Sider-Man, one of the year’s biggest releases, is almost upon us. Since the day of its announcement, developers Insomniac games have seemed like the perfect foil for this famed web-slinger, with their history of excellent humour, gadgets, traversal, and just great game in general, and we’re not too far away from experiencing that for ourselves. As we gear up for the game’s imminent launch, then, it’s time we take a look at some of the most exciting pieces of info we have on Spider-Man, which is what we’re going to be doing in this feature. So without further ado let’s jump right in.
Of course, the first question that comes to mind when one thinks of a Spider-Man video game is, how will the web-slinging work? That’s the one element of any Spidey experience that has to be nailed down to absolute perfection, in the eyes of so many people. Insomniac have been spending a great deal of time on this particular aspect, and from all that we’ve seen so far, it’s looking like it’ll turn out great. Velocity and momentum are going to be key factors when swinging around New York in Spider-Man, as they should be, and with a repertoire of a multitude of possible moves and abilities, it looks like there will be plenty of fluidity for players while they’re doing whatever a spider can.
HUGE OPEN WORLD
Spider-Man is going to be an open world game, which obviously makes the web-swinging aspect even more important than it would have been to begin with, and Insomniac have also said in the build up to the game’s launch that they’ve focused quite a bit on making the world as alive and well designed as they could. For starters, the size of the world itself is going to be suitably huge (the biggest open world in a Spider-Man game to date, in fact), while things such as citizens and pedestrians reacting to Spidey as he swings past them will be looking to add even more flavour to the environments.
Being an open world game, you’d obviously expect Spider-Man to have a plethora of side content to dive into, and that’s obviously going to be the case. Robberies, car chases and other such activities will see players attempting to stop criminals’ exploits in the city simply while they’re just swinging arounds, while other side activities, such as looking for Peter’s bagpacks throughout the map will also count toward the optional content. Meanwhile, there’s also going to be a photo mode in the game, and given Peter Parker’s history as a photographer in Spider-Man story, players can expect optional content focusing on that aspect as well.
Contextualization seems to be incredibly important in video games these days, as it should be, and it becomes even more important in video games of a vast, open world nature. All the side activities and ancillary experiences such games offer can often seem at odds with the crux of the entire experience, but more and more we see games trying to tie everything they’re offering together with some sort of narrative or thematic threads. Which, it seems, is what Spider-Man will be attempting to do as well. Pedestrians and citizens reacting to Spidey in various ways, such as requesting for high fives and selfies, is something we’ve already spoken of, but we can imagine it’ll go a long way towards doubling down on the fiction of the famous superhero, just as an example.
While web-swinging might be one of the most important things a developer needs to get right in their Spider-Man game, combat is probably right alongside it. At first glance, it’d be easy to think of Spider-Man’s combat as just another clone of what we’ve seen in the Arkham games, but Insomniac seem to be developing around the very core fundamentals of Spidey as a character. As such, speed and agility look like they’re going tp be very important, as is something like dodging. Meanwhile, environmental combat also looks to be a huge part of the game, with Spider-Man making use of things in his surroundings as much as he can, while making use of his various abilties and gadgets in combat is also going to play a very significant role. Oh, and air juggling- can’t wait to play around with the air juggling.
But of course, stealth is also going to be a major way of playing this game. Spider-Man isn’t a brawler, after all, which is something that any fan of the property would tell you- he’s a master of improvisation, and being stealthy during combat scenarios automatically plays into that (while the fact that Spidey is as averse to bullets in this game as Batman was in Arkham also will be a pretty big factor). Players will of course be able to use Spidey’s own innate abilities while they’re being stealthy in situations, bbut just like combat, other factors will also play a role, such as making use of the environment or utilizing the vast array of gadgets at Spidey’s disposal.
Speaking of the gadgets, there’s going to be a lot of them in this game, which honestly is something we all would have been expecting anyway, given Insomniac’s storied history in this area. Spider-Man will have a gadget wheel, just like practically every other game Insomniac has ever created, and there’ll be plenty of stuff for players to choose from, from tripwires and web bombs to even a Spider-drone. All of this is stuff that, as we’ve already discussed, is going to have a lot of uses in combat, traversal, and stealth.
Spider-Man shows a Peter Parker who has been playing the role of this web slinger for a pretty long time- he’s experienced in what he does, so even when we begin the game, we’re going to be stepping into the shoes of a pretty adept superhero who knows what he’s all about. But even so, Insomniac have incorporated a progression system into the game, to help players get even stronger as the story progresses. Players will get XP for doing all sorts of thing, ranging across combat, exploration, traversal, and other things, which will allow them to level up. Levelling up will net players skill points (which, it seems, is something they will also acquire through other means, such as completing story missions), which they will be able to use unlock new abilities or power up older ones.
Players are also going to be able to equip a variety of different suits in Spider-Man, which, honestly, has to be one of the most exciting features in the game. Several of them have been confirmed already, such as the Spider-Punk and Iron Spider suits. Each suit is, of course, going to have a different look, and also unique powers and abilities that players will be able to utilize. If, however, you don’t like the look of a particular suit, or conversely, like the look of one suit so much that you want to stick with it throughout the game, Spider-Man will also allow you to quip the powers of a different suit with the one you’re currently wearing.
Rather than doing yet another Spidey origin story, Insomniac are instead going down a different route, and as such, in Spider-Man, Peter Parker has been doing the superhero gig for a while now. The beginning stages of the game show Spidey going up against Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. the Kingpin, and this will serve as a setup for the rest of the story. Interestingly enough, though, Insomniac have also stressed quite a lot on the fact that this isn’t just a Spider-Man story- it’s a Peter Parker story as well. Which brings us to our next point.
Peter Parker is going to be in the limelight quite a lot in Spider-Man. For starters, the developers have stated that he’s going to be actively involved in the story quite a lot, so this isn’t a game that focuses on just the vigilante side of things. More interestingly though, we’re also going to be playing as Peter Parker quite a bit. How these sections will play, how they will intersect with the game’s more action-oriented parts, and how frequent they will be is something we can’t say for sure yet, but we’re very curious to find out.
Of course, the villain is probably one of the most important things in any superhero story, and Spider-Man is really going all-in on that front. We’ve already spoken about Kingpin, and how he’s going to be involved in the story, while Mister Negative, a lesser known character from the Spidey universe, is also going to play a major role in the game. Other than these two, the likes of Rhino, Scorpion, Vulture, and Electro have also been confirmed, while others such as the Shocker will be appearing in the game as well. Insomniac have stated that there are even more antagonists in the game that they haven’t revealed yet (the E3 2018 trailer seemed to hint at a pretty important one), so that’s something else to look forward to.
The game’s also going to pull in characters from all corners of the Spidey universe to populate its supporting character cast. Mary Jane Watson is going to have a pretty important role in the game (we’ll get to her in just a bit), while it’s also been confirmed that Miles Morales will be involved as well. Beyond that, Aunt May and J Jonah Jameson are also going to be in the game (with the latter having an in-game podcast players can listen to). Meanwhile, Silver Sable has also been confirmed, and we know she has a history of uneasy alliances with Spider-Man, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.
Mary Jane Watson is, as we’ve already discussed, going to have a pretty big role to play in Spider-Man, but it’s actually going to be a lot bigger than many might have been able to guess. How? Well, she’s going to be a playable character. Just how frequently we’ll be playing as her and what we’ll be doing while we’re playing as her is stuff Insomniac haven’t really said much about, but it’s certainly going to be interesting, to say the very least.
PS4 PRO ENHANCED
Of course, being a flagship Sony first party exclusive, you’d expect Spider-Man to leverage the added powers of the PS4 Pro as much as possible, and that’s definitely going to be the case. While it’s disappointing that the game won’t be running at 60 frames per second on the Pro, which has been confirmed by Insomniac, players can look forward to the game looking a lot more beautiful and a lot crisper thanks to its support of 4K resolutions.