A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Marvel's Spider-Man is a superhero-themed action/adventure game available exclusively on the PlayStation 4. Players take on the role of the popular Marvel superhero, swinging through the streets of New York in his crime-fighting quest to keep the people safe from both generic crooks and fantastically powered supervillains. There's a lot of comic book-style action, with players using a variety of abilities to incapacitate enemies who attack using everything from fists and guns to flashy superpowers of their own. Blood is shown on occasion, and there are some background scenes of more intense violence, but nothing overly explicit. Expect occasional profanity in the dialogue, including "s--t," "ass," and "damn," and there's a substantial story arc dealing with the rise of a new, illicit narcotic drug that's hitting the streets.
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What's it about?
It's time to slip into some spandex, strap on your web shooters, and swing through the skies, as MARVEL'S SPIDER-MAN gives players a chance to spin their webs, any size, and catch some thieves just like flies. This is still a Peter Parker that's fighting to find balance in his life as often as he's fighting criminals, and one who's never forgotten that "with great power comes great responsibility." Make no mistake about it, though: This is a new take on the iconic wall crawler, with more than a few new twists. When Wilson Fisk, aka the "Kingpin," is finally brought to justice, his incarceration leaves a power vacuum in the criminal underworld that's just waiting to be filled. Before long, Spider-Man finds himself in the fight of his life against a cadre of supervillains all trying to carve out a piece of the city for themselves. With a newly minted Sinister Six in front of him, a few close friends and loved ones behind him, and a city that needs him, it'll take everything Peter's got just to survive. But this might be one time when the power might not be enough to shoulder the responsibility.
Is it any good?
This take on the wildly popular superhero is one of the most engaging versions of the web slinger to date, and everyone from comic fans to action players will want to spin this web. Marvel's Spider-Man takes virtually everything from the comics that makes Peter Parker appealing and produces it in vivid detail. See, ever since his debut in Amazing Fantasy #15 way back in 1962, Spider-Man made his mark by being one of the most relatable superheroes in existence. He might have these spectacular powers, but each of us could picture going through Peter Parker's daily struggles. Now, 56 years later, Marvel's Spider-Man puts players as close as they'll ever come to being everyone's friendly neighborhood wall crawler without actually being bitten by a radioactive spider.
The game has a massive open-world re-creation of Marvel's New York City as its playground. Whether you're running through the streets or swinging through the skies, it's a huge map with lots of ground to cover. There are all kinds of side activities to keep Spidey busy too, from busting up robberies to stopping high-speed car chases to saving hostages from kidnappings and muggings. There's a learning curve when it comes to the game's combat, mainly due to the fact that Spider-Man has a wealth of different moves at his disposal and some are more effective than others against certain enemies. After a while, though, chaining moves together becomes like second nature and flows in a rhythmic sort of beatdown reminiscent of the Batman: Arkham games. Of course, none of this would matter much if there wasn't some sort of plot to drive the action. While it's difficult to delve into things without giving it away, this is easily one of the best superhero stories in gaming and a tale that, while existing outside of the mainstream Marvel canon, stays true to the characters and deserves a top spot in the tales from the Spider-verse.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Marvel's Spider-Man affected by the exaggerated comic book-styled visuals? Would a more realistic portrayal of action intensify the violence being shown? How can the violence in video games and comic books affect a younger audience?
What are some of the traits that define a "hero" in comic books? Do the powers make the hero, or is it the person? What are some of the traits that define heroism in the real world?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release date: September 7, 2018
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Superheroes, Book Characters, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Drug Reference, Language, Violence
- Last updated: December 4, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.