In Depth

Marvel’s Spider-Man game reviews: the best PS4 title of the year?

Critics hail Insomniac’s ‘authentic’ and ‘heartfelt’ take on the superhero series

The first new Spider-Man game in four years has finally arrived on the PlayStation 4. 

Marvel’s Spider-Man, developed by Rachet & Clank creators Insomniac, is an open-world adventure game set in the bustling streets of New York. 

Despite having decades of movies and comics to draw on, the game’s developers have come up with an entirely new plot for the PS4 title.

With orders for the game now open, here’s what the critics are saying:

The Week reviews Marvel’s Spider-Man

Games based on comic books or movies are rarely held in high regard. 

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, an Atari 2600 game from 1982 based on the hit Steven Spielberg film, is a prime example of how movies don’t always translate successfully into video games. 

The title was panned by critics for its basic visuals and dull plot, leading the game’s publisher to dump thousands of unsold copies into a landfill in the US state of New Mexico. These were recovered during an excavation in 2014. 

While we weren’t expecting Marvel’s Spider-Man, a Playstation 4 exclusive title developed by Insomniac, to be quite as bad as E.T., we were initially a little sceptical of its merits.

Our doubts were quickly cast aside as Spider-Man is brilliant from the start.

The first thing players will notice is the quality of the graphics. Spider-Man is a stunning game to look at thanks to its brilliant lighting model, which replicates different times of day with realistic results.

Insomniac’s recreation of New York is also striking. From the chewing gum-stained pavements to the rooftops of skyscrapers, every detail has been captured. The game looks superb on a powerful Pro model, but it’s still stunning on the base-level PS4. 

Spider-Man is best known for swinging between buildings and players will be doing plenty of that in the game. The controls do take time to master, however, and the hero can sometimes feel as if he’s floating, rather than swinging, between city streets. 

Peter Parker, the man behind Spider-Man’s mask, sadly isn’t voiced by the English actor Tom Holland, who played the superhero in the 2017 movie Spider-Man: Homecoming

But the American voice actor for the PS4 version – Yuri Lowenthal – does a fantastic job of conveying Parker’s wit and charisma.

Fans will spot a number of characters from the Spider-Man comics and films throughout the game, but we’ll leave them as a surprise for now. 

There’s also a host of outfits to collect as well as objects to find. You can look around some of these objects, which include a menu from Spider-Man’s first date with Mary Jane. 

It’s a system that feels as if it’s been plucked from the recent Tomb Raider games, but it works well, adding another layer of depth to the game’s world.

Overall, Insomniac have developed an impressive superhero game. Not only is it a good example of a video game based on a movie and comic franchise, it’s one of the best PS4 titles to date. 

What do the critics think?

The game has been well received. 

Giving it a nine out of ten score, Gamespot says Insomniac’s adventure game feels like “an authentic interpretation of a beloved creation.”

Delving into the relationships Peter Parker has with other characters, such as his girlfriend Mary Jane, make the game’s story feel “heartfelt”, the gaming site says.

Other critics are also impressed. IGN’s Jonathon Dornbush says: “I wanted Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 to make me feel like Spider-Man: To sail between the high rises of New York City, to nimbly web up hordes of enemies, and tussle with familiar, animal-themed villains.”

“I was left delighted at nearly every step of its 15-hour adventure thanks to a surprisingly deep tale that mines the plights of both Spider-Man and Peter Parker to great emotional success”. 

Orders and release date 

Marvel’s Spider-Man is available now on Amazon for £47.99.

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