When players aren’t caught up in solving random crimes, performing optional missions or basking in the sheer joy of swinging around Insomniac’s New York City, Spider-Man for the PS4 tells a classic Spidey tale that shouldn’t be missed. In case you are missing it, here’s what happens.
What follows is a chapter-by-chapter retelling of the story of Spider-Man. Secrets and surprises will be revealed. Spoilers abound. Let me toss you one of these ...
… and we’ll get on with it.
Gather Round, True Believers
Our story opens on Peter Parker in his natural habitat: a tiny, run-down NYC flat. It’s full of Spider-Man paraphernalia—costume sketches, bits of disassembled tech, photos of Parker’s friends and family and newspaper clippings featuring some of the deadly foes he’s taken on in the eight years since he was bitten by a radioactive spider and granted his superhuman abilities.
Peter is taking a nap, until his slumber is interrupted by a call coming over his phone’s police scanner. A SWAT team is about to infiltrate Fisk Tower, home of Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk, the de-facto crime lord of New York City. No invasion of the Kingpin’s lair would be complete without a visit from the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, so Peter suits up.
The Kingpin Of Crime
On his way to Fisk Tower, Spidey receives a call from his best police friend, Captain Yuri Watanabe. She asks our hero to stop by Times Square to help a police squad that’s pinned down by some of Fisk’s men. It’s a tutorial. Spider-Man makes quick work of the thugs (or adjusts the difficulty of the game and tries again, depending on who is playing), and then swings off to take on Wilson.
It’s absolutely ridiculous the lack of fucks Wilson Fisk gives about New York’s finest. His building is swarming with hired thugs, armed to the teeth and killing officers of the law with reckless abandon. Spider-Man does what a spider can, climbing elevator shafts and taking out baddies with his signature acrobatic fighting style. Enemies come at him with riot shields and rocket launchers. They’re really prepared for him. It’s also like it’s a trap or something.
Okay, it’s a trap. When Spidey reaches Fisk’s penthouse office, the crime boss retreats behind a transparent wall as turrets pop out and begin firing. As it’s still the beginning of the game, these turrets are easily dispatched, and a boss battle ensues. Fisk is tough, but in the end Spider-Man webs him up neat and tidy for the authorities.
As he is carted away, Kingpin warns that the power vacuum left by his absence will throw the city’s criminal underworld into chaos, because of course it will.
This Is A Job For Peter Parker
With Kingpin put away, Peter Parker is free to swing by his day job. No, he’s not a reporter for the Daily Bugle. He’s a research assistant for famous bio-engineer Doctor Otto Octavius. He is a brilliant scientist who Peter has looked up to all his life. Working with Octavius on his current project, a prosthetic limb that responds to metal commands, is a dream job for Parker.
Of course everybody not residing in the universe of this video game knows that Otto Octavius is fated to become Doctor Octopus, breaking Peter’s heart completely. But for now, let’s pretend everything is just great. Peter’s doing science. Hooray for science!
After a trip into town to help his police officer friends repair their surveillance towers, which everyone is not at all uncomfortable with, Peter swings back by the lab to repair his tattered suit. Octavius catches him at work but seems to assume Peter is simply working on the tech for his friend, Spider-Man. Not only does Otto approve, he gives Peter plans for a new suit, the first of many.
Next Peter drops by the local homeless shelter to check on his surrogate mother, good old Aunt May. She’s being honoured by her co-volunteers for her work at F.E.A.S.T. (Food, Emergency Aid, Shelter and Training), New York City’s premier homeless shelter. Her boss, Martin Li, is a prominent Chinese businessman whom Peter admires very much. He’s probably not secretly a powerful supervillain with plans to terrorise the city. Probably.
Enter The Demons
Peter’s next plot point takes him to an auction house where Wilson Fisk’s estate will soon be sold piece by piece to the highest bidder. A break-in has been reported, and Spidey arrives to find the place swarming with dark figures wearing oni (demon) masks and wielding strange energy powers. These are the Demons, the army of a powerful super-villain. They’re looking for a file of Fisk’s, and they’ve taken a hostage. It’s up to Spider-Man to quietly take them out, using stealth skills that will no doubt be useful later in the game.
But wait, who’s the attractive red-head skulking around a back room and taking pictures? Why, it’s Mary Jane Watson, Peter’s ex. Awkward!
Mary Jane Watson, Intrepid Reporter?
Flashing back to just before the break-in occurred, we join Mary Jane, Daily Bugle reporter, as she bluffs her way inside of the auction house in order to snoop around. She wants dirt on Wilson Fisk and figures digging through his stuff is a good way to find it. She wanders about the various exhibits, taking pictures and trying to squeeze info out of the auction house manager. She digs a bit too deep and the manager asks her to leave, but then the Demons show up.
Mary Jane, keeping her cool in a way that only the ex-significant other of a superhero could, stealths her way into a back office, where she finds the file the Demons are so eager to possess. Now that we’ve almost caught back up, it’s back to Spider-Man, who helps MJ escape unscathed. Oh his way out he grabs one of the Demons’ masks, hoping his good friend Martin Li might know something about it.
Keeping events swinging right along, Spider-Man villain Herman “Shocker” Schultz tries to rob a jewellery store, only to be thwarted by Spider-Man following a chase through the city. Poor Shocker, barely even gets a paragraph.
Martin Li Knows Something About That Mask
Now that the Shocker is done, Peter heads back to F.E.A.S.T. to show the mask to Martin Li. Martin tells him that the mask is related to demons somehow and warns that Peter’s friend MJ might want to just drop her investigation completely, before getting hurt.
It’s not suspicious at all.
Back at Otto Octavius’ office, Peter arrives just in time for Mayor Norman Osborne to show up and shut the lab down, claiming Otto’s work too dangerous. We later learn that Otto and Osborne used to work together back in university, and there’s a great deal of animosity there.
With the lab shut down, Peter is out of work.
The Shocker again? Didn’t we just put him away? Well he’s escaped, thanks to an apparently brainwashed police officer, and now he’s robbing a bank. As Spider-Man battles Shocker, the criminal refuses to disclose who he’s working for, saying that if he talks, he dies. Spider-Man drops the better part of the bank’s ceiling on him instead. It’s super effective.
Officer Jefferson Davis, Reporting For Duty
Following up with Yuri regarding the Demons, Spider-Man learns that the gang has been ransacking Fisk-owned properties all evening. He heads off to the docks, to a Fisk building that’s yet to be attacked, to lie in wait. Yuri sends Officer Jefferson Davis to help Spider-Man out.
Once Spidey silently takes out Fisk’s men, Davis arrives to help scout the inside of the building. He’s an outstanding police officer. He’s brave, streetwise and perceptive, and when the pair discover the Demons robbing what remains of a major Kingpin weapons cache, he proves he can fight as well.
The encounter with the Demons becomes a cross-city car chase, which leaves a gas tanker dangerously stranded atop some subway tracks. As Spider-Man pulls the tanker to safety, one of the Demons attempts to ram the hero with a truck. At the very last minute, Officer Davis rams the truck with his squad car, saving the day. What a hero! He’s sure to be one of Peter’s greatest, longest-lasting friends.
That Parker Luck
Swinging back by his flat to get some rest, Peter discovers he no longer has a flat. With no money and no job to make any, he’s been evicted, his belongings tossed in the garbage. That includes his special Spider-Man USB drive, which contains work and notes he can never replace.
And so Spider-Man goes on an adventure to track down a garbage truck. He breaks into the garbage depot, swapping phone calls with an incredibly friendly and helpful dispatcher. Once he finds his all-important USB stick, our hero briefly considers crashing at Mary Jane’s apartment before realising what a stupid move that would be. Instead he accepts his Aunt May’s offer to crash on the couch at F.E.A.S.T.
Peter wakes up the next morning just in time to catch Martin Li on his way out. The businessman is “going out of town” for a bit to take care of some personal business. He asks Peter and May to take care of the place, as it represents “the best part” of him.
On his way out, Peter gets a call from Mary Jane. Turns out Mayor Osborne will be honouring the heroic Officer Davis at his re-election rally later in the day. MJ invites Peter along, and he accepts, because they are obviously still very much in love.
But First, Gang War
Before he can make it to his date with MJ, Peter gets called to the (now under construction) Fisk Tower, where the Demons are slaughtering relatively innocent construction workers. Intercepting a mobile phone from the jailed Fisk, Spider-Man promises to keep the crime boss’ workers safe in exchange for information on the rival gang.
The battle gets a little rocky towards the end, what with the lengthy helicopter chase that ends by nearly crashing into a street full of people, but Spider-Man ultimately prevails. Confident that the Demons’ crime spree is nearly at an end, Peter heads to the Osborne rally to meet up with Mary Jane.
What Could Go Wrong At A Norman Osborne Rally?
What a wonderful day for a political rally. The audience is full of friendly people ready to cheer on hero cop Jefferson Davis. It’s such an idyllic afternoon that the suicide bombers under the influence of the same energy that powers the Demons take even the spectacular Spider-Man by surprise. Men explode. People die. Norman Osborne, who stepped away to take a threatening phone call before the explosions, escapes death. Things get worse when Martin Li, AKA Mr Negative, shows up and starts brutally murdering survivors.
Peter is knocked out by the explosion. As Mary Jane tends to his wounds, we gain control of Officer Davis’ son, Miles Morales.
In Marvel Comics continuity, Miles Morales is the second Spider-Man, but in game continuity he’s just a scared boy worried about his father. Using stealth and timing, Miles moves through the wreckage, avoiding Demons on his way to check on his dad, who was standing at the podium when the explosions happened.
Rest in peace, Officer Davis.
Surprise, Martin Li Is A Bad Guy
Hard to deny the guy is evil when he’s murdered a bunch of people in public. Martin Li’s murderous Mr. Negative persona is out to ruin Norman Osborne, but before the police can make a move, they’ll need solid proof. Spidey follows a tip from Mary Jane to a recycling centre owned by Li, which turns out to be filled with explosives, weapons and plenty of Demons to beat up. It also contains a map of targets, all of which seem to be Norman Osborne campaign offices. That’s not good.
Fortunately, Spider-Man also finds the address of the staging area for the Demons’ attacks, and heads over there to clear it out. As he mops up the remainder of Mr Negative’s forces, a group of high-tech soldiers descend upon the scene, their weapons trained on Spider-Man. These are the forces of Silver Sable, a mercenary hired by Norman Osborne to keep the peace while keeping him from being killed. They’ll be setting up bases all over the city and generally making a mess of things. Excellent.
Peter heads back to F.E.A.S.T., where he suggests a new helper for his Aunt May, a young teen named Miles Morales. He also takes the opportunity to snoop around Martin Li’s office, where he uncovers journals detailing more of the villain’s plot. On his way out he run into Li himself, who delivers a thinly-veiled threat. Peter and May should be safe from future attacks, as long as they stay away from places they shouldn’t be.
Science And Romance Break
Whew, that Martin Li is intense. Time for a little break from superheroics. Answering a call from Otto Octavius, Peter swings by the lab to discover a whole slew of new gear and equipment. Otto has found new investors, and the neural interface prosthetic project is back on track. A botched test drives Otto into a mild rage, after which we learn a bit more about his relationship with Norman Osborne. Back in college the two were known as “The Os,” an inseparable pair of science geniuses. “The Os” led to Oscorp, with Otto as a co-founder, until the two went their separate ways. Interesting.
With his job secure once more, Peter stops by MJ’s place to burn a little dinner. She tells him about her day, spent infiltrating a chop shop owned by the villainous Tombstone, who was building an armoured vehicle for Martin Li, who plans to use it to transport something called Devil’s Breath. Sounds bad.
What Is Devil’s Breath?
Maybe Osborne’s CFO Charles Standish knows something. According to the police scanner, his place is currently being invaded by Demons, so Peter runs off to help. Because no self-respecting CFO of a billion dollar corporation lives in a plain old house, this involves climbing a skyscraper and ascending elevator shafts while masked criminals shoot at him. Our hero eventually rescues Mr Standish, who knows about Devil’s Breath, a secret project Norman Osborne’s been funnelling money into for years, but he isn’t sure what it is or does. For that, Peter needs to find Dr Isaac Delaney.
Delaney is attending a Spider-Man themed Halloween party, so Peter has to filter through reasonable facsimiles of some of his deadliest foes in order to find him. He meets fake Electro, fake Mysterio, fake Rhino and eventually fake Lizard, AKA Dr Delaney. Unfortunately he also meets the real Mr Negative, who gets to Delaney first. Before being compelled by Mr Negative’s power to shoot himself in the head, Delaney offers up a name: Dr Morgan Michaels.
Spidey infiltrates Norman Osborne’s office, looking for more information. He discovers that Devil’s Breath is the current form of a miracle drug that could cure any number of diseases. Unfortunately, in its current testing state, the drug is more likely to cause a global epidemic, killing people on a massive scale, hence its nickname. Dr Michaels carries a sample of the drug with him at all times, which is why Martin Li wants him. The villain wants to cause widespread destruction using Osborne’s creation, bringing his sworn enemy to his knees.
The End Of Martin Li?
Silver Sable’s men are attempting to move Dr Morgan Michaels to a safe house, but the Demons aren’t making it easy. Spidey engages gang members’ vehicles in a high speed chase through the city. He catches up with Martin Li, who entraps him in his negative dimension for one very dark boss battle. Spider-Man manages to escape the negative realm, but Li escapes as well, and he’s got the sample of Devil’s Breath.
Leave it to good old Mary Jane to discover where Martin Li has run off to. A prototype wide-area dispersal unit created by Oscorp is on display at Grand Central Station, and that’s exactly where Mr Negative plans to unleash the Devil’s Breath. Fortunately for the city, Mary Jane’s pal Spider-Man shows up. As the masked hero pursues Li into the subway, MJ diffuses the bomb, because all reporters have bomb diffusing skills. Following a knock-down, drag-out subway battle, Spider-Man hands Martin Li over to the authorities.
Hahaha, Just Kidding
Can’t end the story now. What about that whole Dr Octopus sub-plot? A visit to the lab shows Otto Octavius looking suspiciously like his evil alter ego from the comics. He’s got the green suit; he’s got the four metallic arms that respond to his thoughts. He even looks a little evil. Peter warns the good-ish doctor that there might be side effects of all of this progress, and Otto plays along, promising he’ll be careful. Great! Everything is okay then.
Except the police transport carrying the Devil’s Breath was attacked and the sample was stolen. Also, all the most dangerous convicts at Rikers Island prison complex have escaped. And just as Spider-Man seems to get that break-out contained, all hell breaks loose at the Raft, NYC’s prison for super-powered bad guys.
Guys like Electro, the Vulture, Rhino and Scorpion come out to play when Spider-Man shows up. But they aren’t playing alone. They’ve teamed up with not only Mr Negative, but a new player on the scene, Dr Octopus. It’s the Sinister Six, kids, and Spider-Man gets his webbed arse kicked so hard.
This Is Really Bad
Once Spider-Man recovers from his beating, he discovers a city in shambles. The Sinister Six are running rampant. Silver Sable’s men are taking advantage of the chaos, roughing up citizens and stealing. Escaped convicts have begun setting up bases throughout the city. Peter can hardly swing without being targeted by a sniper rifle or rocket launcher. Oh, and Otto’s released Devil’s Breath, and people are starting to die.
Looks like Otto’s been working on his plan for a long time. Peter discovers evidence of how the scientist bought the criminals’ favour—helping Electro come closer to becoming pure energy, getting Rhino out of his suit, et cetera.
Now Peter and his friends have their work cut out for them. They need to stop Rhino, Vulture, Scorpion, Electro, Mr. Negative and Otto. They need to find an antiserum to counteract the Devil’s Breath. And oh no, Aunt May is not looking too good.
Along Comes A Spider
Hoping to find out more information on how to counteract Devil’s Breath, Mary Jane infiltrates Norman Osborne’s penthouse home. Here she discovers that Devil’s Breath was originally created to try to save Norman’s wife, who was dying of a genetic ailment. While he was too late to save his spouse, Norman continues work on the drug to try to save his son Harry, who is also suffering from the same condition.
Speaking of Harry, Mary Jane finds him in suspended animation in a hidden lab in Osborne’s home. The secret lab where Norman keeps the videos of the clinical trials of the drug that turned Martin Li into Mr Negative. She also finds a whole bunch of oddly-coloured spiders, one of which hitches a ride with her as she escapes.
Boss Battles A Go-Go
Spider-Man takes down the Vulture and Electro. He’s poisoned by Scorpion, but manages to break through some powerful hallucinations and create a cure. Scorpion and Rhino go down after a pretty epic battle.
Now all that’s left to do is get the cure for Devil’s Breath, which Martin Li is already after. Li’s got Norman Osborne, so Spidey teams up with Silver Sable to rescue the mayor and retrieve the precious antiserum. After another epic black and white battle against Mr Negative, it looks like Peter is triumphant .... but then Doc Ock shows up. He grabs Osborne and the cure, gives Spider-Man a sound beating and runs off.
Silver Sable brings the battered Spider-Man to F.E.A.S.T. to recuperate. As Peter stumbles off to his final confrontation with Otto Octavius, F.E.A.S.T. volunteer Miles Morales is bitten by an oddly-coloured spider.
The Final Battle
Otto takes Norman Osborne to the top of the Oscorp building, planning on recording an admission that Norman created Devil’s Breath before dropping him to the street below. Spider-Man arrives, just in time, saving Osborne and, after a lengthy battle that leaves Otto Octavius beaten but alive (and knowing Peter Parker’s secret identity), in possession of the serum.
Now Peter has a choice. He can either use the serum to save Aunt May from Devil’s Breath poisoning, or let her die so doctors can use the antiserum to produce enough for everyone in the city. It’s not much of a choice, really.
Aunt May reveals that she’s known Peter was Spider-Man for quite some time, and that she’s proud of her nephew. And then she dies.
Aunt May dies. Dammit, Insomniac. I cried. Bastards.
A Tale Of Two Spider-Men
While Peter waits for his new flat to be ready, he shacks up with young Miles, who’s been undergoing some odd changes.
This time it’s surely the end. At least until the DLC drops.