Web-slinging through New York, pummelling hooded thugs with nifty gadgets, and listening to J. Jonah Jameson berate Spidey’s actions and fashion choices easily makes Insomniac’s Spider-Man the best video game rendition of the famous Queens menace.
However, while Sony’s Spidey is infinitely better than all of Activision’s cash grabs and the highly romanticised Spider-Man 2 movie tie-in, it is one of the PS4’s weaker exclusives. True, it’s the system’s fastest selling game, said to have had a better opening weekend than Spidey’s return to the big screen as part of the MCU, but Xbox fanboys should be more jealous about not being able to play Persona 5, Bloodborne, and God Of War.
Compared to the aforementioned PS4 royalty and Rocksteady's incredible Arkham series, Insomniac’s first crack at Marvel's biggest icon does a lot of things right, but falls short of being the Amazing Spider-Man, thanks to some major drawbacks and its inability to step out from the shadow of other AAA titles.
4. There's Zero Originality In Terms Of Gameplay
While Insomniac excelled at making Spider-Man a blast to play through their layered combat, cool collectibles, and oh-so-satisfying web-slinging, their fastest selling PS4 title offers nothing new and original.
Now, it’d be harsh to criticise the game for having a boatload of items to collect and towers to unlock seeing as they’re both staples of the open-world genre blueprint, but it’s not cruel to note how the obnoxious amount of ‘random’ crimes are all side activities done before in previous Spider-Man games. The beloved and overrated Spider-Man 2 constantly had you beating up robbers, and Amazing Spider-Man 2 wouldn’t let you go five-minutes without there being a drug deal to bust or a speeding hooligan to crash.
In addition to the repetitive side activities, Marvel’s Spider-Man includes ‘nightmare’ sequences which feel, look and sound identical to every drugged up hallucination in the Far Cry series. And while the combat improves upon Batman’s fighting mechanics rather than outright stealing them, Insomniac did shamelessly attempt to mimic the famous Scarecrow sections from Arkham Asylum with Mr. Negative and Scorpion.
Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with copying the better elements of AAA titles, but when nothing new is offered in addition, it results in a good game occasionally feeling too much like déjà vu. With their inevitable sequel, hopefully Insomniac can think outside the box and provide a refreshing alternative to pasting thugs for stealing cars and robbing jewellery stores.