I know that there have been multiple Spider-Man games since Spidey Deuce was released on PS2. But here, we’re going to create the apex of Spider-Man games. The one you always wanted. (Yes, you.)
In order to do this we’re going to combine ideas from a few of the past Spider-Man games (including Neversoft’s PS1 game, Spidey 2, Web of Shadows, and ASM2), as well as other open-world games, both superhero and not.
So strap on your web cartridges, ready your cheesey quips, pull up your tights, and let’s swing into action!
What is it?
Spider-Man 2 is a 2004 open-world superhero game developed by Treyarch for PS2, XBOX, and Gamecube. It was the first time a Webhead game knocked it out of the park, and the last time being in the red and blue tights was great.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a 2014 open-world superhero game devloped by Beenox for the PS3, XBOX 360, and Wii U. It tried to bring back, then improve, ten year old swinging mechanics from a generation earlier. Despite Beenox’s passion and effort, it was mediocre at best.
Why is it great?
Spider-Man 2 was the first Spidey game to feature an open-world. There was a lot that made it great, which I will now bullet-point since
studies show readers find it more appealing and easily digestible, and are therefore more likely to pay attention there’s quite a few things great about it.
- Manhattan. Spider-Man 2 was the first open-world Spidey game, and that alone was incredible. Manhattan was damn near 1:1 size (on PS2!!) and the game included Liberty Island, Roosevelt Island, and another one I’d know if I was familiar with NY.
- Web Swinging. AKA The-Most-Important-Part-of-Feeling-Like-Spider-Man. I just really can’t stress how perfectly Treyarch nailed this. In previous Webhead Simulators, webs attached to the air directly above the player. In this game, webs attach to nearby buildings/structures. Not near anything? Can’t swing.
- Upgrades. This entry is a bit more subjective than the others. While the game offers standard Health & Combo upgrades, my favorite were the style upgrades. I can’t remember what they were called, but when purchased they unlocked poses. So when you web-swing, you can do classic Spider-Man poses in between web lines.
- The little things. Name some really fun things to do as Arachno-Homo Sapien. Running along walls? Having citizens cheer when you arrive? Getting money for selfies? Webbing up baddies and hanging them from a streetlight? Diving off a skyscraper and shooting out a line of web at the last second? Backflipping in mid-air between swings? Well, whip out your Sharpie and check all of those off because Spider-Man 2 has each of ‘em. Now find something to clean the permanent ink off of your monitor because I was writing metaphorically.
Basically, there’s a whole metric fuck ton of great things about Spider-Man 2. Now let’s look at Amazing Spider-Man 2, for comparative purposes:
- Web Swinging. This game brought back the swinging from 2. It doesn’t actually connect to any buildings, it’s more like Web of Shadows- in that, it connects to the air near the buildings. Though L2 and R2 control left and right arms (respectively) while swinging. I also like how the camera pulls in close when you swing.
- Graphics. Hands down, one of the best looking Spider-Man games ever. Though, it really only holds up when compared to previous games. Really the graphics are meh.
Ok, I kind of lied. There’s not really anything truly great in this game. It has loads and loads of great ideas- but nothing ever reaches it’s potential.
Beenox has proven they can make a fun Snarky-Nerd-With-Super-Powers game, but something just didn’t pan out with this. Maybe Activision didn’t give enough money or time? I dunno. But I do know that brings us to the next section.
What it needs...
This is where we get into the nitty gritty (and more bullet-points) of making a superior Spider-Man game (nailed it) for XBOX ONE and PlayStation 4. Heads up: I will be referring to face buttons in XBOX, and shoulder buttons in PlayStation. (Because my keyboard lacks square and triangle keys and LB/RB is stupid)
Now, here’s what a perfect Spider-Man game needs (other than enough time and money) to be the ultimate, amazing superhero game (boom):
-New York, NY
Like Spider-Man 2, we need an expansive city. There is no reason we couldn’t have a perfect 1:1 (albeit, with Marvel buildings in places) recreation of the whole of NYC these days.
Also, traffic. Spider-Man doesn’t drive, so roads do not have to always have space. Jam it up at rush hour. If it’s not feasible even on current hardware, at least cram as many vehicles together as possible.
There should also be a day and night cycle. More importantly, the city should feel alive. Los Santos in GTAV feels like it lives and breathes. Citizens may not have whole lives like an Elder Scrolls game, but they sure as hell seem like they do.
No more boring, sparsely populated New York. There should be business men and women on their way to work, street performers ala Infamous 2 trying to get paid, homeless people, families, gangs, street vendors, evangelists, tour guides, police, etc. Just TONS OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE, GROUPS, AND CULTURES. After all, it is NYC.
I want the developers to just ape Arkham City. They don’t even have to copy Arkham Knight or Origins. City is fine. We copy it, wholesale, then tweak it. Like Arkham, pressing the counter button stops whatever you’re doing and counters. How are we tweaking it? Simple we cross “Freeflow”(tm) with bits of dmc. X does a light attack, Y does a heavy attack, and B counters. A is for jumping. Animators can go crazy making Spidey flip all through the air (after all, he’s less of a heavy-hitter than Batman, more of an acrobat).
On the d-pad, left is for web fists, right for web shield, down for web grenade, and up for Spidey Sense.
Like ASM2, the triggers are tied to each hand. Hold L2 to swing with the left hand, and R2 to swing with the right. Tap to web zip. Hold R1 to charge an impact web (exploding ball of web), release to shoot. Press L1 to shoot a quick stream (to temporarily blind enemies, or shut up a loud mouth). When on top of a roof, pull both triggers and hold back on the stick to slingshot yourself.
In combat, L2 zip would pull Spider-Man to enemies, and R2 zip would pull enemies to Spider-Man. Both would slam two enemies together.
Like in the ASM games, the camera would pull in close when diving through the air, but pull back as speed picks up while swinging. Also, face buttons would do iconic poses when swinging, ala Spider-Man 2.
-Peter Parker Purpose
ASM2 tried to add Peter Parker missions, and failed. I want the option to switch in and out of the suit at will with the press of a button (L3). Some situations would just be better as Peter- say, getting into the Oscorp Building, or Daily Bugle. Maybe a mission where you have to be Peter to blend in and hide from some Spidey manhunt. I dunno, I guess we could take or leave this, I just think it could add some nice tension and variety.
I only have a few things to say on this one. First of all, I find it odd that Spider-Man games have so many boring missions/side quests.
GTAV’s missions were extremely varied and interesting, yet all really just boil down to “drive here/shoot this/both”. Arkham City was a blast through and through, even though it was 8-10hrs of “go here, beat up these guys, sneak here, now beat up these guys” with occasional scanning.
I think what makes them great are the mechanics and how natural it feels to play through. So I see no reason a Spider-Man game couldn’t have missions of “swing here, beat up these guys, sneak, beat up these guys, take pictures” and still be a real blast. It’s all in how they implement it.
Also, Spider-Man would not pick up injured civilians one at a time, and quickly swing and flip through the air on the way to the hospital. Vary up the side missions. Take cues from GTA’s Strangers & Freaks. So now let’s get to Bosses.
Just like the missions, Bosses should be varied. And fresh. Take Rhino, for instance- I swear to Baby Jesus, if I have to jump over a charging Rhino one more time, I will choke a fucking puppy. Not some mangy stray either, I will find the cutest damn puppy and squeeze the life out of it. Enough! We get it, Rhino is an easy boss to develop. Now stop.
“Oh, but Ninja, if we don’t pad out our game with a Rhino battle, what other bosses could we possibly use?”
I’m so glad you asked that, Theoretical-Beenox-Employee-that-Values-My-Useless-Opinion, because that’s what this section is all about.
Remember earlier how I talked about variety? If you do, don’t bother replying, you’ll only look like some freak talking to a monitor. But that variety really comes into play with bosses.
How about an intense game of cat & mouse against Kraven the Hunter, where you start as the latter, finish as the former? It could play like a larger version of the Mr Freeze fight in Arkham City. Hell, it could start with Kraven attacking Peter Parker.
Or a trippy fight against Mysterio. Now, when I say a trippy fight, I mean a trippy ass fight- not just a “punch a bunch of decoys until you know who to really hit” fight. Boo. I mean a trippy fight- gravity and time going haywire, walls falling down or randomly appearing, etc. Like a crazy maze to work through before you beat him up. This is a guy that is so great at special effects he became a super villain.
Those are two simple, awesome bosses I came up with just to replace Rhino. That’s not including all the random thugs, goons, and other bosses. This could be so great.
My favorite 2 moments in Neversoft’s Spider-Man game on PS1 were: Using stealth to stop the bank robbers, and the battle with Carnage-Ock. Running away while being chased was terrifying. These games could use more terrifying.
Who should make it?
Beenox. Hands down. They’ve showed competence developing Spider-Man games. Honestly, if they got enough time and money, then I think they could blow our minds with a game.
I just hope for the best with this.
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it. If you have any ideas for a Spider-Man game, post ‘em in the comments.
·p.s. Sorry for the lateness of this post, but Kinja and my device got into a tiff that prevented me from posting, editing, or checking notifications for the past few days.