Editor’s note: An audio version of this review can be found right here.

Superhero movies have become synonymous with high budgets and extreme polish, and with Marvel’s Spider-Man, Insomniac Games has attempted to push superhero games in the same direction. The game pits Spider-Man against a rogue’s gallery of enemies all trying to assume power in the vacuum left by the capture of The Kingpin, the godfather of New York crime. The story is conventional in some ways, and surprising in others, but for the most part it handles the Spider-Man canon with a high level of care and attention to detail.

The first thing you’ll notice about Spider-Man is how fun the traversal is. The game really nails the basic swinging mechanics, and offers a slew of upgrades to make it even more enjoyable. The same can be said for the combat, which plays like a modern take on the classic “Arkham-style” brawler. Through upgrades to Spidey’s suit, gadgets, and skill tree the combat blossoms from adequate to enthralling over the course of the game.

Some ill-conceived stealth sequences hold the game back a bit, but overall, Marvel’s Spider-Man raises the bar for what a licensed open-world game can be in the same way that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has reshaped superhero movies.

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