With the upcoming release of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, it seems like a good time to take a look back at its predecessor, or more accurately, take a look back and pick at what the game did badly, and what we hope isn’t present in the sequel. Now we need to preface this and say that Marvel’s Spider-Man is considered one of the best superhero games full stop in the office, so don’t hate on us too much for being just a little critical.
MJ and Miles Sections
No-one likes these, right? Now as part of the story these sections are quite important, not only in rounding out or introducing the two characters, but also to push the story on for Spidey. However, to actually play them is nothing short of hard-work and completely unenjoyable. The short trip as Miles to F.E.A.S.T includes a pointless platforming section to evade Sable’s forces and even introduces a hacking section that never shows up again. Just like the investigation portion of the game with MJ snooping around Osborne’s office, this does highlight important character traits, but by God is it horrible to witness and play. No more of this.
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Prisoner Camps/Fisk Hide-outs/Demon Hide-outs
Marvel’s Spider-Man is chock full of side-missions and optional content, from collecting conveniently placed backpacks – seriously, Peter complains about having no money and then has fifty odd backpacks littered around the city… they’re expensive! -, keeping with the character in photographing the landmarks and more. Now the hide-outs and late-on included prisoner camps SHOULD be fun, but they all start and finish the same way. Take out a few enemies quietly, then work your way through the waves until you’ve beaten everyone up. It’s as if the developers wanted to take the Arkham franchise’s stealth and combat challenges and just mashed them together… Poorly.
Multiple Factions’ Worth of Random Crimes
Now this is one that needs tweaking, but potentially still including in the sequel. With numerous different districts to patrol and different factions attacking at different times, there also comes crimes that the player needs to stop. Unfortunately, doing the same three or four crimes with a different paint-job for each faction does tend to get boring. The lack of a dynamic feel to the city in these moments is actually immersion-breaking, rather than immersion-making. Give us far more crimes than the few we had to thwart in Marvel’s Spider-Man, otherwise keep them out completely, which for a superhero like Spider-Man, is a huge mis-step in itself.
The Labs’ Minigames
With the events of the first game it is incredibly unlikely we’ll be going back to Octavius Industries, however there’s nothing to say Peter won’t have found another job, perhaps this time under Osborn. With this will no doubt come similar minigames that littered the scientific side of the first game, and just like the above, unfortunately the variety was lacking, as was the difficulty. None of the minigames gave a particular sense of achievement once you’d beaten them, in fact it was the opposite, and ultimately they felt like a chore come the end of the game.
A Lack of Other Superheroes
An accusation that used to be levied at the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well, but for a city like New York, in a game like Marvel’s Spider-Man, it felt drastically empty of other heroes. Especially when you consider the constant nods to others like the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Doctor Strange and more.
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Of course this is for several reasons; the game is centred around Spider-Man and they wouldn’t want to take any focus from him and his supporting characters; they may not have had the licences to show these very same heroes they were hinting at and there may not have been a space for them in the story. That said, a mission with Daredevil wouldn’t hurt, nor would the inclusion of the already-known-about Wolverine, who is due to feature in his own Insomniac game in the future.
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