Hands-on: Fifteen minutes with Spider-Man was exhilarating
Once the Sony PlayStation E3 2018 Briefing was finished, all the attendees were ushered outside to enjoy some food, some drink, a bit of entertainment and 15 minutes with Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4 Pro.
Spider-Man was the only playable game after the event (last year there were a lot of games available to play), so we decided to get hands-on with one of PlayStation’s most anticipated games of the year.
The city never sleeps
As you can tell from previous gameplay videos, the city of New York in Spider-Man is alive, vibrant, and gorgeous. Characters are walking around going through their day and the traffic is your typical New York stop-and-go movement. The open world allows you to swing from the top of buildings and swoop down to the sidewalk and sprint across a park. You might even wave at passerby as you chase your next objective.
Pressing R3 brings up icons in the immediate area to show what activities are available. But before I was able to choose one, Yuri Watanabe sent a message about a meeting between some thugs in an alley somewhere.
Once I arrived at the meet, one of the first options to disrupt it was to use a Web Strike by pressing triangle. This zips right to an enemy you’re looking at and knocks him to the ground. Once the thugs realize you’re there, the fighting commences. The fighting mechanics reminded me of how the Batman Arkham series was developed. The fighting isn’t complicated at all. There’s only one attack button (Square) but you use in concert with the Web Strike button and the dodge button (Circle). Jumping (X) and moving around the characters also shows a plethora of Spidey’s cool maneuvers and attacks. There are combos aplenty.
In addition, you can use environmental attacks by pressing the L1 and R1 buttons simultaneously and snatching a car door with your web and swinging it around to take out enemies. After you take down a handful of guys, your focus meter fills up and you’re able to heal yourself or use special attacks. AT this point, my favorite special was the Web Blossom that basically has Spidey jumping up in the air and spraying his web on everyone and everything, seemingly bringing the battle to a halt.
Diminishing the enemy’s control
When I was done with that encounter in the alley, I explored the city a bit more before Yuri informed me of a Fisk Hideout that needed to be taken down. Hideouts are like Strongholds or Forts that are placed throughout the city and taking them out puts a dent on Fisk or some other enemy’s control in the city.
Taking on a hideout is different than fighting goons on the streets. The enemies come in waves. At the start, I saw five or six guys and didn’t think anything of it. Once a took them out, a second wave came, this time guys with shields were giving me trouble. Then in a following wave, enemies with electrified batons were wreaking havoc.
At this point, Spider-man’s gadgets come in handy. In the demo I played, Spidey had his Web Shooter, Tripwire, and Web-Bomb gadgets, which you can access by pressing L1. Spider-man can place a Tripwire on a wall or on the back of an enemy and if someone walks by it, it shoots out webbing to attach them to the nearest wall or to another enemy knocking them both out. The Web Shooter allows you to wrap enemies up in a bunch of webbing, and the Web-Bomb, when tossed, explodes and wraps everyone nearby in webbing which allows Spidey to come by and knock them out one-by-one. There will be plenty more gadgets to play with once the game launches.
Once I completed the Fisk Hideout, word from Yuri came that Shocker, the notorious bank robber that can send shockwaves through the air and ground, has escaped from prison. Apparently, a corrections officer helped him and gave him his shockwave suit. The first place he goes with his new-found freedom? A bank, of course.
After I arrived at the bank, there was a cut scene then Spidey’s first boss fight begins. You can’t fight Shocker like any of the other thugs out in the New York streets. Shocker has a protective barrier surrounding him and he sends shockwaves through the ground and air, so you constantly have to be on the move. The only way you can take down the Shocker’s protective barrier was by hitting him with debris. When looking at a piece of debris, press that L1 and R1 simultaneously, grab on to the piece, and swing it around to smash it into Shocker. Once he’s dazed, you can go in and start hitting him with combos.
I died a couple of times but learning Shocker’s patterns as well as continually swinging in the environment was the secret to finally defeating him.
Overall, in just that 15 minutes, Spider-Man felt fresh and exciting. The game has the potential to be the best single-player superhero game since Batman’s Arkham series. We can’t wait.
Spider-Man will launch on PlayStation 4 on September 7.