Sony

Devel­oper In­som­niac Games Pub­lisher SIE For­mat PS4 Re­lease 2018

EDGE - - GAMES -

Spi­der-Man, Detroit: Be­come Hu­man, Hid­den Agenda, Knack II, Un­charted: The Lost Legacy, Star Child, Mon­ster Of The Deep: Fi­nal Fan­tasy XV, Shadow Of The Colos­sus, God Of War, The In­pa­tient, Bravo Team, Days Gone, Moss, Skyrim VR, Mat­ter­fall, Hori­zon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds

Much of the ap­peal of Marvel’s friendly neigh­bour­hood Spi­derMan comes from his per­son­al­ity – the sense that, like most of us, he’s mak­ing things up as he goes along. In­som­niac’s ver­sion of the hero, how­ever, looks pos­i­tively pro­fes­sional.

Sony’s be­hind-closed-doors E3 demos are nor­mally in­tended to dig a lit­tle deeper into a game’s press-con­fer­ence show­ing, but our sec­ond view­ing of Spi­der-Man is al­most in­dis­tin­guish­able from the first. This is a Spi­der-Man who, by age 23, has found all eight of his im­plied feet, boast­ing mas­tery over his move­ments un­less the script de­mands oth­er­wise. At its best, In­som­niac’s game is fluid and im­pro­vi­sa­tional, the stuff of our web-fling­ing dreams. But it’s noth­ing we haven’t seen be­fore – both in the press-con­fer­ence demo, and Rock­steady’s Bat­man games.

Parker spends much of the demo stalk­ing through a ware­house, putting down Wilson Fisk’s be­masked goons with a stealthy toolset which, spurts of sticky web­bing aside, plays out ex­actly like an Arkham game. Com­bat it­self is a brawl of canned com­bos and coun­ters,

punc­tu­ated by flashy con­tex­tual take­downs. It’s an ef­fec­tive sys­tem in Rock­steady’s work: Bat­man is, af­ter all, a bruiser by trade. Spi­derMan’s all about the lo­co­mo­tion, though, and we want to see it.

So when our demo tran­si­tions to open-air web-sling­ing, we sit up – but not for long, as the ac­tion plays out ex­actly as it had on Sony’s stage. Chas­ing Fisk’s he­li­copter, Spidey crashes through all the same signs, swings from all the same cor­ners and bashes through the req­ui­site QTEs. This is one of only a hand­ful of lin­ear, story-led mis­sions, we’re told, and we’ll spend the vast ma­jor­ity of the fi­nal game in com­plete con­trol of our ac­tions. So why show the game in this un­flat­ter­ing light? We trust In­som­niac to nail the move­ment sys­tem, but the glossy auto-ac­tion on show here has us wor­ried that things may stray too far into the cin­e­matic to feel au­then­tic.

In­som­niac as­sures us that things won’t al­ways run so smoothly, how­ever. There will be reper­cus­sions for missed QTEs (the hi­lar­i­ously ex­ag­ger­ated fail-state face­plants of Spi­der-Man 3 live in in­famy), although whether they’ll ex­tend be­yond small stum­bles or bland check­point reloads isn’t made clear. It’s even sug­gested that we’ll spend some time play­ing as Parker with­out the Spi­der suit, which we think was meant as a pos­i­tive.

But with the most ex­cit­ing part of the game – that sig­na­ture web­sling­ing – rel­e­gated to just a minute or so of what we’re shown, it’s dif­fi­cult to get a sense of the true game be­hind the shiny mask. It’s not that we don’t want to feel like a su­per­hero. We just hope In­som­niac knows we want our im­pro­vi­sa­tional, free-fling­ing, fal­li­ble Peter Parker – not sim­ply Bruce Wayne with webs.

We don’t doubt In­som­niac’s abil­ity to make New York a play­ground; Sun­set Over­drive’s open-world tra­ver­sal was great, though we could do with­out its bland mis­sion de­sign

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