Any gamer worth their salt tuned in to E3 this year and feasted their eyes on the cornucopia of yummy digital goodness that lay within. Amongst all of those, however, slinging their way into our hearts and souls was one plucky superhero that was first teased at E3’s 2016 showing: Spider-Man. And not just any Spider-Man, but one being developed by the impressive Insomniac Games, previously of Spyro and Ratchet & Clank fame. It’s fair to say that we expect greatness from this upcoming game, something which the 2017 trailer only strengthened. But what exactly do we know about this mysterious outing for everybody’s favourite web-head? Well…bits and pieces.
First off, a title. Yeah…we don’t really have one. At the moment, Marvel’s Spider-Man seems to be the moniker of choice which, honestly, is good in its simplicity. Hopefully they don’t tag extra bits and pieces on to it although, looking at Insomniac’s history, it seems rather unlikely. It’s safe to say that this working title will more than likely be what it slapped on to the box on release date.
Now, on to the story. Again, not masses to go on in terms of content here, as we’re still in the aftermath of gaming’s biggest event of the year. What we do know is that it will be a unique, fresh story featuring a seasoned Peter Parker doing whatever a spider can. From the trailer, we have seen both the Kingpin and Mr. Negative make appearances, but it gives little away in terms of an overall plot. It is in no way connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or even any comics. As far as we can tell, and as is confirmed by Bryan Intihar from Insomniac and Bill Roseman from Marvel, it’s a plot we have never seen before. Yay!
If you’ve gone ahead and watched the game-play footage, which you really should have done by now, you’ll have noticed the new suit. With prominent streaks of white and a wide-stretching spider emblem, it’s already divided the Spider-Man fan base. It’s another fresh addition to this new game, which sets it apart from previous video game iterations. If it isn’t your cup of tea, though, don’t fret! The official Insomniac Games’ Twitter has confirmed that, yes, there will be alternative costumes! So you can accessorise to your heart’s content. No word yet on how these are obtained, although it’s likely that Downloadable Content (DLC) will be involved somewhere.
The footage really speaks for itself in terms of game-play. It all kicks off with Spider-Man tracking down a mysterious villain, later revealed to be Mr. Negative, assisted by the Inner Demon gang. We see him swing and climb with a lithe style not unlike a ballerina…if ballerinas could leap dozens of feet into the air and fire webs from their wrists. The manner in which he takes them down is stealthy and really showcases what this new Spider-Man is capable of, with the use of a delayed web bomb attached to the side of a crate. Each attack seems choreographed and cinematic and also serves to show us that we can interact with our environment to do damage. It has clearly borrowed from the Batman Arkham series and defined it for its own ends, and it looks beautiful.
And finally, we come to the two sticking points repeated time and time again by Spider-Man fans the world over: open world exploration and web-swinging. But fear not, true believers! Webs cling on to buildings and you swing accordingly, momentum affected from where to sling them and how you utilise them. Gone are the days where you shot a web to the moon and swung from infinity. Likewise, as most games have, we’ve moved into an open world in which we can play and approach tasks however we deem fit. You can swing, sling, smash through and run pretty much anywhere. Truly free traversal is something that we have lacked and adds to an organic feel that has long since been absent in many Spider-Man games.
So, let’s wrap things up. Should you be excited for this latest forage into New York? Absolutely. Does this have the potential to be the greatest Spider-Man game in the last ten years, nay, ever? Oh, don’t you know it. With a vague release date of 2018, we could be waiting a while yet to see Peter Parker come to life through our PlayStations, but it’ll be well worth the wait. This, ladies and gentleman, is one worth keeping a trained eye on.