When you first jump into Marvel’s Spider-Man, you’re likely going to be taken aback by the complexities of its combat and web-swinging. Developer Insomniac has done a great job at making each system an interesting one that allows you to be creative while also expressing yourself as a player. While web-swinging will undoubtedly be easier to pick up, you’re likely going to run into some issues properly executing the right combat moves during the right situations in a fight. There’s a lot to the mechanics at work and it might catch you off guard, especially if you’re more accustomed to the systems of other superhero games.
Spider-Man is a much more agile and acrobatic character to play as than, say, Batman from the Arkham games. So, if you’re thrown off by that, don’t worry: we were too. But with enough practice, you can embrace and learn all the skills and abilities that Spider-Man has to offer and more.
To help prepare you for the challenges ahead, we’ve compiled 10 tips you should know before starting Spider-Man. In this feature, we outline the best practices in combat, the types of skills you should prioritize unlocking in the game’s skill tree, and other habits you should follow in order to come out successful.
Spider-Man releases on September 7 on PS4. GameSpot reviewer Edmond Tran said the game is “a superior Spider-Man experience that leaves a lasting impression.” You can read more in our full review. As the day goes on, look out for our in-depth guide highlighting the best skills, as well as our feature about the coolest best mods and suits mods in the game. And if you’re loving what you’re playing, you’re in luck. The game’s first DLC expansion is set to launch on October 23.
1. Repair The Security Towers ASAP
This might seem a given, but the sooner you can repair all of the Oscorp security towers, the better. Otherwise, you’re going to be staring at a completely fuzzed out map for a decent chunk of the game. An effective crimefighter needs to have full awareness of their environment, so make repairing the police towers the first thing you do.
2. Practice The Basics of Combat
While web-swinging is pretty easy to understand and execute, combat takes a while to wrap your head around. Spider-Man has a pretty wide range of attacks and dodges at the start of the game that require quick reflexes to properly execute. Some moves are situational, but others have to be linked together with another move to be effective. For example, the Air Launcher (Hold square) can be combined with Yank Down (Hold triangle) for a powerful slam attack to the ground that knocks back nearby enemies.
Take time to study the move list menu to watch footage of what each one does and the types of situations they’re most useful in. It’s best not to button mash, as later you’ll acquire upgrades that reward perfectly-timed hits and dodges. If you’re looking for a great venue to practice, then seek out Thug Crimes and Fisk Hideouts; there are plenty of enemies there you can test your skills against. Mastering the basics puts you in good shape for when you start unlocking gadgets and suit upgrades, which require intimate understanding of Spider-Man’s repertoire to find the most powerful combinations.
3. Unlock Enemy-Focused Combat Skills
Your early runnings as Spider-Man can be a bit tough when fighting against brutes and enemies equipped with shields or firearms, as they can easily fluster and overpower you if you’re not careful. To help shift the odds in your favor, it’s a good idea to unlock combat skills focused on hurting the different enemy types. Do you hate it when shielded enemies knock you back? Bunker Buster allows you to do the same to them and even launch them off buildings. Are you powerless to the Brute’s constant pummeling? Wrecking Ball allows you to grab these meatheads and spin throw them, hurting surrounding enemies in the process.
These enemy-focused skills tend to be a bit higher up on their respective skill trees, but they’re well worth getting. After all, nothing is more satisfying than dismantling the tactics of the bad guys and showing them what’s what.
4. Web Slinging Skills Are Essential and Cool
While combat skills and defensive maneuvers are essential aspects of your repertoire, there really isn’t anything more essential to the Spider-Man Experience™ than web-slinging. So if you’re into that kind of thing, we would recommend diving straight into that particular skill tree first. You’ll earn some very useful abilities to help you traverse the city more efficiently and make the opening hours of the game much more invigorating. Aim to get the Point Launch, Quick Recovery, and Charge Jump as soon as possible, and you’ll be flying through the city in record time.
5. Don’t Forget To Craft Suit Powers And Mods
It can be easy to get lost in the action of Spider-Man’s exploits and the ensuing drama of his double life–so much so that you neglect to upgrade his suit’s capabilities. There’s a wealth of equippable suit mods that each grant you special combat capabilities, like slow down time after a perfect dodge, instantly shock enemies who hit you, or generate Gadget refills after performing Finishers. And suits are more than just cosmetic unlockables, they actually give you access to special suit powers that can you equip no matter which suit you wear. These powers give Spider-Man special attributes, like bulletproof armor or the ability to throw enemies without having to web them up.
All of these upgrades will be completely lost on you if you ignore them or simply stick to the ones assigned to you during the game’s tutorial. Take advantage of suit powers and mods to enhance your Spidey tactics and abilities, but just make sure to check in every once in a while to see what you’ve unlocked for upgrade.
6. Diversify Your Side Activities
As you complete side activities and nab more of the game’s myriad collectables, you’ll earn special tokens used to upgrade Spider-Man’s gadgets and craft new suit mods and powers. These upgrades require all manner of tokens to unlock, so when you’re out in the world, try to diversify the types of activities you do. This way you’ll always be racking in enough tokens to unlock the best Spider-Man’s arsenal has to offer.
When you hover over an activity on the map screen, it’ll tell you the type of tokens you’ll be rewarded, as well as how many you’ll get. Some activities can even be repeated for additional token rewards. As a crimefighter, you’ll want to keep yourself preoccupied, but try to avoid doing the same thing over and over.
7. Build A One Man Army: Be Creative
As Uncle Ben once said, with new suits, comes new suit powers. Or something like that. Our memory is a bit hazy. But by combining Suit powers with your gadgets, along with the three Suit Mod slots, you’re able to create some spectacular combos. For example, if you’re fighting a bunch of goons, you could shoot a loaded-up Web Bomb, then let out an ear-splitting solo with the Rock Out power to send them all flying. Maybe you want to take to the skies and pair the suspension matrix with low gravity for some serious hangtime. Or you could just let your robots to do the dirty work for you: use the Spider Drone and Spider Bro for a tag team takedown.
Spider-Man’s combat is all about creatively combining the effects of your gadgets, suit powers, and suit mods together for disastrous results. Be a responsible crime fighter and take time to mix n’ match to see what works best. That’s how Uncle Ben would’ve wanted it. You don’t want to let him down, do you?
8. Ground Floor
As much fun as it is to swing through the city, there’s still a whole world out there on the sidewalks to New York to explore, so take some time out of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Manning to appreciate the details on the ground floor. Give people high fives! Eavesdrop on the chatter! Check out the iconic New York City landmarks! Read the Daily Bugle! And sometimes, folks on the street might inform you about nearby crimes in the area.
9. Stop The Crime, Or Pay With Time
If you’re a completionist and can’t possibly imagine yourself NOT getting all of Spider-Man’s spiffy new suits, then you’re going to want to listen up. In order to unlock the final outfit (which we won’t spoil here), you’ll need to complete each of Manhattan’s nine districts. That means finishing every single side quest, completing all the activities, and finding every collectible. This is why we cannot emphasize enough: do not skip crime activities. If you see a red exclamation icon pop up on your mini-map, make that your top priority. You’ll want to complete as many as you can over the course of the main story, otherwise you’re going to be spending a whole lot of time wandering the streets, searching for thugs to beat up. See a crime happening? Take ’em down. That’s the Spidey way.
10. Seek Out Challenges
Later on, you’ll come across stations that allow you to take on challenges. They might be combat or stealth focused or might have you chasing a drone across the city rooftops. Make sure not to skip these, as they’ll reward you valuable tokens needed to acquire high-level upgrades for your gadgets and suit powers, especially when you break the high score record.