The official reveal of Spider-Man’s gameplay in Marvel’s Avengers strongly suggests that the character just won’t be worth the hype that his controversial PlayStation exclusivity generated so long ago.
IGN and other outlets recently got the chance to try out Marvel’s Avengers‘ Spider-Man: With Great Power DLC, and initial impressions aren’t…great. Not only will Spider-Man not be getting his own story missions as part of the upcoming DLC, but his story will be told through a series of audio logs and brief cutscenes that you will unlock via Avengers Initiative multiplayer missions. That makes it closer to the “Hero Event” updates that introduced Kate Bishop and Hawkeye rather than the game’s massive Black Panther DLC.
In an interview with IGN, Marvel’s Avengers‘ gameplay director Philippe Therien explains why the team didn’t give Spider-Man the expansion treatment.
“We want to spend our efforts on content that everyone can enjoy, so we chose to spend a lot of our energy on the Klaw raid that’s coming up at the same time,” Therien says. “Spider-Man can play all the content, but then we release a piece of content that’s good on all platforms. Really that was a decision that’s been that way since the beginning,”
The idea that Spider-Man won’t get a “full” DLC release will undoubtedly disappoint some fans, but others may argue that what ultimately matters most is the ability to finally play as Spider-Man and enjoy the thrill of controlling one of Marvel’s most beloved heroes in the game’s various modes. Surely, the joy of playing as Spider-Man is worth as much (if not more) than the amount of new content that comes with the character, right?
Well, about that…
As you can see in the video above, Marvel’s Avengers Spider-Man is just nowhere near as dynamic, smooth, and generally interesting as Insomniac’s take on that character and other video game versions of Spider-Man that we’ve seen over the years. He’s slower, clunkier, and large chunks of his combat style don’t even feel entirely unique to the character (not to mention that many of his animations feel like they belong in a PS2 game).
What’s worse is that Spider-Man’s web-slinging navigation abilities in this upcoming DLC are incredibly limited. Granted, Insomniac’s version of that character’s web-swinging abilities were always going to be “better” due to the simple fact that they got to build entire games around that character’s most iconic power, it just feels like the Avengers team couldn’t figure out how to allow Spider-Man more navigational speed and freedom without breaking the game. As such, web-swinging in this title is limited to very short ranges determined by invisible walls.
Mechanics aside, the most disappointing aspect of this character’s gameplay reveal has to be how “cheap” the whole thing looks. Again, this version of Spider-Man was never going to be as refined as Insomniac’s take on the character, but as fans are already pointing out, Spider-Man’s gameplay doesn’t even look that good when you view it on its own merits.
Look, it’s been a rough road for Marvel’s Avengers up until this point, but this might just be a new low for the game. The lack of substantial new content featuring Spider-Man is questionable enough, but the fact that they’re trying to sell this version of the character that is exclusive to a console where two objectively better looking (and seemingly better playing) versions of this character already exist is genuinely shocking. Maybe this would have been an easier sell to Xbox and PC gamers who don’t have access to Insomniac’s Spider-Man, but the already controversial fact that this game’s Spider-Man DLC is exclusive to PlayStation platforms is made that much more insulting by the reveal that this is the version of Spider-Man PlayStation gamers are going to get.
We’ll see if Spider-Man plays and looks better in real-time when the With Great Power Hero Event DLC is released for PS4 and PS5 on November 30, but as it stands, this feels like a massive comedown from the shockingly great Guardians of the Galaxy game.