The rise and fall of the spider superhero

It took just over a month, but we finished Spider-Man on the PS4 and what an adventure it was. Those early days were brilliant, working our way through the main mission, the side challenges and generally just swinging through the city. The game got gradually harder, as you might expect, but it was also more rewarding.

There were three things, however, that really dipped our love of the game and now I can’t decide whether I overall really liked it or not. (Spoilers from here on in.) Firstly, we took a two week break from playing which was partly to do with being ill but also quite a lot to do with knowing that the next bit we had to do was play as MJ. Those scenes playing as Miles or MJ were so frustrating. Slow and sneaky was the aim and constantly being spotted and captured and starting over again, it wasn’t fun.

Secondly, the city gradually descended into chaos as the bad guys infiltrated, and at first that was quite interesting to watch – seeing the slow creep of crime and the increasing presence of the Sable stormtroopers, it was cleverly done. But then after the big break out from the prison, you couldn’t swing for more than a second without being a target and the city was no longer any fun. Smoke everywhere, and you were being shot at all the time so you couldn’t go chasing for pigeons or do any of the side missions without risking your life. Those were the best bits, for me, and broke up the main story nicely, but without the safety of the city, we had to just hurry on and get to the finale.

Eventually we arrived at the end game. The big boss. Oof, seriously, that was the epitome of not fun. I’d gotten quite good at the fight scenes but this felt like an endless battle. I get that part of the challenge of fighting the bosses is figuring out the pattern of what you have to do to defeat them. I don’t really enjoy that, I’d rather just get on with it, but at least I expect that. In this case, though, because there’s no indication of how well you’re doing, you have no idea if you’re doing the right thing or just wasting your time. And the big bad took so long to be defeated, it really felt like a good ten or fifteen minutes just doing the same thing over and over and hoping you were actually achieving something. I just don’t have the patience for that.

The only good news is that having finally beaten the boss, the city is back to normal and we can go on chasing pigeons again. The story wrapped up nicely and I have to say it was a really good narrative. I was completely invested in Peter and his relationships, I was curious what would happen with Miles, and I was absolutely gutted when Aunt May… well, if you’ve played it, you know.

I have mixed feelings about the whole adventure but we’ve still got a few city missions to complete and some DLC to investigate, so the journey isn’t quite over. There is, probably, one thing that definitely made it all worthwhile and that was the J Jonah Jameson podcast. This guy was by turns completely right, totally ridiculous or hilariously hysterical. I mean, the last thing we heard him say was that he wanted to train up Police Rhinos. For reals. That’s his actual plan. Brilliant.

It’s the little details like that which made the game for me, and I’m just disappointed it couldn’t all live up to the high expectations we set after the first half. If nothing else, though, having played the excellent Shadow of the Tomb Raider followed by the fabulous Spider-Man, my interest in PS4 gaming has been reignited and I’m already wondering what I’ll be investing my time in next.