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It's been two years since Sony announced that an all-new Spider-Man video game would be coming to the PlayStation 4. When gameplay footage first hit E3 in 2017, I remember myself and a co-worker being absolutely blown away at the graphics. This is the first time a new Spidey game would be hitting a console in a while, and it also felt like the first time that gamers could truly be Spider-Man, webs and all. With Marvel's Spider-Man finally hitting the console, it just needs to be said: This might be the best superhero video game of all-time.
Did you love all of those gameplay videos featuring Spidey swinging through New York City? Know that very early into the game, that will be you. The NYC of the game feels just like the Big Apple, down to the crowded streets and loud pedestrians. The web-slinging technique takes some time to master, but you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to move about the city. And the game is so intuitive, if you accidentally swing into the side of a building, Spider-Man will just start running or crawling alongside of it, as long as you have the trigger pressed. It's one of those things that's been present in every Spider-Man game, but they've absolutely nailed the motions in this one.
This game isn't all swinging through the city with reckless abandon, though; there's a deep story to dive into. For those of you who follow Spider-Man via his decades as a leading Marvel Comics character, know that a host of foes from his villains gallery appear: Norman Osborn, Wilson Fisk, Doctor Octopus, Rhino, and plenty others make appearances, hellbent on putting a stop to Spider-Man once and for all. Many of people from Spidey's civilian life as Peter Parker also make appearances, including Aunt May and Mary Jane Watson. This unique story finds the creators (Sony Interactive Entertainment, Insomniac Games, and Marvel Games) remixing Peter Parker's tried-and-true tale of being a genius who inherits the abilities of a spider to new heights, staying true to what has made these timeless characters tick while breathing life into the source material. This universe feel lived-in out the gate, with each character serving a purpose to the larger story.
Much of the game is about making tough decisions in balancing Peter Parker's life as Spider-Man. It genuinely has a Grand Theft Auto V vibe to it, in the sense that while there's a definite path that the main storyline takes, you can be pulled into numerous vigilante expeditions along the way. One important feature is the communications towers that align the city; at a certain point in the game, Spider-Man is tasked to fixing the towers for the police. This forces him to tap into the communications hub himself, allowing him to pick up the constant chatter on the police scanner. Will you follow the charted path and head into this intriguing tale, or will you drop down to the street and wreck shop on a goon squad mid-mugging? The choice is truly yours.
No matter which path you embark on, you're given an array of fighting techniques that will help you take out the bad guys, as well as keeping you alive. Sure, you could just mash buttons and tough it out, but fighting smarter trumps all in this game. Mastering the dodge technique and web-slinging combat tactics, listening to your spider sense to avoid danger and literally bouncing off the walls to keep your foes guessing will work wonders during your numerous battles as Spider-Man.
As a young Marvel fan, my imagination would always run wild with scenarios that would be infinitely easier if I could just web to a roof and swing through the city, or use my amazing agility to take out a group of thieves and bad guys. With Marvel's Spider-Man, I may have gotten as close as I ever could to actually becoming that superhero.
Marvel's Spider-Man is available now. Sony's also dropped the first DLC for the game, "The City That Never Sleeps," adding new missions to the already-expansive world. Both are also available in a digital deluxe edition.