Marvel's Spider-Man: The City That Never Sleeps
Final Overall Score: 3 / 5
My intention with these DLCs was to do a review for each individual part. For the keen readers out there who were paying attention, I did not do a full review for part 2 of The City That Never Sleeps entitled Turf Wars. My reasoning was simple: there really wasn’t much of anything to say about it. So I opted instead to include the review for Part 2 and 3 here as well as a general overview of the DLC as a whole. So without further ado, let’s dive right back into the PS4’s Marvel’s Spider-Man.
Final Score: 2.5 / 5
Turf Wars was released one month after the first installment of the DLC series, The Heist. While The Heist wasn’t stellar (read up on the first part here), it was still fun and set up what was supposed to be epic second and third parts. Notice the phrase there ‘supposed to be’ though. After finishing Turf Wars I was left with a resounding feeling of ‘is that it?’
The story sort of picks up after the end of The Heist. Black Cat is assumed dead and Hammerhead’s influence is beginning to expand over the city. NYPD Captain Yuri Watanabe is leading the investigation into Hammerhead and the Maggia crime family with a rather hostile attitude. As the story progresses, it’s revealed that Yuri has a personal grudge against the Maggia and will stop at nothing to put Hammerhead behind bars or, if it comes to it, in the ground. My biggest issue with the story of Turf Wars is that it felt almost completely independent from The Heist. Essentially everything from the first part was completely undone as soon as the second part began making the first episode of the DLC ultimately pointless.
One thing I did notice, and confirmed with another person who played through this part meaning I’m not entirely crazy, was that the difficulty for this portion seemed to have been cranked up to 11. I was playing on normal difficulty and maybe died twice during the events of the main game. I easily died about a dozen times in this section alone. The return of the mini-gunner from part one (who can go fuck right off) and the introduction of a new jet-pack enemy (who, again, can go fuck right off) makes this part incredibly difficult and at times very frustrating.
Side activities for this portion include the usual crimes, collectibles, Screwball activities, and the return of the base beat-em-ups. The one question that this raised for me was with the return of the base activities, what exactly was the point of including the Screwball beat-em-ups as well? Why not introduce another type of activity or give us more of the other ones such as the stealth challenges or the gadget challenges.The gadget challenge, which was easily my favorite side activity of the first part, did return for this part with this challenge requiring the player to use the Concussive Blast and Web Bomb gadgets which again work really well together and was fun to do.
It was a little disappointing to see that the majority of the Miles mentoring that Peter does is done off-screen in-between DLC parts but at the same time this can be forgiven. Generally developers shouldn’t make any major developments like this that could impact a sequel in a DLC (a point I will unfortunately return to later). I also found the voice-acting for this part to be rather poor. The worst offender of this was Yuri which was extra unfortunate since she was the main focus of this part. Every line of dialogue delivered by Yuri seemed uninspired and as if the voice actor was legitimately bored.
That’s basically all there is to say about Turf Wars. A mediocre middle section of the DLC trilogy that had the potential to do more, but didn’t.
Final Score 3.5 / 5
The finale to The City Never Sleeps, entitled Silver Lining, sees the return of Silver Sable to New York to stop Hammerhead from stealing Sable International weapons which were meant to go to her home nation of Symkaria to help quell the nation’s civil war. Yuri is absent for the majority of this part as she was placed on leave at the end of part two for almost killing Hammerhead which might not have been the worst thing given her performance in that bit. Sable and Spidey are at odds once again despite the common ground that they came to during the main game campaign and must learn to work together once again in order to bring down Hammerhead who has, for some reason, turned himself into a giant cyborg. That was basically the point in the story where I completely lost track of Hammerhead’s motivations and why anything really mattered.
Slight spoiler here but at one point during the final part there was a sudden Deus Ex Machina Black Cat that shows up to save Spidey from dying which seemed poorly shoehorned in. Then as Cat grapples away, Spidey says ‘Bye Felicia’ at which point I paused the game and stared absently at the wall for a solid minute realizing that they set up the entire DLC just to make that one joke.
All of the same side activities that were in part two return in the finale which began to feel a little old and overdone at this point. Screwball’s gadget challenge this time around made use of the Electric Web and Impact Web but was not nearly as fun as the previous gadget combinations had been. The finale to the Screwball missions though was hectic fast-paced action that made use of everything that the player had been doing in the side activities throughout the DLCs. It felt like the side activities were actually training you to handle this final mission and gave a sense of payoff to everything the player had done which is exactly what I expect out of side missions.
These next two paragraphs contain fairly large spoilers. The end of the main story in this part to me felt very rushed. Spidey joins Sable on her floating fortress to stop Hammerhead once and for all. After one final battle, the two defeat Hammerhead, they fly off towards Manhattan, credits roll. It didn’t feel as if there was much payoff for the overall story. I wouldn’t be surprised if the folks over at Insomniac felt rushed to put out this final piece and just ended the story wherever they saw fit.
Let’s return to that point I made earlier about developing story points in DLC that I began earlier in part two. Obviously for the sake of the DLC’s story and activities, new stories and characters need to be introduced. This is completely fine. What isn’t fine though is developing characters from the main game which will ultimately carry-over into a sequel. Not everyone plays the DLCs so when they return for the sequel and suddenly a character has completely changed without any explanation or precedent, these players will be extremely confused. This was exactly the case with Yuri. During the final bits of part three, Yuri is shown as going completely off the rails and begins to take justice into her own hands. The developers are beginning to set Yuri up to take the mantle of Wraith which I assume will play a somewhat prominent role in the sequel. Even if she doesn’t, the sudden and mysterious absence of Yuri from the NYPD in a sequel will certainly leave some players very confused as to her whereabouts given how prominent of a character she was in the main game.
Overall The City That Never Sleeps was enjoyable. As I mentioned in the review of The Heist, it got me back into the world of Spider-Man which is always a good thing. The story started out on a fairly strong note in the first part only to be completely undone at the beginning of the second and finally petering out in the finale. The gameplay was as fun as ever but seemed to stagnate a bit towards the end. The voice acting here and there was a little less than stellar. I liked the fact that the series was released on a monthly basis though as it felt like an actual comic series with each new part feeling like a new issue every month. I would still recommend that fans of the main game play through this campaign, if only to dive back into the game and enjoy this world a little more.