#1 // Marvel’s Spider-Man
I love me some Spider-Man.
Honest – he might be one of my favorite
comic book…no, characters in general. The fact that Peter Parker isn’t a perfect person- he makes mistakes, screws up relationships, and can be a massively awkward ditz – and his alter-ego of Spider-Man isn’t all that different, maybe a bit more mouthy. Unlike Superman who seems like he can do no wrong, or Batman, who feels like the most overpowered human being ever created at times.
I like my characters flawed and beatable.
I’ve played nearly every Spidey game there is with the exception of the Amazing Spider-Man games and a few others. Separation Anxiety, Maximum Carnage, Spider-Man (The SNES game, PS1 game and the later PS2 game based on the Sam Raimi film.), even that weird Arcade’s Revenge game.
My actual favorite was always the PS1 game – the one with the kryptonite fog hazard in the city that was used as an excuse to not have Spidey ever on the ground – and had the great Stan Lee as a narrator. I loved it because you were basically playing the animated series but with a story all its own.
The PS2 games were great, for sure – and I loved Spider-Man 2’s swinging mechanics for how free and expressive they could be- but I always felt those games were hindered by having to adhere to the movies they were based on. They were at their best when they were breaking away from the movie plot, but still dragged down by relatively weak performances from the film cast.
Enter Marvel’s Spider-Man, quite possibly the best video game take I’ve ever played featuring Spidey. The story was top-notch, well written – and the cast chosen give some of the best interpretations of these characters ever put to the screen. I especially want to see Stephen Oyoung in the MCU now – I honestly don’t think anyone could play Mr. Negative as well as he did.
The combat, while not original, is a perfect fit for Spider-Man. Truth be told, I feel the Arkham-style gameplay is actually a better fit for Spider-Man, who is often depicted as bounding from bad guy to bad guy with grace, speed, and acrobatics.
All of the different suits and little Easter eggs calling back not only to the comics and movies but the previous games as well. A restaurant that plays the “Pizza Delivery” song, a little drawing depicting Spidey rescuing a balloon – you can tell that the team at Insomniac loves this character and loves everything he’s been in.
The way suits and suit powers can be mixed and matched so you can play the game the way you want while wearing the costume you want.
All of the amazing accessibility options that make it easy for people with disabilities to enjoy the game – like making QTEs holds instead of taps or turning them off altogether. (With no penalization in the gameplay for doing so.)
Heck, even the platinum trophy – something I generally don’t care about and don’t bother attempting to get unless I really enjoy the game – is an extremely simple, fun and fast platinum. Simply play the game and do just about everything it has to offer. Which is a lot – but not overwhelmingly so.
It’s no Assassin’s Creed, but there are plenty of collectibles to get that are actually worthwhile – they unlock new suits and also grant the tokens you need to purchase said suits. Plus they’re all marked on the map so they’re never hard to come by.
This is starting to run a little longer than I thought – I really, really enjoyed this game if you can’t tell – so the last thing I want to talk about is the web-swinging.
It’s top-notch. I’m not gonna repeat the cliche here – you already know what it is, and it’s true, but it’s more than that. The weight of the swinging. The momentum you build. The precise control that you have over where you’re swinging to. The options you have for when and how you swing. The ability to even swing through Central Park. It all feels great, especially when it all starts working in tandem for the first time. Linking together swings, leaps and web zips that effortlessly glide through suspended pipes in one fluid combo is one of the most satisfying gaming moments I’ve ever had. And while you don’t get the same stupidly fast speeds of Spider-Man 2 that feel like he’s going to be torn asunder due to g-forces alone, you do pick up a lot of speed while swinging – and it’s exhilarating.
The swinging feels so good I actually feel a bit bad for the animators and artists who worked on the wonderful subway loading screens when fast traveling-because why would you ever fast travel when your movement options are this good?