Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered Review: Visit Manhattan Without Dropping a Fortune!

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The Lowdown

Give Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered a look if you’re interested in a pretty, polished, and charming superhero experience, and especially if you’re a fan of Spider-Man.

Overall
4

Pros

  • Beautiful city to explore and swing around in
  • Simple yet satisfying combat that will make you feel like a badass when executed properly
  • Rewarding progression and customization options for your gear

Cons

  • Boring Stealth missions that add nothing to the experience
  • Additional filler, like Minigames that likewise add nothing and can even be skipped for some reason
  • Crashes towards the mid-game but especially after exiting a mission or challenge
Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered Review: Visit Manhattan Without Dropping a Fortune! Listen to this article

In my opinion, the recent rash of superhero games has been predominantly pish. All Flash and no substance, more akin to a Beast than beauty; you’d have to be a real Iron Man to stomach some of them. Now that I’ve gotten those superhero puns out of my system, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered for the PC (Developed by Insomniac Games/Nixxes Software, Published by Playstation PC LLC) stands out from the pile by being competent…and that’s a huge compliment.

I basically 100%-ed the game in 40 hours; here are my thoughts.

Scene from Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered

Looking super competent!

The (Relatively Spoiler-Free) Spider-Man Narrative

You play as Peter Parker, shocking revelation, but it had to be said. If you’ve watched any of his films, you know the skinny. Peter Parker is a shy genius who got bitten by a radioactive spider and thus became a superhero. This rendition of Peter has all the tropes you would expect. He’s broke, he’s a good-natured sweetheart, and he’s altruistic to a fault.

The story centers around Spider-Man doing his best to contain a rapidly collapsing pile of Jenga blocks; as with every villain he puts away, a larger conspiracy slowly unfolds further to swallow the city whole.

You start off by putting away the Kingpin, who is the de facto leader of the criminal underworld at that time. Removing him from power creates a vacuum, with a new dangerous gang called “the Demons” quickly moving in to steal his assets. Run by an elusive supervillain named “Mr. Negative,” the Demons are on a mission to execute their leader’s crusade, which is at first kept shrouded in mystery.

As Spider-Man attempts to shove his fingers into every hole in the dam, he also has to deal with his day job as a research assistant for Dr. Otto Octavius, who, as most of you know, doesn’t stay sane for very long. No, this doesn’t count as a spoiler because this guy’s character arc has been well-documented in multiple forms of media. If you missed it, you’re either five years old or are an ostrich with your head in the sand.

Spider-Man also eventually faces off against other core members of his rogue’s gallery that are committed to his demise, like Vulture, Scorpion, Rhino, and Electro. Norman Osborn is present as New York City’s mayor, and while he isn’t the Green Goblin yet, he still does his best to be a constant prick. Black Cat and Silver Sable also make appearances, making this a true star-studded ensemble.

Scene from Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered; Spidey is perched up high and looking down at the city.

There is nowhere in this city you can’t go, and therefore nowhere for the baddies to hide their larynxes.

The story isn’t all about the conveyor belt of bad guys just asking for a face rearrangement, though. You get a huge dose of fan favorites such as intrepid journalist Mary Jane, newcomer on the block Miles Morales (who conveniently will have their own game launching on PC soon; hint-hint Insomniac), and the timeless Aunt May.

Peter’s responsibilities to his loved ones, both in and out of costume, are integral to his character, and this moral compass shines through very vividly for the entire game.

The story was goofy at times, for sure, but if you ignore the moments that made almost no sense (like super secret conspiracies being communicated through PowerPoint), there is a well-rounded narrative here.

Spider-Man as a character will not surprise you, but the plot design made his responsibility to choose the right decision more tangible. I will not be spoiling anything, but the ending sequence of the main story puts Spider-Man in an almost impossible dilemma. Despite every fiber of his being probably screaming at him to make the selfish choice just this one time, he doesn’t.

With great power comes great responsibility indeed, and I was glad I stuck through it to see the conclusion.

In this remastered version, you also get access to 3 DLC packages that add a secondary post-main game storyline involving another villain named Hammerhead…..who has a head that’s made of metal. It’s a decent story adding a few extra hours of exploration, objective clearing, and punching.

But if you’re hoping for any subtlety or twists, I invite you to read the various villain names I’ve typed in this section and think long and hard if this world has any chance of weaving sophisticated misdirection into a storyline.

Exploration and Upgrades

Speaking of exploration, this is yet another of those open-world map-clearers that I’m seemingly developing a pattern of reviewing.

The game is set in New York City’s Manhattan Island and is gorgeous. I’ve spent a decent amount of time in NYC, and wandering around the places I’ve physically been present at rendered into a game was exceptionally cool.

There’s a lot of area to cover in fictional Manhattan, but thankfully, your map is marked off with colorful icons that represent different activities around the city. They range from random combat encounters to general speed challenges, to enemy bases, to special puzzle missions, and more!

The gold at the end of the rainbow that entices you to engage with this cornucopia is that by completing these various points of interest, you get tokens to unlock new suits and new combat gear.

Manhattan, NYC in Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered

Despite spending a lot of time in Queens, Parker is now a true Manhattaner in that he’ll never leave the island.

In addition to satiating my natural obsession with accessorizing, suits will unlock new abilities once you purchase them. These can be swapped out at any time to help you in appropriate situations.

For example, there is a special ability that allows you, for a very brief few moments, to charge every punch with electrical energy, kind of like a taser built into Spider-Man’s knuckles.

This would obviously help out in combat-focused missions, whereas an ability from another suit that makes it impossible for enemies to call for backup for a short stint would be more helpful when it comes to stealth-based objectives. It’s a great way of adding another tactical layer to overcome challenges should you choose to do so.

I typically stuck to the taser-fist suit for simplicity, but I collected pretty much the whole wardrobe for the sake of it. By far, my favorite costume — one where he looks like he’s been straight-up ripped out of the comic book — doubled my enjoyment, if I’m being honest.

Check the photo below for what I’m talking about.

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Spider-Man’s gadgets are likewise really fun to use, with none trading off efficiency to be extra quirky. They typically involve some sort of webbing with a unique effect, but there are also things like little spider drones that you throw out to serve as a distraction while you move in for the kill (metaphorically, Spider-Man doesn’t do that shit).

Even his bread and butter gadget of “regular webbing” is incredibly useful, as you can use it to gum up targets with guns and incapacitate enemies standing close to walls or knocked down onto the ground, provided you shoot enough webs at them. However, my absolute favorites were the impact webbing and the trip mine.

Impact webbing will instantly smack regular-sized enemies straight in the chest and propel them into the nearest surface, instantly taking them out of the fight.

The trip mine is supposed to help you in stealth missions, as it will grab anyone that disrupts the motion sensor and pull them towards the device to web them up.

When I discovered that I could stick it to an enemy’s back and have it pull two of them together in an almost slapstick fashion, it almost never left my side as a default gadget option. You obviously have only a limited supply of these gadgets at a time, but using them strategically could really save your bacon.

Combat: A Superhero’s Primary Pass Time

Now, onto how combat performs. In a nutshell, it is reasonably satisfying and easy to learn but hard to master.

Your attacks start off relatively basic, but as you upgrade your skills, you get access to more versatile combat maneuvers. What was originally a punch-punch-kick combo can evolve into a punch-punch-jump up into the air for a zipline kick-yank a webbed enemy into the air and throw them off a building-kick with the right abilities.

As you connect hits successfully, your combo meter rises, and that grants you more experience points but also builds up your “special meter.” Once full, this allows you to execute a one-hit KO move on the nearest unfortunate soul.

Canonically, Peter Parker as Spider-Man can lift a car and can dodge bullets, so to make things “fair,” you typically take on quite a few enemies at a time. Thankfully, Peter’s “spider sense” provides you with an early warning system and flashes red around his head before any potential hit.

With fast reflexes and situational awareness, it is plausible you will take minimal damage even in the most overwhelming situations.

It can be a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, there is even an ability that allows you to perform a one-hit KO if you hit the dodge button just before a bullet would hit you. It felt pretty badass to clear out a room of villains in a clinical yet graceful fashion. A lot of the environment is also “throwable,” and it really helps keep things under control when you send a trash can careening through a few mercenaries.

Enemy variety just about hits the sweet spot, in my opinion. They’re lumped into the general following categories: chopped liver, chopped liver with guns, chopped liver with a shield/melee weapon, chopped liver who fly, big beef sticks, and big beef sticks with guns.

It may seem like a lot, but if you think of it like an equation, each enemy has a specific solution that you can perform to eliminate them quickly. For example, enemies with a shield can be attacked from behind by scooting through their legs, whereas those with tasers have to be kicked up into the air, where their weapons are meaningless.

The big beef sticks are the ones that require a little more consideration when they’re on the field because they can withstand a lot of punishment. You can wail on them all you want, but if you’re not ready to get the hell out of the way, they’ll clobber you. Spider-Man’s myriad of abilities didn’t come with concussion protection, unfortunately.

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4
Spidey takes on some thugs in Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered

“Happy Birthday to the GROUND”

I think this is a good sweet spot because when you have too much enemy variety in a game, it’ll quickly become overwhelming, and you run the risk of your players spending too much time optimizing rather than playing.

Too little variety results in your game being blase and unfulfilling to engage with.

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered allows you to fly around beating on everyone in sight while still facing the danger of being overwhelmed and getting knocked unconscious because someone hit you with an attack you weren’t ready for. In my experience, it was normally an rpg or similar flying explosive smacking me from behind, so keep your head on a swivel.

What’s more, each supervillain will get a special mission to take them down as you progress through the story. They’re all variations of the same formula: find the bastards (might involve a chase), confront them, maneuver around dodging environmental hazards and/or attacks, wait for an opportunity to pounce, and lay the hurt on them. This game does these extremely well in that I never felt bored fighting the minibosses.

For example, you fight the first boss, Kingpin, in his corporate HQ penthouse, while later, you fight a combination of Vulture and Electro at a transformer array. Cut from the same cloth in terms of mechanics, there was enough flavor to keep it interesting and keep the sequences spicy.

Spidey has thugs wrapped in his web in a scene from Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered

“I’m sorry honey, I promise this honestly never happens to me.”

The Traversal Experience

Now, since you’ve got such a large area to explore, how are Spider-Man’s traversal skills? Does Spidey move with the poise and coordination of an arachnid? Largely, yes!

Spider-Man felt fast, agile, and, most importantly, versatile. The game has pretty realistic physics, so Peter will start off slow, and to maximize his speed, you’ll have to release at the apex of his swing before extending the next line. If you are higher than the buildings around you, Spider-Man will not have an anchor to attach his web to, and thus you’ll have to wait until gravity takes him down a few meters.

Similar to his combat skills, you can upgrade his movement abilities, and these dramatically speed up your journeys from one district to another. I’d recommend getting the “Point Launch Boost” skill as soon as possible. This will allow you to propel yourself off antennas, smoke stacks, roof corners, etc., at great speed after slingshotting yourself toward them, and it’s very helpful in some of the chasing missions.

Navigation through the city and navigation through the menus is also very well done. There’s a lot of information flying at you at all times, and the UI presents this data in a clear manner. Very much like the menus, objectives will always be apparent with bright-colored icons.

The minimap in the bottom right will contract or expand depending on how high above the ground you are and how fast you’re going. I never felt like I didn’t know where I was headed or that I didn’t have enough warning in my commute across the city. I’m a huge fan of games that communicate objectives and options to you in an unconvoluted manner, so I wanted to give Insomniac props for that.

Spidey making his way through the city in Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered

Channeling your drunk Uncle at Thanksgiving

However, the most entertaining part of swinging around the city was listening to the sporadic podcast snippets of his former boss J Jonah Jameson. The former editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle has completely lost his mind and spews vitriol on the airwaves trying to connect every city event to Spider-Man being a machiavellian mastermind. No good deed goes unpunished, as they say. Considering his character can kindly be described as volatile on the best of days, the man’s descent into lunacy is pretty extreme and hilarious.

I found myself occasionally holding back from reaching a nearby objective marker that would start the next mission to hear the full diatribe Jameson was throwing out. It’s wonderfully well-acted and written, and he keeps grasping for straws as you objectively do more and more to save the city. His own mental gymnastics feed the cycle of insanity, and it would’ve been even more hilarious if the dark parallel to real-life happenings wasn’t so stark.

My Minor Gripes

So far, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered does a lot of things well. I’m very comfortable giving this a good score, but there are a few things that I just couldn’t get over that got in the way of making this title blow my mind.

Firstly in what may be a somewhat controversial opinion, Spider-Man as a character bugs me.

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In film, in comics, and in this game, sooner or later, the guy just rubs me the wrong way.

I admire his selflessness, sacrifice, and chivalry, but I just can’t get over what an intrusive goody-to-shoes he can be. He’s the kid in class who asks if there is any homework just before you are all set to leave the room and is the definition of “saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.”

His penchant for making incredibly lame jokes and talking to himself may be charming for some, but it certainly wore on me as time went on. I understand that’s how the character is written and not inherently a fault of the publishers/developers, but it did detract from my playing experience.

Spiderman stands with mask on and without his suit in Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered

This isn’t relevant; I just found the outfit + quote amusing

In a somewhat ironic twist, even though Spider-Man irked me at times, I would’ve vastly preferred a game where you ONLY got to play as him — warts and all — over having sections of the story where you are forced to control one of his unpowered friends in stealth missions.

I still cannot fathom the thought process that went into deciding to have a world where you can play as a superhero doing incredible things but making it mandatory to take a break from the action to crawl around hiding from guards. Before you scream, “it’s a change of pace,” at me, I’m telling you that these weren’t a change of pace; they were more akin to a total assassination of story momentum.

Remember how I said that most of the encounters in this game were similarly structured but had enough variety to make things interesting? You might have forgotten; it was a couple of paragraphs ago.

Well, with the exception of one, these stealth missions were the polar opposite in terms of my sentiment, as they all felt monotonous, and I couldn’t wait to get past them. In fact, my urgency to get through this garbage led to more than a few mission failures as I tried to brute force my way through the levels and ended up getting caught.

The controls/movement were clunky, the stealth system is relatively insipid and unsophisticated amidst an otherwise pretty fluid game, and they all come down to following a set path as you avoid the gaze of various sentries. It was such a juxtaposition. Even adding tools to use like a “lure” to draw patrols away from you seemed so “knock off” compared to everything else.

This is one of those rare cases where a cutscene would have been preferable to showcase the narrative that they obviously wanted us to experience.

Fires everywhere in a scene from Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered

Oh wow, this is fun…

Thirdly, I was not a fan of the additional filler that was thrown in at times. Predominantly this came in the form of two minigames (seen below) that popped up whenever anything science-related occurred.

Need to ID a substance to track a villain? Match those lines, Spider-Man. Need to defuse a bomb? Guide this current into the receptacle, Spider-Man.

None of this is particularly riveting or hard and just clogs up the game with pointless filler. Even when they do get a little more complicated, solving these puzzles didn’t give me that dopamine hit a solution should provide.

What’s even more head-scratching is that you can actually select an option to complete all of them automatically when they occur. As a reviewer, I did it the old-fashioned way and strongly recommend that you choose the option to skip a part of this game that is clearly just designed to artificially stat-pad the total hours played and adds nothing of value.

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The final gripe I have is that despite being a remastered version, I experienced a few crashes as we progressed to the 25-hour mark and beyond; these normally occurred when I failed a mission or had to manually restart one.

The game would crash, and then upon re-opening the application, it would either crash on start-up or get me to the main menu before shutting down. The only way to fix this was by restarting my computer and then verifying my game file integrity through the Steam application.

Believe me, this stops being fun after the fourth time you do it, and it happened to me at least 15 times.

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered Final Thoughts

I’ve got to judge this against its peers, but even if the other superhero games of recent years were average, this one would still be one of the better ones. It’s a strong, fun game that is obviously bolstered by the simple fact that you can play as Spider-Man. It didn’t do anything revolutionary, but it’s not being asked to. Plus, they managed to make commuting between missions fun and, dare I say, relaxing.

If you replaced the character with a less iconic protagonist and kept most of the elements the same, it might not have been as enjoyable. In all, I was left satisfied with the experience.

I blew through it relatively quickly, but I can see people spending double my playtime swinging through the streets of Manhattan island.

Give Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered a look if you’re interested in a pretty, polished, and charming superhero experience, and especially if you’re a fan of Spider-Man.

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered for the PC sells for $59.99; it is available from Steam, Epic Games, and other retailers.

Developers/Publishers: Insomniac Games and Nixxes Software/Playstation PC LLC

Source: Personal Purchase

What I Like: Beautiful city to explore and swing around in; Simple yet satisfying combat that will make you feel like a badass when executed properly; Rewarding progression and customization options for your gear

What Needs Improvement: Boring Stealth missions that add nothing to the experience; Additional filler, like Minigames that likewise add nothing and can even be skipped for some reason; Crashes towards the mid-game but especially after exiting a mission or challenge

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About the Author

Flint Pickleback
Just some guy who plays video games to disconnect from the world. Wine is often involved, which thoroughly enhances the experience. I'm playing these games on an MSI GS75 Stealth, with 16GB DDR4, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H, and a Nvidia 2070-Max Q Graphics Card. Please send pitches to "[email protected]" with "[email protected]" cced.