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Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered PC review — Can’t punch ’em all

Five years ago, developer Insomniac Games famously tweeted that Marvel’s Spider-Man would not be coming to PC. In the following years, however, Sony came to the obvious realization that selling its games on an additional platform would lead to a large amount of extra revenue, and here we are. And that’s a good thing: Spider-Man Remastered is easily the best game made to star the famous Web-Head. It has the best production values, the best gameplay, and the best controls. Therefore, it’s hard not to be happy that we have access to it on PC. This version of the PlayStation 5’s Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered is a great way to play the game, even if there are some letdowns as far as performance goes.

One of the things I was most looking forward to about getting Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on PC was the possibility of swinging across New York City at 100+ fps. Of course, this is an open-world game. The draw distance and textures in remastered version were all bumped up for modern-gen consoles. There was obviously a good chance that actually obtaining higher framerate would be easier said than done. Even with an RTX 3090 and running the game at 1440p, this proves to be an even bigger pipe dream than I had imagined.

 

While swinging through the city, I simply couldn’t get frames to consistently stay over 60 no matter what resolutions or settings I tried. The game rapidly fluctuates between 50-80 whenever the ground is visible. Sure, I have moments where the fps will hit the mid 80s, but I found it better to have the game at 4K and keep things at a solid 50-60 instead. That being said, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered looks phenomenal. Perhaps the fps would be considerably improved if I had a better processor, but it really seems like modern hardware simply won’t be enough to swing around NYC at the highest framerates.

Do whatever a spider can

Spider-Man Remastered also has DLSS, ray tracing, and more. Of course there’s HDR, but that shouldn’t be a surprise, as even the PS4 Pro version offered it. If you’ve played the PS5 version of Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, then you’ll already have a good idea of what to expect.

This is a very good port, overall. As this is a Spider-Man game, we should all expect to see a ton of fan-made costume mods in the coming weeks, as well as the possibility of CJ from Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and possibly 2B from NieR: Automata replacing the wallcrawler. Despite being four years old, the production values still scream AAA, and the cutscenes and setpieces are some of the best in the industry.

Story on page one

In case you aren’t familiar with the game due to lacking PlayStation hardware, it has a typical Spider-Man story. Peter is in his 20s and more experienced. He and Mary-Jane Watson, an investigative journalist voiced by the always fantastic Laura Bailey, have split up. The game opens with Peter taking down mob boss Wilson Fisk, AKA, The Kingpin. But things take a turn when the power vacuum his absence causes leads way to a gang of criminals that are even worse.

Yuri Lowenthal does a great job as Spidey, adapting well for both dramatic sequences and quippier exchanges. The writing overall is extremely strong, as the characters are well realized with compelling story arcs — including a spin on Doctor Octopus that takes after his characterization in Sam Raimi’s beloved sequel. Some of the sidequests can be fairly hokey and induce eye-rolling, though. Whether you’re being helped by a birdwatcher or chasing down pigeons for a homeless person, side content often reminds me of after-school specials.

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Me and the magic web

The swinging mechanics in Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered are constantly smooth, responsive, and intuitive. In a series of choices that longtime fans of these open-world Spidey games are sometimes less than fond of, it’s easy for our hero to swing effortlessly between buildings with little chance of ill-timed button presses or improper utilization of momentum to get in his way. It’s akin to the little adjustments in racing games that make turning and drifting easier. Of course, this comes at the cost of the purer, more skill-based swinging of some of the older games. Swinging is also notably slower to account for this.

It’s a tradeoff that I was always pretty happy with. The sense of speed and fine-ness of the movement controls are missed, but it’s hard to find much fault with how satisfying the controls are. This extends to the combat. Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered has combat that’s clearly modeled after the Arkham games, albeit with an almost ridiculous amount of detail focused on making it stick like a web to Spider-Man’s abilities. From air launches, swing kicks, and web blasts, to web strikes and slamming enemies in the face with their own weapons, the combat is in a league of its own.

Hanging by a thread

That doesn’t mean it’s free from issues, though. Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered can often throw a lot of enemies at you simultaneously, which can lead to shockingly little breathing room. There are also some obnoxiously arbitrary enemy tropes that make zero sense from a ludonarrative perspective. Spider-Man is super strong, but he can’t punch anyone holding a melee weapon because of the way enemy weaknesses were designed. Large enemies similarly can’t be hit at all without webbing them up or throwing an object at them first. I understand why it was designed this way, but seeing a superhero that can pick cars up be incapable of punching a guy because he’s too big is just stupid.

The issues kick into overdrive with the three included DLC chapters, where the difficulty is often obnoxious.

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But none of this truly mars the experience. The story is excellent, the world and controls are top notch, and the way the game caters to Spidey fans is wonderful. If you haven’t played it yet, I’d strongly recommend doing so. And if you only played it on a base PS4, this is probably worth the double dip. It’s true even if a four-year-old game being sold at full price is more than questionable, especially since we’re going to have to wait a bit for Miles Morales Remastered. But this is still a game more than worth swinging into.



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