Following a recent Marvel’s Spider-Man hands on, we’ve talked about a lot of the anticipated PlayStation 4 exclusive’s features, including its combat, first boss fight, and more. Now we’re going to conclude our series by answering the most important question of all: how good does the all-important swinging gameplay feel?
Our early impressions are that Insomniac Games is not trying to reinvent the open world wheel with this game; unlike the recent Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer, for example, the Burbank developer is not really doing anything in the sandbox genre that you haven’t seen before. However, what it is doing it’s doing well – and the traversal is a big part of that.
Spider-Man feels great to control; he moves with an acrobatic grace that’s extremely responsive and befitting of the character. The swinging is the biggest part of that: pulling the R2 trigger will prompt the web-slinger to shoot a web, and you can navigate New York’s urban jungle using that mechanic alone. There is more to it, however.
The developer’s resisted the urge to settle on a single navigation button like in, say, Assassin’s Creed – instead opting to increase the skill level by layering a variety of other mechanics on top. Firstly, you can jump out of swings, and doing so at the apex of your motion will add momentum to your movement. You can then web-zip to get a small boost of speed.
Pulling the R2 and L2 triggers in unison will zip you towards a perch point, and you can choose to land on this and survey your surroundings if you desire. Alternatively, you can jump off it as soon as you touch down, giving you another boost of speed. There are also tricks you can perform, and buildings can be used to wall run across and around for faster cornering.
The way it’s been designed is that anyone can start swinging and having fun with the system, but the more you play and practice, the better you’re going to get at moving around. It’s one of those games where making your way to the destination is part of the fun, and we reckon that’s going to make some of the title’s dryer collectibles a little more engaging.
One thing that’s worth adding is that webs do attach to surfaces, so if you’re in an area where there aren’t any tall buildings, then you can’t simply swing from the sky. Instead you may have to dive – and you can speed this up by holding L3 – or zip towards an area where there are things to latch onto. It’s almost balletic in a way – there’s a rhythm to all the button pushes that quickly clicks.
If you’re a big fan of games like Gravity Rush, inFAMOUS, or Mirror’s Edge, we reckon you’re going to get a real kick out of this. The navigation really is a huge part of the package’s appeal, and while the open world itself isn’t necessarily shaping up to be anything spectacular on its own, moving around it looks set to be the real highlight here.
Are you looking forward to trying out Spider-Man’s swinging gameplay? Will you be spending some time simply getting around the city and practicing trying to get some speed? Swing when you’re winning in the comments section below.