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Letters from the Front

( Played on PS4 Pro.)

Insomniac’s Spiderman is a revolution in the superhero genre. The last time a super-hero game was this heralded was the end of Rocksteady’s Batman trilogy in 2015. Spiderman is a throwback to my generation’s Spiderman, Sam Raimi’s Spiderman and a throwback to Spiderman 2, the Spiderman game of my generation that was developed by Treyarch.

This iteration of Spiderman is set in the present day, which is run by Mayor Norman Osborne. Spiderman has been on the scene for the past 8 years and have already put away villains like Rhino and Electro while as Peter Parker, he works as a research assistant and has already broken up with Mary Jane Watson and is stuck in life. We’re entering a world that is lived in and has been going for some time now and that is the biggest plus of this version of Spiderman and it feels like we’re seeing the end of Peter Parker’s days as Spiderman.

The game revolves around Peter Parker and Spiderman and how Spiderman affects Peter Parker’s daily life. The game succeeds in highlighting both, especially at the beginning. Throughout the course of the game, the game begins to take shape and the line begins to blur as some of the villains rise to power like Mister Negative. 

The story is very personal to Spiderman and Peter Parker, many of the villains are bred from his relationship with them and in a way, the story is an origin story for them as many of them are tied to Peter Parker’s life. The decision to forego an origin story has paid off immensely in terms of the story and gameplay. The gameplay surpasses Spiderman 2 in literally everything, I felt power and I felt like I’m on the top of the world, basically the same feeling when I took control of Batman in Arkham City or Arkham Asylum. The web swinging mechanics surpass those of Spiderman 2 and is the most impressive element of the game, you can chain together maneuvers and everything from running on walls to bouncing off poles is a breeze.

 The web swinging is single handily the best feature of the game. The city is another reason to use the web swinging mechanic, taking the long route is the best route and on top of that, most of the exploration throughout the city makes Spiderman more powerful. He may be a scientist but he is also an inventor who can craft things and his power does indeed grow by the time you get near the end. Acquiring new gadgets is a great and satisfying experience that Insomanic likes to dangle in front of you.

The combat is heavily reminiscent of the Arkham trilogy: it’s flawless. Throughout the missions feature great combat sequences that also use the environment around you. Spiderman is allowed to multiply combos and vary up techniques with a nice collection of moves and gadgets. Much like the Arkham trilogy before it, Spiderman rewards mastering new moves as you unlock them. On top of that, there are plenty of rewards to gain like new gadgets and new suit powers and plenty of new suits. Meaningful enhancements are incorporated into these suits like the Iron suit’s multi-legged attacks to the “Spider-Bro” companion that comes with the Stark suit, there are plenty of ways to defeat your foes.

The gameplay changes from time to time. The story focuses mainly on Peter Park but it also focuses on other characters like Mary Jane Watson and the control switches to these characters from time to time which makes the gameplay refreshing. Her gameplay sections refreshed the game a bit with a decent stealth mechanic and showed us why Mary Jane Watson is a great reporter.

The open world is filled with activities, although these activities sometimes fall prey to repetitiveness. Some of the activities are good fun and are skillful while others are way too much of like the combat arenas.

Finally, much like Batman: Arkham Asylum before it, Spiderman raises the bar for one of the most famous superheroes of our time and raises the bar for a superhero franchise that hasn’t had a good run and raises the bar for the superhero genre.

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