Insomniac Games’ PS4 exclusive, Marvel Spider-Man, was featured during this year’s E3 event just yesterday. The game, which will feature both Peter Parker and the Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales, will be released in 2018 and is currently available for pre-order.
During Sony’s press conference at E3, a near-nine minute extended gameplay video was teased for audiences in the theater and at home. showing off what fans can expect from the upcoming game – Spider-Man’s abilities, take-downs, banter, game mechanics, visuals, etc.
While the game is taking a step forward graphically, it still seems to be ever-lacking in regards of gameplay and combat. While watching the extended teaser, it appears that the in-game fighting presents itself more as a quicktime event than providing players with difficult, on-your-feet thinking.
My particular gripe with this is that it removes a great deal of the challenge for the player. By focusing primarily on atmosphere, graphics, and presentation, a number of games in the past decade have lost the mystique that comes with battle-hardened bosses that require cognitive thinking and trained skill to defeat them, rather than spastic button mashing or waiting for that on-screen, flashing neon hint to tell you how to win the battle.
I feel like a lot of superhero games in the past years have had this issue, with the Batman series and the Amazing Spider-Man games coming to mind. While I will say that I dearly appreciated the first few recent Batman games (Arkham Asylum and Arkham City) for the atmosphere, characters, lore, and story they provided to the player, the combat got too repetitive as time went on. While the challenge modes in the games were fun, having you fight an onslaught of baddies wielding stunner-sticks, bats, and bare-fists, you could easily knock one after another out by memorizing the rhythm of attacks and buttons meant to be hit in time. Within the first few minutes of watching the Marvel Spider-Man (2018) trailer, I began getting flashbacks of similar feelings.
For all I know this game could have an exciting story intertwined with tasteful nods towards other villains, sidekicks, witty in-side jokes, and sticking to comic lore (The fact that both Peter and Miles are in the game reeks of some bad fortune for Peter); however, the combat system looks rather dull and repetitive, and I’m not sure how interested I would be to play the game any longer than the first few altercations.