Playing the best PlayStation games in 2022 no longer means having access to PlayStation hardware. Since the release of Horizon Zero Dawn a few years ago, there has been a steady release of some (but not yet all) of their greatest games. Spider-man continues this trend, but unlike some of my other reviews and hands-on with their games, it’s not without issue.
The jump to PC means a lot of benefits, like support for high refresh rates, ultrawide resolutions and improved raytracing. It also means that due to the massive variations in hardware, performance is no longer as solid as in its original console release.
Performance on recent console releases is something that Insomniac has nailed down. All the Spider-man games and Racket and Clank have been outstanding examples of what modern consoles are capable of, but here Nixxes Software (who are on port duties) appears to have come up a couple of patches short of greatness.
“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.”
Spider-man Remastered swung onto Steam and the Epic Games Store on August 12, 2022. The improvements on offer are impressive when they work as intended, but I’ve had a lot of issues with this release since its launch. The game offers the ability to change settings on the fly (with a setting screen that lets you see changes in real-time), but every time I do, it seems to result in massive dips in performance. Restarting the game does seem to help this issue, but I’d prefer a prompt to advise that a restart is required to ensure performance is where it should be.
The game’s performance is one of the very few occasions that has made me query my current set-up (AMD 5800x with an Nvidia 3070 and 32GB RAM). Even playing on Ultrawide resolution, I’d hoped that performance would be slightly above where it sits just now. Image quality is outstanding and comes in at least a few levels above what’s on offer on its console counterparts, but huge FPS drops feel jarring and take away from the game’s overall feel.
Playing with the game nearly maxed out, I’ve had to enable DRS (dynamic resolution scaling) to give me any chance of keeping a stable framerate. It holds over 60FPS most of the time but can still plummet during busier game sections or while swinging through New York. On the most recent patch notes, performance on Nvidia hardware not being as good as expected is currently under investigation, so I’m not alone in these issues. Hopefully, performance issues will be closer to my expectations after another patch.
When it all works, it’s spectacular; during story missions, the performance is definitely better, but this may be due to the more linear sections of the game featured. The game can feel like liquid Lurpak when it keeps a framerate of over 100FPS, as it did during an earlier boss battle against The Shocker.
I’m sorry if it seems harsh on the game; since its first announced earlier this year, it’s been high on my wish list, and maybe I’ve been expecting too much from the game. So far, at least performance seems very slightly off. The changes from the PS4 version are massive, but anyone looking to double dip while having the game on PS5 might want to hold off for the game to be on sale. Although it is great to have options, I’m not sure the higher refresh rates and ability to play in Ultrawide will merit buying the game once again (I would note that it would be nice to see PlayStation follow Xbox with their Play Anywhere model).
Moving past this, what you are getting is one of the best single-player games I’ve played in a long time. The setting, story, music, and controls are god-tier. There is plenty to do in a wonderfully recreated New Year city. Spider-man is the type of game that’s fun to just experience. I’ve lost countless hours just swinging around the city during my playthroughs (having played the original on PS4 not long after it was released).
One of the significant changes is the updated face of Peter Parker. At the time this was confirmed, it wasn’t a well-received change, but now given a little time, it feels less jarring and even slightly better suited. The change certainly takes nothing away from the outstanding voice performance of Yuri Lowenthal as Parker. All the voice actors deserve praise as this is as close to a movie as games can get, and I can’t wait to continue their journey into the Spider-man sequel set to release in the next few years.
Combat is a blast, and although heavily influenced by the Batman Arkham games (this is a good thing, by the way), it takes those similar ideas and then makes them faster and feel more fluent. Spider-man also gets access to several different gadgets and web shooter variations to make combos longer and assist when the going gets tough. When faced with more significant numbers of enemies, you can get creative in using these.
However, you don’t just play as Spider-man…Sections of the game will also see players control Peter Parker, his friend Mary Jane Watson, and ally Miles Morales. The game fails foul of a gaming no-no here, insta-fail stealth sections. In 2018 these should have been nowhere near a significant game release; now, in 2022, they can get in the bin.
Most side activities are fun and encourage players to traverse more of the city. Collectables are everywhere, and early on in the game, you won’t need to travel far to find something else to do. As you complete the side missions and random crime encounters, you get tokens that help to upgrade your gear and even craft new Spider-man suits. The game has a good collection and allows players to change their looks. Bonus points gained here as the suits even feature in the game cut scenes. As a nice tie to the greater Spider-man universe, the “Advanced suit” created for the game with the white spider even shows up in the 2018 movie Into The Spiderverse.
The story features loads of characters from both the comics and movies. During your playthrough, you’ll battle the Kingpin, Mister Negative, Electro, Vulture, Rhino, and Scorpion and experience the beginnings of earlier friend-turned enemy Otto Octavius, better known as Doctor Octopus. I loved it all the way through, and it’s another excellent example of why Spider-man is so popular across so many different media formats. Over the last ten years, we’ve had so many different variations of the character, all with their style and merits.
As this is the remastered version of Spider-man, you’ll also have access to the three-part story DLC “The City That Never Sleeps”. The add-on features Black Cat and Hammerhead and is an excellent way to extend your playtime a little further, but it’s broadly more of the same as the base game. The new suits featured here are fantastic additions to Spider-man’s wardrobe, and there is a lovely dedication to Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee, who died shortly before the release of the second chapter.
To wrap up, Spider-man Remastered on PC is a superb game and might be the best superhero tie-in you can play. There are some performance issues here and there, but given Nixxes Software’s history and how quickly they have got the first few patches to players, I’d hope Nixxes will promptly fix the issues. It’s great to see PlayStation finally get some steam behind their sails concerning PC releases and if the game can hit similar sales to their other recent PC releases, who knows what might land next.