Spider-Man is probably one of the comic characters most commonly adapted to video games. And it makes sense. His powers and gadgets are easily-understood and grounded (at least if you don’t think about them too hard) enough, and he’s a character who can ultimately be killed (albeit with some difficulty) by means that already exist in the world. This means that converting these things into video games isn’t that outlandish. It’s so in general common place that rather than the recreation of Spider-Man’s powers or combat, the enjoyability of the web-swinging seems to be what is often most pointed to for whether or not a Spider-Man game is good or not. What’s rarely ever discussed is how good of a story these games tell, which is mainly because they often tend to be rather bland in that area.
The fact that the latest Spider-Man game tells a really good story is why it stands out as one of the best Spider-Man games ever.
Most of the time, these games either stick too closely to the source material, or throw it out all together. Neither extreme is good; either you’re going through something that you already know too well to really enjoy, or you’re playing Spider-Man: Web of Fire and don’t know who anyone is.
The 2018 version strides a thin line of presenting characters you’re familiar with and giving you just enough divergence to still be surprised. Sure, if you’ve read the comics, you can probably pretty quickly guess who the main villain is going to be. But the writers successfully gave this villain–and most of the other villains of the game–somewhat logical reasons for making why they do what they do so ultimately tragic and relatable. And what makes the game such a damn rollercoaster between defeat and triumph.
These are the swings that really matter, at least to me, and this is why Spider-Man is easily one of my favorite games this year. Don’t trip, though: if you’re sticking to the classic Spider-Man game quality assessor, then yes, the web-swinging in this game is pretty damn fun.