Video Game Review: “Spider-Man” excels with vivid graphics, immersive gameplay

The release of Treyarch’s “Spider-Man 2” in 2004 was a monumental critical and commercial success that impressed gamers with its revolutionary gameplay and interesting take on the Spider-Man universe. Since then, the famous wall-crawler has starred in 12 other games, none of which measured up to the bar set by “Spider-Man 2.” 

Insomniac Games therefore took on a tremendous task when developing the series’ latest installment, 2018’s “Spider-Man.”

“Spider-Man” takes place eight years after Peter Parker—voiced by Yuri Lowenthal—gained his superhuman abilities. Since then, Parker has been forced to balance work, relationships and his crime-fighting duties as New York City’s favorite web-shooter. 

When a new super villain—Mister Negative—begins terrorizing the city, Parker is forced to take this menace head on, figure out why he’s assaulting the city and identify his targets. 

While keeping New York safe, players spend most of the time swinging along skyscrapers toward new objectives, and Spider-Man’s swinging mechanics are the best to date. Webs fling out and stick to the building nearest Spider-Man, which—along with impressively accurate physics—gives the swinging system a true sense of authenticity. 

The game also features an intensive parkour system that allows Spider-Man to move from any point while the player holds the right trigger button. This allows Spider-Man to quickly run over and around obstacles as well as immediately break into a web swing or wall run if need be. This system is totally seamless, allowing the player to switch from running, crawling and swinging with ease. 

When fighting against New York’s criminals, Spider-Man’s combat is closely related to the combat system found in the “Batman Arkham” games. Players can punch, use webs to accelerate towards enemies and dodge when prompted by the spider-sense. The combat is extremely fast-paced, allowing Spider-Man to jump from enemy to enemy as he swings, kicks, and dodges his way through large groups of criminals. 

The game’s difficulty on “normal mode” is fair, adding different kinds of enemies which require new tactics to take down. It allows for the use of several gadgets including web bombs, electric webs and spider drones that make each fight a unique experience.

Along with top-notch gameplay, Insomniac does an incredible job bringing New York City to life. The graphics are impeccable, with top-of-the line texture and lighting to create a life-like representation of Manhattan. 

The city feels surprisingly alive with a remarkable number of cars and people on the screen throughout. These non-playable-characters regularly react to Spider-Man, from taking pictures and waving to even being able to high-five the superhero while he’s on the ground. 

The city is packed with activities to do. Side quests include stopping randomly-generated crimes, finding old backpacks webbed to buildings from Spider-Man’s high school days, taking pictures of famous NYC landmarks and unique challenge modes.

The game’s main story is also excellent, thanks to phenomenal writing and voice talent from the cast. Insomniac took ideas from both Spider-Man comics and films while creating a fresh world. Excellent writing creates riveting scenes that compel the player to care about Peter and those around him. 

“Spider-Man” is truly a work of art. The game’s excellent gameplay, well-crafted story, sleek look, plethora of fun side missions and ways to upgrade Spider-Man make it hard to quit. For a long-time Spider-Man fan or someone considering a new superhero game, your friendly neighborhood “Spider-Man” is definitely worth checking out.