It’s no secret that we absolutely loved Marvel’s Spider-Man when we reviewed it on PS4. We gave the game a 10 and whilst I didn’t write the original review, I don’t know that I could have disagreed with it. Sure, the open-world had some flaws and there were some parts of the game that slightly let it down, but as far as a pure superhero story and game go, I can’t remember having a better time than swinging through New York city and beating up bad guys as Spider-Man.
I played through majority of the game on PS5, with its increased resolution, higher frame rate and ray-tracing, and it felt like a better experience, and now with the PC port by Nixxes and Insomniac, it feels even better again.
The game ran well on PS5 but the flexibility on offer on PC really allows you to fine tune things such as depth of field, which is especially useful if playing on an ultrawide monitor. You can also obviously control the levels of ray-tracing in order to maximise those quality reflections or go for the higher frame rate. With everything high, this is an obvious difference above the PC version, and when comparing to the PS4 version, they’re not even on the same level.
Swinging through New York is obviously taxing, which is why Insomniac has incorporated three different A.I upscaling techniques. The first is their own, Insomniac Games Temporal Injection (which I believe was used in the PS5/PS4 versions, NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FSR 2.0. I’d probably go with DLSS if you’re using an NVIDIA RTX card.
Using a NVIDIA RTX 3070Ti, I was seeing the below results with the day one update applied:
1440p – High – DLSS Balanced – Ray Tracing Medium: 75-80 FPS
1440p – High – DLSS Balanced – Ray Tracing Off: 90 FPS
4K – High – DLSS Balanced – Ray Tracing On: 45/40 FPS
4K – High – DLSS Balanced – Ray Tracing Off: 60/70 FPS
At least on my 3070 TI, I felt that 4K with ray tracing on was probably a stretch, with 1440p feeling a lot more comfortable. With the variables that Spider-Man throws up in terms of being on the ground in a controlled environment one second, to web swinging through New York at 100 miles an hour the next, that’s where I felt the sweet spot was.
What I will say though is that boy it felt good swinging through New York City with DLSS cranked to Ultra Performance and getting 110-120FPS. I wasn’t expecting the mouse and keyboard controls to be useable, and whilst I’d still recommend a controller, it was a bunch of fun swinging through the city with the mouse and keyboard.
All-in-all, I still think we’ll see better optimisation for PC in the coming weeks. If you played the game only on PS4 and have a high-end PC, then I’d recommend jumping back in as it’s night and day versus the PS4 version. If you did play Remastered on PS5, but have a hankering to go back again, or have an ultrawide monitor, I’d also recommend picking it up, otherwise I’d probably wait for a bit more time to pass until the sequel is a bit closer.
Either way though, Spider-Man is a damn good game, and the PC version is no exception.
‘With great power, there must also come great responsibility.’
It’s the mantra that has underpinned the entire Spider-Man ethos. It is a lasting reminder that no one is infallible, regardless of their strengths. Insomniac, a developer in as good a form as any coming off the under-appreciated Sunset Overdrive, has undertaken a herculean task in carving out a fresh take on the famed web-slinger. When dealing with material held so dearly by millions of comic book and film fans, it’s like painting over the top of a masterpiece and hoping the public still adores it. Marvel’s Spider-Man not only honours all that came before it, it chisels out its deserved spot in Sony’s first-party ranks.
Placing players in the red woven booties of Spider-Man has never seemed like a trying task, a few quips here and there and you’ve just about nailed the ‘wholesome Deadpool vibe’ Spider-Man has long had. Not looking to settle for the easy task, Insomniac has placed an enormous focus on the man behind the mask. Peter Parker’s good nature makes him an instantly likeable hero as his love for his city and his want to help those outside his inner circle is so typical of his character. Spider-Man introduces us to an established web-slinger, years into his tenure as New York City’s protector. It’s refreshing that Insomniac didn’t resort to wasting the player’s time with Spider-Man’s origins instead deciding to spend more time on Parker’s personal relationships with not only Mary Jane and his Aunt May, but people like Martin Li, who goes on to become part of Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery.
Peter Parker’s double life grants us a window through which to view the duality of these villains, which helps us appreciate their arc even more. Though only the two main antagonists are really well written, four of the Sinister Six are relegated to bit parts, it still helps us empathise with them in light of their dirty deeds. The story wouldn’t be one bit out of place on the silver screen. Marketing material has tried its hardest to spoil all of Spider-Man’s best work, but I assure you there’s still a couple of twists Insomniac throw into the mix, both expected and very unexpected.
A lot of games have emulated the Arkham series for their combat and it’s fair enough, it mastered free-flow fighting and ripped the biff from the pages of a comic and helped it play out at our fingertips. Marvel’s Spider-Man is the latest to imitate Rocksteady’s style as Peter Parker pulls out a lot of the same tricks Bruce Wayne has used for years. Spidey has more than just his fists and reflexes at his disposal as the game plays up Peter’s scientific proficiency as he’s seen pulling double-duty working in the field all the while concocting gadgets for his Spider-Man persona. There’s a lot of fun to be had with these gadgets which range from trip mines to anti-gravity wells that send thugs skyward. It becomes a game within the game to keep the combo counter ticking over and the combat never really staled in my experiences with the game.
The game’s first cutscene concludes with Spider-Man leaping from a window with aspirations to finally put a long-time rival of his behind bars. As control is handed to the player, the first prompt you’ll see is for web swinging. I don’t believe for a second that this is mere coincidence as slinging throughout this painstakingly recreated Big Apple is Spider-Man’s unmatched highlight. It’s hard to describe just how fun it is to zip through this concrete jungle at dizzying heights. The game does have a fast travel option but I was more than happy to just swing from district to district, it’s that fun.
Much like other open-world titles, you’ll likely stray from the main path with a multitude of side quests, street crime and challenging activities to contend with. Though they’ll likely feel a tad repetitive as you grind toward 100%, there is a surprising variety to the street crime and it never gets old seeing Spider-Man catch a car in mid-air in an attempt to safely defuse a chase. To see everything this New York City has to offer and tick everything off the list might take you around forty hours, though the story will account for less than half of that. It’s paced incredibly well with three sharp, cinematic acts forming not just the best Spider-Man story put on disc, but the best story of a comic book adaptation in a video game period. Arkham included.
So while Spider-Man perhaps won’t be as long as some are perhaps hoping, the game uses its first hour magnificently well. The tutorial doles out a number of the game’s mechanics in a very palatable fashion all the while showing off a number of huge set pieces, something the game does well. It leans so heavily into this cinematic feel that most of the game’s boss fights lack any real challenge. It’s a spectacle to experience and that’s clearly a deliberate choice from Insomniac to take an almost Naughty Dog route in keeping the big movielike feel alive, but it comes at the cost of a rewarding and difficult endgame tussle.
Don’t let all this talk of puddles fool you, there’s nothing wrong with how Spider-Man looks, as it’s still a beautiful game to behold. It boasts a stunning New York City that begs to be explored both from the air and on foot, though it’s when your nearest the ground that you see some warts as the game’s character models can be a bit ugly. Of course, the same cannot be said for the notable players in Spider-Man stories who all look magnificent with Insomniac reimagining a number of them with a very distinct style. After living through the Tom Holland era of films, it was almost jarring to see an older, more independent Peter Parker but even he, I think, is set to become an iconic portrayal of the superhero. The animation is fluid and the game, despite its pace, never really jutters, managing to run smooth as butter throughout its runtime.
Insomniac has done magnificently casting the voice talent for Spider-Man as the performances are wonderful from the top of the bill to the bottom. The game has a surprising amount of tender moments that are note-perfect. Had the performance faltered at any point, some of the true-to-comics ham dialogue might have been exposed but fortunately, it’s excellent. Beyond the game’s sound design being sublime across the board, John Paesano’s score plays an enormous role in setting the scene and helping along that movie-like feel I touched on.
Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered on PC is still the fantastic experience that it was on PS4, but now with a little bit of extra polish and shine from a graphical standpoint. If you haven't played this game, jump in, and if you played it on the PS4/PS5 it might just be time to get swinging once more.