How can a game be so horrible and contrived, while I still want to 100% it?
Note: I have never played the original game, so I am not saying anything about that.
Yes, this is a very bad game. The main story is badly written. Its mostly poor and predictable writing, but when it does get unpredictable, it is just plain bad. The cinematics, that happen often, feel like there’s someone here, who wants to be an auteur, while not understanding what that means in the context of games. They want to make a movie, so they enforce that on us, when we want to at least feel a little bit in control.
The main story is completely on rails. There’s not much room for decisionmaking. We just follow the yellow dot and when the yellow dot sometimes disappears, it usually means that we are now being manipulated into doing something so that they can artificially push the playtime required to finish the game.
Much of the time it feels like noone bothered to read a wiki article on Spider-Man. Spider-Sense is often forgotten as basically anyone can surprise him at any time. Normal people can easily withstand his blows and even take him down, even though he is supposed to have superstrength. There’s so many situations, which could be handled through brute force, but you can’t do that, because Spider-Man only gets to be superstrong at very specific times. We see him stop cars, but he can’t move small pieces of rubble. Somehow Kingpin is written very awkwardly, like someone was pushed into using him, but couldn’t really write for him.
The mechanics are awful. Because they want you to do very specific things at all times, you can’t often use something you’ve learned earlier in the game, because they want you to do it utilising something else. For example, there’s a point in which I can’t parkour over an obstacle or pull myself with a web over it, which are methods clearly in line with what has happened in the game before, because they want me to wallcrawl through the thing painfully slowly.
And sure, many games are fully on rails, but this goes much further. At least those other games give you an illusion of choice. This doesn’t even bother to do that.
So, why did I 100% it? Because when you get off those rails and just bounce around the city, it is actually fun. Many of the challenges are kind of stupid, but at least they feel like you can they different approaches. Just walking around talking to people and take selfies with them is actually enjoyable. The city has been designed meticulously and just swinging around feels good. There’s enough to do there to keep you entertained for quite some time. Actually, more than the main story. You end up playing the main story just to open up more of those things around the city.
This tried to copy Arkham series so hard, but didn’t quite get what’s great about those games (well, the ones that are great). At every point where they should have evolved, they just took the idea and made it worse somehow.
The one thing they did, sort of, get, is that Spider-Man, as a character, is much more about trying to get through life, day by day, than he is about fighting criminals. Howver, that is badly written as well. He loses his home, but that doesn’t seem to matter much. Sure, there’s more imminent problems, but he just let’s most of his possessions go without thinking twice about it. Losing his home just means that he has to get some piece of equipment back and has to sleep one night in his aunt’s office. For most people, that would be an actual tragedy and it is a tragedy that is happening all the time, as just living is becoming more and more expensive. This game just dismisses that as something trivial.