Insomniac Games’ ‘Spider-Man’ swings into fun

The Peter Parker that Insomniac Games and Marvel Entertainment have crafted in the new “Spider-Man” game is nothing like the one we’ve seen in previous games, or in the many movies. In this Sony-published PlayStation 4 exclusive, Insomniac has crafted the best interactive Spidey adventure ever. And that’s saying a lot, given the quality games Activision released a couple decades back with Treyarch’s “Spider-Man 2” being a stand-out.

The Parker in this “Spider-Man” is older and wiser (23), so he’s been fighting crime in New York City since he was a teenager in high school. That means the combat in this game offers a ton of options to keep Spider-Man alive when taking on wave after wave of heavily-armed bad guys (we’re talking enemies with rocket launchers) or the who’s who of super villains like Rhino, Scorpion, Vulture, Kingpin, Mr. Negative, Dr. Octopus, and Electro. And the controls are designed to allow for more casual gamers to easily button mash for some great maneuvers, while the more astute players can really strategize with how they eliminate enemies (without ever killing them, of course).

It’s worth pointing out that Insomniac has made a lot of great games over the years (including “Sunset Overdrive,” “Resistance,” and “The Unspoken”), but the one franchise that’s my personal favorite from this independent studio is “Ratchet & Clank.” And there are a lot of parallels between the endless arsenal of gadgets (like the Tripwire, Spider-Drone, and Web Bomb) and over 30 suits (including the Homemade costume and high-tech Tony Stark suits that Tom Holland wore in the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” movie) and the way you can play this game.

All of these cool toys are upgradeable, and the game’s intuitive menu system allows you to pick exactly how you want to play as Spidey. This packs a lot of extra fun (and replay) to this game, which also offers a ton of side missions, collectibles and things to do outside of the entertaining story that Insomniac and Marvel have crafted (which stands up to any of the recent movies). The story also offers additional playable characters in Mary Jane Watson (Peter’s old flame and current investigative reporter at The Daily Bugle) and African American-Latino teenager Miles Morales (who stars in Sony Pictures’ “CGI Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” movie on Dec. 14), which changes things up.

While Batman has had his own series of successful and very dark Arkham games in recent years, the thing that’s so different and fresh about Spider-Man is his personality. Voice actor Yuri Lowenthal brings the wise-cracking and free-wheeling Peter (who hasn’t lost his sense of humor) to life in a memorable way. It adds to the whole fun factor of this game, which offers a massive living city to explore (the NPCs will ask for a selfie when you’re on the ground). And web-slinging has never been so intuitive and fun. This game delivers that thrill of swinging just above the rooftops of Manhattan’s busy city streets like no other. The visuals (especially on the PS4 Pro with 4K and HDR) are as amazing as Spidey’s powers. Again, the replay value of this game are through the roof because it’s just addictive to get lost swinging through and around the skyscrapers of the city.

Like Insomniac’s excellent “Ratchet & Clank” games, the only way to play this new take on “Spider-Man” is on PS4. And this amazing take on the web-crawler is worth buying a PS4 to play, if you don’t already own one. There’s even a custom Spider-Man console available, for the die hard fans. But this game is that good. Whether your skill level is Friendly, Amazing or Spectacular, this game serves up an open world adventure that allows you to customize Spidey as you see fit for one of the best games of the year.


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