Recently I was able to observe and somewhat participate in a full play-through of the Spider-Man 2018 game, developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. I am not a huge gamer and I stopped watching playthroughs a long time ago, but my boyfriend is an avid gamer and wanted to play games I would enjoy: enter the Spider-Man game. I’m a huge Marvel nerd (as you may know if you follow my blog), and I enjoyed the Batman Arkham games, so we jumped right into Spider-Man.
After finishing, and playing the Miles Morales game, I felt inspired to provide a game review (though a few years late) for those looking to either get into gaming, or seeking an enjoyable game they haven’t played before. I am reviewing the game as a viewer, not as a player. While I did get to try my hand at some web-slinging, I am not a gamer and want to provide a review for all the non-gamers out there. If you’re a hardcore gamer, this may not be the review for you. This review will contain spoilers and details to explain some points I will be making.
In the game, Spider-Man (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal), is a college graduate working for Otto Octavious (voiced by William Salyers) to help develop neural-interface prosthetics. He has already been Spider-Man for years and you’re able to use his abilities to the fullest, though leveling-up is required to build tech and develop some specific strengths. You are thrown right into the middle of Peter’s life, a delicate balance between being a superhero, a nephew, a volunteer, and an employee. He has befriended the police captain, Yuri Watanabe (Tara Platt), and is working with her to take down Wilson Fisk (Travis Willingham). Now, the game does not focus on just one villain, as Spider-Man has an endless supply of enemies, but you do not know this going in. After his defeat of Wilson Fisk, a new villain known as Mr. Negative, or Martin Lee (Stephen Oyoung), makes his first appearance and the journey of Spider-Man trying to stop him and prevent a pandemic in New York begins.
There are many side-quests along the way, my favorite being the collection of backpacks, to keep you busy during the game and not just blow through the main story. There is backpack collecting, which give you snippets into Peter’s life from when he first became Spider-Man to now; taking photos of landmarks, to help build New York and introduce Marvel easter eggs (Avengers Tower, Wakandan Embassy, the New York Sanctum); working on research labs Harry left behind, a passion project of his mothers that help provide backstory for Harry and show how much Oscoro has intertwined itself into the city; completing Task Master (Brian Bloom) challenges and eventually fighting him, leaving some questions for the next game; and taking down villain bases/hideouts, which continue throughout the game as there are Fisk’s mens hideouts, the Demons hideouts, and Sable check-points and bases. There are also crimes that happen throughout, which help you gain tokens and develop your relationship with the citizens of New York. Most side-quests are fun, but the hideouts do get rather tedious as they have 4–6 waves of men you have to fight, a large task if you’re not interested in fighting over and over again.
Tokens! These are important to get upgrades, build new gadgets, and get new suits! You can unlock new suits by completing side-quests, the DLC’s, and leveling up, but without various tokens you wont be able to equip any of them. So be sure to try and get 100% in the game by doing everything that comes your way. Each suit has its own power, which you can use regardless of having the suit on, but it has to be equipped first! My favorite suit (from regular gameplay) was the Ben Riley suit, which is his Scarlet-Spider suit he threw together with a blue hoodie. I made my boyfriend wear it the ENTIRE game, except during the final battle. My favorite suit (from the DLC’s) was the other Scarlet-Spider suit, the red and black one. It has talons and makes him look like a badass. There are also a lot of other cool suits you can get, and the next game should have a new variety to collect.
Once Mr. Negative was defeated, I thought the game was coming to an end. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the game had a whole new set of villains Peter was not prepared to fight. Otto had secretly been creating suits and weapons for his new best friends: The Sinister Six, whom he broke out of the Raft to help him release Devil’s Breath to stick it to Norman Osborn (Mark Rolston). His Sinister Six included Scorpion (Jason Spisak), Rhino (Fred Tatsciore), Electro (Josh Keaton), Vulture (Dwight Schultz), and Mr. Negative. The fight to stop them all is difficult, as they are systematically tearing down the imprint Oscorp has left in the city and not caring about casualties. Devil’s Breath, a virus-like plague killing people with what seems like a cold at first (sound familiar?), is released and the city is barely holding it together. Peter has to fight his mentor, Otto, while severely injured and in distress because Aunt May (Nancy Linari) has caught it and is barely hanging on. The entire ending was extremely emotional and if you’re a big Spider-Man fan, this one will hit you in the feels.
While he does succeed, Peter is a broken man. He had to choose between the city and May, because she did not survive long enough to get the antidote. The scene was meant to be emotional, as it was revealed she knew he was Spider-Man the whole time, but I found myself dry-eyed as she died. The exchange between Peter and Otto was far more emotional than Aunt May’s death and funeral, because I saw her death coming whereas I wasn’t expecting the extremeness of Otto’s actions within this game. Or perhaps it was because Peter was not necessarily alone after she passed, though one person in his life is far more toxic than anyone is willing to admit.
Mary Jane Watson, M.J. (Laura Bailey), Peter’s never ending love interest. In most stories, M.J, is meant to be the perfect partner for Peter, as they often get married and have a kid. However, the more I’ve observed about her character the more I’ve become suspicious of her intentions. Now, after having seen her in the game, I can confirm that she is toxic to Peter, but nobody seems to notice or care. At the beginning of the game they’re not together, in fact they’re barely talking. It’s later revealed she ended the relationship because of Peter’s responsibilities as Spider-Man getting ‘in the way’ of them. However, she takes no responsibility for the parts she played as well. She didn’t have to go out with him to begin with. She knew he was Spider-Man, she had seen his dedication before, so she knew exactly how that would bleed into their relationship. And she is extremely dedicated to her job as well, but it only mattered when Peter was dedicated and had to leave, not when she had things come up or nearly got killed. She still felt the need to blame him for things she knew beforehand. She gets angry at him for ‘babying her’ but she’s the idiot who keeps running into situations where she could easily die. She is not a superhero, she does not have superhuman abilities or a healing factor, so Peter is more often than not forced to go into a situation SHE put herself in and save her, only to be ridiculed with “I had that under control!” No, no she did not have ANY of that under control. She’s fairly selfish as well, fully focused on her career and only really helping him with things if it benefits her journalism. She never did it because she cared about him or the outcome, even when May died! Towards the end of the game she half-ass admits she maybe was at fault too, but it gets brushed past and she never truly admits her fault. As if Peter doesn’t have enough to deal with, he has a toxic girlfriend as well.
Unfortunately the game features several scenes where you’re forced to play as M.J., which are extremely tedious given how incompetent she is. She even uses Peter to save her ass several times, still never admitting she shouldn’t have been in the situation in the first place!
Thankfully Peter has some other interesting and decent people in his life. Black Cat (Erica Lindbeck) is featured in the game, mainly in the DLC, and while she does gaslight Peter about having a kid (which is never technically disproved), in the end she makes amends and fakes her death to continue her life somewhat normally, not as a criminal. Silver Sable (Nichole Elise) plays a large part in the game, coming back in the DLC and somewhat befriending Peter with a high-five, much to his pleasure. And of course, J. Jonah Jameson (Darink De Paul), is heavily featured as he now has a podcast called Just the Facts with J. Jonah Jameson where he continues his bombardment of Spider-Man being a menace, and even bringing people in to argue about what has been going on.
Finally, Miles Morales (Nadji Jeter) is introduced and given his Spider-Man powers. Unsure of what to do, in an end credit scene, Miles shares with Peter that he’s developed these powers and Peter, in turn, shares that he is Spider-Man. Throughout the DLC’s Miles contacts Peter to learn about his abilities and become a Spider-Man in training, leading into his game set a bit after this one. Though Miles is introduced through the death of his father, he is eager to become a hero and follow the footsteps of his dad. Hopefully the women in his life are kinder to him than the ones in Peter’s life.
Overall, as a non-gamer, the story in the game was extremely compelling and well-written. However, boss battles present a challenge (as expected) because the use of gadgets and precise aim is necessary to web-up enemies or render them immobile long enough to take them out. If you’re not an intense battling type of person, this game may not be for you. But, if you’re willing to take on the task of saving New York City and learning how to web-sling, it’s a good game! Feel free to give it a shot or find a play-through of it somewhere.
Pro Tip: If you get motion sickness, make sure motion blur is turned ON because it will help prevent dizziness and such.
If you decide to give Spider-Man a try, have already played it, or seen a walk-through, please comment below and share your thoughts on the game! I’ll be reviewing Miles Morales next so be sure to give my blog a follow! Thanks for reading!
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