Let me start off by saying that if you have played the much loved Spider-Man 2 on Xbox, PS2 or Gamecube, you have played the majority of this new PS4 version. That doesn’t mean that I hate it by any stretch, but just the fact that it is very similar to the open world games Spidey has been in before.
The PS4 version has a really nice and well told story although you can see everything happening from a mile away. It’s predictable and does suffer from the Rami directed disaster that is Spider-Man 3, which is to say it has too many villains that it tries to juggle while telling several different origin stories as well. Having the new Mr. Negative as what you assume is the main villain of the game, then totally switch gears to the Sinister Six and throwing Mr. Negative into it and bouncing back and forth in the last hour or so all while Silver Sable is trying to kill you, and Norman Osborn being revealed to be a bad guy (No Duh) and Otto losing his mind before your eyes… it’s all too much in not enough time. You constantly feel like there is no dread because everything is happening all at once, but not in a controlled way. It feels like the writers kid was in the room and was like “Oh and Doc Ock needs to be in it, and what if Vulture was there, then Spider-Man is having lunch and Norman Osborn is there, but wait, Rhino needs to be there too, and what if we have Kingpi- Oh Silver Sable, Oh Electro has fire bolts, that’s cool, he needs to be there too!”.. It’s too much to take, and the game suffers for it. It feels like a giant run on sentence of ideas with no editor to cut anything out that doesn’t need to be there. I’m actually surprised the game didn’t have Venom and Carnage in it as well. The back half of the game basically brings out everyone for a one liner or a possible 3 minute boss fight and there is no real weight or consequence or even point to most of the secondary characters.
For a game that is open world based, I put in probably about 18-20 hours into it. Sadly the game doesn’t have any sort of timer and I played through it in several long sittings and then sprinkled hour long play sessions, but in that time I was able to 100% the entire game and get the platinum trophy (My first one as I really don’t care about those sorts of things, but it was so easy that it ended up being only maybe 45 mins of extra stuff after beating the game)
In that time, I did the same thing every Spider-Man open world game does, you fight crime (some of which is literally copy and pasted from other games, using the same mechanics and animation) and just being an all around friendly neighborhood crime fighter. The side stuff wasn’t too much for the most part, early on you have to find 50 backpacks around the city, which are on your map, it takes about 15 mins to grab every single one… then it gives you more and more collectathon stuff as time goes on. Which isn’t bad, but can become tedious if you are like me and have to do that stuff before the game finishes because if you don’t, you don’t ever want to go back and do that stuff after.
There are some stealth sections in the game (not as much as some would lead you to believe, and all can be completed in about two minutes if not less. More often than not, they just get in the way of the rest of the game, but it does break up the monotony of the combat. My real gripe would just be that it’s more trial and error than anything else and just kinda boring for the most part.
I think the best part of the unlockable stuff is the suits. It gives you a variety of Spidey Suites to wear whenever you want and show up in all the in game rendered cutscenes. And it’s mostly stuff that you haven’t seen in every other Spider game before, there is no Black Suit, there is no Silver Spider-Armor suit, but there are some crazy ones I haven’t even seen before. Punk Rock Spidey is one of my favorites, but the Cel-Shaded Comic costume was too good to pass up for most of the game, as it is in such contrast with the rest of the visuals, that it makes it feel like a Roger Rabbit game/movie. I really enjoyed changing my costume after a few missions. It just felt nice to be able to change whenever I wanted. And to add to that, each suit comes with a unlockable bonus power, but the cool thing is that you can mix and match, so you aren't stuck with a crappy costume just because it has a rad power associated with it. Which many games should take note from, as that is a huge issue whenever a game has that type of stuff.
The acting is top notch as are the visuals (for the most part). The faces of Peter, MJ and Norman Osborne stand out as off-putting in a Uncanny Valley sort of way, but characters like Otto Octavious and Aunt May stand out as particularly well crafted (I’m assuming there was some digital face mapping going on as those ones look like real actors). The voice acting is so good that it doesn't even give you much time to realize that these aren’t the voices of the Animated Series that I hold dear to my heart. The cast does a spectacular job in the ending as well as there are some truly heart-wrenching moments that are some of the best acted cutscenes in all of Video Games. I honestly got a little bit teary eyed in the final moments.
The game is worth it to see how a Spider-Man game should be. It's fun, enjoyable, and you can lose hours just swinging around the city and taking pictures with the Photo Mode (which fits perfectly in a Spider-Man game, although I wish the Selfie feature was a bit more robust instead of him throwing up the horns in every single picture. But none-the-less, it’s an incredibly well made Video Game that deserves all the credit it is getting as a “good” superhero game. I think it could have had a bit more of the Arkham flare where they sprinkled in more nods to the comics and little easter eggs, instead of pointless busy work missions that felt too tedious and repetitious, and that would have made it a much better game.