Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 4
ESRB: T for Teen
Price: $24.99 (Bundle), $9.99 (Individual)
There are spoilers in this review for Marvel’s Spider-Man. Please finish the main game before proceeding to avoid spoiling yourself. This is your warning.
After Spider-Man’s triumph over the Sinister Six, things looked to be settling down. Devil’s Breath was cured, things were patched up between himself and Mary Jane, and he has a new protege in his life in Miles Morales. As this is a Spider-Man story, things never stay simple. What seems to be a run-of-the-mill Maggia crime turns into a major power play by one of the Maggia crime bosses, Hammerhead.
Violence: As this is a superhero game, you fight bad guys. You fight using a combination of punches, kicks, webs, and gadgets. Criminals use electrified batons, mini-guns, pistols, and assault rifles to attack you. Hammerhead has a metal plate in his head that he likes to use to kill others. A character is seemingly killed by another, only to be resuscitated via taser. There are occasional splatters of blood, but is rarely noticeable.
Sexual Content: Black Cat tells Spider-Man that the Maggia are using her son as leverage against her. Spider-Man asks if it is his child.
Language: Frequent uses of sh*t, d*mn, and various other curse words.
As The City That Never Sleeps is an episodic story, I will break down each episode’s story individually and tell you what I did and did not enjoy about them.
Ever since Black Cat had stolen her suit back from New York’s Finest several months ago, she has stayed under the radar besides leaving clues for Spider-Man. She would later resurface at a museum theft in progress. She has stolen what appears to be a normal USB drive. This is revealed to be leverage for a part of Hammerhead’s play to overthrow the current Maggia regime. He is using Black Cat’s skills so his crew is not incriminated in these acts. Meanwhile, Screwball is back to throw more insane challenges your way and a retiring police officer would like you to help him solve his last unsolved case: missing art.
To be quite honest, this is the weakest of the three episodes. This does not mean that it is bad—it just does not get interesting until the end. The story missions are fine, but not much statnds out to me as stellar. The Screwball challenges are not so bad in this episode. EMP challenges require you to destroy EMP devices in the correct order in a timely manner while combat challenges are straightforward. My favorite is the gadget challenge. When you start one of these challenges, you are forced to use only two gadgets to defeat all enemies before time runs out, and you are forbidden from using any other means to win. It saddens me that there is only one of these per chapter.
After the supposed death of Black Cat, Spider-Man and Captain Yuri Watanabe go on the offensive against Hammerhead. He knows that they are out to stop him. In order to continue his operations, he steals weapons and technology from Sable International. This leads to tougher opponents, and more enemy bases to take down. There are, sadly, no new collectibles to retrieve in this chapter. Screwball has added atealth to the list of her challenges.
Turf Wars goes deeper, as opposed to wider. We learn more about Yuri and about how and why she is so obsessed with bringing Hammerhead down. There are many things unearthed in this chapter about the supporting cast. It is a nice narrative change of pace to learn about the everyone that is not Peter, Mary Jane, or Miles. I did not enjoy the new stealth challenges, which surprised me as I love that type of game experience; I love sneaking around and being tactical. However, these challenges were almost begging you to not do anything in a stealthy manner. You had to keep track of the time, enemy placement, motion sensors, photo-bombs, and your score if you want to earn all the game trophies. It felt like too much to keep track of in such a condensed bit of time.
Silver Sable is back, and she is not pleased. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, or in this case, stolen from. After leaving New York near the end of the main story, she returns upon hearing news of her tech being stolen by criminals under Spider-Man’s watch. This leads to her kidnapping while Hammerhead decides to take a path of which there is no return. Everything has been leading to this final showdown. A former Sable employee named David requests your help in tracking down stolen humanitarian aid supplies.
This is easily my favorite chapter. Between the hilarious interactions between the goofy Spider-Man and the self-serious Silver Sable, and the not-so- bad bomb challenges from Screwball, I have little to no complaints. The story ties up everything with this episode, but leaves some threads dangling for a sequel down the line. New crime scene collectibles play a story for you following a Maggia enforcer and a therapist with an ending you will not see coming. Hideouts are always a fun challenge, and seeing the conclusion to this story is heartwarming. There is emotional payoff on every side—we even see the start of Peter training Miles to be Spider-Man. Do not think I had forgotten about him! He calls Peter on occasion asking about when he can start learning to use his powers, and it is a treat to listen to.
The City That Never Sleeps is a great followup to an amazing game. The combat, traversal, and characters you loved are just as lovable this time around, too. Each episode contains three great-looking new suits, even thogh they pale in comparison to the Raimi suit. Spider-Man has plenty of gas in the tank, and I cannot wait to see what Insomniac does next with everyone’s favorite wall-crawlers. If you are ready to put the suit back on, New York needs you and I suggest you do it now. Just make sure that you play the stories back-to-back.
The Bottom Line
If you enjoyed your time with the main game, then you would not mind spending more time in the suit, right? Right. Marvel's Spider-Man: The City That Never Sleeps is everything you loved about Spider-Man and more. I do strongly recommend playing them all back to back to get the full story impact.