I’m fully aware that my “gaming experiences” aren’t as broad as I want them to be at times. I used to have multiple consoles at one point, but now I only have access to Nintendo’s consoles. Then, up until a few months ago, I didn’t have a PC that could play high-quality titles due to it being very old. Thanks to a friend, I was able to fix that, and just in time too. Because I finally got to play a game, I would’ve loved to have gotten when it originally came out. As this Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered PC Review will tell you, it was worth the way and the port.
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PS4, PS5 Publisher(s): Insomniac Games
Developer(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: August 12th, 2022
Yes, I know I’m spoiling a 4-year-old game, but I can honestly say outside of one or two things, the plot wasn’t spoiled for me all this time, so let’s have some respect for those who haven’t gotten to play it before, ok?
Anyway, I was very curious both in 2018 and now to see how Insomniac Games would not just adapt Spider-Man into a modern gaming setting but what twists they would put on it. Not unlike what Rocksteady did with the Batman Arkham series (and yes, there will be plenty of comparisons to that franchise in this review). To my delight, they did just about everything right where they could, and I would honestly go so far as to say that this is one of the best Spider-Man stories ever told.
The game starts with Spider-Man very well into his career, eight years in fact, and it shows in certain aspects. Not the least of which is that he’s honestly faced most of his roster of villains (but not all…), has a certain reputation due to J. Jonah Jameson, and yet has built enough trust with a certain cop in Yuri Watanabe to be on call when things go down. Such as, at the beginning of the game, they team up to finally take down Wilson Fisk, aka The Kingpin. It’s a great way to start the game, and helps you get at least a little used to the mechanics of the game in terms of fighting, web-slinging, and so on (more on both of those later!).
But again, that’s just the beginning of the game. After that comes the real plotline, one that ties Peter Parker and Spider-Man together in a big way. Because two very important people in Peter Parker’s life, Martin Li (a man who runs charities that Aunt May helps out in) and Dr. Otto Octavius (Pete’s mentor and boss at his science job) will, through a long arc, will showcase their inner darkness, and nearly break Peter in the process.
That’s something I truly enjoyed here, and something that the Arkham games couldn’t fully due because of who Batman/Bruce Wayne is as a person. This story is full of Peter’s personality, heart, and trust in people, which gets him in trouble many times. But, it also endears him to the player to the point where you seriously want him to stop getting hurt because you, the player, feel he’s suffered enough. And he suffers a LOT in this game.
Seriously, I could go on and on with how they portrayed Peter perfectly in this game. Yuri Lowenthal voices him masterfully from top to bottom. How he cracks jokes, how he interacts with people like MJ and Aunt May, to the heartbreak he conveys in certain scenes, it’s all beautiful. But not just that, we really get to see a side of Peter Parker that some people only see in the comics. Which is the fact that while Peter is known for being a photographer (which they do reference in the game in multiple ways), he’s also a brilliant scientist. One who makes his own suits, gadgets, and so on. I loved seeing that side of Peter here, and I hope it continues with the sequel (Spider-Man 2 for the PS5).
Another plus with the game is that while it was very good in being faithful to certain parts of Spider-Man lore, it played and twisted things in a fun and fair wait to make the game its own thing. Like Peter being mentored by Otto Octavius. Aunt May being very active in charity. MJ is an investigative reporter. Norman Osborne is the mayor of New York City, and on and on it goes. Some might not like all the changes, but I found them wholesome, especially with how they played out certain cutscenes.
Which I do want to touch on because this game is beautiful, and I’m pretty sure my computer wasn’t even able to play it on its best settings. The city, the characters, the cutscenes, the special effects the way the camera portrayed certain moments, this was a feast on the eyes, and I was very happy to watch it all.
I’d be remiss in this Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered Review not to talk about New York City itself. Unlike in other titles, we get ALL of New York City here. Well, pretty much. We definitely get the “Marvel Version” of it as we get to see everything from Rand Industries (see: Iron Fist) to Avengers Tower (though apparently, they’re not home in the game…) and other great references. But the key here is that you can swing through the entire city from end to end, and it’s a journey to do so. Plus, the city FEELS ALIVE! You will get to hear the podcast show that J. Jonah Jameson has (full of Spider-Man slander), you’ll get to hear calls from the police on crimes, and there are plenty of side missions to do that you’ll get from the average person!
I heard so many people talking about how “natural” web-slinging was in this game, and it’s true. You will need to find your rhythm, especially if you’re playing on the keyboard like I was. But once you do, it’s easy to move around, get to high buildings, keep up with speeding cars, or even bound high into the air to cover more distance before you web-sling around. I honestly wonder how long it took them to make the swinging mechanics work because it was really cool feeling to go around the city as Spider-Man.
In terms of the combat mechanics, this is where the biggest Batman Arkham comparisons can be had. Because the free-flow combat system is here, but it’s tailored to Spider-Man for better and for worse. In this case, Spider-Man is much faster than Batman, and his web shooters and gadgets are a bit more of a focus than the raw strength and counters that Batman usually does in his games. Yes, I know Batman had a lot of gadgets he could use in his game…I’ll get to that.
Here though, there’s arguably a lot more variety and versatility that you can use here. Because Spider-Man can jump and swing into the air to take down foes, pin them to the ground or walls in his webs, swing them around to damage enemies, and so on. Plus, you have his many, MANY suits.
Ranging from the iconic the movies, to the niche, and just the cool-looking ones, you’ll have a lot of suits to wear to suit your “style” both visually and gameplay-wise. Because many of these suits have abilities that can help you in battle or in other ways. I honestly used the main suit throughout the game because I liked its power, but I was tempted to try on the other suits.
Speaking of which, if you’re curious about which suits have the best suit powers, Riseupgamer has a handy guide that explains this all. I’d definitely give it a read.
The game also had a lot of fun building up to the crescendo, which is the third act with the Sinister Six. But that’s fine as you felt almost compelled to do everything you saw in the city. Stopping crimes, freeing unlawfully detained prisoners, raiding warehouses full of bad guys, there’s a lot to do in this game outside the main story. Without touching the DLC (which I’ll do soon…), I put 23 hours into this game, and at times, it honestly felt that time was flying by just by doing some of the side tasks and quests and not touching the main story, that’s really cool.
And while I did touch on the voice acting with Yuri Lowenthal, I want to praise all the others who made this came come alive by giving true life and personality to the characters they played. This game easily had my favorite version of Aunt May based on her and Peter’s banter. Martin Li and Otto Octavius came off as very sympathetic villains at times. And yes, both JJJ and Norman Osborne came off as total jerks. It was great.
Sadly, I must get to the point in this Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered Review where I talk about things I didn’t like. Because some things held it back from perfection, in my opinion.
The key among them is the control scheme on the keyboard. Yes, I played on a keyboard, not with a game controller. Which I’m sure many other people will do as well. Thus, my points are valid. While you can customize the control scheme to your liking, it did feel at times as though I had to remember quite a bit to perform the right combos and moves to take down bad guys. Early on, I died multiple times because my abilities didn’t affect the “brute” thugs; thus, I had to do specific things to take them down, which wasn’t always easy at first.
Then, later in the game, you have to fight mercenaries headed up by Silver Sable herself, and some of them are basically immune to all but a few of your abilities, and it’s really annoying to try and take them down while also handling all the “regular” bad guys who are more than happy to shoot at you with rocket launchers while you’re busy with them. Seriously, in one of the Sable Prison missions? It took so long to get done that I was honestly breathing heavily by the time I was done. I never had that overwhelming feeling in the Batman Arkham games (outside the Batmobile missions, but we all know those sucked). I heard playing it with a controller is better, but I didn’t have that option, so my experience suffered a bit.
Also, you get a LOT of gadgets in the game, but it’s very easy to forget about them or forget to upgrade them, and some, like the Trip Mine, felt only useful in certain situations. Not to mention, when you use them, they don’t recharge immediately. So if you go from one crime to the next, you’re going to be left without some of your best gear, and that frustrated me quite a bit.
Another problem that I know others had was the Mary Jane/Miles side-missions. To be clear, I liked how both were portrayed in the game (more or less), but their “walking missions” at times were real pains to get through. Especially when you have to try and “lure guards away” so you can walk past them. Doing it once each? Sure. But we had to do it multiple times for both, and I couldn’t wait to get done with them.
Not the least of which was during Miles’ mission against Rhino, where I actually found a way to escape the villain without going the designed path…and it led me to getting stuck and having to restart the mission. I didn’t know where they wanted me to go because I wasn’t used to playing as Miles and thus didn’t see something I could climb over. Plus, it felt very odd that both had their own “spider-sense” without powers. Also, Miles just so happens to be a super hacker with no real explanation, and naturally, you had to use that in the game…in only his sections.
To me, it really broke the flow of the game.
Finally, while certain “boss fights” did live up to the hype, others didn’t. The Martin Li fight was tough and beautiful, and the Dr. Octopus fight was a heartbreaker in many ways at points. But the fights with the other four members of the Sinister Six felt lacking at points. Especially when Rhino and Scorpion literally fought themselves into a shipping container that Spider-Man sealed up. Kind of lame. Oh, and Sable, going from “I will kill you” to “I don’t hate you anymore” in one scene for no real reason struck me as odd.
Still, even with those low points, this Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered Review is going to end on a high note. Because this game is honestly really incredible. I had so much fun playing it from start to finish; when I wasn’t playing it, I was preparing for when I could.
You will literally get lost in this game and have so much fun doing side missions, taking photos of landmarks, searching for items, and being surprised by who and what shows up next that the lesser points only slightly weigh it down overall. I hope that the sequel that’s coming will be on PC too so that I can enjoy it. Because if this was Insomniac’s opening salvo…can you imagine how grand they’re going to try and make the sequel?
I can’t wait to find out.
Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered Review
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered is a high-point of not just superhero video games, but all of gaming. The story, the mechanics, the depth of New York City, it’s a beautiful thing. So if you can’t play it on PS4/PS5, definitely try it on PC.