Insomniac’s “Spider-Man” swings above the rest

One of the most anticipated games of 2018 was Insomniac Studios’ new Spider-Man game, which released on the PlayStation 4 exclusively on Sept. 7. The game, which was received very well by both critics and fans alike, was a breath of fresh air to start the Fall season and is yet another success for Sony.

 When it was showcased at E3 in 2016, at first, people were skeptical toward the game because it may have not been able to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors. One of these games, “Spider-Man 2” on the PlayStation 2, is considered one of, if not the best Spider-Man game of all time. Insomniac heard this and wanted to ensure that this new Spider-Man I.P. would be better than all others. The studio did not want to be overshadowed by earlier Spider-Man games, and it delivered in all categories. “Spider-Man” has a gripping story, fantastic gameplay, and it gives the player the overall feeling of being New York’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

The story is not based on a storyline from the comics, though it does borrow some things here and there. Insomniac wanted to make an entirely new story with a whole new twist on things.

The game takes place in present day New York, eight years into Spider-Man’s superhero career. Peter Parker, who is now out of college, works in a low-level laboratory for a company. During those eight years, Spider-Man has matured to become a better hero, and after so long, he finally thwarts his nemesis: The Kingpin. After he is incarcerated, a new villain appears and tries to take over New York’s criminal underground. This new villain, who calls himself “Mr. Negative,” may be Spidey’s toughest fight yet as it threatens not just Spider-Man’s life, but Peter Parker’s life as well. Like Insomniac said in an interview, “The best stories are when Spider-Man and Peter Parker’s lives collide,” and this is definitely one of those stories. Plus, the chemistry shown by Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker and Laura Bailey as Mary Jane Watson really shines through in their performances and makes you feel more connected to the titular characters.

The first thing that anyone thinks about when playing any Spider-Man game is the swinging mechanics. In previous Spider-Man games, they had mechanics that were desirable at best. By that, I mean that they weren’t up to par. Out of all the Spider-Man games, the one with the best swinging is Spider-Man 2. But I believe that this game rivals (if not outclasses) Spider-Man 2 in terms of swinging and combat, in addition to so much more. Traversal in this game is so good. You feel so free swinging along the New York Skyline. It’s almost exhilarating. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the webs stick to surfaces and doesn’t let you swing on an “invisible ceiling” like previous games.

Along with web swinging, web zips also mix so well together with the adrenaline rush that is traversal in the game. Mixed with running on the walls, flipping over the buildings, and zipping through water towers with the greatest of ease, this is by far the best thing about the game right next to the combat. Especially since the map is huge and has a lot of collectables and side missions for you to explore throughout the entirety of the game. These collectables can be found in backpacks strewn around the city, and the side missions range from defusing bombs to stopping crimes like any normal superhero would do.

The combat in the game is very much like Rocksteady’s “Batman: Arkham” series, but it has its own twist on it. It utilizes Spider-Man’s agility and reflexes, various gadgets, and even air combat to make fighting feel fresh every time you face off against somebody, whether it be Mr. Negative’s goons or basic criminals. There are also various suits that you can get throughout the game that come with different “powers” that can give you the edge in battle. Things like increased damage, a resupply of gadgets, bullet deflection, or even saying quips as you fight are just some examples of how suit powers can benefit you.

Overall, the game is simply amazing (no pun intended). You can tell that Insomniac put a lot of effort and heart into the game to make sure that this was the best Spider-Man game of all time, as well as possibly the best game of the year. From all the nods to the suits, the various tiny Easter eggs and everything else you can tell that this was made by true Spidey fans. If you have a PlayStation 4, you must buy this game because you are missing out if you don’t.