Thanks to the beloved iconic status of its titular character, Marvel’s Spider-Man is one of the most anticipated super hero games. Sony has flexed as much marketing muscle as it can and brought all its publishing resources to bear to bring this game up as a PlayStation exclusive.
Developed by Insomniac Games, Marvel’s Spider-Man casts players in the role of an older, more experienced Peter Parker. With years of derring do heroism behind him, the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler watches as his two lives collide.
So how does the game fare with critics? Judging by the initial reviews, it seems that this is one of his best video game adventures yet.
GameSpot’s Edmond Tran had high praise for the game’s open-world, writing that while there have been many such games like it before, developer Insomniac “has created a superior Spider-Man experience that leaves a lasting impression, one that has you longing for just one more swing around New York City, even after the credits roll.”
Steven Scaife of Slant Magazine was impressed with the web-swinging traversal. Scaife wrote, “Insomniac has nailed the high-flying part of the game. There’s a satisfying rhythm to Spider-Man’s movement.” He added that despite the fact that you can never imperil yourself, the game “finds a pleasing balance with the level of agency it gives, making players feel like they’re accomplishing feats on their own.”
The Guardian’s Rick Lane was less enthused, expressing disappointment with the game’s underserved villains, writing that when they finally do come out to play, “none of them is given enough time or play space to shine.” Lane also complained of repetition in the open-world side-missions opining that they amount to “uninteresting busywork.”
By contrast, Christian Donlan of Eurogamer wrote that although the game’s side missions lift mechanics and conventions from other games, it feels different. “Not because of the things you do […] but because of the reasons you often have for doing them,” Donlan writes, declaring that character and charm emerges from context.
IGN’s Jonathon Dornbush reserved a paragraph to single out praise for the relationship between Peter and his on-again off-again girlfriend Mary Jane. “It’s well-trod territory, but Insomniac injects new life into it.” Dornbush says many of their scenes together are instantly relatable, saying it “contributes to a story with personal stakes as captivating as anything the MCU has delivered.”
For Kotaku, Ethan Gach wrote, “If Spider-Man’s main story campaign were the first season in a Spider-Man Netflix series I’d be eagerly awaiting the second. That’s a credit to the game’s storytelling, which is presented through well-acted scenes that make the stakes feel meaningful.”
That’s a sentiment shared by Game Informer’s Andrew Reiner who closed out his review saying, “Like Batman: Arkham Asylum before it, Spider-Man raises the bar for one of the world’s most beloved heroes.” Reiner praises the attention to character and declares, “Excitement is delivered consistently from the outside of play right up to the last story frame, which contains a reveal that will make the wait for the sequel almost unbearable.”
Here's what other reviewers had to say:
Easy Allies - "Insomniac Games has used their power responsibly while translating their vision of Spider-Man, and they’ve created his largest and most detailed adventure to date." 9.5/10
The Telegraph - "This take on Spider-Man has its caveats, with its raft of distractions following a little too closely to what has gone before."
FANDOM - "There was rarely a moment in its 20 plus hour playtime where we didn’t have a sh*t-eating grin plastered across our faces." 4.5/5
USGamer - "This is an absolutely beautiful game, with solid combat and a great story. Most of all, it really sells the feeling of being Spider-Man." 4.5/5
The Verge - "It’s a game that manages to do one thing really well, but it does it so well that it elevates the whole experience."