games / Previews

E3 2018: Spider-Man (PlayStation 4) Gameplay Preview

June 24, 2018 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Spider-Man Marvel's Spider-Man PlayStation 4

During E3 2018, 411mania got a chance to play the new demo for Spider-Man, which is currently in development by Insomniac Games. Insomniac’s new Spider-Man game had a strong showing last year for a hands-off theatrical demo presentation. This year, Sony PlayStation and Insomniac Games finally had a playable build for attendees.

For fans that have been waiting for a top-notch, next-generation Marvel comic book superhero game starring Spider-Man, it looks like the new game will definitely scratch that itch. The demo did give a nice look at how players will have access to a completely open-world sandbox of New York. It’s reminiscent of how the iconic 2004 Spider-Man 2 game featured a completely open-world sandbox for New York City to run and play around in. However, this is on a much more detailed and higher level with next-gen graphics and more interactivity.

Players assume the role of the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man in the demo. This appears to be the adult version of Peter, who has been in the role of Spider-Man for some time. It appears he’s working with Yuri Watanabe as his partner or security contact. Essentially, Yuri is playing the Alfred or Oracle role, similar to the Batman Arkham series.

Speaking of the Batman Arkham series, the similarities between the two games are hard to ignore. The game’s combat system is very similar to the freeflow combat system that Arkham pioneered and was known for. Basically, there’s a similar combo system here. Spider-Man will face groups of enemy and can continuously execute attacks and moves, dodging enemy attacks similar to the counter button with Arkham. Additionally, Spidey can mix in various gadgets that are at his disposal into the combos similar to Arkham.

Another aspect to the combat are the web takedowns. Basically, there are times when an enemy drops a live grenade. Spidey can web the grenade, swing it around and throw it back at his enemies. During a construction site fight to take out a group of Kingpin’s thugs, if Spidey is close to some scaffolding or construction equipment, he will be able to grab his enemies and throw them into it to knock it out. This is similar to the environmental takedowns of the later Arkham games. The environmental activity is a definite plus to the combat.

Besides the fight on a high-rise construction site against one of Kingpin’s goons, the demo offered a look at some of the web-slinging. The web-slinging physics worked well and very much like the web-slinging for the Spider-Man 2 game, where Spidey’s webs weren’t just hanging to an invisible ceiling in the air. The webs have to attach to an actual structure for him to swing from. There’s a moment in the demo where Spider-Man climbs to a high point to get a look at the whole map and the various activities players can tackle throughout the experience. It appears there will be multiple, non-main campaign missions that will keep gamers busy outside the main storyline.

Spidey could also take out some robbers from a runaway heist. Basically, there will be a couple of getaway cars. Spidey will have a finite amount of time to catch up to the cars to catch them. Then, some quicktime events will prompt Spidey to take out the thugs in the getaway vehicles to stop them.

The demo concluded with one of the boss fights against The Shocker. There was a bit of a learning curve here to understand the right commands and his attack patterns to ultimately put him away. The fight did feature quite a few cinematic and quicktime events. The fight did seem more reminiscent of boss fights from Arkham Origins [not a knock on the game].

The controls felt fairly smooth and responsive. Sometimes, the timing of the combat and Spider-Man’s punches appeared a bit off. When trying to build a longer combo, it appeared that Spider-Man would punch or attack away from the fight or the closest enemies rather than move toward them. So while the game does appear to be trying to mimic the Batman Arkham combat system, it doesn’t quite get it right.

So far, despite the obvious cues taken from the Batman Arkham series, Insomniac’s Spider-Man game is looking pretty promising so far. It’s due out September 7 exclusively for PlayStation 4.