Marvel’s Spider-Man has made a huge splash this year, rocketing up the charts to be one of the best-selling games of 2018. When I went into Spider-Man I knew I’d love swinging through New York, but what I didn’t expect was a thoroughly well-written story with characters that I really grew to care about. Because of this, I was overjoyed to find out that The Heist DLC doubles down on characters and their interactions, providing some really great moments, along with a host of new missions.
Let’s get something out of the way first, The Heist doesn’t drastically change anything about the main game. In fact, this really is the same Spider-Man you’ve been playing, just with a few minor tweaks and gimmicks. The Heist adds on a series of new story missions following Black Cat, crime families, and an iconic Spider-Man villain’s involvement.
The story itself does a good job of stringing you along, but Black Cat is the real star of the show, and her portrayal in this universe is as sultry and mysterious as you might expect. Insomniac does a great job at building chemistry between Spider-Man and Black Cat, and every scene they share together is an absolute blast. Even more fun, however, is how this relationship then plays into the relationship between Peter and Mary Jane, who are back together after the end of the game. There are some fantastic character moments in The Heist, and quite a few of them actually made me laugh out loud.
On top of this, we get to see a little more development between Peter and Miles. The two are definitely starting to develop a teacher-student kind of relationship, which could hint at what we might see in future DLC. We also get quite a few new “Just the Facts” segments, which continue to be entertaining.
While the characters and story really drive the focus of The Heist, Insomniac has taken some steps to try and diversify gameplay. There are no mechanics changed, necessarily, but a few interesting gimmicks layered on. An early encounter requires you to stop gang members from escaping a building with priceless art, as they try and run out. A later mission also introduces a nice element for a stealth mission to add a little variety.
A new enemy type, the Minigun Brute, also gets added in, and they definitely make combat more challenging. As a whole, the difficulty of The Heist is demanding and feels like end-game content, meaning you won’t want to jump in until you’ve completed the main game, for story and gameplay reasons.
There’s also a whole host of side content available in The Heist as well, most of which feels all too familiar. New crimes are added into some of the districts, but they’re mostly things you’ve already done countless time, and in my case, have gotten tired of. Much more interesting are Screwball’s new challenges that make you use only gadgets to take down enemies, shoot generators with your EMP webs, or take down enemies.
There’s some nice variation in these challenges, and a fun snapshot feature makes you hit certain requirements for Screwball to reward you with more points. The downside, however, is that there aren’t many of these challenges. There’s significantly less than Taskmaster’s, and it’s easy to mop them up in no time. The same goes for the games new collectible type, stolen paintings, which give you a little bit of context or story on Black Cat when you find them. You’ll also have three new suits to collect, but it’s just visual flair right now, as there aren’t any new skills to unlock.
That’s pretty much the recurring them with The Heist, that there’s just not a whole lot to it. What’s there is consistently pretty great, and the quality of cutscenes and gameplay is up to the same high standard of the main game. The Heist is worth playing if only for the story between Black Cat and Spider-Man, but I hope that the two future episodes feel a little more substantial. In the end, though, it was great to jump back into the world of Spider-Man, and I’m excited to see what Insomniac has cooking with the story they set up.