What makes the best superhero game ever? A game that makes you feel like a superhero might be the obvious answer. But what are the essential components for a fun and memorable superhero gaming experience? A good story is always important. Facing off against great villains that each offer a different challenge is also vital. What about missions that make full use of the powers or gadgets at your disposal, sprinkled with some puzzle solving along the way? Now these are things the Batman: Arkham series already has, particularly with the game Arkham City. So what am I trying to get at here?
Well, the bar has been set by Rocksteady Studios, but there's always room to raise it further. Enter Spider-Man, the only other superhero to have a decent video game record. Now, with #Insomniac in charge of the Webslinger's next iteration, here is a list of new features that should be included to ensure Spider-Man on the PS4 is the best superhero game ever.
Dynamic And Seasonal Weather
Let's begin with the environment. The recent #Arkham games had decent weather effects, but since we were playing as Batman, we could only experience them at night. Moreover, the only weather effect we got came in the form of rainfall and sporadic thunderstorms.
This is where Ol' Webhead has an advantage over the Dark Knight. We can play at any time of day, but most importantly, we've never had a #SpiderMan game (or any superhero game for that matter) where we've traversed an open world within every type of weather condition. I've always wanted to websling through intense snowfall or vicious lightning strikes. It will add an extra level of excitement to missions set outside, and with the game set in New York it would make sense to have various weather conditions to enhance that epic Big Apple, four-season feel.
Switching Between Spider-Man And Peter Parker
Every time a new Spider-Man game is announced, one of the first questions we fans ask is: Can we play as Peter Parker? The best effort so far was in the Spider-Man 2 movie-to-game adaptation, where we performed photography missions for the Daily Bugle. There have been other attempts in the past, but nothing would beat changing into your costume during a #PeterParker mission in a seamless fashion to go and fight crime.
It might be a difficult gameplay mechanic to implement, but it could work by offering specific areas within the city where you're least likely to be seen, such as an alleyway or rooftop that are marked on your map. Once suited up, the Peter Parker missions would disappear as well as pause your current mission, and the missions that can only be performed as Spider-Man would then pop back up.
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It's unrealistic to ask for the type of devastating destruction that we see in games like The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. And honestly, it would be quite pointless, seeing as major damage to the environment wouldn't stay permanent, especially if that part of the map was the setting of a mission later in the game. However, on top of the obvious plant and vehicle damage, if there were places on the map that were deliberately placed, such as scaffolding or glass bus stops, it would make city-based battles a lot more tense, considering the possibility of facing explosive villains like Shocker or Green Goblin who could exploit that environment to make things more difficult.
Multiple Villains In One Mission
It would be a unique challenge to try to overcome more than one member of the Spider-Man rogues gallery. What's better than facing one major villain per level? Facing two in tandem. There's no reason not to. Villain team-ups are a comic book staple and offer twice the challenge — not that I've ever experienced it in a game.
How about facing the entire Sinister Six in one go? Something like that would be appropriate as the final mission of a Spider-Man game. So far we've been tasked with fighting one villain at a time, but it would be a unique challenge to try to overcome more than one member of the rogues gallery at the same time instead of just one villain and his disposable goons. The Spider-Man 3 game almost gave us this option during the final boss battle, but we ended up fighting Venom while Sandman was taking a break somewhere, only to wake up once Harry stepped in to even the odds.
During a playthrough in an open-world game, having the chance to play in an indoor environment offers a pleasant alternative, often with more focused gameplay. With this option there's less chance of the game becoming repetitive. Even though Spider-Man is a character best utilized in an open space, some of my favorite battles took place in an enclosed environment, such as the "Showdown with Shocker" subway battle in the 2002 Spider-Man the movie game, or the encounter with Hammerhead in Shattered Dimensions. Since there's less space to swing away from danger, you would have to approach a fight more strategically and cautiously.
Multiplayer Hero/Villain Mode
With an open-world game, there are many possibilities for indoor and outdoor maps.
Considering that nowadays there's so much emphasis on online multiplayer, why not have an online mode where one group of Spider-Men — or other heroes, depending on who appears in the game — is pitted against a group of villains? It could provide all sorts of chaos and fun if implemented correctly. The most important aspect for a good multiplayer would be balance and variety.
A domination-style mode might prove popular, with the heroes using specific areas/items to protect whatever it is the villains are tasked with taking over or destroying. Hand-to-hand combat along with the use of powers and gadgets would be the most appropriate form of fighting.
A deathmatch-style mode might not make sense in this context, since the villains would be the only team equipped with firearms. However, if the villains were armed with guns, they should be allowed to shoot within a certain radial distance from a hero, and would have limited ammo. On the other hand, the heroes could have special evasive abilities, which would mean that the villains would have to use their ammo wisely.
With an open-world game, there are many possibilities for indoor and outdoor maps offering a wide variety of wacky and unique modes, such as a player taking the role as Spidey and another player taking the role as Rhino, with the latter trying to destroy as many cars in the city before he can be stopped. What about a race through the streets of New York? A wave mode akin to Zombies in Call of Duty would be awesome, too. There should also be a free roam mode, similar to GTA, where you and your friends can hang out and do co-op missions in your own time.
Combat: More Emphasis On Web-Based Attacks
A mixture between the button-mashing gameplay of past Spider-Man games with Arkham-style brawling gameplay would be a treat. This is something Beenox tried to do with its recent movie tie-in games and for the most part it worked. If that combat system was combined with the one we had in Web of Shadows — particularly wall combat — and the upgrade system from Spider-Man 2 but with more emphasis on web-based attacks, then it would be perfect.
Costumes With Bonus Powers
As with all games like this, having access to different costumes is vital. Even though most Spider-Man games have allowed us to unlock and play using other outfits, there's been a decided lack of each costume giving us a unique feeling in terms of gadgets and powers. The original Spider-Man suit has a spider signal and tracer that could be very useful during a campaign. Then we have the Symbiote suit, which adds strength and unlimited webbing. If we were given the Iron Spider armor, then we'd be able to fight tough enemies with mechanical arms and make use of the cloaking device. Lastly, the Spider-Armour MK IV has an infrared and X-ray sensor, ideal for stealth missions.
The closest we've got to this was in Web of Shadows, when switching to the #Symbiote suit gave us different combos as well as slightly more power and speed. Might not be true, but that's how it felt when playing.
Spider-Man for PS4 is set for release sometime in 2017. Anything you want to see in this game? Sound off in the comments below.