Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered PC review - An amazing game, worth playing time-and-time again
Over the years, PlayStation has developed and published several amazing single-player narratives-driven titles exclusive to consoles. From God of War to Horizon Zero Dawn, the titles that defined the PS4 era are now making their way to PC, bringing exciting titles to a new player base.
When I first booted Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on PC, I was greeted with a lively world with interactive NPCs and Spider-Man. As he fell from the height and the button prompt instructed me to swing, I was awestricken at the game's beauty. The game made me feel like I was Spider-Man, from swinging mechanics to the free-flowing combat.
The PC release brings features such as an unlocked framerate, ultrawide support, and an in-depth settings menu to tweak the perfect balance between visuals and performance. But how does the game truly feel on PC? Did it recapture the “lightning in a bottle moment” once? Is this the most definitive version of Marvel’s Spider-Man?
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered - A spectacular Spidey adventure
Like many others, my first introduction to the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was through Toby Maguire’s portrayal in the Sam Raimi trilogy in early 2000. That has been followed by multiple other depictions of the iconic hero in mainstream media, with Andrew Garfield’s brilliant but flawed performances and Tom Holland’s lively portrayal brought together in No Way Home (2021).
However, all the portrayals generally focused on Peter’s coming of age and early years of donning the webbed mask and realizing “great power comes great responsibilities.”
Similar to my first exposure to Spider-Man, my first game experience with the titular character dates back to my childhood days as I played Spider-Man (2000) on the PS1, where I was first introduced to Black Cat as I swung from rooftops.
Since then, multiple depictions of the web slinger in video games have been displayed. Be it Spider-Man 2: The Game (2004) or Ultimate Spider-Man (2005), or Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (2010), I have enjoyed my time with Spider-Man games. But none surprised and amazed me like Marvel’s Spider-Man.
Marvel’s Spider-Man sets itself apart from all previous depictions by diving into Peter’s adventures, skipping over the familiar beats, and venturing deep into the Marvel comics of seasoned Spider-Man. He isn’t a naive teenager facing his first supervillain, but a young graduate struggling to make ends meet.
A Spider-Man story right out of the comics
As a narrative-driven game, the story is the quintessential part of it. The most special thing about it is that it feels like a Spider-Man adventure right out of Marvel Comics. The narrative follows the familiar beats of a hero’s journey yet elevates the title to a new height, with strong characters, brilliant performance, and a gripping storyline that maintains its pace.
The most iconic beats of a Spider-Man comic, where Peter tries to save everyone and do everything himself, but fails, are present here, bringing the authenticity of the character.
After defeating Martin Li, Mr. Negative, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was just the first act of the game with plenty of loose ends left for me to tie up. What I liked most about the narrative was that aside from the central narrative featuring Spider-Man, it also opened up opportunities to develop the character of Miles Morales, MJ, and, most importantly, Peter Parker.
While the beats were slowed down in parts due to the puzzle sections (more on that later). But it still managed to present an overarching narrative connecting all of the characters seamlessly and telling a true “Spider-Man story” right from the pages of Marvel comics.
Characters who make or break the story
Since his debut in the 60s, Spider-Man has featured some of the most iconic characters in comic book history, including an expansive villian gallery arguably only rivaled by that of Batman. From mortal enemy Green Goblin to the iconic Sinister Six, the rogues have become pop-culture sensations.
While I consider myself well-versed in Spider-Man fandom, I wasn’t familiar with Martin Li’s Mr. Negative before the game. Insomniac’s depiction of the character was quite enjoyable, where the developers intricately weave the character’s backstory and unfold it across the game’s narrative.
From a caring social worker leading F.E.A.S.T. to an antagonist hell bent on revenge, Mr. Negative’s character unfolded and matured throughout the game.
Marvel’s Spider-Man also highlights the journey of Otto Octavious becoming Doctor Octopus. He started as a gentle and genius mentor to Peter Parker, developing advanced robotics. Throughout the story, Norman Osborn, once a friend of Otto, pushes him to the deep end by using his powers as the mayor until Otto reaches a breaking point.
Marvel Spider-Man’s depiction of the iconic antagonist can be considered one of the best, alongside Alfred Molina’s portrayal. Throughout the playthrough, it was clear to me that both Martin Li and Otto are victims of their situation, and the game's true villain is none other than Norman Osborn.
Aside from Mr. Negative and Doctor Octopus, the game also features an extended rogue’s gallery, both as part of side missions like Black Cat and Taskmaster and as part of the greater Sinister Six during the Second Act.
While Black Cat and Taskmaster are appropriately used in the game, the four members of the Sinister Six, aside from Otto and Martin Li, feel lackluster. Electro, Vulture, Rhino, and Scorpion all hint at having a past story with Spider-Man, but that is glossed over very quickly. The iconic antagonists are reduced to two-dimensional tag team boss battles, not justifying their character correctly.
Moving on to the other supporting characters, NYPD captain Yuri Watanabe and her relationship with Spider-Man is quite well fleshed out, as is Aunt May’s. MJ’s bond with Peter reflects upon the years left behind as she steps up to be a true investigator journalist, taking risks infiltrating and extracting information.
Miles Morales, the second Spider-Man, is one of the most well-defined secondary protagonists. His drive to live up to everyone’s expectations and go beyond the call of duty establishes his character well. Suffice it to say. I am excited to witness his adventures in Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales.
A superhero open-world
While many other studios are recreating entire countries as an open-world sandbox for players, Insomniac chose only one of the five New York islands as the map. On paper, only the island of Manhattan may sound like a small open world, but in-game, it isn't.
While admittedly, Manhattan does not feature a sprawling landscape, it makes up for it with diverse districts, lively populations, and high-rise skyscrapers, opening up perfect opportunities for Spider-Man to swing about. In a word, the open world of Marvel’s Spider-Man remastered is best described as delightfully dense.
What transforms the game from a linear narrative-driven title to an open-world action-adventure title is the side content. The side content fleshes out the world of Marvel’s Spider-Man, where New York becomes a character of the game. While the side content is optional, it sometimes becomes tedious.
Most unlockable upgrades are locked behind Tokens. While Backpack Token or a Landscape Token means just swinging by and collecting a backpack or taking a snap, the Base and the Challenge token means taking on waves of enemies or a challenge set by Taskmaster.
While combat and stealth gameplay are pretty satisfying, these challenges sometimes broke the flow of the story for me. The Research Tokens, which were often a puzzle section (can be disabled from menu), were incredibly tedious and often were neither fun nor challenging. It halted the narrative flow abruptly.
Gameplay that swings and hits it out of the park
The fascinating part about Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered was how it made me feel like the superhero. Free-flowing combat mechanics and satisfying swinging made me feel in control, smoothly executing combo attacks while dodging incoming rockets or seamlessly swinging from one skyscraper to another and launching to get a boost.
The game introduces both combat and traversal mechanics with simple actions. But as the game progresses, it opens up more avenues to expand on it, bringing complicated movement that expands on the base.
By the time I reached the Martin Li boss battle at the Osborn lab, I was taking on waves of Demons in free-flow combat, juggling them in the air, moving from enemy to enemy.
While the unlockable is sometimes a bit tedious due to the number of tokens, there is no denying that it opens up the avenue for immense customization and lets you make your Spider-Man. The web slinger also has an arsenal of gadgets such as trip mine or electronic web in his back pocket, which is beneficial during the stealth and combat sections.
All in all, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered presents brilliant gameplay that left me immersed across my over 25 hours of playthrough.
Swing across Manhattan in unlocked framerate and ray-tracing
The latest title to swing its way to PC is Insomniac’s Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, following in the footsteps of Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War.
Initially released in 2018 for PS4, the game got a remastered treatment in 2020 and was launched on PS5, packaged along with the Ultimate Edition of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
Aside from the controversial face-swap, the PS5 remaster brought new lighting, improved visual fidelity, a higher framerate, and most noticeably, ray-tracing to the game.
Nixxes, a recent PlayStation Studio specializing in porting AAA titles to PC, has helped Insomniac swing Spider-Man to PC. They added improvements previously showcased in the PS5 release features such as DLSS, DLAA, and Widescreen support, an unlocked framerate, and a robust settings menu.
While the game went relatively smoothly, PlayStation deployed two massive patches during my review period, which ironed out some of the remaining issues. While I did not try ray tracing, I enjoyed the unlocked framerate, which elevated the experience of swinging across Manhattan.
Unlike the PS5 version, which locks 4k ray-tracing being a 30fps cap for performance, the PC version lets you crack up the resolution and the visuals to the fullest while enjoying an unlocked framerate, that is, if you have the necessary horsepower. The in-depth settings allow us to tweak the game according to the exact needs, bringing a perfect balance between performance and visuals.
While I prefer to play with a controller, the keyboard and mouse layout is up to the point where a player won’t feel anything missing, even though the game was first developed as a controller.
However, the full $60 price tag for a four-year-old game, included with Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition for $60 on PS5, does appear a bit unfair.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered presents its best foot forward on PC, offering features that even the PS5 cannot provide while maintaining a low enough system requirement entry point to appeal to a broader audience.
Being on PC also opens up an exciting avenue of modding, which will most certainly enhance the game's enjoyment factor, be it adding new Spider-Man suits or something unexpected like CJ and Barny in God of War.
As such, it isn’t farfetched to say Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on PC is the most definitive version of the title.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered is set to make its PC debut on August 12, 2022. The game is the best Spider-Man out at the moment. But it might just be the best superhero game of all time. While there are faults, such as not fleshing out some of the antagonist’s characters or breaking the flow in certain sections, overall, it presents a fantastic Spider-Man game with endless replayability.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered kept me hooked throughout my playthrough. I eagerly look forward to continuing Miles’ journey in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (headed to PC this fall). Moreover, I look forward to the entire cast in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, currently confirmed for release sometime next year.
The game presents a spectacular narrative journey and brilliant gameplay, from the character development of Otto Octavius, Martin Li, Peter Parker, and Miles Morales to the beautifully recreated dense concrete jungle of Manhattan. Be it swinging across skyscrapers, stealthy taking out enemies, or taking on waves after waves of enemies, the gameplay makes you feel like the friendly neighborhood superhero.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
Reviewed on: PC (Review copy provided by PlayStation)
Platform: PS4, PS5, and PC (Steam and Epic Games Store)
Developers: Insomniac Games and Nixxes Software
Publisher: PlayStation PC
Release Date: August 12, 2022