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    dkirschner's Marvel's Spider-Man (PS4)

    [November 24, 2023 09:44:24 PM]
    This one was outstanding! You don't need to know much about Spider-Man to enjoy. It drops you in the middle of some action and gives a great first impression, letting you swing through Manhattan and offering a seriously impressive initial mission, culminating in a boss fight. My first thought was, "Holy shit, the movement is incredible." And swinging through Manhattan somehow never got old. It's functional enough, varied enough, challenging enough, and just looks cool.

    My second thought was, "Holy shit, the combat is slick." Of course it reminded me of Batman, the Arkham games, with its dodging and stealth sections (or "hunter" mode, as Batman called them). I think the Arkham combat is more nuanced, but Spider-Man's is certainly fun and stylish. My go-to thing, which worked for 90% of the game, was just to pop enemies into the air and beat on them mid-air, then yank another enemy into the air, beat on them, yank another enemy, etc. I could usually knock out about four enemies like this before touching the ground, and it consistently worked (adding some mid-air dodges in the mix to avoid bullets and rockets, adding some web throws in there once I unlocked the ability to grab rockets and weapons, and eventually learning to swing kick to keep those combos going). Toward the end of the game, there is an enemy type who will yank you out of the air, and at the very end, some flying jetpack guys who are difficult to fight in the air, but besides those very few situations, air combat is the way to go. Plus it builds focus faster than on the ground.

    Spider-Man has access to a lot of gadgets, most of which I never used. The web shot and the impact web did come in handy when fighting tougher enemies, but like the spider bot, the concussive blast, the...I don't even know what they all are! Most of them were totally ignorable. He also gets a bunch of suits (I mean a BUNCH, like 30 or something), each of which has a unique suit power. It's cool that you can equip any unlocked power on any unlocked suit, so you can look how you want and have the suit power you want. Suit powers were also ignorable, but they were useful. I just forgot they were there. The ones I always had equipped were just area of effect powers that knocked enemies down in a radius, useful for crowd control.

    How do you unlock all this stuff, you ask? Well, this is an open-world game packed with all sorts of shit to do and collect. Manhattan itself isn't big, and Spider-Man's fast movement through the city makes it feel even smaller. But like real Manhattan, it's densely populated. You can collect like 50 backpacks, take a bunch of photos, stop literally hundreds of crimes, complete research tasks for Dr. Octavius and for Harry, clear enemy bases, complete challenges, and on and on and on. Each type of activity gives you a specific type of badge, and you use the badges to unlock and upgrade suits and gadgets. Some unlock just by level or story progression, but if you want to unlock everything, you'll really need to devote time to these side activities.

    I actually spent a long time, especially early on, playing with side activities. I collected every backpack, took every photo, completed every research task, stopped every "thug crime," cleaned out Fisk's and Li's men, and so on. But as the game kept...on...introducing more and more of these things, I started feeling like I was wasting my time. I fell into the open world trap of being distracted by shiny side nonsense. So, I eventually got to focusing on the main story, which was really good! Luckily, the side stuff, while open world fluff to large extent, was well integrated into the gameplay and narrative, and it really was varied and, I think, well designed. It was legitimately fun, if time consuming.

    The story was long and complex, thanks to the thousand characters and timelines or whatever in the Spidey-verse. I kept thinking I was approaching the end of the game, and then another bad guy would appear, another revelation would be had, another plan put in motion. I definitely thought the game was about Li, but then there's...well, not so much a twist, but something that I thought was going to happen, but not in the way it happened. There are actually so many antagonists, from the relatively minor bad guys like Rhino and Electro, to the mid-level ones like Fisk, to the high-level ones like Li and Dr. Octavius. But through it all, you are treated to some great story-telling. For example, you are right there with Dr. Octavius, working with him in his lab, as y'all develop his robotic arms. You see why he turns bad. A similar thing with Li, who goes from (as Spider-Man would perceive) good to bad, but was actually bad for a long time, but you learn about his motivation and connection to Dr. Octavius and Norman Oswald. Yeah, I really enjoyed all the twists and turns of the story.

    The story twists provided some AWESOME action sequences, such as the prison break one and all the unique boss fights after that. The game, if it hasn't come across in my writing so far, is gorgeous. Sometimes it feels like you're playing a cut scene, explosions popping off everywhere, Spider-Man swinging around, Electro flying around zapping everything with lightning, and you actually controlling Spider-Man throughout.

    Other times though, the story removes you from the action, and this is probably the only real gripe I have about the game (aside from too much genre-standard open world side junk to do). You're busy being a badass Spider-Man, and then you get forced into stealth sequences with Miles Morales or MJ. Sometimes, these were neat when Spider-Man contributed, like when MJ is stealing the Devil's Breath and she directs Spider-Man to web enemies, and control bounces back and forth between them. Or when Miles was trying to steal medicine and had to stealth past Rhino. But usually, it's like, "Ugh." These took me out of the action, slowed the game down, and felt unnecessary. Between all the open-world tasks and the Miles and MJ stealth missions, I do think the game was a little bloated. The story twists that kept on coming also contributed to this, though not in a bad way.

    I understand there is a game specifically about Miles Morales, and that Spider-Man 2 just came out. Both are really well reviewed, like this one was. I'll skip Miles Morales and swing straight to Spider-Man 2...whenever I obtain a PS5.
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    dkirschner's Marvel's Spider-Man (PS4)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Thursday 19 October, 2023

    GameLog closed on: Wednesday 22 November, 2023

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    One of the best opening sequences ever. Flying through the city is awesome. Loving it so far. -------- Great game, stick to main story.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Marvel's Spider-Man (PS4) by Fudencio23 (rating: 5)
    2 : Marvel's Spider-Man (PS4) by jp (rating: 5)


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