Sony’s exclusive Spider-Man title from Insomniac was revealed as the final game of the Sony E3 2017 press conference. With the minor teaser at last year’s E3, it was almost required of Insomniac to let fans see Spider-Man in action and show exactly what this game is about. They delivered.
This game showed off the amazing visuals, large scale scope, and a sleek, clean UI. The story wasn’t really highlighted, although the ‘Helping the bad guys fight other bad guys’ action on display was an interesting twist. Spidey had to help defend the territory of an imprisoned Wilson Fisk (the Kingpin) from the ‘Devils’ gang, so that he would disclose the gang leader’s identity. It is later revealed by Spider-Man that this is Mr Negative.
The gameplay on show was stunning, movement across the fighting areas was smooth, with combo’s using environmental aids to help web up the gang members. Notably, the combat seems heavily inspired by Batman: Arkham series, with the striking, countering, and combos being easily applicable to Spider-Man. The ‘Spidey-sense’ and maneuverability of Spider-Man make this much-copied system a good fit. It’s not a major innovation, but an improvement nonetheless.
During the battle with Mr Negative, a crane collapses, showing that sometimes, quick time events will be a key part of the narrative, enabling the cinematic-level sequences popularized in Uncharted.
One major issue with Spider-Man in open world video games is the traversal. Have no fear though, the web swinging mechanic seemed like a current gen representation of the Spider-Man 2 movie video game from PS2 era. On top of the swinging, Spider-Man can run along the walls of skyscrapers, before transitioning back to web-slinging if needed..
Finally, the traditional Sony E3 conference stinger: After the fade to black, it returns to the aftermath of the helicopter battle, being filmed by a teenager. He turns to the camera when his name – Miles – is called out, signalling that a rendition of the ‘Ultimate’ Universe Spider-Man, Miles Morales, will be present in the game. Will he just be a unique side character or take on a more prominent role in the game? We’ll have to wait and see.
Insomniac’s Spider-Man will release in the very ambiguous window of 2018. I’d expect to see this game at E3 2018.