September 4, 2020
Stadia), March 18, 2021
Xbox Series X/S)
Since before the game even launched, fans of Marvel’s Avengers, specifically those on PlayStation, have anxiously waited for Spider-Man to swing into the adventure. Over a year later, Marvel’s flagship character finally arrives on November 30. We’ve seen his costume and have gotten a sense of his personality in a cinematic trailer, meaning the final questions revolve around the story and how Spider-Man controls in-game.
Spider-Man’s debut comes via the free Hero Event, “With Great Power.” Speaking with Crystal Dynamics, it’s still unclear how big the story is compared to the more compact Operations or large-scale expansions. As for the character himself, Crystal Dynamics shares that their Spider-Man, voiced by Sean Chiplock, is in his early 20s and has been a superhero for “a little while.” That likely indicates he started after A-Day, which would mean he’s spent the entirety of his career protecting an Avengers-less New York City. As such, this isn’t an origin story. Spider-Man is an experienced crime-fighter at this point but has primarily worked alone.
Peter stumbles upon a sinister plot connected to AIM that may be bigger than he can handle. After interacting with Black Widow via her “Tiny Dancer” online alias, the two exchange information on AIM. He eventually meets the entire team and agrees to tackle this threat alongside them but struggles to work under a team dynamic. By the end, Spider-Man will ultimately decide whether or not to remain a full-fledged Avenger. Other characters involved in the story include Liz Allen, Peter’s friend and college classmate, who players will find in the Ant Hill. Mark Raxton also appears, who comic fans know best as the villain Molten Man, but Crystal Dynamics didn’t confirm if we’ll see his transformation here.
So let’s jump into gameplay. First and foremost, can Spider-Man web swing? Yes, he can. Crystal Dynamics described his web-swinging as an expanded, less-restrictive take on Ms. Marvel and Black Widow’s forms of swinging around. Unlike them, Spider-Man doesn’t need ledges or poles to attach web lines. His webs attach to pretty much anything, even if you don’t always see it. This means he can swing in more open spaces. It may not always make sense, but Crystal Dynamics chose to emphasize fun over realism after considering more limiting alternatives.
Holding down the right shoulder trigger while jumping initiates web-swinging, meaning Spider-Man’s traversal feels fundamentally different from those of other heroes whose moves are mapped to the jump button. This design gives players more control over activating/deactivating web-swinging and should feel familiar to fans of dedicated Spider-Man games, such as Insomniac’s series.
Wall-crawling is present, and players can freely cling to and move around most surfaces. Spider-Man can also wall-run like Captain America and Black Panther. The difference is that Spidey can wall-run indefinitely; he does have sticky feet, after all. He can run left, right, and up walls and bank around corners to leap into web-swinging.
Of course, Spider-Man’s web-shooters are an important offensive tool. Shooting targets builds up “web status,” a meter that, when full, immobilizes enemies. You can also knock webbed-up foes into walls, making them stick there. Webs can also inflict various debuffs unlocked from a skill tree, such as making webbed targets more vulnerable to damage and status effects from other heroes or causing them to drop more health packs upon defeat. Crystal Dynamics says Spider-Man feels like a support hero in that sense.
Web shooters have alternate firing modes such as a charge shot, web bombs, a web tether to stick enemies together, and a trap set on floors or walls that ensnare bad guys. Spidey even has a wide-reaching web attack that pushes mobs backward while immobilizing them. Additionally, Spider-Man can deploy a drone that fires web projectiles to help tie up enemies. The drone can also create bubble shields around Spidey, which helps defend objectives.
Spider-Man’s ultimate heroic ability is his web-wrecking ball. As the name implies, Spidey weaves a gigantic web ball that he slams down onto targets to deal significant damage. Some of the abilities are available right off the bat, while others are unlocked and improved through skill-tree upgrades. Overall, Spider-Man is very adept at crowd control, but Crystal Dynamics says he isn’t a ranged character despite his array of web attacks. Spider-Man still relies on an acrobatic flurry of punches and kicks to handle most threats.
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Peter’s trusty Spider-Sense serves as a defensive ability. While other heroes block or parry attacks, Spider-Man dodges with players hitting the button when an indicator appears on-screen. Nailing perfect dodges grants a defensive boost, making you sturdier for a limited period while also inflicting an impact armor debuff to the attacker. Like his other moves, the Spider-Sense has a line of upgrades to make evasion even more powerful.
Spider-Man boasts plenty of unlockable costumes. He’ll begin wearing his redesigned take on the classic Spidey outfit, but you can also unlock the original Steve Ditko-designed costume. Crystal Dynamics recently revealed their takes on the Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Armor MK 1/ MK 3, and Secret Wars costumes as well.
Spider-Man looked like a blast to use in the footage we’ve seen, and he should make for an entertaining addition to the roster. Players can see him in action themselves by watching an Avengers War Table gameplay deep-dive presentation on Monday, November 29, the day before Spider-Man’s arrival. We can’t wait to finally get our hands on Spider-Man, and if With Great Power’s story proves to be as exciting as its starring hero’s gameplay, PlayStation fans may have a great reason to boot up Marvel’s Avengers one more time.