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Game review: Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered (PC)
Tue, 30th Aug 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Conversion kings Nixxies take Insomniac's web-swinging PlayStation 5 game, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered, and polish it up for PC.

Sony has been rather generous of late in a massive turnaround to its past stance towards PC gaming. We've had God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Days Gone all arrive on PC, sporting the PlayStation logo intro, and exclusive new features. Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered now joins that prestigious list.

I've played the original release of Insomniac's acclaimed Spider-Man game on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, as well as the PS5 exclusive Spider-Man Remastered. With each iteration the game has increased in visual prowess, each time being an absolute joy to play.

Spider-Man Remastered was released on PlayStation 5 in 2020 as the definitive version of the game. Tweaked ray-traced visuals, faster frame rates, and real-time ray-tracing being the main selling points; that and the “Game of the Year”-style inclusion of all the DLC expansions. Even so, on PlayStation 5 players are still forced to compromise with the visuals with a choice between frame rate or visual polish.

The new PC version allows players with suitably specified PC rigs to go all out, doing whatever a spider can, with an uncompromising, totally customisable level of visual fidelity. Whilst bang-for-buck, the PlayStation 5 (if you can get hold of one) offers a great Spider-Man experience, it's now the PC version that gives players the definitive version of Spider-Man Remastered.

I played the game on a PC equipped with an Intel i9-12900K CPU paired with 32GB of PNY DDR5-6000 RAM in an MSI Z690 Carbon WiFi motherboard and an Nvidia RTX 3090 GPU. It's a top-spec machine and I was expecting great things with my 4K HDR monitor. 
The game uses a launcher to select the initial graphical options. Not unusual, but a bit dated- especially as you can change all the settings in-game.

Fiddling with the various graphics options, of which there are plenty, I settled on maxing out the visual magic in 4K HDR with Nvidia's machine learning DLSS set to “Quality” this gave me a framerate of around 80-100 frames-per-second. With DLSS off and using DLAA for the anti-aliasing, the frame rate dropped to around 70 frames per second. There are plenty of settings to tinker with, allowing even more modest setups to get a decent frame rate with high-quality visuals.

Spider-Man Remastered offers players a new story set in a separate Spider-Man PlayStation game universe (Earth-1048 for the nerds out there), separate from both the comics and the movie iterations. The game starts with Spider-Man aiding NYPD Captain Yuri Watanabe in the arrest of Wilson Fisk, AKA The Kingpin. This action causes a power vacuum threatening to plunge New York into chaos setting up the story.

The mission-based plot has players taking on classic Spider-Man foes, like Vulture, Rhino, and Scorpion whilst trying to save the city from a bioweapon called Devil's Breath and butting heads with the para-military Sable International. A lot is going on. The plot of the main game also sets up the Miles Morales spin-off game and a possible sequel involving Norman Osborne and his son Harry.

The three included DLC expansions feature Silver Sable, Hammerhead, and Black Cat. These can be switched on the fly via the in-game menu, which in turn changes the available missions and city status to those of the selected DLC.

The gameplay is refined and polished to a glorious shine. The animations are smooth and the controls are very responsive.  The physics, unlike in some previous games (where webs would just attach somewhere in the sky), make sense, allowing players to swing up and around buildings with Spider-Man's grace and acrobatic style.

I could spend hours just swinging around the city. And the game encourages this with collectibles and side quests. Web-swinging is simple but exhilarating. The city of New York is meticulously modelled making swinging through the streets and climbing tall buildings an absolute blast.

The main missions involve plotted events that will have Spider-Man up against goons, clearing waves of enemies before sometimes entering a building or carrying out some other tasks. For the most part, the game has you swinging from A to B and then fighting bad guys. This is not as repetitive as it sounds, as the game mechanics are so good, and I relished every moment.

As I mentioned, web-swinging is a delight, and so is combat. The game takes its cues from the likes of the Batman Arkham games when it comes to the game's very kinetic fights. Spider-Man's spider-sense comes into play as you punch, kick and web up opponents, whilst dodging and swinging out of the way of fists, bullets, and rockets.

For some sections, again very similar to the predator maps in the Batman games, Spider-Man can employ stealth to take out enemies one-by-one with sneak attacks or by just stringing them up. No matter how careful I was, eventually, things would degrade into a fantastic frantic brawl so exhilarating I almost forgot to breathe.

As players level up, new skills and combat moves become available. Collecting items and carrying out side-missions grants tokens for new equipment and spider suits. You can dress Spidey in everything from the classic cel-shaded cartoon-style look to the jerry-rigged outfit from the latest movie. Many of the suits have special abilities which can be mixed and matched to give players the edge against enemies.

If you fancy a break from the main story, New York is filled with things to do. There are robberies to stop, carjacks to chase down, and rucksacks to find. There are also labs to investigate and challenges to try. All these collectibles, side missions, and mini-games grant their own rewards making them more than the usual open-world busy work.

As well as activities, Spider-Man's New York is dotted with locations that'll be familiar to Marvel fans. You can chill atop Avengers Tower, take in the mystery of Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, pose for a selfie outside Josie's Bar, or check the offices of Nelson and Murdock, among others.

These photogenic locations and the game's glorious lighting add to a game with a versatile photo mode that is very difficult to put down. I probably spent a few hours trying to capture the perfect shot of Spider-Man in action for insertion into one of the many frame templates, including a few classic comic covers.

Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered is a huge game that is so well done and looks absolutely amazing on PC. With the addition of the DLC expansions, it's a must-have for any PC gaming Marvel fan. It's a shame that it doesn't include the Miles Morales Spider-Man spin-off, but I dare say that it'll be on its way for PCs soon enough.

This review comes a bit later than I'd like due to a mix-up with our review code from PlayStation NZ. I reviewed Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered using a retail version of the PC game on Steam. Spider-Man Remastered is available now for PC via Valve's Steam service and the Epic Store. The game is also available for PlayStation 5.

Verdict: 9.5/10