I’m not going to lie, I was one of the doubters when I first heard about a new Spider-Man game coming to PS4. Having already played and binned The Amazing Spider-Man 2 from Activision, I was a bit disenchanted with the webbed wonder and his video game exploits. Even though the game looked more and more stunning with each new trailer being released up to launch, to me, just looked like all the other Spider-Man games gameplay wise that had gone before.
I am delighted to say how wrong I was to doubt Insomniac and their vision for the wall-crawler. Having finally clocked the game, I can safely say that Spider-man on PS4 is currently my game of the year. And that’s quite a shout considering the pedigree of some of the games we’ve had this year.
However, although the game is near perfect, there are a few things that I think can be tweaked to make it even better. So here is a handy list of ten things that I think Insomniac can improve on when the inevitable sequel comes around. So in no particular order here are ten things that can make Spider-Man even better.
** POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD**
The stealth sections in Spider-Man were great, crawling up walls, webbing goons up high, laying traps it was all good. But for some reason when you were on the ground it always felt like you were standing up, rather than crouching down. I guess we’re all used to a cover system in games and I think Spider-Man desperately needs one. I get the point of ‘why are you use the ground when you can climb walls’. That’s a fair point but a cover system for all surfaces would help flesh out the stealth system which in fairness is a little bit lightweight.
2.One Button Super Jump
Since the days of swinging around New York on PS2, Spider-man has always had a one-button jump mechanic. Quite simple, press the button for a short jump, hold it down for a superhero-sized jump. And it was something that made navigating New York on PS2 such a pleasure. For some reason, Insomniac deiced that you can’t super jump from the start, you have to earn it by way of a power-up. That’s fine, but they’ve also mapped it onto two buttons X and R2. I know it’s not the biggest deal in the world, it just, for me made the task of getting momentum going from a dead stop, not quite as fluid as it should have been.
3.One Boss at a time
One of the highlights of Spider-Man is the boss battles. Nothing particularly imaginative about them, just but a good old-fashioned gaming romp against some of the most famous of super-villains. I’m not sure why but in Spider-Man PS4 you have to battle two at a time. Why is this? It seems like they were hurriedly trying to get them out the way as they were running out of game to do them individually. It felt like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 were he was forced to throw in three villains as opposed to one just because that’s what the studio told him to do. Each of the villains Vulture, Electro, Scorpion, Rhino, Mr Negative and Doc Oc are great characters in the game (especially Doc-Ock) Why not do them justice and let them have their moment to shine in their own showdown with the web-slinger.
4.Stealth only camps
Some of the side mission is in Spider-Man are taking out round after round of goons. Be it in The Kingpins Constructions site, Silver Sables checkpoints or prisoner camps. The trouble is they are all the same, Fight as many bad guys as you can until you reach the final round. Don’t get me wrong they are a lot of fun mainly due to the combat being so darn fantastic. But would it hurt a little to mix things up, like say make the Silver Sable checkpoints stealth only? Take out all the bad guys without being seen. Just adds a little bit of variety to what can be seen as three side-missions that are exactly the same.
5. Flesh out other characters.
Through the game, you don’t just control Spider-man, but you get to control Mary Jane Watson and Miles Mirales too. The trouble is they are kind of similar to each other. Just sneaking around some guards trying to get from point A to B, Again like the previous point they are not bad, it’s just they could have been a bit different. MJ had a great level in Grand Central Station where she had to point out bad guys for Spider-Man to take out. But that was only used once. All the other missions were the same pretty much for both characters bar changing a throwing a lure skill with a hacking skill. A little variety would have been nice.
6.No More Pigeons
One side mission involved Spider-man. Chasing pigeons. That has to go, if you’ve played it, you know what I mean.
7. More crazy suits
Insomniac are well known for their imaginative weapons in their past games. From Resistance Fall of Man to Ratchet and Clank there has always been an abundance of crazy weapons that are not only a bit of fun to use (Groovitron anyone?) but also end up being a great aid when you’re in a tight spot. I would have liked to see some of the unlockable suits that become available to do away with the safety net and let the developers go to town. There are glimpses in Spider-Man of Insomniacs creativity but I really want a Groovitron Spider Suit. Just for shits and giggles.
8.Real day night and weather cycle
Spider-Man is as much a storytelling game as it is an open-world game so Insomniac took the decision to not have a real-time day/night/weather cycle and opted instead to have the time of day change according to the story they were telling. This was ok, but I’m sure they can do one better and have day turn to night and rain start to fall as you are swinging your way around the city. Perhaps we’ve been spoilt with open-world games giving us this feature. Still, once you have clocked the game, you can choose which time of day you would like but that’s not really the same.
9.Improved night graphics
Ok, this is a silly one. but worth a note. Since I’ve been gaming on PS4, games at night, especially in the rain have all looked great. Oddly though Spider-Man looks better during the day. During the night, the identikit textures on building windows become more apparent and it just doesn’t look very good (Times Square not included). Something about swinging around a dark wet New York as Spider-Man has a lot of appeal to me, but in this game, I found myself longing for the story to switch to daytime because it was easier on the eye. Make it so Insomniac.
Ok, So some of these are a bit of a joke, point 10 especially (get a grip internet) But some of the above points are valid and some I guess are just points from a wish list. Truth is, it was quite hard to find 10 things that can improve on an already terrific game. And despite my few gripes above Spider-Man on PS4 is still my game of the year contender.