Marvel’s Spider-Man: Staff First Impressions

Our video game contributors here at Rogues Portal are toiling away trying out the latest games. Here are our thoughts on the new Spider-Man game on PS4.

Michael Farris

My first struggle with Spider-Man was transitioning to the new combat controls after playing Batman: Arkham Knight while I was waiting for the game to download. Once I got over that, though, I was flying high through the streets of New York City! The adrenaline of web-slinging around skyscrapers brings me back to those old PS3 games based on the Tobey Maguire movies (remember Bruce Campbell’s voiceover walking you through the instructions?) but even more so with the size of the city that the PS4 allows.

This game is full of goodies and side quests that makes my heart glad (I’m a side-quest fiend and have yet to beat Skyrim because of this.) It reminds me a lot of what I loved about Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag… go to a tower, reveal the map, and then go find all the pretty obviously marked secrets. Unlocking new skills and suits adds to the addiction level of the game. I’ve changed my suit enough to get a trophy for it; currently I’m rocking the Punk Spider suit.

I think my biggest hangup early in the game, strangely enough, was the voice actor they picked for Peter Parker. I wasn’t a big fan at first, but when he gets into the “Spider-Cop” banter with Yuri, my hard head softened, and I got over it pretty quick. Seeing how Peter and Mary Jane were designed to be attractive but not impossibly beautiful puts the characters on the “wow they’re just like me” level that Spider-Man comics have always done well. And the Stan Lee cameo is fantastic, especially since (I would argue) it throws shade at “One More Day.”

Loving this game so far. And always make sure you are wearing the proper attire when swinging through New York.

Ryan M. Holt

This is probably the best Spider-Man game since Ultimate Spider-Man a few console generations ago. Like that game, this game doesn’t follow the story of a movie that is out in a theater near you, but crafts its own continuity and fun.

And boy is it fun. Web swinging feels great, but does take a while to get used to. Combat feels a little bit Arkham, a little bit Dynasty Warriors and everything can be punctuated with a THWIP! There is big fan service throughout the game, especially for die hard comic fans. This really does feel like an alternate dimension from the pages of your weekly pull list, and with the addition of this Peter Parker to the forthcoming Spider-geddeon arc, it will be cool to see how this folds into the greater Marvel universe.

Speaking of the Marvel Universe as a whole, this is the only version of Mary Jane that I can stand. She is competent, super relate-able, and has had it up to here with Peter. Initially I was rolling my eyes at her playable segments, but by the end of the game I was wishing there were more, especially after a memorable section in Grand Central Station. Sadly, Miles Morales is playable, but not in his web swinging form.

Loved: Most of the costumes, the gated collectables around Manhattan, the Screwball side quest, the facial animation, Miles characterization, selfies!

Disliked: The lack of certain… Superior costumes (no black suit either?!), Gold level Challenge Missions, occasional swinging mishaps, confusing controls, lofty extra goals

Stacy Dooks

This game is a delight. From top to bottom, graphics, voice acting, musical score, and respect for the history of the character Spider-Man takes up the gauntlet thrown down by Rocksteady with the Batman Arkham games and raises the bar for superhero games and licensed property tie-in games alike. I’ve been playing the game as often as I can since its release, losing myself in fun side-quests and just enjoying the cathartic fun of web-swinging through an absolutely gorgeous replica of Manhattan. Insomniac have clearly put in long hours bringing this game to life and the work shows in an amazing (no pun intended) gaming experience that’s about as close to being Spidey as we’re liable to have until they get the Matrix 1.0 off the ground. If you have a PS4 system and somehow haven’t gotten wind of all the rave reviews (present company included), I heartily recommend you pick up Spider-Man. It’s fun, it’s got heart, and it’s surprisingly affecting at times. In short, it’s spectacular (sorry, I had to).

Brooke Ali

I’m not the most monogamous gamer, I tend to hop easily to the next shiny new game, leaving a trail of half and three-quarter finished titles in my wake. But Marvel’s Spider-Man is shaping up to be one of those rare games that I play steadily until I complete it. It’s been said again and again, but swinging through the beautifully rendered streets and buildings of New York is so much fun! In the opening mission, before the game fully opened up, I got so engrossed in web swinging that I got warned about leaving the mission area twice. The fight mechanics are pretty unique and make good use of Spider-Man’s abilities; I especially like stealth webbing some guys up into the rafters (not unlike the Arkham games).

I’m a big fan of collectibles in games, and again Insomniac brings some out-of-the-box thinking to this common feature. You’ve got the backpacks webbed to different locations around the city (like shards in Infamous), but you can also collect photographs that you take of landmarks, and respond to different types of crimes and emergencies, all of which help you upgrade your suits and their abilities. The characters are also solid, from badass police chief Yuri Watanabe, to some surprisingly heartfelt moments with Aunt May, no one is left as a cardboard NPC whose only job is to point you to the next mission. Its neat getting to take a break from being Spider-Man to play other characters, with different sets of skills and puzzles to solve. But one of the best things about the game is that it’s family friendly enough to play with my 5 year olds in the room; there’s no swearing or gory violence, and for two boys who just had a Spider-Man themed birthday, they love it and will actually sit and watch me play…until they start demanding the controller for themselves! They’re actually getting pretty good.

Chris Becker

Growing up as a kid there were two things I loved, Spider-Man and video games. They would rarely be connected, but sometimes I’d get some okay video games featuring my favorite web head. The year 2004 gave us Spider-Man 2 and showed us what swinging around an open New York City could be like and gave me hopes for games in the future. It could be argued we never reached a high like that again until 2018 with Marvel’s Spider-Man. Swinging through the city, jumping off buildings, jumping through fire escapes all without losing any speed and making it all look stylish is probably one of the first things I noticed. There’s fast travel available later on in the game, but why do that when traveling from one end of New York to the other is so dang rewarding. The side quests aren’t my favorite part so far, but the world Insomniac created has me wanting to plow through the story to see where they take Spider-Man next!

Brooke grew up in Nova Scotia on a steady diet of scifi, fantasy, anime, and video games. She now works as a genealogist and lives in Toronto with her husband and twin nerds-in-training. When she's not reading and writing about geek culture, she's knitting, spinning, and writing about social history.

Brooke Ali

Brooke grew up in Nova Scotia on a steady diet of scifi, fantasy, anime, and video games. She now works as a genealogist and lives in Toronto with her husband and twin nerds-in-training. When she's not reading and writing about geek culture, she's knitting, spinning, and writing about social history.

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