Sony ended its E3 2017 showcase with an extended gameplay look at its upcoming Spider-Man title for the PS4, and it certainly saved the best for last.
The 2018 game (which is currently just called “Spider-Man”) looks like a gorgeously engrossing superhero experience, combining elements from previous Spider-Man iterations into something that looks tight, polished, and a whole lot of fun.
The gameplay demo begins with Spidey sneaking up on a group of gang members known as the Demons, who are apparently at war with Wilson Fisk (yeah, Spider-Man is helping out one of Marvel’s biggest baddies). We immediately get a look at some neat stealth gameplay: Spidey can sneak up on enemies from behind, web them to high-up poles, and set explosive web traps in case he gets spotted and needs to run away.
The action quickly transitions to visceral hand-to-hand combat, in which Spider-Man dodges bullets and beats on mobs of enemies with slick acrobatic attacks. He can even use the environment to his advantage, as we witnessed when Spidey hurled a construction pole at a group of enemies using his webs. It looks like a more high-flying version of the best-in-class combat found in the Batman Arkham games–a combination we’re certainly not complaining about.
Spider-Man eventually makes his way to Demons leader Martin Li (aka Mr. Negative), which sets off a thrilling chase sequence in which Spidey tries to stop Li from escaping in a helicopter. This portion of the game was heavy on quick-time events--you’ll have to perform button taps with split-second precision to keep Spider-Man alive--and stop the destruction from hitting civilians. The chase scene was the most breathlessly cinematic part of the entire demo.
The gameplay trailer packs a ton of Marvel Comics nods that hardcore fans will assuredly be picking apart for weeks. Throughout the mission, Spidey communicates with his longtime ally Yuriko Watanabe, and we spotted a billboard that read “Osborn for Mayor.” But the biggest audience pop came from the very end of the video, in which a young Miles Morales (aka Ultimate Spider-Man) was capturing the action from his phone. There are already some theories out there at this game’s Spider-Man actually is Morales, as we’ve yet to see who’s under the mask.
The game isn’t tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or any existing comic storyline, so we're excited to see what the folks at Sony and Marvel do with their creative freedom.
At the risk of sounding too optimistic, Spider-Man PS4 is shaping up to be the Spidey game we’ve wanted for years. The action looks wonderfully fluid and varied (no surprise there, open-world veterans Insomniac Games are making it), the graphics look gorgeously cinematic, and the story has the potential to go into numerous interesting places.
It’s been far too long since we’ve had a good Spider-Man game–the last two titles based on Sony’s The Amazing Spider Man were stinkers–so here’s hoping Sony and Insomniac stick the landing come 2018.