There are plenty of great ideas and mechanics Insomniac’s Spider-Man games have borrowed from Rocksteady’s Arkham series. The influence from those Batman games is clear in the fluid combat, stealth sequences, and most notably, the new addition of the web line in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, which lets you make a tightrope to create more flexibility and room to pick off bad guys. But one element stands out to me that should have stayed with Da Bat: the utility belt of fancy gadgets.
I get the appeal. More Power = More Fun for a lot of people with these kinds of games (and I am really enjoying the game). But here’s the thing: I don’t want to be Batman. I’m here to be Spider-Man!
When I’m playing a Spider-Man game, I want to swing around the city, help locals with odd tasks small and big, punch and kick bad guys, and use my webs to either bind them to objects or toss them around a bit. I don’t want to throw gravity bombs or use mechanical spider legs that spring out of my back like some ungodly contraption.
Also… who is paying for all this gear? To their credit, the games acknowledge the financial precarity of their protagonists in a manner similar to Sam Raimi’s terrific movie trilogy (and unlike the MCU Spider-Man trilogy, where Peter has a billionaire benefactor in Tony Stark). Two big plot points of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 are Peter struggling to pay off his house’s mortgage after inheriting it from Aunt May, and his inability to hold down a job (his volunteer crime-fighting position keeps getting in the way). This is not a man who can afford an endless supply of gadgets and high-tech suit enhancements.
It’s true that Peter worked with Otto Octavius in the first game, which gave him access to a lot of this gear, but even they were struggling scientists without the kind of budget to support Spidey’s new war chest. Now that Otto’s out of the picture, it’s even more difficult to see how Peter could keep up his gadget habit – even if he’s making absolutely dreadful financial decisions during a time where he needs all the money he can gather.
As a great poster once said: Food $200, Data $150, Rent $800, Spider gadgets $3,600, Utility $150. Someone who is good at the economy please help Peter budget this. His family is [literally] dying.