Buying Spider-Man on PS4 was a bit of an impulse buy for me. I knew it was coming out but while I don’t mind superheroes, I wouldn’t say I’m a die-hard fan.
Then the videos started to appear, followed by 10/10 reviews.
Two days before release, I decided to order it – the Special Edition – and had it rock up the next day via courier, sneakily a day early. Having just finished Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, I was ready for a new game so in it went and I got in to the blue and red suit – fit rather snugly, in case you were wondering.
For the first Act of the game, I sucked. I died. A lot. And yet all the reviews were praising it – was I missing something? The usual trolls were around on the forums telling players who are struggling that they suck – then I found a reddit thread full of other gamers like me wondering “what the heck” at the game’s punishing difficulty, even on its “Normal” setting.
I wasn’t really enjoying it – brutally decimated by gangs of enemies and wondering why I was so crap. I felt like the game had started, but hadn’t opened up a heap of gameplay options to me.
And it was just that. The game hadn’t told me everything yet.
Future missions went in to more detail about Safe vs Danger enemies for stealth attacks, and as my XP increased, I bought more and more skills unlocking more powerful combat options, including some pretty sweet combos both on land and in the air. Tugging weapons and slamming them back and air swings were two of my favourites.
By the end of Act II, I was having an absolute blast. There was still the occasion death, but I was pummelling the bad guys like one heck of a kickass Spider-man.
Having now finished the game, and earning the Platinum trophy, I can look back and reflect on my crap-ness from the beginning of the game. And I think I know what it is – the enemy brutality remained fairly consistent throughout the game. As an unskilled Spidey, the enemies were aggressively brutal. As Spidey become more competent (and Spidey’s controller, of course), the enemy difficulty didn’t seem to increase, but rather Spidey’s ability and agility helped in being more successful. Even in the numerous fights through Act III, Spidey got his butt kicked maybe once.
To me that shows the AI being a bit too tough with an unskilled Spidey – and a toning down of the earlier level brutality would have made learning the moves and gameplay a bit more enjoyable – by the end of the game, I was absolutely loving it, waiting for the next time I could sit down and return to New York.
With a fully skilled up Spider-Man, and a swarm of upgraded gadgets, combat turned in to such an enjoyable experience with each encounter – perfect dodging, stealth attacks, and pretty sweet gadgets – it was my turn to be brutal to the hordes of gangs, prisoners and agents roaming the city.
And now I want the DLC… and now I can’t wait to see what Insomniac and Marvel bring to the table next. There has to be more – after the initial gameplay difficulties, Spider-Man did turn out to be such an enjoyable game – even if I did clench my butt every time I swung through New York City.