Marvel’s Spider-Man is easily one of this year’s biggest releases, and a PS4 exclusive that will surely make Xbox One and Switch fans a bit jealous. I know this for a fact now after going hands-on with the game at a Sony E3 2018 event. I’m not saying you should go be a dick to your non-PS4 owning friends, but you are definitely in store for another solid PS4 exclusive this September, so be thankful you have the right hardware to play it.
The demo I played was rather wide open to allow players to get a real taste of traversing the open New York City landscape as everyone’s favorite neighborhood Spider-Man. I took advantage of the loose mission structure to really get a great feel for how Spider-Man can use his powers and web shooters to get around the extensive world map. In this particular game, web-slinging your way around town is as easy as holding the shoulder button down, which in turn allows you to just aim a reticle where you want Spidey to zip to next. This allows you to really get acrobatic without getting your thumbs tied up in knots while trying to pull off some sort of crazy button combination. Without the need to really focus on continuous web-slinging button presses, you truly do get to experience what it’d be like to be Spider-Man himself, because it’s just so easy to to hold down a single button while steering Spider-Man where you want to go, so your focus is on him and the environment, and not the controller.
The web-slinging traversal just looks awesome on screen too. It has a very cinematic feel, as most aspects of this game does. You feel more like you’re playing in an animated movie than a video game, so like I said before this game definitely has channeled the essence of Spider-Man in terms of his traversal abilities.
After I was done slanging around town I decided to go for an objective marker, which had me taking on a group of thugs. This allowed me to experience the game’s combat system, which again has been streamlined very well to work with just a few button presses. Like traversal, combat is very cinematic in nature, and you get some camera angles that just scream action flick, so you don’t just see the fights in a standard third person action game view. The camera is very dynamic, so depending on what move you may be pulling off, you can get treated to a mini-action-set-piece that feels like you’re in the middle of a comic book movie.
The combat isn’t brainless though, so don’t even think that you can get by on random, caveman-style button mashing. You must take advantage of Spider-Man’s basic attacks, and his specials, which naturally include some form of web action, or interacting with the environment (think swinging barrels around with your webs). You can equip various web abilities to use too, such as a web grenade, so at all times you’re balancing standard melee attacks with Spidey’s specials. It comes off as a chaotic ballet that is a blast to experience, so I’m glad that the combat isn’t just about button mashing, and that there is some strategy required to take on enemies. Although, my favorite aspect of the combat, just like the traversal, is the visual presentation, because it makes the combat feel more like a show than a game.
After my combat session I then proceeded to enjoy swinging around town again and just perched myself on a high building to take in the overall visual landscape. This is definitely a beautiful looking game, and more importantly it plays well too, so if you weren’t already excited about Marvel’s Spider-Man, you should be. My only complaint is with Spider-Man’s suit design, which I just don’t appreciate. I would have preferred his standard MCU suit over the one he sports, but that’s only a cosmetic gripe at best. Based on what I played it’s definitely shaping up to be one of the best Spider-Man games to-date, so we all should be looking forward to its September release.
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