“Turning in mid-air to snap Avengers Tower feels like peak Spider-Man”
Marvel’s Spider-Man’s carefully thought-out and modelled collectibles made a completionist of Benjamin Griffin. Now smile for the camera!
Few tasks are more menial than sniffing out videogame collectibles. These useless items serve no purpose than to artificially inflate a game’s length. In the case of Marvel’s Spider-Man, however, I’m determinedly tracking down the lot. Throughout New York, Spider-Man’s webbed 55 of his old backpacks to buildings (hey, he had a little time on his hands), and each one contains a nostalgic memento: his bulky first web-shooter; a vial containing the Sandman’s dastardly grains; a business card bearing the details of ace lawyer Matt Murdock, who you might also know as Daredevil. You’re uncovering Spider-Man’s history with each bag you bring in.
Selecting any of these collectibles prompts a line from Spider-Man.“A toy designer made this prototype to get me to license my likeness,” he says of a plushie. “Too bad there’s no way to get paid without revealing my identity.” Then there’s the self-help book titled ‘Work/Life Balance For Idiots’, which would help the famously tardy superhero, “If I ever find time to read it.”
Developer Insomniac created fully rotatable 3D models for each collectible, and the loving attention to detail shows. Turn the Kingpin’s special spice towards the light and you’ll make out greasy fingerprints across the cap. Look closely at the menu saved from Peter and MJ’s first date and you can peruse dishes right down to the baked lasagna. When this much care’s been put into in-game collectibles, you’ll make the effort to collect them.
Only in this game it never feels like effort. Take another collectible, landmarks, which you record with Parker’s camera. True to form, he’s got a quip for each one. “I wonder if king T’Challa got his powers from being bitten by a radioactive panther,” he remarks outside the Wakandan embassy. Web-slinging down a busy boulevard before turning in mid-air to snap a passing shot of Avengers Tower or Doctor Strange’s house in slow motion feels like peak Spider-Man. Even if your actual shot is a blurry mess, Parker always digs it, and that enthusiasm is infectious.
Your in-flight entertainment during all this comes courtesy of J. Jonah Jameson, former Daily Bugle editor and bile-spewing host of a rant-filled podcast featuring sound bites like, “You know what I blame? The internet. Except the part of the internet that carries my show.” And as an extra incentive to hunt collectibles, you’re gaining XP every time your feet leave the floor, whether you’re wall-running, slingshotting, or swan-diving directly through a flock of baffled pigeons.
Our time on this Earth is limited, but due to the way Insomniac couples collectibles to backstory and makes reaching them fun and meaningful, I’m happy to spend a large part of it 100%-ing Marvel’s Spider-Man.
“when this much care is put into collectibles, you’ll make the effort to collect them”