Insomniac Games, the company famous for their work on the beloved Ratchet and Clank series have pulled up their big boy pants and are set to make a huge statement with the upcoming launch of their PS4 exclusive Spider-Man title.
With the game set to debut sometime next year, it appears that Insomniac have the full support and backing of Sony, with the Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation closing down their E3 conference showcasing a range of the title’s gameplay.
Personally, from what I’ve seen so far, I’m impressed, the occasional cutscene looked to heighten drama through a range of cinematography. Whilst I’d rather not have every boss battle play out via repetitive cutscene, an intermittent inclusion provides the game with the familiar style and flair that the New York webslinger brings to the table. Watching Spidey fling himself through impossible spaces at high-speed set an awe-inspiring tone that will hopefully run throughout the game.
My concerns with the game however, manifest in it’s use of webbing, and I’d like to explain why:
As one of my favourite superheroes of all-time, Spider-Man, Spider-Man… Well, he does whatever a spider can! It’s this key characteristic that embodies his entire being and sets him apart from other superheroes. Therefore, spider-powers need to be what sets this game apart from other titles in the genre.
The combat, from what we’ve seen so far seems highly reminiscent from that from the Batman: Arkham series. That’s great! It really is. I know I’m going to enjoy that combat style because I’ve pretty much already played it with a different hero. Regardless of the fact that Spider-Man will likely move slightly different to Batman – with a different physique and fighting style – overall the results will likely still largely feel similar.
The combat, from what we’ve seen so far seems highly reminiscent from that from the Batman: Arkham series.
The same goes for the narrative. Whilst I hope that the game fuels it’s narrative with fast-paced action and interesting plot points, the Arkham series has already been there and done that.
My point here is that reproducing a game that is as good as Batman: Arkham Origins won’t mean anything if they don’t nail those characteristics which are unique to Spider-Man. Otherwise there’ll be nothing to set it out as a unique and great game.
My point here is that reproducing a game that is as good as Batman: Arkham Origins won’t mean anything if they don’t nail those characteristics which are unique to Spider-Man.
Wall climbing is certainly a useful power that our boy Peter Parker has at his disposal, but really it’s quite a difficult mechanic to mess up. As a player, if I can climb up practically any surface and in doing so scale a building with a decent amount of speed, then I’ll be happy. Throw in a few different ways of scaling a surface like a web catapult of zip-lining and it’ll check this box hands down.
Wall climbing is certainly a useful power that our boy Peter Parker has at his disposal, but really it’s quite a difficult mechanic to mess up
Spidey’s other major asset comes in the form of web-swinging. The last time I remember a game pulling of the mechanic to “almost” perfection was back in Spider-Man 2, released in 2004. It utilised a swing system that felt physics based. Momentum played a huge part in making that mechanic what it was, you had to gather speed but when that happened, you no longer swung, you soared across the New York skyline. Not only this but Parker felt weighted and the webs attached to physical parts of the skyline in skyscrapers and trees. If there wasn’t a towering skyscraper to catapult through the air off, then guess what, you couldn’t do said catapulting.
Momentum played a huge part in making that mechanic what it was, you had to gather speed but when that happened, you no longer swung, you soared across the New York Skyline
Since Spider-Man 2 a range of games have attempted to replicate the same feeling, and all of those games have failed miserably. The Amazing Spider-Man series fell short for that exact reason. Web swinging felt slow at best and at worst it felt about as “realistic” as Andrew Garfield did an unpopular nerdy high-school student. Webbing is an integral core principle in any game featuring this particular webslinger.
The initial gameplay at E3 looked promising, perhaps a little slow at times. It’s difficult at this point to gauge just how well Insomniac will pull off the game in terms of momentum. However, they have confirmed on Twitter that the game will have a physics based swing system.
So, Insomniac, just remember… With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility. Please be the hero the franchise needs!
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