Spider-Man: The City That Never Sleeps scratched an itch for fans who wished they had something more to do after completing the base game - giving us more of the excellent traversal, combat, writing, and storytelling that made Spider-Man itself one of the best games of the year. While its fragmented release as three separate episodes might have hurt its flow of the story in a few ways, taken as a whole, The City That Never Sleeps is a great extension of the first game’s story that sets up some exciting things for the inevitable sequel.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this package, is that the developments in narrative shown across in the three episodes are quite huge. Huger than you’d expect to see in DLC, in many cases. At first, I couldn’t help but compare it to the beautiful story showcased in the base game, but then I realised that Insomniac never launched this DLC to be a simple extension. Characters have stories that set up for the sequel, while others, who had unfinished business and left after the events of the base game, come back and wrap up their storylines.
Across all three episodes, the cast of characters is as strong as you would expect it to be. The Heist places focus on Black Cat (Felicia Hardy), whose banter with Spider-Man is excellent to see, and the way their complicated relationship develops in the short amount of time they spend with each other on-screen really gives players a reason to stay hooked onto their chairs. Adding a complicated past relationship into Spider-Man’s rather busy love life opens a new dynamic, not only for Peter Parker, but for Mary Jane too.
Turf Wars introduces Hammerhead as a central new villain, who turns into a very formidable villain - he continues the trend of using lesser known villains as focus points, but is a solid addition to the roster of rogues in Insomniac’s Spider-Man universe nonetheless. That being said, I really hope the sequel for Spider-Man fixes that issue.
Silver Lining focuses on Silver Sable. Her rather ambiguous relationship with Spider-Man becomes the highlight for this episode, but doesn’t detract from the danger Hammerhead imposes. We watch as Silver Sable grows to like Spider-Man, with his quirky nature, and ongoing ability to crack a joke in the most serious of situations. The smart move done by Insomniac goes to the fact that they have left room for adventures with these characters, even though the business at hand was dealt with.
Storytelling, character interaction, and writing were some of the biggest strengths of Spider-Man, but is also usefully put into the DLC.
Crimes don’t really have much impact on the story, but are sure to please those looking for a quick trophy or two.
Will defend anything Dragon Ball. Occasionally has two-way conversations with himself. Has sleepless nights about Half-Life 3 confirmed.
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