If you’re already a fan of Insomniac Games’ masterful Spider-Man video game for PlayStation 4, I don’t have to sell you the three-part downloadable addon known collectively as “The City that Never Sleeps.”
Everything that you liked about the campaign in the main game—it’s in there.
The inverse is also probably true. If there were things in the game you didn’t care for as much, it’s in there, too. For me, that would have been the challenges, which could be a grind at times. In the main campaign, those were led by Taskmaster, and they were mostly okay (except for the drone challenges, which I despised). In the DLCs, those challenges were instigated by the social-media-conscious villain Screwball, who was as annoying as the challenges themselves. And not just because her voice reminded me of Kathy Griffin’s.
“The City that Never Sleeps” is actually three separate DLCs but are a linked storyline.
“The Heist” is the first part of the trilogy. This is where all of our foreplay with Black Cat in the main game finally pays off. Felicia Hardy AKA Black Cat is, of course, the Marvel analogue to DC Comics’ Catwoman, and, like Selina Kyle, Felicia is a master thief who also has a romantic past with her favorite costumed hero. Not surprisingly, parts of this DLC play more like one of the Batman Arkham games. That’s not meant as a harsh criticism, since I love the Arkham games.
This DLC offers up the lightest fare of the trilogy, but it sets up the plot admirably, if maybe a little slowly. Hammerhead is going to be our Big Bad this time. His army of Mafia-type goons seems underwhelming after the supernaturally powered enemies of the main game. At least, initially. The introduction of Project Olympus tech to the mix ramps things up a bit.
“The Heist” also ends on a cliffhanger that won’t fool you the least little bit.
The middle segment of the trilogy—”Turf Wars”— is darker in tone. There is no doubt that Hammerhead is the focus here as he and his thug army attempt to take down all of the other criminal families. While the combat is both challenging, at times, and quite satisfying, the emotional core of the first part of the trilogy seems to be missing. Spidey’s cop-friend Yuri is given a more complicated character arc. But, in this case, “complicated” doesn’t necessarily equate to convincing.
This is my least-favorite part of “The City that Never Sleeps,” which is surprising because I’m usually drawn to the darker style of storytelling.
The final act of the trilogy—”Silver Lining”—is the best of the three, in my opinion. Sure, the villain-revived-as-a-killer-robot plot has been done to death by now, in the comic books and in video games. But, it’s still fun. Silver Sable emerges as a more complex character, less of a villain and more of a dark hero, like the Punisher or Wolverine. And the story itself ends in a positive, uplifting way that leaves this player, at least, wanting more.
Viewed as one complete campaign, this DLC doesn’t really offer anything new to surprise gamers who enjoyed Spider-Man. There are some cool new suits, and more input from Miles Morales and MJ Watson. J. Jonah Jameson is still venting his spleen over the airwaves.
The opposition seems a little lackluster when compared to the supervillains in the main campaign as well. I can’t imagine it’s an easy task to make a throwback gangster villain such as Hammerhead as interesting as the likes of Doctor Octopus, Scorpion, Electro, The Vulture and every other Spider-Man supervillain I didn’t mention. Of course, what I wanted was a fully-realized Green Goblin. I guess something has to be saved for the inevitable sequel.
Firewater’s Downloadable Content Report Card: A
It may not rock your world like the parent title did, but you’ll enjoy it just the same.