Shacknews Game of the Year 2018 - Marvel's Spider-Man

It's more than a great superhero game. For all the different ways that it excels, Marvel's Spider-Man is Shacknews' 2018 Game of the Year.


This year has been a strong one for gaming experiences and gaming stories. God of War entered the year with a strong gaming story. Sea of Thieves offered a strong gaming experience, with stories for days. But the top games will stand out by offering a blend of both. What's a strong gaming experience, a strong video game story, and offers opportunity to tell stories from those gaming experiences? The game that stood out above the rest for 2018 was Marvel's Spider-Man.

Insomniac set the tone from the very beginning. It's Peter Parker getting out of bed, seeing the adult problems ahead of him, putting them in the back of his mind, and throwing on his costume to swing through New York. The fluid movement, the excitement in his voice, the sense that after years on the job, it's just as thrilling as ever. That sensation carries over from the opening cutscene to the game itself, where players can crisply and seamlessly swing through a faithful re-creation of New York. The level of detail in Spidey's web-swinging, the different buildings across the city, and the thousands of citizens roaming the streets is something to behold.

Shacknews 2018 Game of the Year - Marvel's Spider-Man

Speaking of New York, it's every wannabe superhero's dream playground. There's a rich story to follow, with Spider-Man making efforts to turn around his complicated relationship with the New York Police Department. There are collectibles to be found everywhere, crimes-in-progress that can be stopped (and ones that are more satisfying than retrieving red balloons), side missions that dive into different sides of Spider-Man lore, and puzzles that exercise Peter's scientific prowess. There are several ways to play, thanks to the detailed skill tree that utilizes different facets of Spider-Man's powers. All of those different skills lend to the intuitive combat that builds on the best of the Batman Arkham formula, both in terms of freeflowing moment-to-moment combat and stealth gameplay.

The narrative is one of the best stories of the year for any game, as well as one of the best Spider-Man stories, period. Rather than repeat any of the points made in our Best Narrative entry or our original review, it's simply worth adding that the stories that come out of Marvel's Spider-Man go beyond the game's plot. Players come out of this game with stories based on their experiences with the combat, with trying to get from one side of New York to the other, with finding an easter egg they just discovered for the first time, and with the game's brilliant Photo Mode. A picture is worth a thousand words and this game's Photo Mode stands out as one of the best ever made, much less the best one of the year.

Marvel's Spider-Man is more than a great superhero game. It tells a phenomenal story, iterates on its central mechanics brilliantly, and offers reasons piled on reasons to return to New York for another web-powered tour of the city. Combined with a narrative that doubles as the best Spider-Man and the best Peter Parker story ever told in games and Insomniac's blockbuster stands out as Shacknews' 2018 Game of the Year.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 31, 2018 2:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Shacknews 2018 Game of the Year - Marvel's Spider-Man

    • reply
      December 31, 2018 2:37 PM


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      January 1, 2019 5:55 AM

      Where is the Chatty GOTY?

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      January 1, 2019 6:12 AM

      That’s surprising. The amount of bad jokes that they force you to listen to should be more than enough to keep that game off of any goty list.

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        January 1, 2019 6:19 AM

        It’s good but not even in the same league as God of War.

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          January 1, 2019 6:41 AM

          No argument here, I’m working through rdr2 at the moment and it is without question the best game I’ve played in 2018. god of war is on my backlog.

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          January 1, 2019 6:56 AM

          I’m totally with you. It’s a seriously well-made and fun game, but surprised it’s number one.

    • DM7 legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
      January 1, 2019 7:06 AM

      With games like God of War and RDR2, this was the best game? lol I say! :V

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      January 1, 2019 7:09 AM

      Have they published the chattys list?

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