SPI­DER-MAN

A swing­ing time

SFX - - Reviews - Ian Dean

RE­LEASED OUT NOW! For­mat Plays­ta­tion 4

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“That’s strange,” quips Spi­der-Man as we swing past the Sanc­tum Sanc­to­rum, tak­ing a snap on our phone as we go. If noth­ing else, Spi­der-Man is a fan’s dream writ large; a teas­ing or­ches­tra­tion of nods and winks to the wider Marvel uni­verse. And it’s bril­liant.

While the game mixes its in­flu­ences, us­ing Ul­ti­mate’s MJ – she’s a fierce re­porter out for the scoop – and drop­ping in Miles Mo­rales (both playable), it also takes time to present a Parker/ Spi­der-Man that’s unique to de­vel­oper In­som­niac.

Eight years of sav­ing New York have taken their toll. Sep­a­rated from MJ and kicked out of his flat, and on the verge of los­ing his job as­sist­ing Otto Oc­tavius, Parker is think­ing the un­think­able: giv­ing up the mask. The story of­fers nu­ance. Its hero is (early on at least) un­heroic; its vil­lains, in­clud­ing Mis­ter Neg­a­tive, are dam­aged and re­lat­able; and it all bar­rels to­wards its cli­mac­tic con­fronta­tion with the Sin­is­ter Six at a pace wor­thy of any MCU block­buster.

But this is a game, a per­fectly poised blend of open-world de­sign, side-quests and Spi­derMan’s own mix of gym­nas­tic com­bat matched by Parker’s guerilla science. Fights riff on the

It works be­cause it’s a love let­ter to the comic

Arkham se­ries’ counter sys­tem, with but­ton prods see­ing Spidey flip and dance from danger, fill­ing a spe­cials me­ter to un­leash suit pow­ers and fin­ish­ers. But un­like in Rock­steady’s games, Spi­der-Man can zip out of danger, web-swing up and over en­e­mies and use the char­ac­ter’s agility to get the edge. It’s how you’ve al­ways wanted a Spi­der-Man game to play.

Once the main story is wrapped, loose threads tied off and se­quel teased, it’s the city it­self that keeps you swing­ing. The game drops fa­mil­iar cameos (Black Cat) and cult favourites (Screw­ball), then en­cour­ages you to hunt down and revel in as­pects of Spi­der-Man’s world: the Avengers Tower is ob­vi­ous, but how about Fog­well’s Gym or dis­cov­er­ing a vial of Sand­man’s gran­u­lar self?

For all its cur­rent-gen spec­ta­cle, mod­ern game de­sign and lu­di­crously fun web-swing­ing, Spi­der-Man works be­cause it’s a love let­ter to the comic book. It’s so good that even Stan Lee makes a cameo.

The Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man #546 team of Dan Slott, Stephen Wacker and Nick Lowe brain­stormed the story with the de­vel­oper.

Turns out that Spi­der-Man hated con­fetti.

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