A closer look at combat in Marvel’s Spider-Man

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This article is proudly supported by Sony Australia.

Marvel’s Spider-Man for PlayStation 4 has been generating a lot of buzz over its combat system, and with good reason. In Marvel’s Spider-Man, combat isn’t just about throwing punches and slinging webs. It’s a core part of the experience, a way for players to really feel like they’re Spider-Man.

That means fighting is about way more more than just pummeling a bunch of bad guys. The game’s physical world is a playground for Spider-Man, making the combat fluid and unpredictable. Yes, simple melee bouts are still important (Spidey can still throw a heck of a punch).

But as the developers at Insomniac Games have noted, the goal in the combat is to emphasize Spidey as a master of improvisation. Walls aren’t boundaries, they’re fulcrums to grab and launch Spider-Man into acrobatic maneuvers. That pile of wood over there? Grab it with a web and slam it into some poor bad dude’s face, then shoot some more web and pull yourself into another bad guy, feet first.

Being Spider-Man isn’t about having raw power at your disposal, it’s about using your wits, your powers, and a whole lot of awesome gadgets to save the day. Here’s everything you need to know.

Spidey’s sandbox

Much of the action revolves around the PS4’s square button. You can use the button to chain together your acrobatic abilities to find new and unique ways to take down the armies of criminals against you.

The fighting isn’t combo-based as much as it’s abilities based, leaving a lot of room for improvisation. You could launch an enemy into the air and then pile-drive them back down to earth to do massive damage. Or, you could throw them into the air, fire a spit of webs towards him, and then throw them down on the ground, sticking them to the pavement like wads of gum.

Your moves aren’t the only thing at your disposal, however. As noted, the environment provides an infinity of options for making some bad guy’s day really, really bad. Shelves, other enemies, and just about any nearby objects can be lassoed to knock out foes.

Gadgets that define you

Image via Insomniac Games

Spidey’s got a whole lot more up his sleeve than just some web slingers. Gadgets play a huge role in the game and feature prominently in combat.

The tripwire is a great example. Plant it on a wall and, when a target passes by, it’ll activate and ensnare the unlucky baddy, sticking them to the surface for the cops to pick up later. During combat, you can toss out a tripwire some enemies mid-combo, ensnaring both at once and taking out two birds with one web.

Surrounded by a veritable army of foes? Use the web bomb, which ensnares every enemy in the area to be stuck in goo for a brief period. There’s also a Spider-drone, an automated companion that fights alongside you.

Each gadget has multiple uses. How you combine them with your martial arts or with each other will define just what kind of crafty spider you are.


Spiders aren’t always in attack mode, and neither is Peter Parker. The game provides you with enough flexibility to be more stealthy and take out enemies before they even realize you are there.

Climb walls and find out of place perches to ambush enemies.  If you’re quite enough, this can help keep guards from sounding alarms, giving you more time to explore and plan out your next line of attack—or ambush.

Become the Spider-Man you want to be

Image via Insomniac Games

Insomniac has built the entire game around freedom. With so many different combat styles available, it pays back to explore every ability, gadget, and strategy at your disposal.

After all, with great power comes great responsibility.