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Spider-Man PS4 Extended Gameplay Impressions

Spider-Man PS4 got eight minutes of brand-new mission mode gameplay during Sony’s E3 Press conference, where the game showed Mr. Negative return alongside four new villains: Electro, Scorpion, Rhino, and Vulture. The trailer cuts out as Spider-Man stares down into a bright light that signals the approach of a sixth (and most likely quite sinister) character, who fans theorize may have been Doctor Octopus due to the mechanical noises prior to his reveal. We think there’s also a good chance of this character being Mysterio, who has been leaked to be the main antagonist for Spider-Man Homecoming 2, but it could just as likely be Doctor Octopus reclaiming his role as the original canonical leader of the Sinister Six.

This gameplay footage looked good, but gamers have learned to be wary of on-stage show demos that end up looking nothing like their title releases. Fortunately, insomniac was kind enough to share some live gameplay footage with Gamespot, and this footage confirms that the game looks and plays almost exactly like what has been shown in trailers.

The footage shows Spidey zipping around a fantastic looking city, with plenty of deepened textures and 3D effects to highlight the unique and interesting looking skyscrapers. Red and orange tones really take precedent here, giving the entire city a friendly, sunburnt aesthetic that naturally vibes with Spider-Man’s red suit and cleverly phases out around enemies. The five villains presented during the trailer did not match the game’s red aesthetic, which seems to be symbolic of peace; Scorpion and Vulture were green, Mister Sinister was black and white, Rhino was metallic silver, and Electro used yellow electricity. The web-slinging has a few key changes to make spider-man feel less floaty and more like a bullet zipping across city streets: A new button prompt given just prior to clearing the top of a structure lets Spidey web onto the top and catapult himself forward, preserving momentum. A new bullet-dive style maneuver similar to the dive in the Arkham games lets the wall crawler quickly convert height into momentum, enhancing his web-swinging abilities even further.

While the combat in the E3’s trailer made opponents feel fairly powerless in comparison to the soaring feats of the wall-crawler, this gameplay gives the opposition a few more tools to keep up with the Spidey-Madness. Enemies sport guns and rocket launchers that give only a very short dodge indication before taking chunks off of player health, and also hurl dangerous flash grenades that impede vision for a surprisingly long amount of time. While the game gives a dodge prompt for these grenades, the dodge is only a short backstep and will not automatically move the character out of the grenade’s radius. If it lands close enough to the player, it may be more effective to run away manually or to time the dodge with the explosion, making use of a few precious invulnerability frames.

The game also features a brand-new risk-reward combat mechanic: The focus bar. This bar is built up as Spider-Man builds attack “combos” and performs different finishers, but is not depleted upon combo failure. The bar has a multitude of uses: It is used to power certain instant-takedown single target finisher attacks as well as a “web barrage” attack where Spider-Man spins through the air and fires webs in all directions, stunning all nearby opponents. But the bar can also be used to regain health mid-fight, which emphasizes the risk in that risk-reward: Players can choose to take the safer option and cash out the bar for a bit of health, or risk waiting longer for a screen-clearing special attack to cleave through the opposition.

Whatever aspect of the game is being shown, the highlight is quite consistently the clean and smooth animations. Everything that Spider-Man does seems to flow in and out naturally, whether he’s webbing bad guys to walls or zipping through a collapsing tower. The game is set to release on September 7th, exclusively on the PS4.

Featured Image Via Flickr / Bago Games

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