The oscillation is clinical and precise. A clear trajectory, which draws an almost perfect parabola in the air space between the shiny walls of two skyscrapers. New York is the usual indestructible interweaving of yellow cars and taxis; its streets invaded by a stream of people shooting along with the green of the traffic lights, while in the filthy and disreputable lanes the smoke rises from the manholes. And in this titanic and illegible city, among the buildings that stand on the avenues almost to suffocate them, he sways: the friendly Spider-Manneighborhood. It moves with a magnetic fluidity, under the amazed look of the player. It lets go when the swing has exhausted the thrust, plunges perpendicular towards the asphalt (while the motion blur effectively accentuates the already exhilarating feeling of speed), and then shoots one of its sticky lianas right on the facade of another tower block , resuming the sway a few meters from the ground.
Here: if there is one aspect that more than any other striking and convincing, in this unprecedented game version of Spider-Man, it is definitely the movement system. Just a few minutes with the pad in hand to get used to the scheme of controls, leaving overwhelmed by an intoxicating feeling of fluidity, speed and rhythm. Insomniac Games, at the helm of what we can consider a very important exclusive for Sony and PS4, has concentrated most of its production efforts on this aspect. ” We wanted a system that was accessible, immediate, but also more varied and credible than the old titles dedicated to Spider-Man “. Bryan Intihar , creative director of production, tells us so during our exclusive visit to Burbank’s studios. And goes on: “one of the first technical interventions made on the displacement system was that which requires every web to physically attach itself to the facade of a building. No more vials fired in the void.
It might sound like nonsense, but thanks to this new technology Spider-Man moves in a more …” natural “way, however realistic a super-hero can be, that oscillates to tens of meters in height Yet now it is no longer possible to advance in the middle of nowhere, and we must learn to relate to the city’s architecture and its encumbrance.It is a pleasant sensation, a movement mechanism a little more complete and in some way more playful than respect. to that of the previous tie-ins, which then this time Spider-Manhe can do several other things besides swinging: he can walk on the walls of buildings (as happened in Prototype or in Hulk Ultimate Destruction ), or he can throw two cables and project himself, like a sling, towards a foothold. Given the muscle strength of the protagonist even the jumps become important, and it is said that you can not cross entire neighborhoods simply leaping from one roof to the other of the city. “These new possibilities will come in handy in different contexts, for example when you cross Central Park, as the absence of buildings will prevent you from swinging. We have ‘cheated’ a bit ‘on the height of the trees, but beyond that you have to rely only on jumps or pushes forward. You can even slow down the time in midair, aim for a foothold, and use spider webs to project yourself towards it.
In short, what the guys on the team call the” traversing “system”(which in English means” to cross “) is really a little gem, valued for something else by a very involved camera, who knows when to approach or get away from the character: when it is the case, in practice, to emphasize a particularly successful acrobatics and when it is better to value the difference in proportion between Peter’s thin body and the vastness of the New York views.
The New York of the new Spider-Man is not just beautiful to travel, but also to watch. On the technical front the work of Insomniac is really impressive: the amount of elements that the game can display is impressive, and if it is true that the polygonal skeletons of the buildings are not really full of details, on the other hand we have a truly remarkable number of vehicles and pedestrians. The city buzzes with life, moves and breathes regardless of the hero’s deeds, and it is even possible to stop, get off the road and give some photos to Spidey fans . You can even take the subway to move from one neighborhood to the Big Apple, using an original Fast Travel systemeven if considering all that we have described in the previous paragraph it will be difficult to give up the pleasure of an acrobatic crossing.
From a graphical point of view (the demo we played was on PS4 PRO ) there is also an extraordinary use of shaders, which make surfaces more credible; the team has not spared even for what concerns the special effects and the environmental interaction, with a good number of objects with which it is possible to interact during the clashes. As well as God of War , in short, even Spider-Man clearly demonstrates what it is possible to do, with a little work and optimization, on a machine that at the time of its exit was pointed out as ” technically backward “”This year’s exclusive Sony represents the revenge of the development teams on the alleged limitations of the hardware, it being understood that it is impossible to work miracles with regard to framerate and resolution: Spider-Man , therefore, runs at 30 fps and reaches the 4K by checkerboard rendering , but without negatively influencing the cleanness and clarity of the scene.While wandering freely around the Big Apple, however, some less exciting elements also emerge: these are aspects linked, above all, to the character and nature secondary activities, which are very classic.
” Spider-Manof Insomniac, on balance, remains a traditional free-roaming, modeled with a “mold” used over the past generations. The so-called side quests, in short, are likely to be a bit ‘monocord and repetitive, and not always supported by an effective work of writing and characterization.
A good idea was to link the various types of secondary missions to a specific villain, among the many who will compete for the New York domain. Taskmaster , for example, will ask us to defuse the bombs left around the city: to succeed in the enterprise we will have to reach the bombs within the time limit, in a sort of race against time. Felicia Hardy – aka Gatta Nera- Instead, he will demand that Peter photograph his feline souvenirs. And then there are the research stations of Harry Osborn , which will allow us to perform tasks useful to the community, such as identifying and photographing some highly polluting vehicles.
The truth is, however, that all these situations, including the spectacular pursuits that occasionally start by chance, have seemed a bit ‘uniform and not very original. Compared to another free-roaming superhero, Batman Arkham Knight , we must admit that the solutions adopted by Rocksteady were in some cases more intriguing (we refer, for example, to the puzzle of the Enigma or the sequences of investigation).
The game, however, encourages the completion of all secondary objectives, rewarding the user with special tokens that serve to enhance the gadgets and skills of Spider-Man. We therefore hope that in the final version of the title things will get a bit more diversified. We also remember that in our trial we only visited one of the city’s many districts, and that other types of side quests might appear in other neighborhoods. It could also be that, at the end of a specific series of missions, one meets the villain associated with them: a clash with the enemies mentioned above could well repay the effort necessary to complete the various quests. The development team, in any case, still has a few months to work on this aspect, which to date is the least convincing of the production.
When you go to the main quest missions, moreover, the tenor and the rhythm of the action reach truly exceptional levels. In the long introductory sequence, which leads Spider-Man to face Wilson Fisk , we have seen clashes, an excellent interior design level, a wonderful alternation between interactive sequences and narrative interludes, and above all a tense and intense final battle, the apex of a mission very successful and compelling.
In these situations, we are not afraid to say it, Spider-Man really represents the summit of tie-ins dedicated to superheroes, and if all the villain present in the game will be facing in boss fight so well characterized, we will have a truly impressive product .
Unfortunately, the development team did not want to unbutton the duration of the story, just as we do not know too much about the opponents that will be involved. At the moment it is certain only the presence of Shocker and Mr. Negative , which will have a really important role on the narrative level. Martin Li is not only the head of the Inner Demons, but also the benefactor at the head of FEAST , the humanitarian organization where the dear, old worksAunt May.
During the course of the story (or at least a part of it), Peter will then be on a collision course his private life with that of a super-hero, and after all “it is precisely the situations in which this contrast occurs that they are the most interesting “. Recall, however, that the Spider-Man of Insomniac will not be set in the Cinematic Universe of Marvel , or even in the universe of comics, but in a new ” Ragnoverso “”written specifically for the occasion, thanks also to the support of well-known scriptwriters like Christos Gage and Dan Slott.In this exquisitely videogame reality our Peter Parker plays the role of Spider-Man for almost a decade, and is therefore a superhero definitely He has 23 years and is struggling with his career as a researcher, while trying to find a balance between the urgencies of his New York and those of Mary Jane, who reinvented herself after the college by storm assault for the Daily Bugle In short, the interpreters of the story, whether they are long-term actors or villain, have been ” revisited “: Insomniac has given a partial re-reading of the characters, trying to make them recognizable but in some way original, so to outline a universe to be discovered.