Before Robert Downey, Jr. popularized Iron Man, the most well known of Marvel’s superheroes was Spider-Man. He stood apart from other heroes because, when he wasn’t fighting crime, he was a pretty ordinary kid with relatable problems. He’s flawed, and funny, and trying to have a normal life, despite having these awesome abilities.
A Spider-Man game was released earlier this month, available only on PlayStation 4, and set when Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for eight years. His relationship with Mary Jane Watson is strained, and he’s struggling to pay the rent on his tiny Manhattan apartment while working as a research assistant - and, of course, taking out street thugs in his time off. Familiar villains, like Doctor Octopus and The Vulture appear, as well as a newer villain - Mr. Negative.
You start off with a few signature abilities - being able to swing from building to building, sticking bad guys to walls, and a good ol’ one-two punch. The game gradually unlocks new abilities, letting you learn how to control Spider-Man without having to stick you in an hour-long tutorial before you get to start playing. This works out fantastically, especially since it’s rewarding just to swing through the surprisingly accurate recreation of Manhattan. When I first started playing, I just swung around for 30 minutes, admiring the city - and when I stopped, I hadn’t realized it, but I landed right next to the Guggenheim.
There have been lots of Spider-Man video games, which have ranged from horrible to pretty good. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the news that there was a new Spider-Man game in development, since I figured it would be a movie tie-in and just be an average beat-em-up game. And then, when the game was released, I saw a flood of people on social media raving about it, and I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.