I am not a superhero, so becoming one is something I try to make happen as often as possible. Sometimes this means dressing up in cosplay, other times it means playing one of the most anticipated games of the year: Spider-Man.
I’m primarily a PC gamer with a NES, Sega, and Xbox One hanging around for when I’m in the mood. But amazingly I don’t own a PlayStation of any generation, despite it being one of the consoles I grew up on. Not to brag…but I’ve beaten every Spyro game.
This past weekend I was super excited to get in a little early to PAX West, a perk of my job. Day one I headed to the Nintendo Switch booth to try out Super Smash Bros Ultimate before the insanely long line developed, and the second day I made my way over to the PlayStation booth. TBH I hadn’t really looked into Spider-Man despite hearing the buzz on social media. I don’t have a PS4 so I knew I wasn’t going to get to play it once it was released (curse you PlayStation gods). But a booth with no line is pretty irresistible so I made my way into the setup of black screens and noise canceling headsets and picked up the PlayStation controller; probably the first time I had picked one up in 15 years. Don’t judge me.
The music was immediately immersive, and I couldn’t help but notice the clarity of the graphics as “Spider-Man” flashed across the screen. My inner 13 year old Toby McGuire loving Spider-fan was instantly awakened (yes, I’ve seen the newer movies but THAT was the first time I saw Spider-Man on screen). I’m not gonna lie, it took me a minute to get my grasp on the controller. I definitely ran into NPCs, knocking them down on the sidewalk, for a solid 3/10 minutes. But once I figured out how to swing from buildings. Lemme tell you.
I remember at one point stopping, while spidey-stuck to the side of a skyscraper, using my right scroll to see the world around me. The sunset was beautifully reflecting off the cityscape and I smiled the same way you do during a beautiful thematic love scene. Except I was playing PS4 next to two sweaty guys in sweats…so a little different. The agency to make the moment happen, though, was pretty empowering. But that’s why we play, right?
Another memorable part of the game was fighting against bad guys. Speaking as someone who has never been in a fight in my life, unless you count slapping the guy who tried to kiss me in second grade, it was more than a little awesome to be giving an ass-whooping to some bad guys. I guess one question I had was WHAT bad things these men had done? But…who cares? The important thing was to kick their butts. From flips to web-pulling garbage cans to smash in their faces, I would say it was a day well saved. I probably could have played that portion of the game for the solid ten minutes.
Overall the experience was pretty inspiring and I left with as stupid grin pasted to my face. I’m not a die hard Spider-Man fan anymore but I was more than a little glad I got a chance to demo. The graphics were crisp, the soundtrack pulled me into the game (which for someone with ADHD is a big deal), and the abilities that playing the character granted me was next-level awesome. Like I said, I don’t own a PlayStation so I have no idea when or how I’ll get to play this game again. But what I do know is that I enjoyed every minute.