The PS4 has had a number of strong first-party titles over the last few years, and tow in particular are strong candidates for superhero video games. The superhero genre, in particular, has gotten a big shot in the arm with 2014’s Infamous: Second Son, and now 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man. With two big superhero exclusive, which one comes out on top? We’ll have a showdown between Second Son and Spider-Man to see which exclusive captures the superhero spirit better.
Spider-Man vs. Infamous
Exploration and Traversal
Superhero games are, more often than not, about freedom. They give you the freedom to emulate that iconic hero, zip around the city like a shooting star, effortlessly take down baddies, and generally be all things, well, super. Never has this rung more true than with Spider-Man and Infamous, both of which have traversal system focused on speed and flexibility.
Over the course of Second Son, Delsin gets access to four different conduit powers, each of which let him fly through the city in different ways. Smoke lets him shoot streams out of his hands that let him float, Neon lets him dash as the speed of light to run up walls, Video lets him fly through the air with digital wings and zoom to radio dishes. It all feels great, and there’s a ton of options that can be applied to both exploration and combat.There just isn’t a ton of incentive to explore, though, as the game’s collectibles, overall, don’t do a whole lot to expand on the story or world.
While Delsin’s powers are great, there’s just something truly awe-inspiring about how Spider-Man tackles its web-swinging. The new Spider-Man has a surprisingly complex traversal system that takes a tiny bit to get used to, but once you are used to it there’s a wealth of options opened up. Spidey can swing and dash with ease, and the way the game’s heroic music swells as your web-swinging really helps set the overall tone. Despite having a fast travel system, there’s not much reason to use it as web-swinging through New York becomes so effortless and fun you just want to travel everywhere yourself. At the same time Spider-Man has a number of side activities and collectibles, most of which are engaging. Backpacks scattered around the world yield rewards for finding a certain number, and each time you find one you see an item Peter Parker left there from his past, helping to flesh out the history and character of Insomniac’s version of Spidey.
Ultimately, both games do traversal exceedingly well, but the sheer thrill of Spider-Man’s web-swinging can’t be topped.