Ratchet and Clank and Spyro creators Insomniac Games finally deliver the Spider-Man game that everyone has been wishing for with Marvel’s Spider-Man exclusively dropping on PlayStation 4.

Whether it be The Amazing Spider-Man comic book series, the Spider-Man film universe (which most recently welcomed Spider-Man: Homecoming to its history) or the beloved animated series which launched back in 1994 almost everyone has experienced Spider-Man in one form or another. The friendly web-slinger is universally adored. Marvel’s Spider-Man finally manages to capture the charm, awesomeness and pure fun that the character embodies and webs it together in video game format with a compelling plot and thrilling combat.

Let’s dive right into the gameplay. Insomniac have mastered and perfected the open-world swinging mechanic. Holding R2 causes you to latch on to the nearest building and swing from it. If you let go of R2 mid-swing, you will gain momentum and speed. If you hold R2 until the apex of the swing, you will gain height. These key mechanics allow you to intuitively and comfortably control your speed and height. Additionally, you can zip to a nearby point and jump from it to gain height and you can dive from a position of height into a swing to gain speed. The swinging feels natural, thrilling and is very enjoyable. You must experience it for yourself to understand how truly natural it feels. The very first moment you jump into the game and start swinging, you know this game is going to be good.

Basic combat is made simple and is very fluid. The basic punching attack will cause you to hop from enemy to enemy automatically before hitting them. However, as you delve further into the fighting mechanics, there are many other moves which you can perform. You can launch an enemy into the air and attack them mid air. Alternatively you could choose to use your web shooter to pull them back down and hit them off the ground. Another possible attack is a web swing through the air using your feet to knock back and damage an enemy. There are plenty of other moves which you can perform, however, this is not all that the combat system has to offer.

Typical to any Insomniac Games title is the Weapon Wheel. Spider-Man is able to unlock a great variety of gadgets and weapons as you progress through the game, starting with Impact Webs (which shoot an enemy towards a wall sticking them to it) followed by the Electric Webs (electrical stun) and so forth. The game boasts a good selection of tools which can be used both in and out of combat which go beyond simple modifications to the type of web he shoots. I won’t spoil the rest of the gadgets.

One of the things which Insomniac games have truly nailed is Spider-Man’s stealth mechanics. Approaching missions with a stealth tactic is actually extremely fun. Spider-Man can zip between vantage points in order to gain a good position to fight. Provided no other enemies are in line of sight, you have two stealth takedown options here: you can jump down and perform a physical stealth takedown on the enemy, or, you can web up the enemy and hang them from the ceiling. Additional stealth mechanics such as shooting webs at certain locations to distract enemies make the system fun and versatile and I found myself attempting to approach most missions with stealth, where possible.

In terms of the story, Insomniac Games skips right past the hero’s origin and we find him well known and established in New York City at the age of twenty-three. Peter Parker struggles with balancing his research work, his friendships and relationships and his duties as a superhero and, of course, with paying his rent! He is passionate about his science work with Dr. Octavius and is an experienced superhero. The main storyline, however, centres around a crime mob called the Demons terrorising the city with Peter being required to step up and take them on. However, to do this, he may have to sacrifice other elements of his life. I will leave this review relatively spoiler free as the plot deserves first hand experience. Overall, in my opinion, the plot feels extremely fresh and entertaining and it genuinely feels like the video game adaption of a new film or comic book story arc rather than another origin retelling.

Outside of the main story mission which advance the engaging plot in exciting, varied and enjoyable ways, there are also many side missions, objectives and collectables planted throughout the game. All of these side objectives feel fun, rewarding and worth completing so if you are a Spider-Man fan, no doubt you will want to 100% this game. The game is compelling and addictive and will give you around thirty hours if you do the main and side missions, potentially forty hours if you decide to look for all the collectibles and spend some time in the game’s amazing photo mode. Each and every one of those hours you spend with the game are quality hours of enjoyment and nothing in the game feels like filler.

Graphically, the game looks fantastic. Insomniac Games have taken great care in recreating New York in-game with some exceptional attention to detail being given. The game manages to achieve stunning render distance and never has frame dips or issues with texture loading even while swinging through the open world setting at a very high speed. I am highly impressed with what Insomniac Games have managed to pull off graphically, having tested the game on both the PS4 and PS4 Pro. The game plays beautifully on the standard PS4 so there is no need to be concerned if you haven’t upgraded to the PS4 Pro.

Insomniac Games are masters of nailing sound design at this stage. Marvel’s Spider-Man’s score is astounding and music is perfectly utilised throughout the game to give every moment an appropriate, cinematic feel. The voice acting is masterful, with Yuri Lowenthal’s portrayal of Spider-Man stealing the show. He manages to expertly perform the dual personalities of Peter and Spider-Man and I feel that the game truly has a blockbuster film-standard of voice acting. Sound effects also fit perfectly with the theme of the game. Overall, the graphics and sound cannot be faulted.

Thankfully, the game has left things open for a sequel and perhaps an expansion towards a Marvel game universe. The game references other Marvel superheroes and villains regularly, Avengers Tower is present and has specific voice lines referencing it and there are Marvel Easter Eggs littered throughout. With the success of the game, hopefully Marvel will have Insomniac pursuing more superhero titles. I have no doubt that Sony will be discussing a sequel to Marvel’s Spider-Man with them.

Overall, while the game has some minor flaws, I think it would be a disservice not to award it a perfect score. Insomniac Games have delivered a game with a great plot, great gameplay, great sound and something which is pure joy throughout. As a Spider-Man fan, I am thrilled that a game of this calibre has finally made it to shelves and I cannot urge you enough to experience it for yourself.