experiment with.  Therein lies the beauty of Spider-Man as some missions give you a choice. You can approach the mission stealthily and take out enemies one by one, or you can go in kicking, dodging and running rings around your enemies in hand to hand combat.  The main story missions and side missions are well structured and never feel like a chore.

Graphics & Sound

The city of New York is extremely well created, sure it’s not a 1:1 representation of every building, however the main layout, landmarks and important locations are certainly represented well.  The lighting and reflections on the glass windows for buildings were excellent, as well as the detail on the city streets, shop stalls and NPC characters.  About the only complaint I would make was some of the lip synching was a little out of tune, but nothing I couldn’t live with in that regard.  The fluidity of the web slinging was also impressive as I was initially concerned that frame rate issues and performance issues would plague my experience as I played on the base PlayStation 4.  However Spider-Man ran and performed well and I can only imagine how great it would be on a PlayStation 4 Pro console. 

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Overall

Insomniac have done an amazing job here with Spider-Man which has been to draw me into this world and to become the super hero Spider-Man.  From the excellent campaign to the wealth of side missions, there is always something to do in New York.  The combat system is familiar and works well and offers you more than enough variety to tailor the experience to your own liking.  I truly felt like Spider-Man himself which is the ultimate compliment that I can pay the developers here and I encourage you to pick up this great game and experience it for yourself.

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Thank you to Sony for providing a copy of Spider-Man for review purposes.

Written by

Paul Barbara

I've been an avid gamer since I was 5 and owned almost all systems possible in that time. I love podcasting, having produced over 280 episodes over the last 7 years and I get a real buzz out of discussing all this gaming news with other gamers. So tune in!

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