Video games have the unique ability to let us become some of our favourite heroes. With a press of a button or a slight nudge on an analogue stick, we become the character on our screens, controlling their each and every move. There is something powerful about that and a lot of effort goes into making moving around feel fun and engaging. In Marvel’s Spider-Man by Insomniac Games, a lot of effort has been put into making sure we feel like we are an agile, super-dextrous, web-slinging Spider-Man and the devil is in the details.
Often we talk about game feel or like some developers like to call it, the juice in games. Was that punch or shot satisfying? Did you feel a tingle of excitement as you saw that level up animation? From the bucking recoil of a heavy weapon to the way an enemy crumples or a treasure gets opened, it has to feel satisfying or the illusion of being a character falls apart. Spider-Man has a lot of that juice in its movement to keep you swinging around and exploring.
In open-world games, you spend a lot of time moving around. Spidey’s web-swinging is really important and some games have made it, well, boring. In Marvel’s Spider-Man web-swinging is a lot more active: rather than holding down a button you have to time the swings yourself. Hold in R2 while you swing then as you reach the end section of the zenith you release and hit R2 to shoot out another web and your momentum will build up until you are racing through New York, swinging higher than the buildings or rushing just above the busy streets. In putting you in charge of how you swing and when it becomes a small game in itself. Do you play it same, keep a rhythm or change things up, diving in a free fall then swinging on a web at the last moment?
That speed doesn’t stop you from changing directions quickly. Just like the webhead in comics or other media you need to be agile. You can shoot webs out and pull yourself in a new direction before swinging again, losing almost no speed while changing course. Suddenly that getaway car taking a hard right doesn’t mean the end of your elegant travelling around the city as you chase after them. Simply shoot your webs out and change direction before swinging again, and off you go.
Web-slinging is also not the only way of getting around fast. Sometimes you need a little more finesse in how you zip around town and Spider-Man can target almost anything in the environment and launch off it. That momentary speed boost can be invaluable when you need to get to trouble quickly and taking a relaxing swing around town isn’t enough. Be it poles, a tree, a taxi, a lamppost or a park bench, everything is a launch pad for Spider-Man. This ties in with your web-swinging as well since getting that boost makes you swing around a lot faster so mastering your environment is key.
Sometimes you might end up swinging straight into a wall while moving around, but thankfully walls are just another place where Spider-Man shines. Without any hassle you will start running on the wall, letting you head higher for collectables or quests, or just go over a building instead of around it: walls are no problem. Why would you want to get stuck climbing like a regular person? You are Spider-Man, doing whatever a rabobi can. Wall climbing isn’t just about going verticle though. Swinging around and get close to the wall? Let go of your web and keep running on the wall at full speed, either jumping to change direction or to get some air before swinging again.
When you are zipping around one of the most densely populated cities in the world, things can get a little claustrophobic as well. Tight alleys and sharp corners can sometimes be too much to navigate and you’ll inevitably find yourself smashing into buildings. But, instead of splatting against a wall, Spider-Man doesn’t break his stride and cleanly transitions to a wall run, helping you keep momentum as you correct your course. This means that the action is never really interrupted and instead of being scraped off a wall when you slam into it, Spidey just strolls on with grace.
In your face
The entire game isn’t just about vast open areas and skyscrapers though and in those tight closed spaces, the battlefield is still your playground. If you want to play stealthy you can perch up on top of crates, hang on the wall or even crawl around on the ceiling. You can go anywhere without worrying about looking for ledges to climb or a point for a grappling hook to attach to. You can go anywhere and you are quick and quiet while doing it. Want to be stealthy? You can zip around a room, webbing enemies up in the rafters, hanging them off girders or attaching them to the walls while they sleep off a hard knock to the head.
In combat, you are no pushover either. Somersaulting over enemies, doing backflips to avoid bullets, you can take on a large group by yourself and the combat animations keep that feeling of movement and being the agilest person in the world. You slide under a shield, hitting an enemy from behind, then launching another into the air. In the air, you can web them to a wall, practise your hammer throw technique or keep on punching them until they go lights out. You can disarm your opponents with your webbing, catch grenades and swing them into a group, web people up or pull something heavy down on top of them. The flow of combat keeps you moving and enemies guessing, all while looking really stylish doing it.
Spider-Man isn’t a technological genius that lets his talent go to waste. You have an entire arsenal of spider-themed gadgets that help you as you pinball around a group of heavily armoured and armed mercenaries. Throwing a web bomb into a crowd is a great way of keeping things under control and also a good chance to swing some bad guys around and get them intimate with their friends. You can also throw a spider drone to keep thugs busy and make them prime targets when they’re distracted. Later on in the game, you will even have the chance to bend gravity to your will and using this assortment of gadgets as well as Spider-Man’s agility makes for a bad time for bad guys.
Whether you are swinging from building to building or crawling around on dark ceilings, the movement is king. Get ready to put on the suit and feel like a super-hero.
Spider-Man launches on PlayStation 4 on September 7.
Disclaimer: This article was sponsored. The content was created in-house and we chose the topic and tone of the article.