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Marvel's Spider-Man

Have you been contemplating picking up a copy of Marvel's Spider-Man for the PS4? Well, everyone in the game review sector is talking about the open-world super hero game from Insomniac Games, made in close collaboration with Marvel. It's been one of the most talked about and hyped PS4 exclusives in recent years, and now that the embargo has lifted and the reviews are in, what exactly do the critics think about the web-head's latest open-world adventure?

According to the review from CinemaBlend's own Dirk Libbey, the game is a five star experience, and fun all the way through...

[...] ultimately, Spider-Man is simply a fun game. From the first moments of the title where I began swinging through a bright, beautiful, and wide open Manhattan, I found myself smiling uncontrollably. The city is massive and it feels like a living breathing place.

This is a sentiment that many other critics shared when talking about Marvel's Spider-Man. Several outlets gave the game top scores with perfect marks, proclaiming that the physics were spot-on, the combat was flexible, and the world was beautiful.

In another five out of five star review, Darkstation writes...

There are not enough words to describe how beautiful the game looks, or how despite the huge number of alternate costumes you have access too, nothing feels as right as the new suit Insomniac created. I could spin webs about the excellent boss fights that liter the back half of the game, and how they manage to test your skills without resorting to just packing the screen full of enemies and story-wise. I could do all these things, but I won't because you need to play this and experience it for yourself.

Diving further into the mechanics, GameRant wrote extensively in the review about how fluid and flowing the combat is in Marvel's Spider-Man, likening it to Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham games but also noting that it's its own beast that manages to evolve and stay fresh more than 20 hours into the game...

[...] there is an endless combination of ways to approach combat and all feel viable. Yes, the basic fundamentals will get you by, but digging deep into the menus and the upgrades will turn Spider-Man into an unstoppable weapon. Even 20+ hours in, there were ways to make combat feel fresh and engaging.

It's not all entirely 100% positive reviews, though. Some sites like PlayStation Lifestyle actually dug deep into the intricacies of pacing and consistency, pointing out that unlike the Batman: Arkham series, which spaced out its boss fights and villain encounters in between a smorgasbord of side-quests and open-world exploration, Marvel's Spider-Man had a tendency of back-loading a lot of its villains into the tail end of the game, which they noted felt kind of rushed...

Some of this fan service creates a problem of balance and tone in the story, leaving the narrative to feel lopsided. It's most noticeable when the open-world activities and side missions are available while extremely pressing story missions await. The final third of the game also feels heavily loaded with villains, boss fights, and big epic moments, while everything before that tends to be quite a bit slower paced comparatively.

There are also a few critical reviews from outlets like Digitally Downloaded -- yes, they still scored it four out of five stars, and speak glowingly of its content and story -- but they also point out that if you're looking for something groundbreaking or innovative in the open-world space, this isn't quite the GTA 3 or Mafia of open-world super hero games, writing:

[...] Spider-Man isn't so much a franchise that has had a game built around it as a predetermined gameplay formula that has had the Spider-Man franchise shoved into it. It feels like such a superficial treatment of the property. Yes, swinging around the city is marginally more fun than driving around it (especially since in Spider-Man the city's "ground floor" is exceedingly dull), but at each and every end point - at every icon that you'll come across, you're doing stuff you've already done in dozens of other games, [...]

Of course, the game doesn't have to be a trendsetter when it comes to exploring a popular genre in gaming. At the end of the day, even the harshest critics of Insomniac Games' new title still bowed in reverence to the fun they had while web-slinging and fighting crime throughout the virtual sandbox of Manhattan.

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