(Note: This guide contains references to powers and abilities unlocked late in the course of Marvel’s Spider-Man. They could be considered spoilers — read on at your own risk.)
Fighting bad guys is a big part of the job for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Like we talked about in our Marvel’s Spider-Man review, taking on the role of our favorite web-slinging superhero gives you access to all of Spidey’s cool powers including running on walls, avoiding incoming danger and punching the heck out of thugs, as well as his range of spider-themed gadgets for webbing up and taking down crime.
The thing is, all those different gadgets, moves, spider-suits, and suit mods can get a bit confusing, and there are a lot of them that are tuned for some situations and not for others. Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about utilizing Spider-Man to his utmost, and outfitting yourself for victory against the forces of evil.
General Spider-Man combat tips
Fighting is all about avoiding damage
Spider-Man is a super-powered dude who can take a lot of punishment, but unlike more invulnerable heroes, he’s mostly just a guy with some cool spider abilities. That means he’s highly susceptible to getting punched, smacked and shot, even by the low-level criminals he encounters around New York. Your most important mission in any fight as Spider-Man is avoiding damage because it’s very easy to suddenly find yourself smeared on the pavement like an insect (or arachnid).
In any fight, your main focus should be on the Spider-Sense indicator that helps Spidey dodge incoming attacks. You’ll also want to invest in the Perfect Dodge skill in the Skills Menu as early as you can. Doing perfectly timed dodges will give you a little time-slowdown effect that’s useful to sizing up the battlefield, plus a perfect dodge also gives you Focus — which you need to heal Spider-Man and execute Finishers.
Keep it aerial
Spider-Man’s greatest asset is his ability to be acrobatic, taking the fight to places his enemies can’t reach. That means that, for most of the game, you want to try to keep the fight with your enemies in the air by uppercutting, juggling, swing-kicking and throwing them around where their buddies can’t get you. When you fight in the air, you get increased Focus gains, and there are skills you can unlock that cause you to do increased damage, too. Whenever possible, fight in the air to avoid damage and take advantage of some serious gains.
In every fight and in every environment, there are tons of things around Spidey that he can use in battle. Throwable objects are all over the place and can be used to knock back enemies who are closing in once you buy the right skills, for example. You can almost instantly take some enemies out of the fight just by covering them with webs and kicking them into nearby walls or objects. Scaffoldings can be pulled down both in combat and in stealth to knock out multiple enemies at once. And punching people off of buildings is both hilarious and extremely useful for thinning out enemy numbers.
Don’t just punch your way through fights — use the world around you. Don’t stay in one place, think vertically, and use the environment to your advantage to get the best of your enemies and avoid damage.
Go nuts on the gadgets
Spidey has a ton of cool gadgets that unlock over the course of the game, and a few you can build on your own when you have the right tokens. Don’t neglect them — use them. In concert, gadgets can be super useful. One especially fun combo is the Web Bomb, which covers nearby enemies in webs, and the Concussion Blaster, which sends enemies flying. Shoot a concussion at webbed enemies and you can knock them into walls, sticking them to structures and instantly taking several guys out of the fight. Your gadgets have myriad uses, so don’t forget them.
Watch out for body armor and special weapons
Some enemies, like Sable agents, wear body armor that makes them a lot tougher to bring down, or carry weapons that allow them to deflect webs. You might not be able to web those guys, but you can electrocute them with your electric webs or thrown-back grenades. Try to remove the most dangerous threats first, like whip enemies that can take you out of the air. Stunning them can make them easy to deal with quickly.
It’s all about the suit
Tokens can be spent on upgrading your gadgets but the upgrades to your spider-suit might be more important. There are a host of new suits you can buy in Spider-Man, and while the suits themselves don’t matter — they’re all cosmetic — the suit powers that come with them really do. Most of the suits have a special ability tuned to it that can give you an edge in battle or in other situations. You can also mix and match suits and abilities once you’ve unlocked them, so you’re not stuck using the Stealth Suit to get its ability.
You can equip up to three Suit Mods that you unlock with tokens as well. These are passive buffs, meaning you don’t need to activate them to get their benefits, unlike suit powers. They can be handy game-changers, doing things like reducing incoming damage or making Spider-Man harder to detect while he’s stealthing. Their benefits stack too, so if you’ve got two mods for damage reduction, you get double the benefit. They’re worth the effort to unlock.
The last thing you need to know about suits, suit powers and suit mods is that you can change them around at literally any time just by popping open the Menu screen. Having the right suit power and mods for the situation can really help you in battle situations.
Best Spider-Man suit and mod combos
The ability to mix and match suit powers with different suit mods means you can customize Spider-Man’s loadout to match any situation. Some mods are good in almost every situation, like those that reduce damage. You can also stack a bunch of different mods together with powers to make loadouts good for particular things, like sneaking up on enemies without being spotted. Here are a few loadouts for specific situations you’ll come across in the game.
The Stealth Suit is the obvious choice when being sneaky, although you can also get strong benefits from the Noir Suit if you’re found out.
Blur Projector (Stealth Suit Power): This is an essential stealth power, great for emergencies and sneaking up on enemies. The Blur Projector creates a bubble around you when you’re stealthing, and unalerted enemies can’t see through it. You can use it to grab an enemy you can’t seem to separate from a group or to keep you from getting spotted as you move to a new position.
Sound of Silence (Noir Suit Power): A decent early game alternate to the Blur Projector is the Sound of Silence power. It keeps enemies from calling for backup. This means if you get spotted, you can take out the enemies that have seen you, making it easier to deal with bad guys or to get back into stealth mode.
Long Range Scanner: Extremely helpful for pinging enemies in a given area; the quicker you can assess threats, the quicker you can deal with them, and you’ll get better opportunities for taking them down fast (a major consideration when knocking out Taskmasters stealth challenges).
Silent Step: This mod makes it take longer for enemies to detect you when you get spotted. The extra seconds can be enough to web your way out of a sticky situation or take down an enemy you didn’t know was there.
Bio Scanner: Once you scan enemies with the Bio Scanner, they stay highlighted on your screen, which is extremely useful information as you’re clearing out a bunch of guys without getting spotted. You’ll be able to keep seeing enemies through walls, and quickly assess if they’re safe to take down or not.
If you need health in a hurry, this loadout will prioritize Focus and healing over just about everything else.
Battle Focus (Advanced Suit power) — The first suit power you unlock is also among the most useful. Activate it to build Focus quickly, which is great for when you need to heal up on the fly.
Defense Shield (Spider Armor – MK IV Suit power) — A good alternative to the Battle Focus power is the Defense Shield, which gives you a buffer zone to heal up and escape enemies for a moment. It absorbs all incoming damage for a short amount of time.
First Aid: This solid mod amps up how much healing Focus gives you, making it a perfect pairing with Battle Focus. It’s highly useful
Life Support: Automatically heals you when you’re close to dead from Focus
Kinetic Power Cells: Increases your Focus production.
Low Gravity (Spider-Man 2099 Black Suit power) — The Low Gravity power does exactly what it sounds like: When you’re fighting in the air, it reduces gravity for you, making it easier to keep your aerial combos going and chain them together. Try it with the late-addition spider gadget, the Suspension Matrix, to get multiple enemies in the air at once.
Discharge Power Cells: When fighting in the air, you’ll primarily be dodging bullets. Use the Discharge Power Cells to give yourself a damage boost for every perfect dodge, making your in-air fighting even more devastating.
Ballistic Inserts: Since some of those bullets are going to hit you, Ballistic Inserts will lessen the damage.
Stormbolt Discharge: One of the last mods you can get, the Stormbolt Discharge builds up static electricity on Spider-Man when he fights in the air, and when he attacks enemies on the ground, it discharges the electricity to stun guys. It’s perfect for those times when you’re forced to return to Earth after crushing a bunch of guys with aerial attacks.
Web Blossom (Classic Suit power) — The Classic Spider-Suit power is a massive blast of webs that can take down a bunch of enemies all at once, making it perfect for those situations where it feels like you’re getting overwhelmed.
Battle Tech: If you’re planning on going nuts with webs, the first mod you can buy, Battle Tech, is a great one. It gives you additional Focus for your gadget take-downs, which pairs great with…
Scavenger: …the Scavenger mod, which gives you additional gadget cooldowns for taking guys down with Finishers. That should help you create a feedback loop as you beat enemies, using gadgets to get Focus to use Finishers to get gadgets.
Webbed Striker: Another Focus-generator, the Webbed Striker mod gives you a bonus to Focus for all web attacks.
Metabolic Converter: A good alternative if you need one, the Metabolic Converter gets you some gadget refills when you’re taking damage, in case you’re low on charges and Focus.
Electric Punch (Electrically Insulated Suit power) — This power works like electric webs for your fists, turning every punch into a stunning blow that can chain to other nearby enemies. It’s great for controlling groups of enemies and putting them all down fast.
Arms Race (Secret War Suit power) — This stun power creates a shockwave that travels away from Spider-Man, rather than relying on his fists. It zaps enemies, but maybe more importantly, it also disables their weapons, so you won’t have to deal with getting shot so much.
Reactive Lenses: You can use enemy grenades against them to great effect, but occasionally one will go off in your face. Reactive Lenses keep the flashbangs from being a problem for Spidey.
Ferromagnetic Harness: A good alternative to Reactive Lenses with the same idea at its core, this mod reduces how long energy weapons and grenades stun you, for when one of those electric grenades goes off before you’re able to throw it back at enemies.
Charged Outer Mesh: This mod makes our suit electrify anybody who touches it, giving you a quick stun on any enemy who gets through your offense. Just note it’ll need time to recharge once it zaps somebody.
Stormbolt Discharger: Get your enemies in the air and you’ll build up a charge that you can then use on enemies on the ground. It’s like having a personal lightning strike and it’s pretty awesome.
Bullet Proof (Spider Armor – MK II Suit power) — As the power makes clear, this whole suit is designed to stop bullets. This power specifically can stop any and all incoming ballistic damage, even that of snipers, so when you absolutely know you’re about to get shot, use Bullet Proof.
Titanium Alloy Plates (Spider Armor – MK III Suit power) — An alternative to the MK II power that stops bullets is the MK III power that reflects them back at whoever shoots them at you. The trouble here is, sniper rounds can’t be reflected.
Ballistic Inserts: The suit mod that reduces incoming damage from bullets is pretty key to keeping yourself from dying at the end of somebody’s rifle.
Blast Plates: The slower, slightly more irritating version of bullets, is rockets. Especially late in the game — lots of players have them and the Blast Plates mod will make dealing with those guys less deadly.
Threat Sensors: Even if you’re mostly bullet-resistant, you’re going to need to dodge incoming shots. The Threat Sensors mod slows time after a successful perfect dodge, giving you time to take down enemies and assess your next course of action.
Quad Damage (Fear Itself suit power) — Turn on this power and you’ll crush some skulls (not literally). The power gives Spidey a huge increase in damage, so if you’re going for the direct punch-in-the-face approach, this is a great one.
Iron Arms (Iron Spider suit power) — The four spider arms that come with the Iron Spider suit are great for crowd control. They wallop enemies and knock them down, while also making Spider-Man take up more space in the fight so you can hit a guy from further away. The result is that you basically become a wrecking ball who barrels through enemies.
Concussion Strike (Spider-Man 2099 White Suit power) — Every time you hit someone with this power activated, they go flying. If nothing else, it’s hilarious.
Unrelenting Fur (Last Stand Suit power) — This power makes your attacks unblockable even by shields, so you can just pound through baddies with nothing to stop you.
Gel Padding: If you’re planning on being a straight brawler, this mod will help you stay in the fight longer by reducing incoming melee damage.
Full Charge Capacitor: Anything that increases the damage you do when pounding on enemies is good. This mod gives you a damage bonus when you’re at or near full health, so you start a fight off right.
Discharge Power Cells: Another damage booster, this one gives you a little oomph from making perfect dodges, because while you might dish out a lot of punishment, you still have to make sure to avoid getting hit.