Marvel’s Spider-Man is easily one of my game of the year candidates. The story, game play and cinematics are top-notch, and completing the main story mission was bittersweet for me because while I was happy to have experienced it, I genuinely wanted more.
Thankfully, Insomniac has released The Heist, the first of three chapters in the new DLC arc known as The City that Never Sleeps. The Heist centers around Spidey’s relationship with Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat and builds on the small interactions that we got through side missions in the original game. I really like the dialogue and tension between the two, and if there was a story line that I’d like to see explored further, it’s this one.
There is a bunch to do in the The Heist, including more scavenger hunt style side quests which reveal supplementary information about Black Cat and her family lineage and advance the story. There are also new Screwball missions which are fun to complete and challenge you to take on combat in new and interesting ways.
It’s a lot of the same though, as most missions involve clearing out a huge group of enemies, some sort of scavenger hunt or chase sequence – including a super-frustrating web-thwip sequence through the subway that took me way too many tries to complete – and familiar gadgets like the Spider-Bot bomb defuser. There are 3 new suits to collect as well: the first you get after completing the opening chapter, the second for completing the entire Heist DLC and the third from completing all of the new district challenges.
JJJ is back and more animated than ever, with one particularly funny 4th wall-breaking comment about the fact that we’re firing rocket launchers indoors at an art gallery, which happened but I didn’t really think about it in that context until he brought it up. Miles is also here, but only over the phone as he simply alludes to continuing where we left off at the end of the main campaign. A cool little thing happened during my call with Miles, though. Mid-call, I collected a pigeon and auto-called the old man, interrupting Miles and hanging up on him. After the pigeon call, Spidey immediately called Miles back, apologized for cutting him off and we picked up where we left off. It’s that attention to detail that really makes Insomniac’s game shine.
Mary Jane stealth missions have returned as well, and they’re just as boring as they were in the original game. I’m still not sure why Insomniac has decided to make her missions so unexciting, they’re in such stark contrast to the light and fluid gameplay we get to experience as Spidey. I understand she’s not a superhero, but she’s portrayed as a strong, independent woman and having her slink around hiding from baddies somewhat undermines that point. Hopefully in the sequel we’ll get to flesh out her scenes a bit more.
We’re left with a cliff-hanger ending that obviously leads into the second chapter, titled Turf Wars. We’re told to expect this one – as well as the final chapter called Silver Lining – in November and December. All in all, it’s a satisfying return to a series that I was sorely missing. I loved being back in the mix with Peter and MJ and can’t wait for the new DLC. Luckily it won’t be long until we have it! Special thanks to Sony for supplying us with the review copy!