A super-scenario:

A hero hears that something is going down at the notorious prison where all of his arch-nemeses are being held prisoner. As the supervillains break out one by one, the hero must rely on the guidance of a female surveillance expert who works with law enforcement, even if the hero himself operates outside the law. Fortunately, the hero is more than a match for the nameless goons who are also housed in the prison, and uses a combination of special techniques and combos to render them strung up and unconscious. After a setpiece battle with a superpowered enemy, the hero is defeated... or is he???

back from when Spidey was in the papers
Image: Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

Obviously I’m talking about Spider-Man for PS4- but of course I’m also making the obvious point that this is the plot of Arkham Asylum, out almost ten years ago.

I don’t know everyone. Arkham Asylum and it’s sequels are the games that got me excited about video games after several years away from them, and seeing Spider-Man get talked about like it’s a BFD bothers me on a fundamental level. It’s literally Arkham Spider. And hey! That’s great! It seems like his combat abilities would be super well suited to dealing with lots of thugs, even if that Electro battle looked sort of lame. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that Rocksteady’s Batman adventures revolutionized how superhero video games were approached. But is the best way to innovate just to ape Arkham Knight?

Spider-Man is cool. I’ve never had any issues (comic pun?) with him as a character. The 90s cartoon did a rad job of showing off his rogues gallery and I’m looking forward to seeing who else comes out of the woodwork for this PS4 game. I guess I’m just saying that I would love to be surprised by something, anything, in this game- something that the Batman games did an amazing job of doing. Maybe Venom and Carnage will show up, or even the Kingpin- that would be amazing, and really unexpected.

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Insomniac has a great track record, and another PS4 exclusive to add to the heap isn’t a bad thing. I think that games media ought to recognize what came before more thoroughly before lauding Spider-Man as the greatest thing since sliced bread.