There are two ways to make video game-related media that isn’t directly a video game. The wrong way, which is most of the Halo books, which are one of two things. They’re either just a straight recap of the game (why not just play the game?) or very boring, tedious stories that end up becoming necessary plot points in the games. Seriously, if you ever wondered why you had no idea what was going on in Halo 4 or 5, it’s because really important shit was hidden away in novels or live action web-series.
Then there’s the good way, which serves to simply deepen the lore of the world of the game, which some Halo books do, as does this book, Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover. You don’t need to read this book to play the game, you don’t have to read it to understand anything going on in the game. It’s a prologue, it’s got some cool stories, some interesting character interactions, it’s a fun little romp from time-to-time, and it’s got enough well-written drama to keep you invested.
For example, there’s some great interaction in the book between Peter and Mary Jane that’s not relegated to her being the damsel in distress. In fact, she’s pretty awesome here, I really appreciated her in the book and I’m excited to see what she’s like in the game. Sometimes she acts even more ballsy and badass than Peter, and that’s a nice change of pace!
The book explains how Spider-Man takes down the Kingpin (as the beginning of the game takes place as he is being placed under arrest). You’ll also get to meet a few other villains that I won’t spoil, but it’s fun to hear about what they’re getting up to during the events before the game. I don’t imagine that most of these stories will be referenced in the game, as the game is centralized around other characters, but it’s still cool.
Though the book is around 400 pages long, it doesn’t feel very long as the truly interesting parts are paced pretty well. There are a few points in the story where it feels like you just get long drags of nothing, and at those points I REALLY wanted to put the book down. If I wasn’t reviewing it, I most likely would have, because it really lost me at a couple points. If I can recommend this book to anyone, it would be to people that want to play the game, or just Spidey fans in general. It definitely warmed me up for the game and got me more hyped for it, but if you never read this book, you’re not missing much. Maybe it’s really just a 400 page-long promotion for the game, in fact that’s definitely what it is. I still enjoyed it for the most part though, and when I can afford the game, I’ll definitely be picking it up!
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