Gaming internet saw some controversy last week when news dropped that Spider-Man would be coming to the Avengers game – exclusively on the PlayStation version that is. PC and Xbox players would have to go without playing as the famous wall-crawler and Sony’s consumer friendliness was called into question.
And how unfair is that? Spider-Man is easily one of the most popular superheroes of all time and a staple of the Marvel roster. This isn’t even a Soulcalibur II situation where the Xbox version gets Wolverine or something. And how could you not want to play as Spider-Man zipping from bad guy to bad guy and swinging around the city?
Well, it turns Xbox and PC players can anyway.
He’s kinda already in the game
After spending about a dozen hours playing the fairly extensive beta, we’ve learned a few things about the Avengers game. Like how unimportant Spider-Man’s inclusion really is.
First of all, characters don’t actually play as wildly different as you might think. Despite the Avengers being made up of a team of varying super powered (and non-super powered) heroes, none of them are all too unique gameplay wise. The way each Avenger controls is made from the same template, with different degrees of uniqueness.
For instance, every character will have the same basic weak and strong attacks and combos that all feel fairly similar. They also all have a ranged attack (even the Hulk just throws rocks), some shared traversal options, and a shared offensive/defensive move. For instance, both Iron Man and Thor can fly. Captain America and Black Widow can parry. Hulk and Kamala Khan can enter a stronger mode for a limited time. So while no hero plays exactly the same, they all share similar mechanics.
Based on this, we can assume most DLC and extra characters will share some similarities with the existing team. Captain Marvel will probably fly around like Iron Man, and Ant-Man will probably grow large like Kamala. And Spider-Man will play exactly like Black Widow. Wait what?
Oops Black Widow is Spider-Man
Yep, in an effort to make traditionally the weakest Avenger balance out with the rest of the cast, they may have overdone it and made her the most fun. Black Widow uses a grappling hook as her method of traversal and countering, making her play surprisingly similar to Spider-Man on PS4.
In the end, Black Widow actually ended up being my most played character in the beta because of her Spidey-centric moveset. She’s the fastest Avenger, can web-zip from enemy to enemy, counter attacks with her Widow-sense, and gets around the world by ziplining and swinging around. There’s no doubt that when Spider-Man comes to PS4 Avengers, he will be a copy of Black Widow. It wouldn’t even be a stretch to say his ranged web-shooting will feel like her guns. Basically, Spider-Man IS in every version of the Avengers game. He’s just called Black Widow.
But what about his missions?
Okay, so if you want to play as Spider-Man you basically can through Black Widow because she does also whatever a spider can. But won’t you still be missing out on his unique levels? And who doesn’t want to see Spider-Man and Iron-Man riffing together? Well again thanks to the beta, we can be already be disappointed
Called “Iconic Missions”, these are levels that focus on specific characters that allow the character to unlock specialized gear. The beta allowed us to play through a Hulk Iconic Mission, and it sounds much cooler than it actually is.
The mission starts with a short introduction, in this case some unique audio played over the loading screen, and from there plays almost identically to any other level. Every once in a while characters will comment on what you’re doing, but you won’t find any crucial story bits outside of adding some extra context to the same general structure as any non-character specific missions.
I can easily see a Spider-Man Iconic Mission in which you’ll have to go smash up an evil base researching symbiote, or run by Doc Ock or something. But outside of starting the mission with Spider-Man saying “Let’s do this!”, and ending with him saying “We did it!” you won’t be missing much you won’t have already seen in the rest of the game.
But what about the story!
And lastly, the nature of him being an exclusive DLC character means he definitely won’t be seen in the story. The single player story campaign and multiplayer parts of Marvel’s Avengers are actually very self contained, with one not really affecting the other besides getting you gear.
Characters don’t even really talk to each other during anything but the story missions. Iron Man may say the odd cringy one-liner and Hulk might say “Hulk Smash” every once in a while, but you won’t get any fun back-and-forth dialogue like the movies. In the dozen hours I spent playing, I think Kamala acknowledged Hulk once in his Iconic Mission during an elevator scene. That’s it.
So there you have it. While it’s still disappointing only PlayStation owners will get to play as Spider-Man, Xbox and PC players certainly aren’t missing much. In fact, his exclusivity only emphasizes how unimportant he is to the full package. His move-set will mostly be a copy of Black Widow, his Iconic Mission will be a generic mission with some flavor audio, and he won’t impact the story or the characters in any way. Spider-Man isn’t in the Xbox and PC Avengers game. And he totally doesn’t have to be.
In the end, no one really wins after all. Hurray!