I wanted Marvel's Spider-Man on PS4 to make me feel like Spider-Man: To sail between the highrises of New York City, to nimbly web up hordes of enemies, and tussle with familiar, animal-themed villains. Insomniac Games' first foray into the world of Marvel handily delivers on all of that. But what I didn't expect from Spider-Man was to come away feeling just as fulfilled to have inhabited the life of Peter Parker. Aside from a few odd pacing issues, which momentarily took me out of the experience of being a superhero, and a world of optional missions that don't always quite live up to the heft of the main story, Insomniac has delivered a Spider-Man story that both surprised and delighted me, coupled with gameplay that made me feel like Spider-Man nearly every step of the way. The Wall Crawler's open world doesn't consistently deliver the thrilling moments of its main campaign, but the foundation laid here is undoubtedly a spectacular one.
I didn't want the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy to break what wasn't broken. Thankfully, Vicarious Visions clearly didn't want to either, and the studio's reverence for the original maddening yet rewarding challenges that have stood the test of time is clearly on display. On one hand, that leads to the frustrating limitations of the original Crash Bandicoot persisting 20 years later. But it also results in the incredible visual and aural overhaul and the gameplay tweaks to earlier entries, like time trials and crate counters, that Naughty Dog added later in the series. Those additions make the overall package so much more cohesive while never forgetting what made, and what still makes, so much of Naughty Dog's original trilogy a blast to play.
“From the Gallows” makes good on the gamble of season 3 in shifting focus to a new main character and making me care about Javi as much as I cared for Lee and Clem back in season 1. The fifth episode encompasses both what worked and didn't about A New Frontier — namely, the ideas of allegiance, love, and family for the former and erratic pacing and an inability to make the overarching story of much interest in the latter. But the season finale spends much more time on those successful aspects, capping A New Frontier in satisfying fashion while setting up a potentially exciting continuation down the road.
"Thicker Than Water," other than its satisfying ending, is the season's weakest episode yet. Little that precedes the action-packed conclusion feels like it has much, if any, weight to the ongoing story I'm invested in — namely Javi's life and his relationships with Kate, Clem, and David. I'm absolutely on the hook for the season finale after that strong start and thrilling ending — I just wish everything before it hadn't felt so thin.