Spider-Man is the latest effort by Insomniac Games, the US software house, for Sony home consoles. It has become the fastest-selling exclusive for the playstation 4 system and shows no sign of stopping, thanks to the presence of one of the most loved superheroes ever. On the Facebook page, on Youtube and on Twitch we played the title from start to finish and completed the secondary activities. Here are our thoughts on this:
In the game we play Peter Parker, a young scientist who has been wearing the Spider-Man mask for eight long years. In this timeline, the wall climber has already dealt with most of the villains that distinguish his stories and at the beginning of the game he is preparing to arrest Wilson Fisk. Peter will find that eliminating a powerful crime boss opens up a power vacuum, something many would like to fill.
In Spider-Man's private life things are certainly not better, between a miserably failed relationship with Mary Jane and her work as an assistant to Dr. Otto Octavius (not yet transformed into one of Peter's nemesis).
Without making spoilers, I believe that history is the absolute strength of this title. It is told at the right pace, skilfully avoiding downtime and pushing you to want to play it in one breath. All the characters, both good and villain, evolve within the work and come to new awareness about them and what surrounds them. There will be several moments with a high cinematic feeling (obviously with QTE) and others with disarming sadness. Do not expect a happy ending, but a bittersweet one that will make you hope for a sequel.
Spider-Man is a title that exploits the cartoon material in an excellent way, giving us a talkative wall climber and a clumsy and busy Peter Parker. Several times in the game the protagonist will have to ask himself what is really important. Fortunately Peter will not be alone in having to handle situations, because he will find himself interacting with other masterfully written characters.
Female protagonist is Mary Jane Watson, Peter's ex-girlfriend and the only connoisseur of her secret. The developers decided to scale the aesthetic beauty of the character in favor of a more common appearance, sinking the idea of Mary Jane as a sexy bomb in need of salvation. The girl works as a reporter and is constantly looking for a good story, often ending up breaking the rules and getting into trouble firsthand. During the game, Mary Jane will repeatedly invoke her independence and will do anything to prove useful in discovering confidential information.
Miles Morales makes an appearance in this video game. We see him lost in his pain, looking for a purpose and a way to feel useful. Thanks to Peter and Aunt May, he will be able to discover a concrete way to do good and start taking his first steps towards his destiny.
Peter's aunt is a key character in his stories. In this work, however, he does not represent the relative who is at home and worries. Zia May manages a shelter for the homeless and spends most of her hours there, resting little and giving all she can to do good.
A note of merit to the game should be given precisely for the reinterpretation of the female characters, seen a little less as an angel of the hearth in favor of a more active attitude compared to the problems of New York.
One of the painful notes of the game, or at least not positive, is the gameplay. In the face of an excellent spider web movement system, which forces players to think about where to move and at what height to do it, we do not find an adequate combat system. The FreeFlow introduced and perfected by the Arkham series is now out of date and absolutely not up to today's standards. The enemies are the classics of the genre and innovations in this sense can be counted on the fingers of one hand (maimed). The same monotony accompanies the boss fights, almost all trapped in the "dodge until the boss gets tired and then hit him" strategy that does not in any way enhance the excellent variety of Spider-Man villains. The fact that all types of enemies are weak at throwing objects, which are full of maps, can make everything dramatically easy.
Graphics, soundtrack and performance
From an aesthetic point of view, the game has nothing to envy to other similar titles released recently. A negative note, compared to the amazing aesthetic aspect of the game, is the use of very few models for New York citizens. Walking with Spider-Man through the streets it is very easy to meet up to thirty people with the exact same face. One could certainly do better.
The soundtrack is impeccable and always gives the right feeling to the scene, be it epic or dramatic, without ever missing a beat. Hopefully such a cure will also continue in future titles. Excellent news also for the dubbing, both original and Italian, due to the quality of the voice actors chosen and the phrases both in the travel version and in the firm version. Speaking in more detail, Spider-Man's voice actors had to dub all the phrases both in case the character is standing still and if he is moving, with evident breath.
Note of merit also for the performances. We were able to play the entire game live, on a Ps4 Pro system, without noticing significant frame drops that compromised the experience.
Very painful note of this game, which compromises its excellence, are the secondary missions. Both collectible and secondary collection missions are far too many for the type of variety they offer. Unless you dose them throughout the adventure, you will find yourself getting bored in completing most of them. So pay attention and, if possible, stop the main story to do it and enjoy it.
As far as replayability is concerned, the game offers the possibility of a new game plus in which obviously all the equipment can be unlocked. In spite of everything, I don't see why not simply start a new game on higher difficulty, just to have a bit of challenge.
Insomniac Games had an important task: to bring back to our homes a Spider-Man game that was up to par and left us with a hunger for superheroes. Regarding this mission, I believe they have done an excellent job. Unfortunately, they did not try in any way to innovate the genre, taking full advantage of the Arkham series and earning the title of Arkham New York. Given the development times and the generated hype, I consider having produced only a "good game" a sort of failure. I expect more from this saga, which has so much to offer, and I hope that Insomniac will no longer present us with a homework on Spider-Man but a great work, to be remembered even in ten years.