Marvel’s Spider-Man is a huge game that’s best enjoyed when you have full mastery of the Wallcrawler’s many abilities. Some of these the game shortcuts for you since the story picks up eight years into Peter Parker’s turn as a superhero and he’s become pretty well established. Some require you to build up a lot of your own Spidey skills though, and if you want to be the best friendly neighborhood superhero you can be, you’ll want to invest in practicing swinging and unlocking the best abilities as early as you can.
Though Spider-Man is pretty great about tutorials, it’s also a big game where a lot of information comes at you pretty fast. Here’s everything you’ll need to know when getting started so you can get great at swinging, fighting, and fighting crime in Insomniac Games’ baddie-filled Manhattan.
Get the swing of swinging
As we mentioned in our Spider-Man review, you’ll spend a lot of time swinging around New York so you’re going to want to get good at it. Speed and distance are important, not just to get around quickly and efficiently, but also because some missions require you to quickly close the gap on enemies or even chase down cars and other fast-moving objects. Get good at swinging, and you’ll also get other benefits like building up your Focus meter — an essential part of combat.
Balance speed and altitude
The trick to swinging in Spider-Man is to balance when you start a swing and when you end it. Release high and Spidey will fling himself way up into the air, but at the sacrifice of forward momentum. Release lower and you’ll fly forward, but you’ll have a harder time maintaining altitude.
To achieve that balance, one key element is to make sure you hit the jump button (X by default) when you want to release each swing. You can get away by just releasing the swing button but executing a swing jump will give you a boost that helps keep both your speed and your altitude up.
You also build a little focus every time you make a swing jump, which means when you stop to fight crimes, you’ll be able to quickly heal or even execute Finisher moves right away.
Dive, dive, dive!
As you’re getting started you may find that speed when swinging comes from forward momentum, which means you don’t build that momentum from going horizontally, only vertically. The best way to get going really fast as you swing through the city is to let Spidey fall as much as possible. The thing that gets you going really fast is gravity.
When you swing jump, Spider-Man will usually roll his animation into a swan dive that lets him pick up more and more speed from falling. This is a big part of why doing jumps at the end of swings gets you going faster than any other move. You can execute a dive toward the street any time you want by pressing L3. It can be a bit tougher to gauge than normal swings, but the speed you pick up from diving is extremely useful for going very fast through New York.
Pick swingable routes
The lower the buildings around you, the tougher it is to get good, deep swings that give you the air you need to build up speed. As you’re swinging, try to stay close to tall buildings, and pick routes so you don’t fling yourself into an area where you’re up higher than all the structures around you — that can quickly cause you to fall and kill your momentum. The Zipline Web move (X button when not swinging) can help you save a little air to cross gaps, but a more skilled Webslinger would avoid those dead zones altogether.
Make liberal use of Point Launches
One of the early traversal upgrades you can buy after getting started is a more powerful Point Launch and you’ll want to snag it when you can. Point Launch is the move Spider-Man does when he shoots a pair of webs at a single spot, pulling himself to it, and then launches forward through the air. It gives you a big burst of speed and it’s great for those spots where there’s not much to swing from.
Spidey has several moves that allow you to keep moving even when you screw up. Point launches are the first available and they allow you to build up speed quickly, especially once you’ve added the upgrade that gives you an even bigger boost when you time your launch correctly. It’s also great for handling situations like walls and dead zones where there’s nothing to swing from. Get good at the Point Launch and it’ll help you around very quickly.
Pay attention to Benchmarks
There’s one whole tab on the Menu screen that includes Benchmarks you can accomplish as you play Spider-Man. They track everything, from how far you drop in diving free-falls, to how much distance you cover wall-running, to how many baddies you web up to walls, and more. Many of the benchmarks you’ll hit without even paying attention to them, but it’s worth knowing what they are and potentially tailoring your web-swinging and slinging to try to achieve them. Each is good for a small boost of experience points, allowing you to level up faster and unlock more moves quicker. You’ll have the most fun in Spider-Man as you’re making use of your whole arsenal of killer moves when getting around and encountering enemies, so the quicker you can level up, the better.
An introduction to fighting
Taking down bad guys in Spider-Man can get pretty harrowing because while Spidey is a super-powered brawler with lots of cool gadgets, he’s still just one guy and easily overwhelmed. The trick to surviving when you’re first getting started is making use of all of Spider-Man’s suits, abilities, and gadgets, as well as making use of your environment whenever possible to get in an edge in battle. Grabbing objects to throw at enemies or tossing them over ledges will help you thin out crowds and keep from getting taken down by New York’s criminal element.
Go for stealth whenever possible
The thing about fights in Spider-Man is that while you can handle a brawl of a ton of guys at once, it can be difficult, and Spidey takes damage very quickly. Especially in battles with guys carrying firearms — and there are a lot of those — you can be at a disadvantage of having to try to dodge bullets while also dodging punches, rockets, and guys swinging swords or crowbars. The good news is a lot of situations allow you to approach a fight unseen, even when dealing with open-world activities. Thinning out the number of guys you’re dealing with or taking out the most dangerous ones first (like the whip enemies that show up in the later stages of Spider-Man and will grab you out of the air) can make tougher battles a lot easier once you engage the whole group.
Don’t forget your webs and gadgets
It’s easy to get into the swing of beating down bad guys by punching them, knocking them into the air, and punching them some more, especially in the early game. Very quickly though, you’ll open up some great spider-gadgets that make fighting easier and a lot more fun. One of the best items in your arsenal, in fact, is your web shooter. Nail guys who are close to walls with webs and they’ll get stuck. The same is true of anybody you knock down. It’s a great way to reduce the amount of beating you have to dish out on enemies, and can seriously help you even the odds in tough fights.
As you play through the game, more gadgets will become available, like the Impact Webs (which are great for taking guys out by sending them directly into walls or off buildings) and Web Bombs (which cover everybody in an area in webs, which is super-handy for taking several guys out of the fight at once). It can be easy to forget to pull open the gadget wheel but try to keep them in mind and use all your capabilities to their fullest. Spider-Man is a superhero but he’s not hard to kill, and some battles can be pretty frustrating if you’re not using everything in your arsenal.
Keep it in the air
When it comes to unlocking abilities, your focus when getting started should be on the ones that make aerial combat cooler and more effective. The Swing Kick is a great move for juggling guys or sending them off buildings, for instance, and you gain more focus for keeping fights in the air — plus you’re a lot harder to kill. For most of the game, the only way you can be damaged in the air is by firearms, which allows you to control fights, thin out numbers and generally be a lot more effective in battle. Spidey’s acrobatics are his best asset, so use them.
Consult the Move List
Every time you add a new ability to Spidey’s combat assets, it’ll be added to the Move List on the Menu Screen. Check that list often — it’ll include useful information about combos and abilities Spidey can do that you might actually forget about. Spider-Man is at its best when you’re able to improvise your way through fights with a ton of different capabilities, and knowing everything you can do at any given time will make you a better fighter. For example, springing off enemies with the X button is a move that might not seem super useful right away, but do it to rooftop baddies while you have them in the air, and you’ll send them over edges in a hurry, which can be extremely handy.
Do some open world stuff
New suits, suit mods, and gadget upgrades are huge in Spider-Man because the game will throw lots of enemies at you, and ratchet up difficulty pretty quickly if you just stick to the story. You’ll need to complete open world activities to unlock upgrades to your gadgets and to buy new spider-suits that come with suit abilities that can be tide-turners. Don’t neglect them! Gathering Landmark tokens is actually extremely easy, for instance, as is grabbing backpacks as you pass them. Crimes happen randomly around you all the time, making them easy to pick off as well. It’s easier to get a general flow of completing open-world activities as you go than to stop and do a bunch of them at once, and you’ll appreciate the upgrades and gadgets you’ll add to your repertoire.
Complete objectives on open world activities
Every time you drop into an enemy base, take down criminals, or knock out the other open-world combat activities in Spider-Man, you’ll be offered a set of bonus objectives to complete during your beat-down. These usually include things like webbing a certain number of enemies to walls or kicking a certain number of bad guys off buildings. An important tip for players who are just getting started — don’t sleep on the challenges! They’re good for extra tokens upon completion of the activity, and those extras stack up in a hurry. You’ll be able to unlock a whole lot more stuff more quickly if you complete objectives whenever you can, and they also tend to make the open world activities a little more interesting when they otherwise might be a bit repetitive.
You can use Focus any time to heal
Your Focus meter fills up over time, allowing Spidey to execute Finisher moves that instantly take low-level minions out of battles. You can also use Focus to heal by pressing the down button on the D-Pad, but you don’t have to wait for a fully filled Focus bar to heal like you do with Finishers. You can get a small healing boost out of any amount of Focus. It’s best to use it sparingly since the reward for building up more Focus is a much more substantial heal, but the option is always there.
Reconfigure your suits and mods to the situation at hand
After your first hour or so in the game, you’ll start to build up tokens from open-world activities that you can spend on new spider-suits and suit mods. Suits don’t just look cool; they come with new suit abilities that can give you an extra edge in combat, and you don’t need to be wearing a particular suit to use its ability. Suit mods offer lots of different buffs like faster-building focus or more damage resistance. It’s worth it to unlock suits and mods whenever you can to give yourself different edges in battle.
For those of you who are just getting started, it’s important to know that you can also switch suits, suit abilities, and suit mods at any time — even mid-fight — by pulling up the Menu screen. That gives you the strategic advantage of customizing your abilities and mods to the situation you’re in. Getting punched a lot? Install the mods for melee damage reduction and additional focus for dodging. Trying to take down a bunch of guys at once? The suit ability that electrifies your fists can stun tons of guys at once, allowing you to control the crowd. Spend some time mixing and matching, trying different mods and suit abilities in various scenarios, and figuring out which of the batch are your favorites to make yourself a more effective friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.