Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is swinging into PlayStation 4—and it’s Amazing, Spectacular, and, simply put, Marvelous.

Marvel’s Spider-Man, a PlayStation 4 exclusive from Insomniac Games, is the web-slinging video game of your dreams. Players will explore an expansive New York City from its rooftops while takin’ down the bad guys and saving the day—a lot.

And this is no origin story for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man—though players will spend plenty of time getting into the swing of things. This version of Spidey knows how to take down his opponents, and New Yorkers are used to his presence—though their feelings on the vigilante are decidedly split. Some will give you high-fives in the street, others will express… well, other sentiments.

Full of quippy puns and one-liners, epic displays of heroism, and some badass moves, this game will delight players at every sky-high turn.

Overview

In the game, Spider-Man has a direct line to NYPD Chief Yuri Watanabe, who will feed players their missions, such as taking down notorious Marvel bad guy Wilson Fisk. But, there are even larger evils at play: the Inner Demons. The Demons are wreaking havoc all over the city, and with the help from friends like Mary Jane Watson, now a reporter at the Daily Bugle, it’s up to Spidey to figure out who is behind all of this and why, and bring the whole thing crashing down.

And while all of this is going on, Otto Octavius has his own evil plot in the works, which results in players coming face to face with tons of iconic Spidey villains, including Electro, Vulture, Rhino, and Scorpion.

And of course, players will meet tons of familiar faces along the way, including the beloved Aunt May, Silver Sable, Black Cat, Stan Lee (obviously), and—hold your breath, now—Miles Morales, AKA the next Spider-Man. Players will even get a few chances to play as Morales, and the post-credits scene has something extra special in store for Spidey fans.

While the game features more than 20 hours of gameplay, keep in mind you’ll get immensely sidetracked exploring your new powers as the wall-climbing hero. We spent a good amount of time just swinging from the rooftops and exploring the city. While Yuri will guide players through the story, just when you are within 1200 meters to your next destination, the police scanner starts to go off, and instead you can head toward a high speed car chase, burglary, or mugging. These side quests keep things interesting and help you master your spider-like abilities, and it’s also just fun to beat up the bad guys.

Peter Parker vs. Spider-Man

In Marvel’s Spider-Man, players will flip between Peter Parker and Spider-Man, depending on the mission and what’s happening in the story. Similar to the films, Parker constantly struggles with keeping his super secret, and trying to uphold his normal life. Eviction notices, missed dinner dates, and more are at play in the game. Just like Peter, players will grapple with the differences between the two characters. After all, it feels like a jarring loss of power when you take off the suit and have to actually walk up a flight of stairs rather than swing from the rafters. But playing as Peter has its advantages, like completing circuit projects in the lab, which serve as fun brain-teaser style puzzles. I could literally do these all day—but this is coming from a girl who also loves Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Don’t @ me. The juxtaposition between superhero and regular kid is true to the Spider-Man brand and adds emotional twists to the gameplay, enhancing to the immersive experience this game offers.

The Battle for Good

One of the coolest things about fight sequences in this game is the integration of the environment. Just like in the films, Spider-Man acts on his feet and uses anything he can get his webs on to fight his way out of tough situations. Players will be surrounded by Demons and pull up manhole covers and mailboxes to smash them into the ground; or web up the bad guys and pin them to an overturned bus. The possibilities are endless, and man, is it fun to discover everything you can do.

My Spidey Senses Are Tingling—and I Like It

Web-slinging aside, the Spidey Sense is hands down the most useful power this hero has. Looking for a backpack? Spidey Sense will show you where. It will also guide you to nearby crimes, larger missions, and surveillance towers around the city, which players can use to unlock pieces of the map. And trust me, you’ll need to do this: New York has never felt so huge. I’ll be here the rest of the day wishing I could commute to work via rooftop rather than via R train.

Perhaps the best use of Spidey Sense is as a defense mechanism. When it comes to fight sequences, I tend to be all offense and no defense—but that’s impossible in this game. Your Spidey Sense will show you exactly where a bullet will hit or where a bomb blast will land, giving you a second or two do dodge out of the way without a scratch. It’s the ultimate defense mechanism.

But Wait, There’s More!

Not only can you do everything a spider can, but you can also diffuse bombs, do research to earn trophies, and find V important backpacks hidden all over the city. The backpacks are the main collectible players can discover throughout the game, and boy oh boy, do they pay off big time. Backpack tokens let players buy new mods, upgrades, gadgets and special suits.

Lookin’ Good, Spidey

Players can unlock nearly 30 different suits for Spider-Man, basically providing fans with a complete history of the comics, along with some good old fashioned family-friend Spidey humor. From the worn-out Classic suit to the spy-like Noir suit to (my personal favorite) the Spider-Punk suit, which is complete with studded web cuffs and a tattered denim vest, each suit comes complete with its own special abilities—which will come in handy as the game advances. The Homecoming (aka Stark) suit and Iron Spider suits are also available, complete with those strange, but lifesaving, extra legs.

Photo: Chris Silva

Photo Mode

It’s 2018, so it pretty much goes without saying at this point that the game looks beautiful. But where it really shines is in Photo Mode. Photo Mode offers filters, lighting effects, and focus changes to make your selfies look like fisheye photos, but even more than that, the zoom feature is intense. Zoom in on Spidey’s suit to get an up-close look at the fibers and texture. Pause mid-battle and capture a perfect kick in motion. Grab a shot of Spidey mid-swing from a satellite tower with sweeping views of the city behind him, complete with a cotton candy sky. Then, slap your images on the cover of the Daily Bugle, or an Amazing Spider-Man comic book. The artistic possibilities are endless, and players will spend countless hours stylizing the perfect photos.

Final Verdict

Marvel’s Spider-Man is accessible and entertaining for all gamers, whether experts or rookies. Insomniac delivers an expansive and interactive setting through which players can web sling and swing for hours on end. From a gripping storyline to unique gameplay mechanics and stunning graphics, this game is easily one of the best of the year.

Photos: Insomniac Games, unless otherwise noted