Spider-Man Part 6: Sharp Dressed Spider-Man

By Shamus Posted Thursday Feb 21, 2019

Filed under: Retrospectives 68 comments

Spider-Man’s suit was damaged in the fight with Kingpin, so he decides to sneak back into the Octavius Industries lab to enact some repairs.

This version of late-period Spider-Man is a little more high-tech than the more classic takes on the character. He’s got communications gear integrated with the suit so he can take calls and check messages while web-swinging. His eyes are mechanical screens with some sort of HUD. He’s got an on-board computer that does hand-wavey stuff to facilitate gameplay. It strikes a good balance between the crazy weaponized super-suit designed by Tony Stark and the simple red-and-blue spandex of his early days.

Nothing to see here!

Just as I suspected, Parker. You run around in public wearing a crazy costume. You're one of those cosplayers, right?
Just as I suspected, Parker. You run around in public wearing a crazy costume. You're one of those cosplayers, right?

It turns out Otto has decided to work late, which means he walks in on Peter as he’s working on the Spider-Man costume. There’s an awkward moment where Peter pathetically tries to conceal the costume and stammer out some excuses, but at this moment the light comes on for Otto.

Otto gasps as he looks at the torn red and blue jumpsuit. “Of course,” he says in quiet awe. “It’s you.”

From Otto’s perspective this makes complete sense. Peter is young and fit and obviously a good match for Spider-Man’s lean frame. More importantly, this explains why Peter is always so distracted and running late despite his apparent intelligence and enthusiasm for the project.

A second later Otto backs off and acts like he thinks that Peter makes Spider-Man’s suits for him.

Sometimes in a serialized drama a supporting character will approach (say) Walter White and say something like “It’s over, Walt. I know THE TRUTH about what you’ve been doing.” Then the two characters lock eyes and intense music plays. Naturally we assume this guy knows all about Walt’s drug empire and we wonder what they want and how Walt will react. Depending on the show, maybe we cut to a commercial or even end the episode at this point. Then when we return to the scene, the character says something like, “I know you’re the one who’s been stealing sandwiches out of the refrigerator in the break room!”

I realize this is a silly thing to notice, but what's the deal with videogames having these massive doorways? Batman has the same quirk. I wonder if it makes it easier to animate people opening and closing doors.
I realize this is a silly thing to notice, but what's the deal with videogames having these massive doorways? Batman has the same quirk. I wonder if it makes it easier to animate people opening and closing doors.

It’s true that the melodramatic opening doesn’t really fit for a simple confrontation about sandwich theft, but we’re used to this sort of cheating on the part of writers. When we hit this scene where Otto caught Peter at work and then assumed Peter was Spidey’s seamstress, I assumed the writer was pulling a similar trick. Sure, his awed exclamation of, “It’s you!” doesn’t match up with the conclusion of “You make Spider-Man’s costume.” but that’s how these kinds of fake-outs work.

But as it happens, this isn’t a fake-out. Doc really did figure it out. He knows the truth, but he’s giving Peter an out because he can tell it’s stressful for the kid.

I’m curious how other people interpreted this scene. Did you assume that this was a fake-out and Peter’s secret was still safe, or did you think Otto was just being nice and Peter was genuinely outed?

Regardless of which way we interpret this scene, William Salyers‘ performance at Doc Ock is incredible. I know everyone loves the work Alfred Molina did with the character back in 2004 (and for good reason) but as far as I’m concerned this is the best version of the character so far. The acting is good across the board in this game, but Salyers manages to steal the show anyway. He’s charming as the beleaguered scientist Otto Octavius and a delight to watch as the megalomaniacal Doctor OctopusUh, spoiler warning I guess?.

The White Spider

I think the blue parts need to be brighter so they don't look so black, but otherwise this is really good.
I think the blue parts need to be brighter so they don't look so black, but otherwise this is really good.

Peter takes a nap at the office, and when he wakes up he finds some notes from Otto. Otto had some ideas for a new Spider-Man suit and wanted to share.

I’d love to know how Peter whips up this suit on the spot with no apparent costume-making materials. Have you ever watched someone put together a cosplay costume? Projects like this can take weeks. I guess we have to assume the 3D printing technology in this universe is really good and even works with fabrics.

Next up we get a scene of Spidey swinging through New York in the new Spider-Man suit. The “White Spider” suit was apparently designed specifically for this game by the developer.

Like I said at the start of this series, I’m an old-school purist. I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that I still prefer the classic Spider-Man costume. Having said that, I think the White Spider is my favorite among all the alternatives. That’s pretty impressive. Spidey has worn a ton of costumes over the years and a lot of them were designed by comic book industry veterans. Those folks know their super-suits. It speaks well to Insomniac Games that they were able to come up with a suit that looks good, yet looks distinct from what came before, while also staying true to the character. It’s a lot better than Spider-Man’sThis was the Ben Reilly Spider-Man. Reilly was a clone of Peter and… you know what? We don’t have time to get into it. Nobody does. stupid sleeveless hoodie back in the 1990s. Cringe.

I understand Spidey has the reflexes to pull this off without going face-first into a truck, but I'm surprised the drivers don't freak out when he does it.
I understand Spidey has the reflexes to pull this off without going face-first into a truck, but I'm surprised the drivers don't freak out when he does it.

In fact, I think the White Spider costume is overall a cooler design. I still prefer the original due to deeply-rooted nostalgia, but if I’d never seen the character before and you put the two designs side-by-side, I’d probably go with the White Spider. I like the way the white in the costume ties into the white in his eyes. I also really like the redesign of the feet, which look much more interesting than Spider-Man’s classic red shin-high boot-socks.

I do wonder how this design would fare in the comics. It’s quite a bit more complicated than the classic suit and might end up creating a lot of extra work for the artists. I always wonder if a lot of slick superhero designs have been discarded over the years due to people saying, “Yeah, that design is cooler, but I don’t want to have to draw that thing every day.”

Then again, it seems like Steve Ditko went out of his way to make things difficult for himself in 1962 when he invented the original costume. That tight webbing pattern was probably a lot of extra work compared to the large areas of solid color we see on the costumes for Captain America and Mister Fantastic, not to mention the deliberate minimalism of Hulk and Silver Surfer. Ditko also invented the ridiculously complex Doctor Strange costume. Whatever criticisms people have for Ditko, I don’t think we can accuse him of being lazy.

Alternate Suits

Not all of the alternate costumes are good. For example, one of them is the sleeveless hoodie from the 1990s.
Not all of the alternate costumes are good. For example, one of them is the sleeveless hoodie from the 1990s.

There are a total of 27 different costumes available in Spider-Man 2018. Some of them are nods to other versions of the character from different comics or movies, and some of them are joke novelty outfits. A few of them were clearly cooked up by Insomniac Games and are probably leftover designs from before the team settled on the White Spider as their official outfit.

The game will let you switch between suits pretty much at will. Most suits come with a bonus power, but once you unlock a suit you can mix and match any suit power with any suit. The game mostly respects these choices during cutscenes, so once you unlock the underpants costume you’re free to wear that in the open world and take it with you into cutscenes without the developer forcing you back into the suit they think you “should” be wearing.

However, there are a couple of stray lines of dialog and one scene at the very end of the game that make it clear that no matter what you wear, the White Spider is what you were wearing in a canonical sense.

In any case, I really liked collecting the costumes.

Fisk Construction

Sorry about the weird cropping. I didn't have my PlayStation 4 capture device set up right and so the images got cut off. This problem will be fixed later in the game. Just to make it clear: The game looks fine. The cropping is just an artifact of the capture process.
Sorry about the weird cropping. I didn't have my PlayStation 4 capture device set up right and so the images got cut off. This problem will be fixed later in the game. Just to make it clear: The game looks fine. The cropping is just an artifact of the capture process.

Officer Watanabe asks Spidey to stop by Fisk construction sites. She knows these places are still funding Fisk and his army of lawyers, but she can’t get search warrants. So we have to drop in, hand out free naps, and then once we see evidence of criminal shenanigans Yuri can send in the real cops.

There are several of these locations around the city. In true open-world style, we have to visit a location and then fend off a predetermined number of waves of bad guys to clear the site. Despite the repetition, these are some of the best parts of the game.

Spider-Man’s quips are pretty solid here. Also, it’s nice to fight in a proper arena designed for combat. Out in the open world we have spots where the camera ends up stuck behind a tree, bad guys end up stuck behind walls where they can’t reach the fight, or where cars end up interfering with attack animations. These arena fights feel more like the properly focused and carefully balanced fights of the Arkham games, and less like the random and desultory scuffles we find in copycats like Shadow of Mordor.

These wave-based encounters are also pretty good for teaching the player about the combat mechanics. Each base will have some bonus goals. Stuff like: “Kick 5 guys while web-swinging” or “Use finishing moves on 10 people” or “Throw 5 guys over the edge”. Early in the game it buried you in one-time button prompts and then moved on without review or testing. You only got a small handful of guys to try it on and if you misunderstood or made a mistake, the lesson was over too quickly for you to keep trying. These base fights give you a clear incentive to explore some of the more complex or esoteric moves and then several waves of guys to practice on.

And speaking of throwing guys off of buildings…

Down You Go!

This guy is experiencing my favorite videogame prank: Surprise skydiving.
This guy is experiencing my favorite videogame prank: Surprise skydiving.

This game is not shy about allowing you to fling guys off of skyscrapers. This seems kind of uncharacteristic for Spidey, and in fact the game makes it clear that Spider-Man has a strong “no killing” stance. So how to we reconcile this obviously lethal behavior with such behavior?

The developers took the reasonable position of “Try not to overthink it, just have fun.” The combat is designed to facilitate knocking foes around without worrying that you’ll accidentally turn our hero into a murderer. If you look over the edge when a bad guy falls off a building, you’ll see a magical web will appear out of nowhere to grab onto him and stick him to the nearest surface. That’s fine. Batman has a similar gimmick. If you managed to knock a guy off a ledge in Arkham City, he’d sprout a magical Bat-line from his ankle that would tether him to the rooftop.

It’s interesting to compare the two games. I was always shaking my head at Batman’s antics and asking, “How am I not killing people?” I never had those problems in Spider-Man, despite the fact that Spidey’s antics are even crazier. He hits way harder than Batman canBatman doesn’t uppercut guys 5 meters into the air.. He flings heavy itemsLike manhole covers and car doors. at speeds that would be enough to total a car, much less a human being. His foes plummet for several stories before stopping instantly on the end of a web-line. And yet I never really worried that I was at risk of killing anyone.

I don't know what would happen if someone dropped metal scaffolding onto me, but I'm betting the result wouldn't be described as a "nap".
I don't know what would happen if someone dropped metal scaffolding onto me, but I'm betting the result wouldn't be described as a "nap".

I think part of Batman’s problem is that his moves are so visually savage. At the end of a fight the camera will get in close so we can watch Batman dislocate someone’s shoulder, hyper-extend their knee, or slam them head-first into the frozen cobblestones. The depiction of hand-to-hand violence is so cruel and graphic that it’s hard not to take it seriously.

If someone gets knocked across the room by a punch, then for whatever reasons our brains are able to accept them standing up afterward, even if that kind of hit would be either fatal or debilitating in real life. But if their elbow gets bent the wrong way then there’s no getting around that. Their arm is wrecked, and such sights are not for the squeamish. A hyper-extended elbow is gruesome to look at, while a punch-across-the-room isn’t, even if the punch is far more likely to kill you in the real world.

We can understand that Batman, being a normal guy in extraordinary circumstances, has to resort to extreme methods to protect his mission. Meanwhile if Spider-Man went around shattering the ribcage of every mugger he came across, we’d think he was a sicko that got off on hurting people.

I don’t think one approach is better than the other. I think both games depict violence in a way that suits the story they’re trying to tell.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Uh, spoiler warning I guess?

[2] This was the Ben Reilly Spider-Man. Reilly was a clone of Peter and… you know what? We don’t have time to get into it. Nobody does.

[3] Batman doesn’t uppercut guys 5 meters into the air.

[4] Like manhole covers and car doors.



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68 thoughts on “Spider-Man Part 6: Sharp Dressed Spider-Man

  1. Christopher says:

    In the comics(drink), Peter’s excuse while working at Horizon Labs for coming up with all this tech he uses as Spider-Man was that he… had a gig making gadgets for Spider-Man. Including suits, natch. This was during the Slott run, so since Slott was part of the deisgn process of this game, it faked me out good and I just accepted it at face value.

    1. Thomas says:

      Not only did it trick me, I actually took a while to realise Doc Ock was going to be a villain. At first I thought he was going to be a sequel hook for the next game

      1. Liessa says:

        I don’t remember exactly what I thought, but since I knew Ock was going to end up as a villain, I guess I assumed he was at least close to figuring out the truth.

        1. Kavonde says:

          I texted my brother, who had already played the game, after this scene that I really hoped Doc Ock wasn’t going to turn evil in this game, ’cause the dude was so damned nice. And yeah, being familiar with the “Peter Parker makes Spidey’s gadgets” angle from the comics, I pretty much bought that Otto was telling the truth.

  2. Baron Tanks says:

    Typo patrol. The final screen shot reads:

    I don’t know what would happen if someone dropped metal scaffolding onto me, but I’m bet the result wouldn’t be described as a “nap”.

    Surely you are not personally a bet. Although there’s a nice ring to, $50 on Shamus! Maybe you should become some type of boxer. I’m sure many people would pay good money to see various internet writers duke it out. You even have a catchphrase already. A loud yell of “BUT WHAT DO THEY EAT” before you clobber your opponent to the ground.

    More on point: loving the series. I haven’t played the game myself, but judging from your descriptions of the scene and tone, I too would infer that Octavius immediately figured out what the costume meant. And then he either decides to wait and leverage this later (i.e. the villainous path), or is thinking/hoping that he would not have to confront Spidey directly, as he is (seems?) genuinely fond of Peter. Basically the way that the Vulture/Adrian Toomes in Homecoming doesn’t immediately try to blow up Peter when he finds out he’s Spider-Man. Not necessarily cause he’s so particularly fond of the guy, but this Vulture is not out to physically hurt anyone (without reason) and especially not a kid that’s the same age as his daughter.

    1. Hal says:

      In my first play through, I genuinely thought Otto didn’t get it. Since he’s a scientist, and he sees Peter as a scientist, his first thought wouldn’t have been “Oh, he’s Spider-Man.” But . . . well, by the time I got to that scene in my second play through, I was disabused of that notion.

      I think the better question is whether Doc knew even before that. I’m not inclined to think so, but the game is somewhat ambiguous on this point.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      I’m sure many people would pay good money to see various internet writers duke it out. You even have a catchphrase already. A loud yell of “BUT WHAT DO THEY EAT” before you clobber your opponent to the ground.

      I’m not sure about watching these people actually fight, but could this be a mod for an already existing beat-em-up game? With special attacks for each different critic?
      As well as Shamus Young’s “BUT WHAT DO THEY EAT?” windmill attack, you could have Bob Chipman’s “COMICS! ARE! WEEEEIIIIIRRRDD!” three-punch combo.
      Meanwhile Yahtzee Croshaw traps his opponents in a Quick Time Event, shouting “Press X To Not Die!”

      1. Volvagia says:

        Film Brain heals himself in a glowing light by yelling “Symbolism!” Linkara punches people in the guts while yelling “I Am a Man!” Kyle Kallgren slams his opponent’s head between a book. Dan Olson makes his opponents puke by spraying them with fake snow and telling them its “compliments of Henry.” You could go all day with this.

        1. HBomberguy uses massive bladed brackets while delivering his deadly “CITATION NEEDED” attack.

      2. trevalyan says:

        “But what do YOU eat? YOUR TEETH!”

      3. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Reminds me of that time Uwe Boll said that his critics should “put up or shut up” and Seanbaby accepted…

  3. DeadlyDark says:

    I played… Not played, watched sister playing SM for a few hours, and I just accepted that Spidey just outright don’t care about if he kills people or not. Actually, that felt refreshing to me, for a change (too many superhero media focuses on just no-kill rule as a central conflict, it become boring to me)

    1. Nimrandir says:

      I mean, it’s kind of implicit that he has compunctions about killing people, unless everyone he punches (who isn’t either superpowered or wearing power armor) crumples horrifically in a single hit. The dude can dead-lift ten tons.

      That being said, I’m totally cool with the described setup, where the story doesn’t feel obligated to get all angst-ridden over the issue.

  4. Hal says:

    I think the Iron Spider is my favorite suit in the game, followed closely by the Mk 3 armor; something about it just screams “I’m here to bust heads.” The thing is, I spent most of the game wearing other suits. Why? Well, there’s a lot of segments that take place at night, and Spider-Man becomes hard to see in the dark. But several of the suits glow (Negative Suit, Fear Itself Suit, Big Time Stealth Suit, The Cartoon Suit*) so even if I don’t favor them particularly, it was just a practical choice to wear them so I could see my avatar.

    (*The cartoon suit doesn’t glow, but it stands out enough that it may as well)

  5. Hal says:

    Regarding the Fisk Construction sites (and other enemy bases), I really wish the game didn’t force you out of stealth for the second wave. Although I enjoyed the combat, it would have been good if there’d been a choice between staying in stealth to take out the bad guys or going in swinging (*rimshot*).

    I recall Arkham Asylum having escalating conditions if Batman was in stealth taking guys out, where the bad guys would sweep the rafters for him, get paranoid and erratic, etc. I don’t see why you couldn’t do that here; as it is, the bad guys might realize Spider-Man is in the area but they’ll never look over their heads to find him. At least, until stealth is “broken,” at which point they home in on you like blood hounds no matter what you do or where you go. Again, loved the game, but this mechanic needed some refinement.

    1. guy says:

      The stealth is generally pretty mechanically underwhelming. No one looks up, and Spider-Man is High King Of Up so you’re almost always in immediate reach of total safety. You get to know automatically whether or not taking someone out will raise the alarm, and you’ve got few tools for breaking up clusters and they don’t work very well.

    2. Dreadjaws says:

      I’m on the opposite spectrum. I wish the game didn’t force stealth on me until I make myself visible and made then stealth impossible again for the reminder of the encounter. Coming back to the comparison to Batman games, yes, Batman is a character for which stealth is more important, but that doesn’t mean that in a game you can’t make these mechanics more precise. In Arkham games, Batman can still normally attack any enemy even when stealthing, and he can come back to stealth once out of sight. In this game. you cannot make a normal attack, only a stealth attack, until an enemy sees you, at which point you can never again do stealth in the whole battle. Stealth is forced upon you in these sections up until the point at which it becomes impossible to use again.

  6. Mortuorum says:

    I’m curious how other people interpreted this scene. Did you assume that this was a fake-out and Peter’s secret was still safe, or did you think Otto was just being nice and Peter was genuinely outed?

    I have to admit, they faked me out.

    For the record, my favorite suit was the “Vintage Comic Book” suit, which looked more to me like the classic Spider-Man cartoon suit. Good times.

    1. Chuk says:

      I didn’t even consider Doc might have figured it out then until I read this post.

      1. Hal says:

        During the final confrontation with Otto, he calls Spider-Man “Peter.” And Peter gets all indignant about how Doc knew the entire time and has basically been stringing him along.

  7. BlueHorus says:

    If someone gets knocked across the room by a punch, then for whatever reasons our brains are able to accept them standing up afterward, even if that kind of hit would be either fatal or debilitating in real life. But if their elbow gets bent the wrong way then there’s no getting around that.

    I think it’s as soon as something unrealistic happens. Your brain knows what’s possible or not, and as soon as someone does something impossible you just disregard it all. Hence why watching a limb break in a crime drama can be horrific, but watching the shenanigans of say, the Evil Dead films is…not as horrific.

    1. King Marth says:

      Agreed. The key line is “even if the punch is far more likely to kill you in the real world” – There is no such thing in the real world as a punch which knocks you across the room, at least in one piece. Cartoon violence is judged by cartoon physics. Yet another case of hyper-realism being a lot of work to make the experience worse.

      I like that they did the webbing thing for mooks tossed over the edge, it’s a nice bit of polish.

    2. Cybron says:

      It’s more like our brains have specialized equipment for analyzing specific things, like faces and biological motion. So when someone’s arm moves in a way that’s obviously not within their natural range of motion, it sets off a little alarm in our brain that’s hard to disregard. Meanwhile, we have nothing like that for “guy flies across the room and gets back up” – because why would we? That’s not particularly useful, evolutionary speaking. This is what causes stuff like the uncanny valley and the Thatcher Effect.

  8. Nimrandir says:

    . . . Spider-Man’s classic red shin-high boot-socks.

    Peter calls his costume’s footwear booties. This is canon (New Avengers #5).

    In the same issue, we learn that Spider-Man does not wear underpants while in costume. You’re welcome.

    1. Viktor says:

      He better at least wear a dance belt, otherwise he causes the same problem that every Spider-Man or Deadpool cosplayer does. Maybe Spider-Man moves too fast for anyone to notice? You’d think he’d still have trouble getting his photos published in a newspaper, though.

      1. Nimrandir says:

        Perhaps he’s sewn it into the costume itself?

      2. decius says:

        Only male cosplayers have that problem.

  9. Xeorm says:

    I’d agree it’s all in the presentation on what “feels” like deadly combat. After watching other action scenes in other media, people getting flung to the ground or hit with heavy objects at high speeds feels normal and non-fatal. In reality sure people don’t survive hits like that unscathed, but it is part of the media.

  10. MadTinkerer says:

    Listen, I know you’ve never been to New York City before, but New York City guys are tough.

    I’m from New Jersey, and I have pride in my state, but even I have to admit that if you grab a New Yorker and toss him off a skyscraper he’ll probably be just fine. Now when I say “New Yorker”, I mean Blue Collar New Yorker like a plumber or a construction worker or a professional thug. White Collar office workers in New York are so weak that if one of them jumps out of a window they’ll probably die from it. But Blue Collar New Yorkers will be back on their feet in a few minutes.

    This phenomenon has inspired the Mario Bros. series, Grand Theft Auto, and did indeed even inspire the superhero comics in the 60s. Remember how John McClane was able to take on all those terrorists at once in the Die Hard films? It’s because he’s an average New Yorker. It’s all based on real life. The Spider-Man game is just being realistic.

    By the way, I have a really neat bridge for sale. You interested?

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Is it a bridge made of old rope, that’s been seasoned with rare snake oil?

      Because yes, I am interested. I’ll give you 10,000 BatCoins for it. Trust me, it’s the next big thing in cryptocurrency! With 10,000 of these babies you’ll be set for life!

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Don’t think BatCoins are a real thing? Well here’s proof!

      2. Pinkhair says:

        Should stick with Bison Dollars.

    2. Christopher says:

      I’m always happy when we get an expert’s opinion in the comments, I knew there was a good reason

  11. trevalyan says:

    Batman’a fighting styles are as iconic as the various Batcarnations. At their silliest, BAM! and POW! appear as sound effect cues while 60’s style fisticuffs swing. Even BTAS has some cool looking moves, but nothing visceral- it is a cartoon for children, after all!

    The Arkham series made a similar choice, just in the opposite direction. Would have been interesting to see if they could make PG-rated versions of their takedowns, but given the obvious grimness of the dialogue and art direction I’m not surprised that their Batman would take more than one cue from Frank Miller.

  12. Lee says:

    Maybe I’m more a child of the 80s (I think we’re roughly the same age though) but I always loved the Ben Reilly outfit. And, I like it better than the main game suit, though I admit I have not played the game and am going by screen shots, not video.
    Never liked the black pre-Venom costume, nor the various black post-Venom versions. Classic Spidey suit for me will always have the much smaller spider on the chest, though. That’s probably my biggest beef with the game costume, actually.

  13. Viktor says:

    “I do wonder how this design would fare in the comics. It’s quite a bit more complicated than the classic suit and might end up creating a lot of extra work for the artists. I always wonder if a lot of slick superhero designs have been discarded over the years due to people saying, “Yeah, that design is cooler, but I don’t want to have to draw that thing every day.”

    DC came out with a bunch of new costumes for their New-52 relaunch. They were mostly based on the direction movie costumes were going, lots of lines to indicate body armor and fine details, which also fit the art style of the artist who designed them and was running a lot of the creative stuff at the time. A lot of that detail ended up getting dialed back in any books he wasn’t personally working on.

    The cross-platform desire to have a consistent brand image really doesn’t work well with the needs of different forms of media. TV wants low special effects, comics need clean, simple designs that are distinctive and striking, movies are going hyper-realistic, animation wants exaggeration. Given that bigger franchises these days could end up in 4 different formats, I don’t envy the designers who have to make them work in every medium.

    1. John says:

      I really don’t like Jim Lee’s whole “lines all over everything” aesthetic. Or maybe I just don’t like the way he applies it to every costume he designs, whether it makes sense or not. It sort of works for Batman, as it suggests that Batman is wearing a complicated, high-tech, armored outfit (even if Batman’s outfit is always so thin and skin-tight that it could not possibly function as armor). It makes a lot less sense for Superman, who doesn’t need anything like that and, frankly, doesn’t have the resources to make something like that–unless the old Fortress of Solitude is back in canon again, I suppose. In any case, lots of little lines all over everything, breaking Superman up into dozens of little polygons, undercuts Superman’s, bigness, boldness, and straightforwardness.

      I’d also like to add that animation favors simplicity even more than comics do. The fewer lines you have to draw, the faster you can produce a frame. It’s telling that while DC’s various one-off, direct-to-streaming offerings feature designs of near Lee-ish complexity, their regular television series, like the Justice League cartoon and to a slightly lesser extent the Young Justice cartoon, feature simpler designs.

      1. Viktor says:

        I’d say that Jim Lee is a good artist on his own*, but he shouldn’t be designing for other artists and he shouldn’t control a whole line. Like, his Wonder Woman design is beautiful, but I’m pretty sure requiring an artist to redraw those bracers 24 times in a month is banned by the UN. Stacking that Diana AND his armored Superman AND his Flash etc just starts getting silly.

        *If a little too 90s for me

    2. Christopher says:

      They did do a tie-in comic to the Insomniac continuity(I think they’re calling him _Advanced_ Spider-Man?), but I wouldn’t call the artwork super hot. It’s a crossover with the latest Spider-verse event as far as I recall.

      Also here.

  14. Joshua says:

    “Officer Watanabe asks Spidey to stop by Fisk construction sites. She knows these places are still funding Fisk and his army of lawyers, but she can’t get search warrants. So we have to drop in, hand out free naps, and then once we see evidence of criminal shenanigans Yuri can send in the real cops.”

    I’m curious, how does this work in the game? Anyone acting on behalf of the police as an agent is restricted to the same legal constraints that the police are. At that point, why not just make up an anonymous tip?

    Just one of those comic-book tropes?

    1. Shamus says:

      Actually, “anonymous tip” is what she does. Once he tells her about the drugs / guns / shenanigans at the site, she calls his report an anonymous tip to get the warrant.

      It’s still a bit comic-trope-ish, of course. Like, Spider-Man COULD just swing in, see the drugs, call Yuri, and leave. From her perspective, he doesn’t NEED to personally punch out every mook in the building. You could argue this makes it safer for the arresting officers. Or you could argue the Spider-assault would taint the evidence since the mooks could claim Spider-Man planted all those drugs at the scene after he knocked them out.

      Whatever. Punchin’ dudes is fun. :)

      1. Viktor says:

        Yeah, given what happened in Houston a couple weeks back, I can definitely see a cop saying “everyone needs to be unconscious or dead before we execute our illegally-obtained warrant”. On the other hand, it’s hard to reconcile being a hero while working with a cop to call in fake tips.

      2. Liessa says:

        It’s not a bad idea, except that ‘evidence of criminal shenanigans’ always seems to turn into ‘massive gunfight’, making the ‘gathering evidence’ part a bit moot. Surely any random officer could stroll in and fire off a few shots, then claim they heard gunfire and came to investigate? It’s clearly not the (lack of) legality that bothers Yuri, since she’s already breaking the law by secretly working with Spider-Man. Still, it’s a minor point.

        1. Omobono says:

          Anonymous tips are not enough for Yuri to roll in without a mandate and no judge would authorize a search on such flimsy grounds. An active gunfight in New York, though, is clearly a present and immediate situation that requires immediate police intervention without waiting for judicial authorization (I think the police is still supposed to go to a judge afterwards for retroactive authorization). Once the police are there legally, anything they find is admissible as evidence, even if it has nothing to do with the initial gunfight.

          Of course, since Spidey was there and initiated the gunfight on Yuri’s instructions, the whole scheme is a massive civil rights violation, but Fisk’s lawyers would have to prove in court that Spidey and Yuri are collaborating.
          The law is not a magical spell encompassing the United States, the law is enforced by the courts, and if Yuri can maintain the legal fiction that Spider is acting on his own as an illegal vigilante, well the actions of a vigilante are not the police’s responsibility.

          1. Liessa says:

            Yeah, that’s basically my point: why bother with the ‘sneaking around to gather evidence’ part if she knows Spidey’s going to start a gunfight anyway? Is she just trying to make him feel better about it?

            1. MelfinatheBlue says:

              Plausible deniability, not wanting to lie under oath or to superiors, living in hope that Spidey’s just that good, some combo thereof? As I understand it, she suggested there might be intel to Spidey, and whatever he did, he did as a private citizen. It’s not a great thing to do, but she didn’t break the law, as far as I can see. Spidey did under his own initiative. Kinda reminds me of say, a police detective who “knows” X raped Y or whatever, and can’t legally do anything, but will mention to Y’s violent relatives where X is and what he/she might have done.

    2. Hal says:

      “I have reports of shots fired, so I’m sending units up there now.”

  15. Olivier FAURE says:

    I had a lot of fun watching my little brother play Spiderman, making fun of the various mechanical absurdities (like the armies of machine-gun-equipped, tank-escorted mercenaries that can’t take out a single thug even after you’ve cleared out all his buddies and they’re all shooting at him at the same time), including Peter’s extremely deadly non-lethal fighting style.

    One of my favorite moments was when the game glitched, and enemy dropped from a super-tall skyscrapper all the way to the ground… only to be saved at the last moment by the magical-web-anchor-thing that appeared to stick him to a nearby lamppost. I… feel like the immediate vertical deceleration from terminal velocity to immobility miiiiiiiiight still have injured him.

    1. Hal says:

      I saw very few glitches in the game, but one of them did end up putting me underneath Manhattan. Sadly, you can’t swing around under the city. Too bad.

    2. tremor3258 says:

      Gwen Stacey would agree.

  16. Thomas says:

    I’m happy they took the time to do the automatic webbing for falling mooks, although a little sad that the visible weblines from the trailer didn’t make it into the final game.

  17. CrimsonCutz says:

    My favourite Spider-Man moments are the ones where he non-lethally punches a guy ten feet into the air, jumps out to non lethally kick him twenty feet across the room, ducks behind a guy so the foolish mook non-lethally takes the assault rifle fire meant for ol’ Spidey, webs a guy up and spins him around in the air before non-lethally spiking him headfirst into the cement from twelve feet up, and finishes the day by non-lethally throwing a grenade back at the guy who tossed it.

    I wonder if part of why it feels a bit less absurd in Spider-Man is just that if you’re playing Spider-Man to begin with, you have to accept “realistic” combat if you don’t want every fight against mooks to be effortless (given how strong this dude is, his biggest challenge should be not killing anyone. Imagine finding a spider in your kitchen and trying to step on it hard enough to knock it out but not kill it. That’s Spider-Man fighting normal people, and given he can take hits from guys of his strength level just fine, I doubt anything a person can easily carry is capable of hurting him much), whereas in a Batman game, it’s understandable that any group of dudes can actually put up a fight because Batman is (supposedly) not superhuman. So you end up taking the combat at something closer to face value.

    As for Doctor Octavius, I was kind of fooled. I figured he really did believe that Peter was just making gear for Spider-Man since it seemed like something that would make sense in his mind as a guy who is also working on designing some pretty crazy technology, but I assumed it would lead to him figuring out the truth later on once he become Doctor Octopus. Part of why it worked for me is that I’m pretty sure by this point the game has already had some background chatter talking about Mayor Osborne (and will introduce him in person soon enough), so the big tension of the plot for me was actually which of the two was going to end up becoming the main villain and which would be the sequel hook. So if you’re still expecting Octavius might not go full tentacle on you in this game, it makes sense to figure he also wouldn’t realize Peter Parker really is Spider-Man until the next game.

    1. Philadelphus says:

      Imagine finding a spider in your kitchen and trying to step on it hard enough to knock it out but not kill it.

      Thanks for that. I reflexively tried to imagine it, but then my arachnophobia kicked in and I’m now stuck trying to knock out an imaginary spider while recoiling from it in case I don’t hit it hard enough and it comes after me. I think I just pulled the mental equivalent of executing arbitrary remote code on myself. :P

  18. Paul Spooner says:

    I think the “knocked across the room by a punch” is actually a comforting sign of cartoon violence. If you tried to deliver that much impulse in real life, your fist would go straight through, no matter where you punched the mook. Likewise, you can’t actually uppercut a real person five meters into the air, their head would come off. The presentation of unreasonable gross structural cohesion is a pretty clear signal that this is a harmless cartoon setting.

  19. guy says:

    I figured all the way through that Dr. Octavius didn’t realize Peter was Spider-Man at first. Being Spider-Man’s tech guy is a convincingly big secret, and I didn’t see a particular reason he’d pretend not to know at that point. I thought he figured it out later when he was more nuts.

    I’m pretty fond of the main game bases, though some of the later ones have conditions like “get an 85 hit combo” that are the province of people way, way better at the game than I am. The DLC bases, though, are another matter, between the new enemy types and a higher density of rocket launchers.

  20. melted says:

    Maybe the huge doorways are just so that they’re easier for players (or npcs) to go through without bumping into them. You don’t want something that simple to turn into an annoying precision maneuver just because you don’t get peripheral vision in video games!

  21. I’m surprised you’re surprised by the large doors. I mean, you’re older than me, so you should be even more aware how egregious a sin being stuck on scenery is in a modern game.

  22. Christopher says:

    I’m as much a fan of the classic costume as you, so I spent the entire game wearing it. After beating the main story I did change around for the open world cleanup and DLCs, however. I think the Last Stand suit is my favorite alternate. A lot of these costumes are armors, you know. Either that or slight variations on the classic suit. Last Stand stands out by being a regular pair of jeans and shoes, a reversible jacket and a mask. And while not a large staple of the comics, it featured in an anniversary issue and played a major part as essentially a sidequest reward for Pete after he helped out a tailor who wanted to take his costume to a more practical level. I like it, as far as changing it up goes.

    The boxer costume is the best joke costume. I’d also put on the dark costume for the Black Cat DLC, so we were a neat match.

    1. Stuart Worthington says:

      The Last Stand outfit was also my favorite alternate. It’s a shame you don’t unlock it until so late in the game. For the DLCs, though, I used the Anti-Ock suit. It’s certainly not the usual Spidey look, but I thought it was so cool.

    2. Blake says:

      I also ended up with the Last Stand suit as my favourite.
      I was unfamiliar with its heritage, and when I first saw it I thought it very un-spidey, but then I just found it looked quite.. mature?

      Like something a veteran Spider-Man who was done trying to be flashy would wear. It’s a business suit for someone whose business is handing out naps to all manner of thugs.

  23. Christopher says:

    On a related but unrelated note, I’ve recently been playing through the Ratchet & Clank games and found a youtube channel by two ex-Insomniac devs who did programming and design work there. Not the ones that worked on Spider-Man, but you know. Figured it might be in some people’s wheelhouse here to listen to either the dev commentary on their own games, or their podcasts where they talk about stuff from their perspective and experiences as developers. They’re long-time friends too, so they got some good chemistry.

    Here.

    1. Blake says:

      I watched their R&C playthroughs on that channel a few years back. Really insightful indeed!

  24. Biggus Rickus says:

    Maybe it’s just because my favorite comics from the period I read Spider-Man saw him wearing it (primarily the Kraven series), but I’ve always preferred the black suit.

  25. Philadelphus says:

    I don’t find the door in that one screenshot particularly large, but that might be a product of lack of context; I don’t know how tall Otto is in the game, so my brain simply sees him as being a little shorter than average and the height of the door seems fine. The width miiight be a little wider than a “normal” door, but that building they’re in looks pretty industrial (no idea what it is), where it would be plausible to have slightly wider doors to facilitate internal transportation of bulky equipment.

    It’s probably obvious with more context, though.

  26. RCN says:

    I liked how technological his suit is. It plays on what I always thought was Peter’s greatest strengths: his resourcefulness and his intelligence. Sure, his multitude of small loosely-spider-based powers are nice, his will is impressive and the spider sense is ALMOST literally a deus-ex-machina at times, but his human characteristics are the things that allow him to have a leg-up on adversaries WAY above his power level.

    Also, from all versions of spider man I know he does resort to technical solutions to his villain problems, but I’ll admit I’m not that familiar with the classic original run.

    Still, it is great to find tidbits like “fighting shocker made me realize I had to insulate my suit” or “I reinforced the lenses on my mask because I almost lost an eye when the vulture’s claws broke them”.

    And I HATE, HATE, HATE MCU’s “spider” suit. Or should I say “Iron Man suit with a spider motif but no repulsors”. Especially the fact that the MCU Peter Parker has no idea whatsoever how to use the suit and would never in a million years figure out upgrades and improvements to it on his own (the movie even covers that by stating the suit is in “training wheels mode”, so it already has tons of upgrades that Peter just arbitrarily don’t have access to because the script writer plays too many videogames I guess?) If you’re going to give Spider Man an Iron Man suit anyway, why not give it fully functional? Make it fly already, otherwise it just seems like Tony is being stingy just to be an asshole.

  27. Stuart Worthington says:

    Chalk me up as another player who took Otto at face value when he “deduced” that Peter was designing suits for Spider-Man. It made the climactic exchange at the end of the game a lot more powerful though.

  28. When you say “Nobody” has time to explain the Clone Saga stupidity, I imagine MovieBob crying a single tear. He has time, Shamus. He has time.

    Sort of.

  29. Dreadjaws says:

    The white spider doesn’t bother me as much, but what I really dislike are the blue streaks accross the shoulders, because they make it look like he’s always wearing a backpack.

    Also, I happen to really like Ben Reilly’s costume. Sue me.

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