[REVIEW] Spider-Man – Great if you’re not woke

Is Insomniac’s Spider-Man still acceptable in 2022? I’d like to think so. Lately, my rig has been working overtime again because I wanted to personally experience how our friendly neighborhood spider behaves on this platform. The answer to that can be very brief; except for some issues with ray tracing, Spider-Man runs like a charm. But I’ve also talked to enough people who – despite the graphical splendor – don’t like Spider-Man at all. Because a teenage boy who helps the police set up a surveillance network to keep everything in check That’s really no longer acceptable.

Personally, I hadn’t even thought about it that much. I don’t play a game with social acceptance in mind. All those times playing Mortal Kombat and Carmageddon as a teen while society was screaming bloody murder… I really didn’t give a shit what the world thought. I liked it and that’s what counted the most. The same goes for Spider-Man, although it seems these days that I’m starting to get heavily outnumbered. Recently, when I played Stray, I was indirectly branded a racist by Kotaku. And now that I’m having a blast with Spider-Man, I’m supposedly turning a blind eye to police corruption and the threat of a surveillance state.

It’s actually bonkers that society is set up like this these days. In 2018, Insomniac’s Spider-Man was the cream of the crop and Peter Parker was everyone’s friend. But now, in 2022, Peter is above all a traitor. Insomniac even tries to keep it a bit tongue in cheek. But that whole cringefest of a Spider-Cop running joke should have been trashed according to a lot of woke people. Basically, PlayStation made a big mistake by ordering Nixxes to make it a pure PC remaster. The entire script should have been rewritten to bring the game more to the current social standard.

Trust me, it’s not that I’m going to defend this remaster tooth and nail. There are really things that could have been done differently/better. The graphics aren’t one of those things because Spider-Man looks brutal on PC. Especially when you have a powerhouse of a PC, there is a huge amount of beauty to see. Like I said, for some reason, ray tracing tends to spoil the fun by showing reflections that are full of graphics artifacts. That is a shame, to say the least. But if your rig has the power to max out all other settings – including the number of NPCs and vehicles in the far-from-dull city – you’ll be swinging around for hours without ever getting bored.

Spider-Cop Peter Parker has gotten himself into a sticky situation by being cop-friendly

Of course, this is also partly due to another ‘once accepted, now outdated’ element: icons. The city is literally teeming with them. Tourist attractions, Peter’s hidden backpacks, Harry Osborn’s labs, the police surveillance towers (which are really not done if I’m to believe everyone)… You can literally waste hours of your time without completing a single main objective. On the one hand, that’s not really a punishment. Swinging through the city was already the main selling point of Spider-Man in 2018 and it still holds up today. But it can also just be one of those things where you think “Go easy on the icons, Insomniac”.

To conclude, on the question of whether Insomniac’s Spider-Man in 2022 is still relevant, that is very much up to you. If you’re just a fan of the Spider-Man character with no political agenda, the answer is yes. I mean, name another current game where you can swing through the big city to your heart’s content and introduce some street thugs to a heavy-handed denture correction, of which you can also take a picture. Anyway, if societal pressures won’t allow you to put police surveillance towers online “because it undermines a right to privacy”, leave Spider-Man to those who just want to enjoy it for what it is.

Criminally good
The Heroic
For a 4-year old game, graphics are as amazing as Spider-Man himself
Swinging through a hustling and bustling city will never disappoint
There's plenty of stuff to do, maybe even too much...
The Sticky
Ray tracing results in some wonky reflections
It's icon-palooza out there
Society might put a label on you for enjoying Spider-Man Remastered