Marvel’s Spider-Man (and Remastered) Review

Released 2018 (original) 2020 (remastered)
Platform PlayStation 4/PlayStation 5 (Remaster only)
Publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment (Website)
Developer Insomniac Games (Website)
Homepage (Visit Website)
Players 1
Category Comic/Superhero
Open World

It’s a review of both games really, but that isn’t a bad thing

I started playing Marvel’s Spider-Man a while ago, and I enjoyed the bit of a playthrough I had of it. I gave it a good run for 5-6 hours, and then put it away in the ‘when I have time’ pile of games.

Well, with the PS5 setup in my gaming area on launch day and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition with it, now was the time to come back and play this highly praised title.

And the praise was well deserved.

Differences between the original and remaster

There is one huge difference that everyone will notice. That is Peter Parker himself. The face model has been swapped from John Bubniak to Ben Jordan. It does make it obvious which version of Marvel’s Spider-Man you are playing!

Personally, this isn’t a massive deal for me. I know the internet was up in arms about is (as the internet does), but it’s no different from when an actor is recast in any other show.

That’s not entirely true – a different actor can change the impression of a character on a show or movie a lot. In a game though? The animations are primarily done by someone else with a store of movements provided by motion capture. And the voice work is the same, provided by Yuri Lowenthal.

So it’s a change, yes – but not one that detracted from my enjoyment at all. It didn’t take long for me to settle comfortably with the new face.

The only reason Peter looks 'different' is because you saw another actor play him

Other differences

An even subtler difference is the fabled ‘ray tracing’ effects added to the game. It was lovely watching the reflections and shadow effects when I picked a few locations and looked for them, but while in-game, I quickly forgot about them.

This has always been my argument with Ray Tracing. It’s nice to have and looks great in stills, but it isn’t essential – yet. In the future where real-time reflections can be used to see enemy locations will be amazing (and frustrating) – but those games aren’t around.

Ray tracing is the feature, but like anything new, it will take time for devs to take full advantage of. And now that the consoles (the ‘lowest common denominator’) has access to it, more games will be developed with Ray Tracing in mind.

PS4 Pro on the left, PS5 on the right. The still looks pretty on PS5, but when you are in combat you don't really notice

The other and in my opinion, the most critical difference was frame rates. Even in my initial quick play, there were plenty of fights were stuttering was apparent. On PS5, even at the end of the game with the most action happening, there were no noticeable frame dips.

I am not saying they weren’t there – they probably were. But noticing differences in a drop to 55fps from 60fps is nowhere near as evident (or frustrating) as any dip from 30fps.

OK, so what about the actual game?

Marvel’s Spider-Man has you taking control of Peter Parker. The island of Manhattan is accessible to you, and swinging around feels so satisfying. I can tell you that in words, but after 10 minutes doing it yourself is the only way to truly understand how good it feels.

The story within these games is stand-alone. There are plenty of nods to the greater Marvel universe, but it isn’t tied to the MCU or the Sony versions. This gives Insomniac an incredible amount of freedom to tell their own story – something I always appreciate.

In Marvel’s Spider-Man, Insomniac has skipped the familiar hero origin story. You take control of an experienced Peter Parker, dealing with the longer-term issues of being a superhero. The ‘tutorial’ is actually taking down Kingpin – generally reserved as a final end boss!

Marvel's Spider-Man Tutorial Complete trophy is most games end goal!

The game follows the origin of Doctor Octopus. It puts you up against the Sinister Six – well known Spider-Man villains. But while you know the enemies, they aren’t exactly what you are expecting, making their appearance fresh and exciting.

There are main story missions to progress through, side-missions, and an overabundance of collectables. There are even ‘secret’ collectibles in the games!

It doesn’t sound great on paper, but there are only a handful of different activities for you to do. Similar to the Batman Arkham series, there are stealth and combat missions, as well as following suspects/vehicles. Almost everything else is combat. Well, that you must do.

Even though it doesn’t sound like much variety, the pacing of activities are done on your schedule. Don’t feel like taking care of a random crime? Don’t. Want to clear all of the enemy bases in one go? Do it. It’s all up to you.

New York is split up into areas, but you need to 'fix' police scanners to see everything

The ‘bad’ missions are still here though

The mandatory missions that frustrated me are when you aren’t playing as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. There are mini-missions where you play as other characters and are basically forced stealth missions. If you are seen, you lose, and as you don’t have powers, this happens a lot.

From what I understand these missions have been removed in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, but they are still a part of the original. It’s not the end of the world, though. Every game has bits people just have to deal with, and these missions are thankfully short.

Frankly, it wouldn’t be Marvel’s Spider-Man without them. But I am glad to hear that for Miles Morales at least they are gone. I hope the full sequel keeps this trend going.

After playing as Spider-Man and having tools and abilities at your disposal, these stealth missions are rather frustrating

And the extra missions – The City that Never Sleeps

You can’t have an ultimate edition without all the DLC, and the extra story in The City that Never Sleeps is here in all its glory.

I am a bit torn on these story elements though. Their absence from the main game wasn’t felt until after I had finished them. I wouldn’t call the side story vital, but it does explain why some character arcs in the main game just stop.

For the main story missions only, all three episodes add about an hour of gameplay across all of them. It’s this minor content amount that makes me feel like the story was cut from the main game for time constraints and/or profit.

This issue is dodged getting the complete version. Still, I am glad I didn’t pay for this with the PS4 version of Marvel’s Spider-Man. The cost difference literally went into buying the Ultimate version of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I got a lot more bang for my buck because of it.

Of course the City Never Sleeps - everything is blowing up all the time!

That’s all you are going to talk about the game? Really?

Yep. Sorry. The game is good and is rated positively reflecting this. But I feel there are two camps of people on this one.

The first group are people that finished it on PS4. They already know if they want to continue playing, and talking about anything else is just re-hashing old ground.

The second is people that like myself that didn’t play (or finish) Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4. This review is more for them, and I don’t want to talk about story elements because the experience is that good. Because this game has been reviewed/streamed/YouTubed so much, people that want more information can find it easily.

Now I think I will try Bugsnax before tackling Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Or maybe not. The gameplay is that fun, more Spider-Man isn’t a bad thing.

Marvel's Spider-Man has bought that MCU touch to the video game side, and that is a great thing

Final Thoughts

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered is an excellent choice for playing on the PlayStation 5. While the original pushed the PS4 (even the Pro) to its limits, the PS5 runs it like a dream. Even with graphical improvements.

That said, if you finished Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4, there is no real incentive to replay it on PS5. There is no new content except for The City that Never Sleeps if you didn’t get it the first time.

If you are new to the series, grab Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate edition and prepare to spend 60-80 hours across both games having a great time. It’s well worth it.

Overall
9/10
9/10

Pros

  • Intuitive control system
  • Customisation options are surprisingly adaptable to many playstyles
  • Manhattan Island is just big enough to be interesting
  • The remastered version runs very smoothly

Cons

  • PS4 version can have frame rate issues
  • Potentially too many collectibles?
  • DLC is expensive for what is on offer when buying stand-alone

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
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