Spider-Man PS4 Soars Over the Competition [E3 2018 Preview]

Superhero games show us the world of comic books in many ways that film or other mediums simply cannot. Games such as those found in the Batman Arkham series realize the characters found on the pages, allowing players to step into their shoes and realize their strength and adversity firsthand. These games allow us to play with their superhuman abilities, or experiment with their toolkit in a sandbox that is their native environment. In consideration of this translation from page to controller, our time with the new Spider-Man demo from Insomniac at E3 2018 showed the game is an incredible feat for superhero games and PlayStation as a whole.

Spider-Man Preview: Does Whatever A Spider-Man Can

There’s a lot of Spider-Man games, almost too many to count. However, there’s one that many fans herald as the best. That being the Spider-Man 2 film tie-in game from Activision, as it’s open-world and dynamic web-slinging traversal mechanics were innovative. The second-by-second gameplay was an overall enjoyment, and Insomniac strives for that ideology in their own Spider-Man game.

In the 30 minute slice we played, there was a variety of different activities we were able to experience. All culminating in a boss fight with a villain that will be very familiar to Spider-Man fans.

There were at least 6 different side quests with each different icons representing them. For example, the series of Oscorp Industry sidequests had a microscope icon, while Kingpin had a crown signifying takedown missions. These activities highlighted a variety of facets that Peter Parker is known for.

For example, the aforementioned Oscorp Industry sidequest involved us swinging across the New York skyline investigating clouds of gas that were the result of a bioterrorist attack.

Spider-Man Preview: Ka-Pow!

As a scientist, we as Peter Parker collected samples of the gas and triangulated where exactly the chemicals had been emitted. Using Parker’s journalism skills, we then shot photos of the bioterrorists to bring them to justice.

Mechanically, this quest showcased the smooth, fluid, and adrenaline filled web-swinging mechanics that are used for traversal in Insomniac’s Spider-Man. Parker can run up walls, and zip over the top of buildings, ensuring that the player never loses momentum yet is also required to stay active in order to not be bored.

In juxtaposition, we also chose to do a mission that centered around a group of goons at a construction site. This allowed us to grasp the flow of the combat that Insomniac’s Spider-Man has to offer. Playing much like a traditional brawler, we were able to dodge incoming punches and recoil with combos that sent mobsters flying.

However, challenges did arise once adversaries once firearms were introduced. Thankfully in the demo and final game, Parker is equipped with a variety of gadgets and evasive maneuvers. Gadgets that can be intermixed mid-combo, as well as the ability to swing from different buildings for cover to heal (as healing is down by pushing down on the d-pad, rather than a regenerating health option).

Spider-Man Preview: A Shocking Finale

Lastly, we were also able to face off against the boss featured in the demo. The fan-favorite Shocker. The Shocker, also known as Herman Schultz, was doing a typical bank robbery when we as Parker stepped in to intervene.

Parker has a lot of personality in Insomniac’s Spider-Man, and just as many punches were thrown at Schultz as there were quips. Insomniac’s Peter Parker is already quite seasoned as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and it allows not only his abilities to shine but also his humor.

However, with great writing also comes great gameplay. As Schultz sent out shock waves that we were required to dodge as we haplessly searched for a way to defeat him. Spider-Man’s dialogue reflected an unwavering confidence, as we soon figured out we could utilize the pillars that Schultz had been decimating.

We wrapped Parker’s webbing around the columns and hurled them right back into Shocker. Dealing fistfuls of damage by allowing him to be in this vulnerable state. This resulted in another stage of the bossfight where we were required to swing above the Shocker’s shockwaves.

What followed was pretty much a standard rinse and repeat boss pattern. And the fight ultimately led to Schultz quite literally dropping the roof on us (since he had been pulling columns that support the bank’s roof). Ending the demo with a cliffhanger as Herman stood over the knocked out body of Spider-Man.

Overall, Spider-Man is surprisingly a polished experience and is well on its way to impressing millions when it releases in September of this year. Taking advantage of the PlayStation hardware to produce a beautiful New York cityscape and providing the most realized Spider-Man story yet. More importantly, however, the game design talent at Insomniac put themselves to their fullest potential, creating a game that puts fun at the very forefront.