Spider-Man Part 3: Fisk Fight

By Shamus Posted Thursday Dec 13, 2018

Filed under: Retrospectives 107 comments

Our first swing through the city takes us towards Fisk tower as we accompany the police on their way to arrest Wilson Fisk, aka The Kingpin. Swinging over the police cars is this wonderful moment that really sells the idea that we’re immersed in a city where things are happening, and not just cruising over static scenery.

Fisk’s men are defending the tower with automatic weapons and rocket launchers, trying to prevent their boss from being arrested. Spidey defends the cops and we get our first handful of combat tutorials out of the way.

We learn that this version of Spider-Man is allied with the police. Unlike the unappreciated Spider-Man I remember from my youth, this guy has an established contact in the NYPD. He has a working relationship with Captain Yuriko WatanabePeter calls her “Yuri”. Fun fact: The voice actor for Peter Parker is also named Yuri. That’s not important or anything. I just thought it was a fun bit of trivia., who does for Spidey what Commissioner Gordon does for Batman. She guides him and slightly legitimizes his actions, while making sure his super-heroics don’t  accidentally destroy evidence they’ll need once the bad guys are webbed up.

The Final Chapter

I'll talk about this title's love affair with quicktime events later on.
I'll talk about this title's love affair with quicktime events later on.

The Kingpin’s men are firing assault rifles at police officers. They ram a police blockade with a fuel truck, causing a massive explosion in Times Square. At Fisk Tower, it’s an all-out siege where the bad guys are bombing their own building in an effort to slaughter the police that are trying to serve Fisk with an arrest warrant.

Spidey has to work his way up the building from the inside, brawling with Fisk’s endless army of goons and saving civilians from the damage caused by the battle. At one point Spidey has to clear some rubble to free some trapped civilians and we get a reference to one of the most famous panels in Spider-Man’s history:

Spoiler: The 1966 issue The Final Chapter was not, in fact, the final chapter of Spider-Man.
Spoiler: The 1966 issue The Final Chapter was not, in fact, the final chapter of Spider-Man.

This is a callback to Amazing Spider-Man #33, The Final Chapter, first published in 1966. This moment was also referenced in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Fascinating how the cinematographer used rubble around the frame to create the same cramped feeling of a comic book panel.
Fascinating how the cinematographer used rubble around the frame to create the same cramped feeling of a comic book panel.

In Homecoming it was used in a similar way. It was the ultimate test of his strength at a moment when the stakes were at their highest. Here in the game, it’s mostly just a visual nod and not really a big deal for the character.

In the 1966 comic, Spider-Man is trying to reach a vial of serum to cure Aunt May. That entire concept also appears at the very end of this game.

This Means War

The excuse is that Spider-Man pulls his punches when fighting normies, which is why his punches aren't instantly lethal. Although, is there a way to non-lethally uppercut a dude his own body height into the air?
The excuse is that Spider-Man pulls his punches when fighting normies, which is why his punches aren't instantly lethal. Although, is there a way to non-lethally uppercut a dude his own body height into the air?

Spider-Man fights his way up Fisk tower, doing combat and traversal tutorials while our police buddy Yuri Watanabe fills us in on all the momentary exposition we need to make sense of the current situation. The whole thing is incredibly brisk.

About halfway up the tower, Yuri tells Spider-Man that Fisk’s men are in the computer room, deleting all the evidence. She seems to be worried that they won’t be able to prosecute him if that evidence is destroyed.

His entire workforce launched an open firefight against the police and staged multiple terrorist-style attacks around the city for the express purpose of killing police officers, and you’re worried you might no have enough evidence to put him away?!?

This is totally ridiculous.

Shamus, you seriously can’t be objecting to this on the grounds of “realism”. Weirder shit than this happens in comic books ALL THE TIME!

I agree. See, I’m not complaining about the story. I’m complaining about the art style.

The Presentation is Part of the Setting

Kingpin has a billboard-size display screen in his IT department. Apparently he uses it for videoconferencing with whoever happens to be in the room.
Kingpin has a billboard-size display screen in his IT department. Apparently he uses it for videoconferencing with whoever happens to be in the room.

I’m a big believer in the idea that the art style of a work is an important part of how we view that world. Directors like Wes Anderson, Terry Gilliam, and Tim Burton all deliberately make their worlds look fantastical in order to signal that we’re not seeing the real world. They pull us in by showing us that their world is different and strange, so we aren’t surprised to discover it runs on different rules.

Dialog that works well in a cartoon will fall completely flat if delivered in a grounded clinical presentation like a David Fincher movie. If you took a dramatic scene from one of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies and shot it using the style and presentation of the campy 60s Batman television show, the intended mood would be completely lost. Likewise if you shot the campy 60s Batman show in a gritty realistic style it would lose all the charm and would come across as moronic and infantile. Tropes aimed at animated shows for kids will come off as offensively stupid if presented to adults in a world that’s meant to be taken literally. Animated worlds can crank up their more fantastical elements without needing to explore or explain them, while grounded worlds need to take more care to avoid destroying our suspension of disbelief.

Here is another shot of Peter's apartment. This shows an incredible attention to detail, lighting, proportion, and texturing. But I wonder if something a little more stylized wouldn't have suited the game better.
Here is another shot of Peter's apartment. This shows an incredible attention to detail, lighting, proportion, and texturing. But I wonder if something a little more stylized wouldn't have suited the game better.

My problem with Spider-Man is that this is a very comic book world with a very literalist presentation. You can see Peter Parker’s pores, for crying out loud. This game is crying out for some sort of stylized presentation. This is a wild comic-book world shot with graphical fidelity more in line with something like The Last of Us.

I had the same problem with Batman Arkham Knight. The producer aimed for photorealism in a world that wasn’t really intended to be presented that way. Arkham Knight had the ridiculous gag where running into a mook at 60 miles an hour with the Batmobile would “stun” them with electricity, rather than turning them into villainous tomato paste. That’s a very cartoony way of thinking, but the visuals were demanding that we take the scene literally so the whole thing came across as patronizing and juvenile.

Sadly, I think this art style was chosen for business reasons rather than artistic ones. Others have noted this tweet from one of the developers:

The style of the game was chosen with an eye towards selling hardware for Sony, whether it suited the material or not. Sure, it’s possible that the team would have chosen this art style on their own. The thing is, this isn’t an isolated incident. There are several questionable decisions in this game, and most of them seem to be done in service of Sony’s branding / licensing / platform.

This particular scene isn’t all that bad. The player has to go through the stealth tutorial stop Fisk’s men from erasing all the data on Fisk’s computers. It might be a little silly to worry about evidence when a full-scale military battle is raging between Fisk’s men and the police, but if this was the silliest moment in the game I could roll with it. My problem is that there are a couple of moments later in the story where the dissonance is strong enough to undercut the drama.

The sad thing is, they had a better solution available. Check out the comic-styled suit you can unlock later in the game:

♫ Is he strong? Listen bud, he's got radioactive blood! ♫<br />
♫ Can he swing from a thread? Take a look overhead! ♫<br />
♫ Hey, there! There goes the Spiderman! ♫
♫ Is he strong? Listen bud, he's got radioactive blood! ♫
♫ Can he swing from a thread? Take a look overhead! ♫
♫ Hey, there! There goes the Spiderman! ♫

I’d love it if we could see the entire world rendered in that style. I think it would fit the story better, and it would also make the game really stand out. Spider-Man is a beautiful game, but its art and its world are at odds with each other. Given the choice, I’d prefer if they could go crazy with the art rather than restrain the storytelling.

At the top of the tower we finally meet…

The Kingpin

Where's Kingpin's white suit? This character only has three defining attributes: 1) Fat 2) Bald. 3) White suit. You can't get rid of the suit, it's one-third of his character design!
Where's Kingpin's white suit? This character only has three defining attributes: 1) Fat 2) Bald. 3) White suit. You can't get rid of the suit, it's one-third of his character design!

Wilson Fisk is a longtime Spider-Man foe known as The Kingpin. He dates all the way back to 1967. I’ve never been a fan of the character.

I read my first Kingpin-based story in 1978. I remember it really bothered my 7 year old self that Spider-Man was fighting what seemed to be a regular dude in a business suit. How is this an even matchup? Spidey can throw cars, which is something normal people can’t do regardless of diet or training. Even if we imagine this is the strongest regular human in the world and he can somehow match Spider-Man’s raw physical strength, he’s still lacking the incredible dexterity, the superhuman reflexes, the acrobatic mobility, the ability to web people up from across the room, and an endless supply of one-liners. This fight should end before Spidey gets a chance to make his first bald joke.

Even ignoring pedantic arguments over power level, Kingpin just didn’t seem cool enough to be a recurring Spider-foe. The rest of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery is so much more outlandish. You’ve got a guy who can shoot electricity, a guy with four telescoping metal tentacles, a guy with a nasty poison-tipped scorpion tail, and an unstoppable guy that looks like a rhinoceros. Compared to those freaks, Kingpin is just a guy with an MBA who shops in the Big & Tall section.

Years later I found out that Kingpin had transitioned to being a Daredevil foe, and that made a lot more sense to me.

I like that they used the Kingpin as our introductory boss. This is supposed to be a bit of a cakewalk for Spidey, so Fisk makes for a good tutorial punching bag. This version of the character is less about the physical threat and more about the political machinations. On his way to Fisk Tower, Spider-Man talks about how he’s been waiting 8 years for this. Sure, he could have climbed the tower and punched Fisk’s lights out whenever he wanted, but if the goal is to see him serve jail time then Spidey needed to work with the police to overcome the layers of hired muscle and corruption that Kingpin has been using to protect himself.

I should make it clear that Kingpin is only a punching bag during gameplay. Sadly, only half of this fight takes place in gameplay.

Game vs. Movie

We're using quicktime events to simulate our battle with Kingpin. If only there were some sort of established gameplay mechanics to handle things like fistfights.
We're using quicktime events to simulate our battle with Kingpin. If only there were some sort of established gameplay mechanics to handle things like fistfights.

Like I said in my Escapist column a few months ago, there are good ways and bad ways to handle the transition from gameplay to cutscene at the end of a fight.

A good fight is where you beat Mr. Freeze entirely in gameplay. Once he’s down, the game has a cutscene where Batman talks to the now-defeated Freeze and the conflict is brought to a resolution.

A bad fight is one where the Kingpin activates a trap in a cutscene while Spider-Man does nothing, then the player breaks free and thrashes Kingpin in gameplay, then suddenly you have a cutscene where Kingpin tosses the now-helpless Spider-Man around the room for a bit, then you overcome him in gameplay again, then there’s another cutscene where once again the Kingpin has the upper hand and nearly wins but then Spider-Man defeats him at the last moment through the power of quicktime events.

Yuck.

Dear cutscene designer:

Yes, that big showy finale looks more “cinematic”, but it accomplishes this by negating the entire idea of a videogame. It might look impressive, but those looks come at the expense of making the game less fun to play. I’ve already got a stack of Marvel movies on my shelfOkay, they’re mostly digital, but you know what I mean.. If I want to watch a superhero fight, I’ve got lots of options to choose from. I’m here because I want to participate in a superhero fight, which is one thing that the movies can’t give me.

You handle the talky bits, I’ll do the punching. Stay in your own lane.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Peter calls her “Yuri”. Fun fact: The voice actor for Peter Parker is also named Yuri. That’s not important or anything. I just thought it was a fun bit of trivia.

[2] Okay, they’re mostly digital, but you know what I mean.



From The Archives:
 

107 thoughts on “Spider-Man Part 3: Fisk Fight

  1. Chris says:

    If you want a videogame with that kind of aesthetic I can recommend XIII (yes, its called XIII). It nails the comic book style perfectly. Although I can imagine that a lot of people would prefer realistic spiderman over some weird comic look.

    Also I guess the reason kingpin exists is the same reason the penguin of batman exists. To have a representation of corruption to get punched out. I mean, if you became a superhero, who would you beat up, at some point you probably want to give one of those scummy rich folks a good hit.

    1. Olivier FAURE says:

      Batman: The Telltale Series also nails its themes and aesthetic pretty well.

      It feels serious enough that you’re compelled to take all the political and personal moments seriously, but stylized enough that you kind of roll with it when the mayor starts hiring a private army and blowing up the city.

      1. Redrock says:

        Oh, I dunno. The first season of Telltale’s Batman annoyed me to no end when it comes to political stuff. It just didn’t work in relation to the tone of prior episodes. It’s always a big problem when a story first focuses on legal stuff and then proceeds to make things happen that could never happen under any government in any given universe. That’s one of the reasons I think Enemy Within was so much better than season 1.

    2. Crimson Dragoon says:

      Heck, if you want a Spider-Man game in that aesthetic there’s Ultimate Spider-Man. Its definitely not to the quality of this game, but I still think its underappreciated as far as Spider-Man games go.

      1. galacticplumber says:

        Love the aesthetic, love the writing and encounter setup, hate the simplified fighting system, swinging, and cut down side activities.

        Yeah I can totally get behind the aesthetic. I just think they sacrificed too much. Yes I know I made a point of saying combat was a diversion in the last comment section, but it was a reasonably fun diversion with lots of toys to play with.

    3. Leipävelho says:

      XIII was based on a Belgian (I think) comic and the game is underrated.

      1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        It’s also suspicously similar to the first Bourne movie.

        1. Sannom says:

          The original comic was apparently partly based on the original novel, and they do both have an amnesiac protagonist.

      2. Sannom says:

        XIII is definitely a belgian comic, I would say that the whole series is considered to be a classic. I hear that the artist exclaimed “What have you done to my baby?!?” when he saw what the game developers had done to Colonel Jones’ hair.

        XIII The Game was made by Ubisoft back when they felt like a more creative company than they are now. Man, it was just after they abandoned the rainbow for their current logo.

        1. baud says:

          I hear that the artist exclaimed “What have you done to my baby?!?” when he saw what the game developers had done to Colonel Jones’ hair.

          I know the comic and I agree that Jones look nothing like in the comic. But I don’t think it would have been possible to give her the same hair cut (a bit like Whitney Houston’s one, I think) as in the comics and have it look good with the tech they had. And the other characters I’ve seen (XIII, Amos, the Mongoose) are good though.

    4. Michael Pemulis says:

      I believe shamus covered a mission in xiii a few years back in a very critical manner.

      I don’t have the time to look for it though…

  2. Christopher says:

    The graphics are one of those things I haven’t seen them talk a lot about, so besides the tweets I dunno what specifically they were thinking. Insomniac have kinda been doing both realistic and stylized stuff back and forth. Spyro and Ratchet are cartoony. Resistance is realistic. Overstrike, i.e. Uncanny The Incredibles, underwent a major overhaul in boring grittyness that nobody liked when it turned into Fuse. And then Sunset Overdrive was all colorful and wacky again.

    I don’t think it’s out of character for them to come in with a bang to show off a console’s power. While they’ve fooled around with Microsoft they’re in all but name a Sony first party studio, same as Game Freak is for Nintendo even if they made that one elephant runner game for everyone else too. And while Nintendo’s thing is gamey games centered around gameplay ideas and stylized graphics, approachable but with depth underneath the hood, then Sony’s thing has been cinematic games for a while now. They’re all in on games as movies. I think Insomniac, given the opportunity to make a Spider-Man game and the funding and dev time to do it properly, went for emulating Marvel movies. Not in the Marvel VS Capcom Infinite Way, where you have a crappy teamup and the color palette is washed out, but in the fully featured cinematic story kinda way. And I think that incentivized them to go for a realistic look.

    To some extent, I think a realistic look is just a market appeal thing. Capcom’s been going in that direction for their games lately, and they get no end of praise. As much as I’d love it if people preferred the look of say, Nintendo games, I think it’s pretty clear from just interacting with people that there’s a large swathe of folks out there who just won’t give a crap if it looks remotely stylized. Mundane and mo-capped down to the pores for me, thanks. I don’t want artists to make something stylish, just turn a real model into an in-game model and turn down the saturation so it looks _real_. This has been frustrating for me with Devil May Cry 5. While it looks like an expensive, pretty, hi-fidelity game now, everyone has also got the look of cosplayers attempting to dress up as the characters(because they _are_).

    In Spider-Man, I think it works better for some things than others. I don’t really mind the storytelling clash, but I do mind the faces, a little bit. We’ve come a long way, but they’re not photorealistic, they look more like really good rubber masks. And while some actors are cast perfectly, others fall flat(aunt May comes to mind as a character that just looks like any old lady and not aunt May), making me wonder why you didn’t just make a face of your own when you can model whatever you want. And it makes the designers afraid of goofy comic designs, which means a lot of Power Armor for all the bad guys and sort of a “Normal person attempting a casual cosplay of a character” look to the character designs.

    But I think it looks awesome in the city, in the textures of the suit, in all that stuff. I do think some of the exhileration of swinging around NYC would be lost if it just looked cel-shaded and not like a real place. They nail the color too, never getting trapped in the washed out palette deal the movies themselves often struggle with. And while it can be a bit uninspired, the direction of the cutscenes really do look movielike. I’ve seen a lot of folks calling Spider-Man PS4 their favorite Spider-Man movie, and I totally get it.

    My ideal version of this style is probably a city that’s mostly unchanged, but characters that are just a teensy bit more exaggerated. Less pore-y. Not a cel-shade filer tossed over all of the city. I think that kinda thing has to be built into the very models, Wind Waker style, with exaggerated anatomy.

    I wonder if it might have turned out differently had Into The Spider-Verse released before they started development.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      there’s a large swathe of folks out there who just won’t give a crap if it looks remotely stylized

      I think this will eventually change. It took a while before super-hero movies were viewed as completely normal for adults, and I think stylized aesthetics will get there eventually too. Unfortunately, the thing that will sway the public’s viewpoint is people choosing to make games/movies in a stylized way rather than catering to what’s already established as the “correct” thing to do. :)

      1. ccesarano says:

        With games like Overwatch and Fortnite being a success, and both of those owing to Team Fortress 2, I think you’ll gradually find more people willing to take more visual chances.

        But I don’t think you’ll ever run out of the graphical fidelity arms race. People are still going to want to match the drama and “prestige” of Hollywood, and hardware producers are always going to want to prove how amazing their tech is. I mean, if it wasn’t SNES and Genesis kids yelling about which system could produce superior graphics, it was PC kids laughing about how both were fools and the real fancy stuff was on computer. Both in terms of the businesses and the market, the fancy appearance of graphics mattered.

        We’re only just now starting to see a shift, but I think the shift in art style… well, that might require a cultural change as well. After all, adults still don’t look at animation as anything but for kids and comedy. There’s a growing population of adults that have at least been exposed to anime as a serious story-telling medium, and we’re all impressed by what Pixar is capable of with heartfelt drama and story-telling, but for some reason the transition to “animation, but for adults” in terms of drama has yet to make its way in Western media.

        Except for Castlevania. Castlevania has managed it and has proven to be a success.

        So basically: hey, technically video games are ahead of the curve in regards to people being open to multiple art styles for all kinds of story-telling!

  3. Christopher says:

    On a different note, for some reason Kingpin was turned into Spidey’s arch-nemesis in the 90s animated show. He sat up in his tower, Smythe in a techy wheelchair at his side, and was responsible for sending half of Spidey’s rogues gallery at him. Even formed the Sinister Six at one point. Basically he had the position Norman Osborn gets to be in every other adaptation now. As far as I remember, Spider-Man never managed to put him behind bars.

    I’m not super interested in Fisk as an opponent for Spider-Man either, but it felt awesome to beat up his mug and turn him in at last. That’s revenge for five-year-old me.

    1. Baron Tanks says:

      Right! That’s why I remember Kingpin being a big deal, as much of my formative Spider-Man experience comes from that same cartoon. But I do agree he’s nowhere near as interesting as a bunch of other villains and by the time Kingpin gets into a fight everyone has already lost, Kingpin cause his mechanasation have failed and the audience because a fistfight is the most boring thing that character could do.

  4. Baron Tanks says:

    Hey boss, I don’t think:

    Like I said in my Escapist column last year, there are good ways and bad ways to handle the transition from gameplay to cutscene at the end of a fight.

    is supposed to read last year. Probably more along the lines of 2 months ago.

    1. Shamus says:

      Ha! When I wrote that, I thought this series would run AFTER Andromeda, so I imagined this post would go up next summer. Oops.

      Fixed.

      1. Baron Tanks says:

        I do love how you give us a look behind the scenes, at times unintentionally. It feels like catching the Wizard of Oz in the act ;) Luckily you have a dedicated audience of proofreaders and we love nothing more!

  5. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    I was never big on Kinpin myself, but the lamented Daredevil show really made him work, especially in the last season where he’s genuinely terrifying. And not because of some bullshit super strength.

    1. Hector says:

      Don’t forget the movie, either! MichaelClark Duncan makes a fantastic Kingpin.

  6. John says:

    What do Fisk’s goons hope to achieve by open warfare with the police? Their violence means that Fisk is going to get arrested for something no matter how many incriminating financial records or memos they destroy. Is Fisk at least trying to escape? If he can afford a private army and his own skyscraper, then surely he can afford a helicopter.

    1. Shamus says:

      That’s exactly his plan. They took out all the police helicopters, and Fisk was on his way to the roof to escape when the player finally catches up with him.

      1. Liessa says:

        Fisk sure is lucky to have all these fanatically-loyal minions who are willing to give up their lives or freedom so he can escape. Makes him seem more like a cult leader than a crime kingpin.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          ‘Logic Not Included. May contain nuts.’

          1. Droid says:

            Damn, that got a good laugh out of me! You win, for now!

        2. guy says:

          According to overheard dialogue later he pays really well, always comes through, and keeps finding a way out of prison.

          1. RCN says:

            Also, “making sure his family is looked after” is a good motivator for fanatical minions.

            And Fisk is the sort to cultivate loyalty.

        3. MadTinkerer says:

          Depending on the writer, sometimes Fisk is a cool-headed professional criminal who only fights superheroes himself as a last resort, and sometimes he’s an monologuing supervillain who is willing to toss aside a lucrative professional crime career at the first opportunity to punch Spiderman in public. It all depends on whether the writer wants to write a crime drama with superheroes, or a superhero story where the villain does professional crime as a hobby.

      2. John says:

        Thank you. That makes at least a little sense then.

    2. Hal says:

      I think the other way to run with that would be trying to establish plausible deniability.

      “Oh man, I kept telling all these heavily armed men, ‘Don’t do this, just let the police do their jobs,’ but they didn’t listen to me, and what was I supposed to do? I’m just a business man, I can’t control this veritable army of ‘security personnel’ I employ. Now my lawyer will explain how I had nothing to do with the firefight against the police, there’s no evidence I ever approved such actions, and any of the legal complaints you came to arrest me for in the first place can be attributed to one of my lackeys. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a lunch reservation I would prefer not to miss.”

      Fisk goes to jail, but you’ll hunt down evidence a few times over the course of the game to keep Fisk from getting out on a technicality. So there’s that.

      1. Liessa says:

        IIRC he was openly encouraging them, though? I’d have to watch it again to be sure.

        1. Hal says:

          Well, yes, but that’s not what the lawyers are going to argue before a judge. And if you scrub the recordings and keep the goons from testifying about it, then there’s no evidence.

          That’s how Fisk operates in every iteration.

          1. Liessa says:

            By ‘openly’ I meant something like ‘over a megaphone, within full hearing of the police and hundreds of bystanders’. I could be misremembering that, but at the very least he’s resisting arrest and endangering countless lives in the process. I guess you could argue that he’d be able to bribe a jury or something, but in that case, why even bother trying to escape?

            1. guy says:

              Fisk is a crime lord archetype where everyone knows they’re a crime lord but somehow it just never sticks. Physical evidence doesn’t exist in the first place, gets thoroughly destroyed by his minions, or is “lost” by the police department, subordinates take the Fifth, other witnesses have “accidents”, and when all is said and done the DA takes some phone calls from wealthy politicians and decides there isn’t enough evidence to pursue a conviction and he’s out within two months.

              The game starts when Yuri finally manages to get a search warrant to sweep his entire headquarters for everything, so Fisk has his minions buy time to destroy the evidence and make a getaway, which Spider-man foils.

              1. Liessa says:

                Oh, I’m well aware that I’m trying to judge a Comic Book Game (with archetypes etc.) by real-world logic, and that way lies insanity. My point is that this is exactly the kind of scene that makes you go “OK, Comic Book Game. Whatever.”

      2. Viktor says:

        And for anyone who says that’s not a realistic defense, I have some oceanfront property in Dallas I’d love to sell you. I can point to a major figure TODAY who is using “Why, that man who I have employed for 30 years who used my money to break laws explicitly to benefit me who says he was doing so on my orders was acting COMPLETELY without my knowledge. I’m completely innocent and very annoyed his illegal actions have dragged me into this. Honestly, I should sue him.” as his primary legal defense.

        1. DHW says:

          This isn’t the place for politics. K? K.

  7. Hal says:

    I love the cell-shaded suit. It’s so much fun to swing around town in it.

    Actually, one of my favorite things is that the cutscenes will have Spider-Man in whatever suit you were wearing. So cell-shaded Spider-Man can show up in those scenes.

    Or, (and I consider this to be kind of hilarious) you can go with some of the more esoteric Spider-Man costumes such as Spider-Punk (as mentioned above), or the Spirit Spider (which looks like a cross between Venom and Ghost Rider.) It’s ridiculous to have this burning avatar of death talking in Spider-Man’s voice and all these people just interact with him as if it were perfectly normal. Drives me to giggles every time.

    I think eventually you can unlock a suit that is Peter in the mask and his underpants. Which might also be worth doing the entire way through a playthrough.

    1. Savage Wombat says:

      Do they have him wearing the Fantastic Four uniform with a paper bag over his face?

      1. Shamus says:

        I was SO SURE that costume was going to show up, but it never did.

        However, Sony owns* Spider-Man and Fox owns* Fantastic Four, so maybe using a FF-logo costume was a no-go.

        * Controls, has license to, whatever.

        1. Hal says:

          Update from the future: As of now, Bagman is a part of the base game!

    2. Olivier FAURE says:

      At least the scene where MJ tells him “did you just drop all your clothes in the kitchen”?

    3. RCN says:

      I keep hoping that Insomniac goes above and beyond and release an update to play the whole game cell-shaded.

      But I realize that’s a really hard sell as it is basically asking them to redo 70% of the original game development again.

      1. Geebs says:

        They could put a cel-shading effect on everything as a post-process with a couple of hundred lines of code. I’m pretty sure that’s how e.g. Borderlands does it.

  8. Mephane says:

    stunning visuals that could only be achieved with the power of the PS4.

    While it’s absolutely their right to release this game as a PS4 exclusive, the claim that this graphical fidelity can only be achieved on a PS4 is both laughable and insulting – do they think we are so stupid to just forget that PCs exist or are able to handle this game’s demand on the hardware?

    1. Hal says:

      I think the implication is that doing something more cartoony, and less photorealistic, wouldn’t take advantage of the full power of the PS4 (i.e. you could have done this for the PS3 and been fine.)

    2. Redrock says:

      Well, consoles aren’t really competing with PCs, it’s PC owners who are strangely compelled to compete with console owners all the time. Also, I once again advise against making serious assumptions about decisions made by huge companies based solely on a coule of tweets made by a single highly specialized employee.

      1. Milo Christiansen says:

        I would like to point out that there exists a amazingly large group of people who think consoles have better graphics than than a good gaming PC. Yes, seriously.

        Console makers hype up their “amazing graphics” to the point where these poor souls, who have never seen a real gaming PC before, simply assume that 1080p/30fps is the best you can get.

        1. Redrock says:

          I dunno, I’ve personally never encountered that kind of rhetoric. Now, a lot of console owners would say that their respective exclusives have “the BEST graphics”, but they usually mean that they LOOK better than anything on the market. Which, well, isn’t a completely silly notion. I think I’ve been wowed visually by God of War, Spider-Man and RDR 2 more than by anything on my pc this year, despite higher resolutions and framerates on the pc. Hell, I think I even like my Breath of the Wild, rendered in measly 810p, beyter than most things I’ve played on PC in 4k tgos year. Art direction is important.

          1. Geebs says:

            The common thread between all of those games is a gigantic amount of money, in particular a much bigger budget for animation than most games see. It’s a manpower thing rather than a hardware thing. For big cross-platform titles, there are obvious compromises in the renderer which do actually detract from the art style on PS4; for example I’m playing Prey at the moment and all of the shiny Deco bits look much more effective on PC than even PS4 Pro.

            That said, what with the other publishers going all in on the GAAS model, the PS4 (and to an extent the Switch) has basically been the only option for all of the really flashy, big budget single-player games this generation. When there’s only one candidate, there’s only one choice!

    3. shoeboxjeddy says:

      They think that PCs are not as significant to their bottom line as consoles. Which is correct and accurate based on years and years of sales data.

  9. Redrock says:

    His entire workforce launched an open firefight against the police and staged multiple terrorist-style attacks around the city for the express purpose of killing police officers, and you’re worried you might no have enough evidence to put him away?!?

    I made my peace with the fact that this is just how the comic book legal system works. That’s not something, I think, that can be helped with cel-shaded graphics. You either roll with it, or you don’t. I think the problem here is more that Spidey isn’t really suited to that kind of story, and amking him work that close with a police officer is a bit of a problem. Spidey’s stories work better when we see him drop off webbed-up criminals without worrying about how they’re going to be prosecuted. So constantly bringing up the topic of evidence and probable cause and other legal mumbo-jumbo, like the game does, is weird as hell. The thug arenas are a good example. You get into these construction sites and beat up waves of goons with rocket lauchers for several minutes. Than you leave dozens of thugs webbed up, and THEN you call Yuri who says something about that huge fight gigivng her probable cause to search the place? My point is that Spider-Man and legal speak don’t mix together. That’s exactly why Daredevil exists. And why Fisk has been primarily a Daredevil villain for many years now, while Spidey has been fighting glider-equipped assholes with pumpkin bombs without stopping every three minutes to read them their Miranda rights.

  10. Joshua says:

    “Years later I found out that Kingpin had transitioned to being a Daredevil foe, and that made a lot more sense to me.”

    As someone who really never read any comic books, my only exposure to Kingpin was the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie (no jokes please), so I was confused with references to him being a Spider-Man villain.

  11. Scampi says:

    The excuse is that Spider-Man pulls his punches when fighting normies, which is why his punches aren’t instantly lethal. Although, is there a way to non-lethally uppercut a dude his own body height into the air?

    Funny. While watching some LPs of the game, I kept wondering: “Is there a way to non-lethally uppercut a dude OFF A SKYSCRAPER?”

    1. Hal says:

      It’s definitely a weird thing. Some of the missions you get have bonus objectives, and I know in at least one of them the bonus objective is “knock dudes off the building.”

      But it’s a video game, so when dudes fly off a building, they land in Hammerspace, so it’s all good.

    2. Redrock says:

      That’s actually a popular misconception. 99% of the time you can actually see that any guys knocked off scyscrapers are magically webbed to walls as they’re falling. It’s still silly, but I must say that Batman Arkham’s crunchy sound design always made combat feel that much more lethal than anything Spidey does in the PS4 game.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        I always remember wondering if I was killing people as Batman when I dangled them upside down from gargoyles with rope. Like, it’s going to be hours at least until he’s cut down, that’s gotta result in brain damage at least, right?

        And as for the option to cut the rope, causing them to fall about half a metre to the ground head-first…

        1. Redrock says:

          The more I think about it, the more annoyed I become by Arkham Batman. He seemes too brutal, even compared to other Batman media. Batfleck was clearly based on Arkham, and in the Batman V Superman movie you could see that it’s just… wrong. It’s way too much. Even ignoring the guns amd explosions.

        2. Geebs says:

          Have you seenthe size of the necks on the Arkham series mooks? I’m sure they’re just fine.

    3. John says:

      Is there a way to non-lethally uppercut a dude OFF A SKYSCRAPER?

      No, no there isn’t. But comics have been doing things like this since at least the 1940s. For example, in what I believe is his very first fight scene in all of comics, Robin knocks a goon off a girder that’s two or three stories up in the air. There’s a panel of the goon falling off the girder but–crucially–no panels showing the goon falling to the ground. If you stop to think about it, that goon is almost assuredly dead. (Dick Grayson, killer from day one.) But if you’re a kid you probably aren’t going to stop to think about it–and because there’s no on-panel death, you’re always free to assume that the goon landed on something soft.

      1. INH5 says:

        Yeah, but I think that was before superheroes not killing people became the norm. Didn’t Batman kill people back then too?

        1. John says:

          Not really. It’s true that there are a couple of instances in the first year or so of Batman comics where he deliberately kills someone, but that’s not really one of his goals. The most memorable incident I can recall is when he uses the machine guns on his autogyro to kill a giant, mutated monster-man, but even then his interior monologue establishes that he views it as a mercy killing. By the time Robin was introduced, there were no more deliberate killings. The best way I can think to put it is that old-school Batman was more interested in fighting crime than saving lives. He wasn’t trying to kill criminals, but if they happened to die during or after a fight–if, say, they fell off a boat and into the jaws of a waiting shark–it didn’t seem to bother him and he seldom bothered trying to save them.

    4. Nemryn says:

      There’s also a move where Spider-man webs up a guy, swings him around his head two or three times, and slams him into the ground. Same problem there.

  12. BlueHorus says:

    Bah – I thought we’d outgrown Quick-Time Events by now? Boo, hiss.

    And, come to think of it, I thought we’d outgrown the Cutscene/Bossfight Dissonance thing as well by now.
    At least it’s not one of those boss fights where the game forces you to win the fight…just so you can unlock a cutscene of your character losing it.

    Now those…those are shit.

    1. Viktor says:

      QTEs are fine when done well. The problem is that no one ever does them well. A QTE should exist to do something there’s no mechanic for in the game and which won’t come up enough to be worth building unique mechanics for. A one-time parkour chase through a bunch of moving machinery in a game without a lot of movement elements? Perfect for a QTE. A vehicle hijacking when you only do that a few times over the entire game? QTE. A fistfight in a game about fighting, or a chase scene in Assassin’s Creed? Use the existing mechanics. Dance Battle with a major villain? Build new mechanics, that probably deserves it.

      The other key with QTEs is that the buttons in the QTE should correspond to what the character is doing. Shooting an obstacle should be the fire button, going over one should be the jump button, sliding should be crouch, etc. There will undoubtedly be grey areas, but people should have some idea of what to do before the prompt ever appears on-screen.

      1. Leipävelho says:

        In my opinion, the only game that ever did QTEs decently was Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

      2. BlueHorus says:

        QTEs are fine when done well. The problem is that no one ever does them well.

        So they’re a good form of gameplay, but only in potential? This seems both funny and a bit harsh.
        I’ve never objected to a low-pressure button prompts (do they count as QTEs?) personally, but my last attempt to make it through RE4 met with failure during a certain knife-fight/cutscene/story segment experience that was…not fun.

        ‘It’s good when done well, but nobody ever does it well.’ Like skydiving without a parachute.
        I mean, everyone who’s tried it messed up the ‘landing safely’ part…but man oh man, if someone did manage to land it… they’d be the KING of parachute-free skydiving.

      3. tmtvl says:

        Would timed hits count as QTE? Because I would argue that Legend of Dragoon did QTE’s well.

        1. galacticplumber says:

          I’d argue not. It’s consistent, practicable, and the bread and butter of gameplay. If you wouldn’t call fighting game combos QTEs or handling in racers QTEs then legend of the dragoon combat isn’t QTE.

    2. Christopher says:

      Mercifully, you can turn QTEs off. They still _happen_ though, the game just doesn’t show the button prompts and hits them for you.

    3. Water Rabbit says:

      Like Witcher 2?

  13. Pax says:

    It makes a good finale to the Saints Row series if you just squint a bit and pretend Spider-Man is finally taking down the Third Street Saints and has to fight Oleg at the end.

    1. Christopher says:

      I like this idea.

  14. Carlos García says:

    This means war screenshot: The actual real identity of Spiderman/Peter Parker is Astérix.

    It is never a bad moment to repeat my agreement on the cutscene thing. I always get pissed off when I beat an enemy in combat and then the cutscene goes “sorry, but you lost”. Even if it’s “yes, you won but we’ll rewind the last moments to rewrite how you did” it can be annoyed. That’s my only bad moment with KOTOR: when you meet Darth Malak in the Leviathan. You fight him, got to take him down to around 30% health and then “we can’t beat him, we must flee”. I was beating him just now! I got him down to 30HP and mine is still >90%. If my character needs to find an unwinnable fight that’s fair, but make it actually unwinnable and check the player’s health to pull the cutscene. There may be some sort of challenge to it, but I don’t think it’s such a big deal to make a routine like start_checking_player HP(); if playerHP<=30%{ cutscene(MUSTFLEE); stop_checking_playerHP();}. If the fear is making Malak too hard at that moment and then find him to be much weaker in the Star Forge then I think that's a moot issue when you find him to be easy in the Leviathan and then hard (though with a good build he can still be easy) in the Star Forge.

    1. John says:

      Malak the mid-boss is one of the few really serious design mis-steps in Knights of the Old Republic for all the reasons you mention. The really odd thing about it is that the game is normally very good at disguising the fact that certain segments, namely the swoop race on Taris, are almost un-loseable without compromising the narrative.

    2. Geebs says:

      I mean, the correct thing to do would be to have the player losing the fight in gameplay for a bit and then begin to win again after getting slammed around in a couple of cutscenes. I don’t know why this doesn’t appear in games more often.

      God of War 1-3 have a mechanic where boss fights start out pretty tough, but as the boss gets weaker theough the fight they start spitting out more and more health and magic power-ups until, by the end of the fight it’s actually pretty hard to lose. It really works with the narrative of Kratos refusing to stop fighting even when he’s obviously already won.

  15. Tone. You’re talking about tone.

    Not art style…

    Tone.

    That being said, it doesn’t feel particularly egregious here. As was posted already, Kingpin’s rep gives enough leeway to a certain extent for your plot ballyhoo and the focus on a bright and colorful palette – which, yes, is stylistic – gives enough indication that this game isn’t going for realistic consequences.

    It’s easy to forget that ‘dark and gritty’ originally came from the idea that applying real-world consequences to these juvenile fantasy ideals would result in morally reprehensible behavior. Might makes right in the funny pages, but it makes a psychopath in the real world and the resulting setting would best be communicated through an unappealing palette. Say…dark ‘n gritty.

    However the fidelity is achieved, Insomniac’s Spider Hyphen Man is still a game largely explored in an extremely idealized setting. It starts out on a bright sunny day with you ‘flying’ across the city in a position of exceptional power and position. Yes, there’s that ‘eviction’ notice etc., but those consequences are personal and that’s important to note. They’re scope doesn’t extend beyond the character as an individual. Peter has an eviction notice due to him as a person being unable to juggle his responsibilities and this is a consequence and it informs him as a person, but mook #2 in the random bank robbery you discovered while flitting about Manhattan is robbing because he’s a bad person who deserves to have violence inflicted on him. He’s not desperate, he’s not a victim of unfortunate circumstances, he’s not even a girl because a hero doesn’t beat up women unless they’re named villians etc. The real-world consequences for Peter very explicitly do not bleed out into the rest of the setting. Maybe to other named characters, but that’s as far as it goes.

    Point being there’s enough idealization in the tone to reduce if not remove wholly the dissonance you’re talking about.

    1. Olivier FAURE says:

      he’s not even a girl because a hero doesn’t beat up women unless they’re named villians etc.

      Or they’re sexualized ninja-like fighters who use deception and misdirection instead of brute force (eg the ninjas in Batman, the assassins in Overwatch Retribution, the black ops in Half Life, etc)

  16. Vect says:

    The thing about Kingpin is that he’s something of a general enemy for most “Street-level” heroes like Daredevil or the Punisher since he’s a crime boss and not some international terrorist or some supernatural threat (most of the time) so he ends up fighting a lot of different villains, with Spidey and Matt being the most common.

    They justify him being able to put up a fight by saying that he’s actually strong-fat (moreso, he’s actually more muscle than fat) and a martial artist, which often does not translate into other adaptations especially in this game since Free-Form/Arkham-Style combat usually doesn’t make for good one-on-one combat encounters (Taskmaster is probably the one exception). So since he’s a tutorial boss he’s basically just a reskinned Brute.

  17. Lun says:

    Oh, come on! You conveniently omitted that THERE -IS- A FIGHT WITH KINGPIN RIGHT THERE, BETWEEN THE QUICK TIME EVENTS.

    You intentionally made it seem like it’s a quick-time events battle, while it’s not. (In fact, I don’t recall any other quicktime event except the police chase, which isn’t even an easy quick time event.) You intentionally made it seem like the player doesn’t fight Kingpin in actual gameplay, while they do.

    You also focused on the fact that Kingpin is wearing a black suit instead of a white suit. I think that’s only to make him less of a comic book villain with a costume and more of a crime boss who doesn’t have only one outfit. Heck, Electro changes outfit too midgame for no particular reason, did that bother you as well?

    Mind you, I’m all for criticizing what a game does wrong, especially when it’s a great game I love. But please do criticize the things this game does wrong, don’t make them up.

    For example, you seem to have a better knowledge than I do of the comics, so I would be curious to hear your opinion on how they reimagined Norman Osborn (and made him pretty bland compared to how he was in the classic comics, but then again, Norman is bland now in the new comics)……. or how they tried to redesign Mary Jane from a sexy barbie girl to an action grrrrl who needs no man (and failed, by making her only even more annoying and incompetent).

    1. Shamus says:

      “Oh, come on! You conveniently omitted that THERE -IS- A FIGHT WITH KINGPIN RIGHT THERE, BETWEEN THE QUICK TIME EVENTS.”

      Hello, random crazy internet person. If you’re going to skim an article and shout at me, then you are not long for this site. If you’re going to lose your shit every time I criticize this game then you really need to find something else to read on Thursdays. We’ve got 22 more weeks for this series left and I’m not going to humor you for that long.

      I did not, in fact, make it “seem” like a QTE battle. I explicitly described it. Here it is, with the relevant bits in bold:

      A bad fight is one where the Kingpin activates a trap in a cutscene while Spider-Man does nothing, then the player breaks free and thrashes Kingpin in gameplay, then suddenly you have a cutscene where Kingpin tosses the now-helpless Spider-Man around the room for a bit, then you overcome him in gameplay again, then there’s another cutscene where once again the Kingpin has the upper hand and nearly wins but then Spider-Man defeats him at the last moment through the power of quicktime events.

      Don’t come at me angry, but if you DO come at me angry you’d better have some kind of grip on what I said.

      1. Lun says:

        My bad, I really should’ve read it all before leaving a passionate comment. No excuses.

        Except that this was your occasion to show what a silly comment I’ve made and how I was at least partially wrong.
        Instead, you used this occasion to be rude and aggressive.

        Keep in mind I’ve been leaving a few positive comments through your website. Look them up in your articles.

        You didn’t pay any attention to them, but now that I have something negative to say, suddenly you notice me and insult me.

        It’s still my fault and serves me right for commenting before sitting down and reading the full article, but I must say I didn’t like your tone, even if I made a fool of myself with my quick comment. You see….. I didn’t insult you. You insulted me openly and afterwards claimed -I- was the one “coming at you angry”. So, who’s the “random crazy internet person” here then?

        1. guy says:

          I was willing to give the Fisk fight a pass because according to his bio he’s like 450 pounds of solid muscle and has some kind of special forces martial arts training, so okay he can throw down with Spider-man in hand to hand combat. But then random mooks are “brute” type enemies who also outmatch Spider-man in hand-to-hand combat somehow.

          I really hate that enemy archetype period, and it’s even more infuriating when the main character explicitly has massive super-strength. Spider-man should not lose a fistfight with “some dude”.

          1. Blake says:

            Yeah the brute enemies really strained my suspension-of-disbelief.
            Like I just threw a car at this rando guy and now instead of being thoroughly dead, he’s throwing me around.

          2. Lun says:

            I call it a gameplay compromise. Otherwise Spidey wouldn’t have anyone to fight. Besides, I always thought his super-strength was a bit excessive, so it’s good that movies and videogames tend to tune that down (albeit suddenly they give him back a Superman superstrength if the plot needs it).

            1. guy says:

              I hate brutes, though. In this sort of mob mook fight game where you’re constantly punching new people, having enemies who can’t be punched is irritating.

              Take away brutes and who can Spider-man fight? Five dudes at once, dudes with electrified batons, dudes with pistols, dudes with assault rifles and grenades, dudes with rocket launchers, dudes with energy whips…

        2. Syal says:

          You intentionally made it seem

          Claiming motive behind someone else’s comment is one of the more insulting things you can do.

          Kingpin is wearing a black suit instead of a white suit. I think that’s only to make him less of a comic book villain

          …they want him to be less of a comic book villain, so they dress him in black?

          1. Lun says:

            Hey buddy, I’m sure Shamus can reply for himself.

            But anyway.

            >Claiming motive behind someone else’s comment is one of the more insulting things you can do.

            Oh, so it’s more insulting than calling you a random crazy internet person? Ok, random crazy internet person. And here I thought arguing against something someone has written is not as insulting as arguing against that person themselves by using kindergarten-style “U smell” insults.

            But I guess if the rule of this website is that disagreeing with an article = personal insult towards that person, I understand why my comments now are unacceptable.

            Nevermind that what should be really unacceptable was me commenting before fully reading the article, now THAT is something to blame me about and I’m still embarassed about it. But, to think disagreeing with the writer is something to blame me about, akin to an insult?

            > …they want him to be less of a comic book villain, so they dress him in black?

            You missed the point, is it? What I was saying is that they don’t make him wear just one single colour-coded outfit.

            1. Shamus says:

              “But I guess if the rule of this website is that disagreeing with an article = personal insult towards that person, I understand why my comments now are unacceptable.”

              You can find countless examples where this is not the case. You can find many examples in this same comment thread. I called you a random crazy internet person because you flipped out for no reason. Even if you’d been 100% right and I’d mis-characterized that scene, your response was still baffling. It accused me of making an argument in bad faith – which is indeed insulting – and did so with over-the-top outrage. And now you’re accusing me of squashing dissent.

              Disagreement is welcome. The problem wasn’t the disagreement. The problem wasn’t that you made a mistake. The problem was that you reacted with inappropriate levels of anger and then accused me of brazen dishonesty. And now you’re accusing me of intellectual cowardice.

              1. Lun says:

                You know, despite how many times I re-read my first comment here, I see no anger in it. The only thing I can think of is that my all-caps phrase was perceived as shouting. I use all-caps to quickly mean READ THIS PART, THIS IS IMPORTANT, but I often forget that on the internet it can also mean I AM SCREAMING!

                So maybe it was all just a misunderstanding. I will be more careful with my tone in the future, and I will definitely no longer comment before reading the full article (dhu!).

                You know Shamus, for months I read you write about games I didn’t play, I was glad this time you write about something I’m playing too and so I can take active part in the discussion.

                1. Shamus says:

                  Ah. Okay. That makes a lot more sense. Yes, I took the ALL CAPS as shouting. Imagine someone running up to you and screaming, “YOU WERE WRONG ABOUT THE SPIDER-MAN CUTSCENE!” Which is where “random crazy internet person” came from. I thought you were enraged, which is why your reaction was so baffling to me. Glad we got that cleared up.

                  1. Syal says:

                    Which is where “random crazy internet person” came from.

                    Man, I knew I should have quoted the first part of that thought. I’ll do it again.

                    Second Lun comment:

                    You see….. I didn’t insult you.

                    But the previous comment

                    You intentionally made it seem

                    does contain an insult, an inference of malice. I’m coming from the position that this kind of oversight is going to result in these kinds of exchanges in the future.

                    1. Lun says:

                      Just to clarify, I never denied that I had definitely accused Shamus of intentionally hiding the gameplay part of the boss fight.
                      But that was because I commented before reading the full article, like a genius.

                      As I already explained, my complaints were that I had felt personally attacked for my (admittely wrong) comment on an article, not on a person.

                      Syal, I think me and Shamus have hopefully already cleared the misunderstanding. Yes, I had accused him of hiding parts of the game and he had accused me of being a crazy internet ranter. Then we cleared each other’s point of view, and the problem was solved. So, yeah….. I’d prefer to stop beating this dead horse now, since it also doesn’t make me look good for sure.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      Shamus Young:
      Sadly, only half of this fight takes place in gameplay.

      So…half the fight takes place in gameplay, like he said? Good to know.

      …You also focused on the fact that Kingpin is wearing a black suit instead of a white suit. I think that’s only to make him less of a comic book villain with a costume and more of a crime boss who doesn’t have only one outfit. Heck, Electro changes outfit too midgame for no particular reason, did that bother you as well?

      Actually, he made a fine-but-not-amazing joke about the suit, rather than a complaint. It’s still clearly Kingpin.

      EDIT: And, ninja’d by Shamus himself. Man, I really need to stop profreading my commas so many times.

  18. Kavonde says:

    Can we just take a moment to talk about how fantastic Travis Willingham’s “Clancy Brown meets Vincent D’Onofrio” voice work was? Like, sure, black suit, QTEs in a boss battle, but man, that dude killed as Kingpin.

  19. wswordsmen says:

    That really is bad writing with the computers. What would be much better is have the computers be the key to taking down whatever arms smugglers are providing Kingpin all the weapons, or the key to dismantling his empire as opposed to leave it fight among itself and potentially reunite under a new evil overlord. And nothing would need to change except a few lines of dialog.

  20. Richard says:

    Kaselehlie Shamus,

    Ahi tungoal en wahu ong komwi oh ahmw peneinei, my respect to you and your family. Just wanted to thank you for posting both the Mass Effect: Andromeda and Spider-Man retrospectives on Tuesdays and Thursdays instead of doing one and then the other. I really look forward to them. Most of the comments here are related to this post specifically, but I thought it worth mentioning that a non-zero number of people simply appreciate what you’re doing. (Will you consider doing a retrospective on Prey at some point?)

    Ni wahu oh karakarak,
    -Richard

  21. Darren says:

    I think the game handled transitioning between gameplay and quicktime events much better in the later helicopter chase, which felt like a good balance between “letting the player actually play the game” and “showing off stuff that probably wouldn’t be super doable in normal gameplay.”

    As for the art style, I hope that you’ll come back to this point once you’ve seen Into the Spider-Verse, which is a Sony take on the property that was way more interesting than what Insomniac delivered.

  22. MadTinkerer says:

    “Compared to those freaks, Kingpin is just a guy with an MBA who shops in the Big & Tall section.”

    The original idea of Kingpin is “What if Al Capone could stand up to Spiderman in a fist fight?”. Wilson Fisk’s main modus operandi, when written well, is to mostly avoid getting into conflicts directly. Sometimes Fisk drives the B plot that runs for months in the background until the hero figures out that Fisk is behind it, or Fisk is behind the A plot, but it’s a surprise reveal (not a huge surprise because Kingpin of Crime, but surprise because “Hey, since when do you take orders from Fisk? I thought you hated him!”). In any case Fisk does eventually end up in a brawl with the hero, because superhero comics, but it’s almost always Fisk’s backup plan because fighting with heroes in public isn’t good for business.

    In a well-written Kingpin story, Fisk is primarily intimidating because he’s a successful professional criminal and has all the other professional criminals under his thumb. His ability to stand up to superheroes in a fight is his trump card, but he doesn’t play that card until all his other plans fail. He is the quintessential final boss. Quite literally.

    And sometimes the writers decide that Fisk is a supervillain in a superhero story and needs to act like it, no matter how bad for business it would be. That’s just how it goes sometimes.

    1. shoeboxjeddy says:

      And to be fair to the game, this is DEFINITELY a last straw type scenario. Kingpin dodged legal repercussions for eight years. Then when he was caught out, he deployed an army of guards, including guys with rocket launchers! Then when Spider-Man makes it to his room, he has a bullet proof glass hideaway and comically over large turrets to try to kill him with. When Spider-Man dodges those and then uses them to break the glass, THEN Kingpin is reduced to fighting Spider-Man… a fight he loses in about a minute.

  23. Rack says:

    One of the crazier explanations I heard is Fisk has 5% body fat. Presumably he was bit by radioactive steroids while eating a radioactive Big Mac but the reason isn’t explained to my knowledge.

    1. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Whenever a comic character does the impossible, the answer is always some combination of “willpower” and “training.”

  24. Ness says:

    I always viewed Fisk as a status quo villain, a gateway villain, and a focus/planner type. Status quo meaning he’s the guy running the show before supers arrive and make him obsolete in the same way Penguin or Joker replace the Falcones or Marconis in Batman. A gateway villain meaning he makes some supers to fight the hero. And a focus as in he gathers several of the lesser villains together. Personally I prefer Tombstone from Spectacular Spiderman who was basically Fisk but also made of rock… or something.

    1. Droid says:

      That’s an interesting take on the character. Strangely, though, all it makes me think about is: How DOES Penguin have any advantage over the Falcones and Marconis, enough of it, even, to basically drive them out? He seems like he hasn’t got much going for him which an Italian mafia boss couldn’t also have, at least from the first two Arkham games.

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I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

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