Marvel's Spider-Man

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Genre: Action
Developer: Nixxes Software
Release Date: Aug. 12, 2022


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PC Review - 'Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered'

by Cody Medellin on Aug. 10, 2022 @ 8:00 a.m. PDT

Marvel's 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.

Sony's pledge to bring some of its games to the PC has meant some of the platform's biggest titles are finally branching out beyond the PlayStation console family. Days Gone, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and the more recent God of War may have arrived years after their initial console releases, but the porting efforts have been top-notch, and the quality of the games has lived up to the expectations of a very critical crowd. While Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection was slated to arrive next, Sony caught everyone by surprise by announcing that both of the Spider-Man games from Insomniac would make the trip to the PC. What's even more surprising is that Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered would be a port of the PS5 game instead of the original PS4 title.

The story starts off with Spider-Man helping with a police raid at Fisk Tower. Following a thwarted distraction and an attempt at deleting the incriminating files that would put away Kingpin, the arrest happens, but not before a warning that things will get worse after Wilson Fisk is out of the picture. Sure enough, a gang known as the Inner Demons raids the former Fisk properties looking for Devil's Breath, which is later revealed to be a biological weapon. Spider-Man tries to save the day but not before running into the usual rogue's gallery of villains and several attempts at discrediting his name.

The story threads the same big beats as other related games and comics by throwing in a number of villains to make things more chaotic. It always works out from a video game standpoint, but what makes this iteration stand out more is the significant inclusion of scenes involving Peter Parker. The balancing act between regular person and superhero has always been one of the appealing aspects of the character, and it's never really touched upon in most games. There's a significant amount of it in Marvel's Spider-Man to flesh out the character, so much so that the major milestones of Peter's life still carry the same impact as when people initially heard about them.

Taking a page from Spider-Man 2 in the GameCube/PS2/Xbox era, Marvel's Spider-Man is an open-world title. The world is filled with side-quests, such as stopping muggings and taking down car chases, and the more benign stuff includes finding old backpacks. Completing all of these tasks along with your main missions grant you points that can be used in conjunction with your XP system to level up your character and gain new moves and gadgets. That becomes essential, as the fighting is reminiscent of the Batman: Arkham games, where you automatically target enemies in a brawl but need to pay attention to when you need to dodge and rely on web powers, like affixing enemies to walls or using an item to pummel a foe.

There isn't too much to be said about the game that hasn't already been touched upon in previous reviews. Combat can be frenetic due to how quickly Spider-Man moves, and it doesn't take long to become second nature; soon you'll be zipping between enemies and juggling punches and kicks with various web types and attacks. The side missions feel appropriate and exciting, and even if they never gave you bonuses, they're fun and addictive enough that you can't help but seek them out and ignore the story for a bit.

The part of the game that never loses its charm, though, is the swinging. Being able to dive and swing close to the ground and do all sorts of stunts while airborne surpasses Spider-Man 2, often considered to have the best web-swinging mechanics until now. There's great joy in being able to whip around the city with nothing else in your way. Even running into a building means you can immediately latch on and run to the top before taking another flying leap to go swinging again. There's a good chance that you'll spend more time than expected just moving around New York City instead of darting to locations to fight crime.

Since this is the remastered version, there's extra content built into the game that extends the game's 20-hour playtime. The bonus suits that were previously provided as free DLC are now available from the get-go, and while their lack of bonus traits might make them less appealing, it's great that all of the suits from all of the movies are here, excluding "Far From Home" and "No Way Home." The trio of episodes that comprise The City That Never Sleeps is also here, and while they are accessible within an hour of starting the game, the episodes are really meant to be played after finishing the main campaign, since they involve some story beats with Black Cat and police captain Yuri Watanabe. They also require that you've had sufficient time to beef up Spider-Man's stats before trying to conquer the missions.

The DLC episodes are probably the only place where things can start to wear thin. Part of that comes from how tedious the Screwball missions can become, but another reason is because the story isn't particularly strong. The training sessions with Miles are nice, and the dialogue between MJ and Peter is always fun, but the lack of big stakes in comparison to the main campaign makes it feel more like epilogue material.

Aside from the extra costumes and DLC missions, the game features support for the DualSense controller, all but confirming that the PS5 code was used as the basis of the port rather than the original PS4 code. Some of the sounds can come through the controller's speakers, and the vibration is more nuanced thanks to the haptic feedback versus normal rumble motors. The biggest feature here comes from the resistive triggers, which make you tug on them a little harder when shooting webs or solving some of the puzzles. Sadly, all of the features only come through if you're using a cable to hook up your controller to the PC; using Bluetooth omits some of those features outright. The features remain nice but aren't so outstanding that would sway DualShock 4 and Xbox controller users from giving up their trusty pads for a DualSense.

The port to the PC leaves behind no gameplay or content from the PS5 iteration, but it improves on that experience with a bevy of graphical options. Nvidia owners get several ray tracing options as well as DLSS and DLAA. Radeon owners don't have ray tracing at the time of this review, but Sony has promised that it's coming, as are more improvements for those running a Ryzen processor. No matter which card and components you have, various HDR options are present, as is support of different monitor resolutions and screen ratios. They all have the option to cap or uncap frame rate targets for the purposes of internal dynamic resolution. All of the usual PC options are also at your disposal, like texture quality, light and shadow and geometry tweaks, and a bevy of camera tweaks.

This results in a Spider-Man game that can sometimes look much better than its PS5 counterpart. The reflections still go out as far as possible, but the resolution has been upgraded to make them look cleaner, provided you're using a clean pane of glass to check this out. Ray tracing can now be applied to any frame rate limit you want, and resolution on an ultrawide monitor is jaw-dropping.

All of this enhanced graphical fidelity comes at a cost, though. If you want a good 1080p experience with 60fps, 16GB of RAM is recommended, but you have to use the medium preset. If you want any ray tracing, the game wants you to have a more recent video card, and pushing it to close to the highest you can go requires around 32GB of RAM. If you want to push the game to PS5 levels and beyond, the game recommends a video card with more than 10GB of RAM. While the developer stated that it wants to keep optimizing things so the requirements aren't as stringent, you're going to need a really beefy rig if you want to push the game from day one.

Even if you don't have the horsepower necessary to get the game past what the PS5 can do, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered remains quite a looker. The character models look awesome during cut scenes, but they retain that same quality when you're actually playing. The facial animations are the real highlight; the movements are natural, so if you mute the audio and turn off subtitles, you still have a good idea of what's being said and understand the tone of the scene. The draw distance of the city is stunning, and the sheer amount of moving parts on-screen at any time makes the whole place feel alive. Except for a few instances of pausing here and there for quick saves, the game runs flawlessly, while the myriad of effects don't bog down the action. It may not be a brand-new title, but it still impresses.

The audio has rarely been an issue for Spider-Man titles, and this version is no exception. The sound effects hit well, whether it's gunfire, explosions, slightly toned-down punches, or the trademark thwip of webs being shot out. The music sounds like it came straight out of the recent slate of Marvel movies, as the tone matches perfectly with snippets of licensed music. It feels natural, rather than forced. The voice acting is where the game naturally shines, as everyone sounds pitch perfect from tone to delivery. The cast is near perfect, and the writing is good, but the other minor voices really help the game feel alive. This is especially true of citizens of New York City who cheer you on when you're stopping a crime or ask for an autograph when you're just swinging through on the street level.

For those hoping to play the game on the go with the Steam Deck, prepare to do some tweaking. By default, the game goes for a Medium preset, which puts a few things at low, and there is no in-game FSR support yet. Taking a brief tour of the city at night, swinging around buildings at top speed can range from 30-60fps without real hitching, while doing the same at Central Park can drop things to 26fps. Battery life runs you under two hours. You'll want to limit things to a 30fps lock either in-game or on the system, for both a smoother experience and to save on battery life, but it is still amazing to see what was originally a PS4 game running on par with that, minus the resolution differences. Load times are good when running from a MicroSD card, and it's nice to see the game run at the full 1280x800. The only other thing to watch out for are the button prompts, as it matches up with the Steam Deck button designations but does so with the face buttons having PlayStation colors (blue/purple for A, green for Y, etc.).

Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered remains an excellent superhero adventure game, but the move to PC elevates it as the best version of the adventure thus far, mainly thanks to the various available graphical options. From full native 4K with a beefier ray tracing implementation to lots of tweakable graphical options, it looks gorgeous and a little better than the PS5 iteration. If you already have the console version, then there's not too much reason to dip into this adventure again, but for those experiencing the title for the first time, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered is a perfect way to dive into the adventure and get yourselves ready for Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which arrives in a few months.

Score: 9.0/10

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