Marvel’s Spider-Man is just as much about Peter Parker as it is about the eponymous web-slinger. During our two hour hands on session with the upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive, we got our very first glimpse at the 23-year-old graduate’s own gameplay sections, which primarily appear to take place in a laboratory. (Although, a second stretch of gameplay later in the demo sees you meeting Aunt May at a homeless shelter.)
The first thing that’s different about Insomniac Games’ spider-verse is that Parker is a fledgling scientist, as opposed to a journalist. In this world, it’s actually Mary Jane Watson who works for the Daily Bugle. One early mission in the game sees you swinging your way to work, and once you enter the office, you’ll automatically switch out of Spider-Man’s attire, and put on your lab coat as Peter Parker.
The gameplay, from what we saw, has a couple of elements. There’s an exploration component, as you move around the lab, interacting with items that add context and flesh out the lore. This is almost Quantic Dream-esque, as you pick up photographs and look at magazine covers. Obviously, there’s a helluva lot less to interact with in Marvel’s Spider-Man than a game like Detroit: Become Human, but we appreciated the number of optional items to inspect all the same.
The second component sees you completing mini-scientific puzzles. The first of these operates a little bit like Pipe Mania. Essentially, you’re presented with a circuit board, and you need to use rotatable pieces to guide power from one point to another. You only have a certain number of pieces to use, so there’s a puzzle element here, and later on you’ll need to pay attention to the flow of the circuit and even use specific pieces to properly signal boost the charge.
Another minigame presents you with a strip of colours that you need to match up using jigsaw pieces again. It’s very straightforward, but keep in mind that we only played the first two hours of the game. Interestingly, it seems you can return to the lab at set periods during the campaign, and when you do there’ll be a list of “work” for you to do. These are optional, but earn you XP and upgrades, so you’re probably going to want to complete them.
While we can’t confirm, we got the impression that through the course of the campaign there’ll be new scientific challenges for Peter Parker to complete. It’s a total change of pace from the high-octane action of Spider-Man’s gameplay, but it’s a good blend. We’re interested to see how these more “grounded” sections of the campaign evolve over the course of its full running time, and what they ultimately add to the overall storyline.
Are you looking forward to Peter Parker’s slower-paced segments in Marvel’s Spider-Man, or were you hoping for intense action at all times? Throw a web in the comments section below.