Unlike many modern reboots of popular media, Marvel’s Spider-Man does not show us a re-imagined version of Peter Parker’s transition from teenager to superhero. Instead, the game starts eight years after he became Spider-Man, with several villains of various shapes and guises already defeated using his arachnid abilities. After taking down the legendary Wilson Fisk, who is better known as his alias ‘Kingpin’, Peter Parker’s life is turned upside down when a series of villainous groups come out of the woodwork to take the Kingpin’s place in the criminal underworld. This jump ahead allows us to get straight into the action, and doesn’t leave us trailing through several hours of origin story that practically everyone will know off by heart.
Each of the game’s three acts and several sub-chapters are filled with missions filled with dangerous enemies, new incarnations of side characters such as Norman Osborn, Yuriko Watanabe and Peter’s beloved Aunt May, and a host of dramatic twists and turns that will leave you picking up your jaw from the floor. and reaching for your nearest handkerchief before the final credits roll across the screen. One of the most dramatic moments comes at the end of the first act, where trusted ally Martin Li turns against the side of the law. This chain of events changes the course of many innocent lives, who will eventually rise up to defend their fallen allies and help save the city.
One of the best design choices that Insomniac Games decided to make was to design the game for older players. This has allowed them to create a more mature spin on the antics of Spider-Man which has rarely been seen in mainstream media. The characters retain all their trademark character traits, such as Peter’s innate sense of justice and a strong liking to quip his way through most enemy encounters. The dialogue for each character feels true to their essence, especially the egotistical rantings of Jonah Jamerson, Peter’s old boss at the Daily Bugle who has now become the host of his own internet radio show. This radio show proves to be highly entertaining, as it reports on the public reaction to recently completed missions, and the social commentary of how a superhero can be both a hero and villain simultaneously.