It’s that time of year again for gamers worldwide. The time where one game, in particular, is crowned above all else, where all the fanboys and girls can justify their opinions behind a trophy.
And I hope that Marvel’s Spider-Man will win at The Game Awards, so I can do the same.
Insomniac’s take on Peter Parker’s troublesome double life astounded me. It seamlessly blends the addictive fun gameplay loop of web zipping and fighting crime around the Big Apple with a story that is just as relatable to the youth of today as it was when Spidey first broke into the comic scene.
In Marvel’s Spider-Man, Peter is eight-years into his web swinging, crime-fighting tenure, throwing any possibilities of repeating the same tiresome origin story out of the window.
With this comes Peter being an adult, which in turn so too are his consequences. There are numerous instances within the game that make you feel the impact of every decision Peter makes and that’s why the story works so well; it grounds the story in a place where comic book stories and the majority of the movies never went.
Having sweet moments within the story to just develop character relationships and, it takes its time getting the player invested in the characters, and the world is really what this game does so much better over the other nominated games. The game entirely hinges on the audience’s investment in Peter Parker and the supporting characters and it does it so perfectly.
This rendition of Peter is the perfect blend of Toby Maguire’s sensitivity, Andrew Garfield’s snappiness and Tom Holland’s youthful charm. The man who plays him, Yuri Lowenthal, not only plays Spidey but he becomes him, you don’t hear a voice actor playing Spidey, you hear every quip, every comment and every emotion Lowenthal places into this character as Peter. So much so that the final heart wrenching final few moments of the last act brought me to tears during my Twitch stream.
But it is not all about the story. The gameplay alone is nothing short of phenomenal. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel per-say but, I will say it has the best gameplay loop I have played within a superhero game since Batman Arkham City.
The web swinging alone is worth an award; being able to seamlessly swing through iconic areas of New York such as Times Square, Central Park and, of course, the Empire State Building all while incorporating the web pulls and the point launches, gives you a huge rush. What’s more is that the fighting stacks up equally as polished as the web swinging. With Spidey having 8 gadgets to choose from all with different uses and, many different ways to take on your foes, you never stop thinking on your feet with experimental ways of putting a stop to crime.
The musical soundtrack composed by John Paesano, the graphical fidelity of each and every character rendered so beautifully you would swear it’s a real life costume, the two ways they recorded the lines for Spidey: one for when he is exerting himself swinging around the city while, the other as if he is not, all feed into why this is at the very least a game of the year contender.
Marvel’s Spider-Man did something incredible for me as a Spidey fan. It breathed new life into the character that has been the face of superhero pop culture for the better part of the past two decades, it is the best interpretation of the character since the original trilogy and, above all, the game itself feels like a perfectly directed Spider-Man movie. The writing is incredible, the pacing is perfect, the gameplay is fun and addictive as hell, and, above all else, this rendition of Spidey is a perfect modern adaptation.
It is clear that Insomniac has a firm grip on what makes Peter Parker fascinating and relatable. I am excited to see what they have in store for us Spider-Man fans in the future. It may be a forgotten gem in the year that brought us God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2, but for me it is well worthy of the title game of the year.
The Game Awards will live streamed on their official YouTube channel on Friday December the 7th at 1.30 UK time.
By Joe Smalley