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Marvel's Spider-Man

Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre: Action
Publisher: SCEE (EU), SCEA (US)
Developer: Insomniac Games
Release Date: Sept. 7, 2018


PS4 Review - 'Marvel's Spider-Man' Turf Wars DLC

by Cody Medellin on Nov. 21, 2018 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

Spider-Man features the web-slinger's acrobatic abilities, improvisation and web-slinging, while also introducing elements such as traversing with parkour, distinct environmental interactions, new combat, and cinematic blockbuster set pieces.

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The base Spider-Man game for the PS4 is great. Insomniac's previous experience with titles like Sunset Overdrive helped to make the open world shine. With good combat mechanics, great web swinging, and a good story, the game adds to the solid lineup of system exclusives for the year. The game's first DLC, The Heist, was decent, but it becomes more interesting when seen as the first part of a three-episode arc. Acting as the second part of that storyline, Turf Wars comes just one month after the previous DLC release, and while it doesn't address any issues with the previous DLC, it's still a good addition to the main game.

By the end of The Heist, Sable International is out of New York City. However, they left behind some of their equipment, and Hammerhead and his gang grab the weapons for themselves to ensure a victory against the Maggia crime family. As such, it falls on both Spider-Man and police chief Yuri Watanabe to stop the mob war before it starts.

Whereas the last piece of DLC added some romantic intrigue due to the increased presence of Black Cat, Turf Wars is much more straightforward. Hammerhead is too much of a one-note villain to be interesting, and his ultimate plan of returning the mob to prominence fails to make things better. With that said, the most compelling part of this DLC is the downward spiral of Yuri as she tries to get revenge for all of the cops who have been taken down by the mobster. The descent is familiar to comic book fans and movie fans alike, as this trope has been used several times before, but it feels fine here since you never got much in the way of characterization for Yuri in the base game. It can feel a bit jarring to see this change happen after a botched raid, especially since she seemed calmer after every other operation gone awry.

As for the gameplay, you're not getting too much that's different from the base game. The Screwball challenges have made a return, and the races and fights are still exciting, but the stealth missions are annoying, especially since the motion detector cones can be difficult to see. There's a story mission where you get to control your Spider-Bot to do some recon and get info on Hammerhead's plan, and there are a few chase missions thrown in for good measure. The best parts of the game are a series of crimes that come in at a somewhat breakneck speed, and that does a good job of conveying how chaotic the city has become due to Hammerhead's new weapons. Even though there's no actual time limit to the missions, it brings a sense of urgency to the section and provides a nice adrenaline rush before things return to a more controlled pace.

Combat-wise, you're not getting anything new in Turf Wars. The standard gun-wielding thugs, melee henchmen with electric batons and whips, and big brutes all make an appearance, and there are a few snipers for good measure. The Gatling gun heavies also come back from the first DLC, and the jetpack Sable troops are reskinned as Hammerhead's minions.

In lieu of new enemies, Turf Wars throws more fights at you, along with an increased enemy count and variety. From the outset, you're thrown into a big brawl, and the intensity of each fight doesn't let up. Even the side missions where you infiltrate some of Hammerhead's businesses devolve from stealth missions to big fights. The combat system is fine, but it becomes problematic due to the length of each fight and relative amount of punishment each foe can take. The seemingly endless stream of foes means fights feel endless, and unless you've leveled up Spider-Man greatly in both the main game and the previous DLC, you'll be dead more often than you're used to. Worse still, most of the fights don't have checkpoints, so dying means restarting them, leading to more frustrating moments with the game that weren't present in the main campaign.

In truth, the real value of Turf Wars is entirely dependent on the final piece of DLC scheduled to hit a month from now. Provided it delivers on an exciting finale, all of the rough spots in the tale will be worth it. Until then, your enjoyment of the Turf Wars DLC will be entirely dependent on how excited you are to fight loads of enemies and how invested you are in the characterization of one of your allies. Overall, it isn't great, but it does enough to keep things intriguing until the final installment.

Score: 7.0/10

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