Now, you probably haven’t heard of an obscure little game named Marvel’s Spider-Man. It released in secret last week, to absolutely zero hype at all, and only those whose mama’s second cousin’s half-brothers work at PlayStation know anything about it. As you’ll see from our review, though, there’s a huge amount of detail and surprises to be found within it, including a very subtle yet neat Grand Theft Auto IV easter egg.
Open world games, as we all know, have really become a big deal lately. The likes of Horizon: Zero Dawn, the very open world (compared to previous entries) Monster Hunter World, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and so many more have all seen to that. They’re a product of it. The thing is, when you get saturated with that style of game, you start to take certain things for granted.
Will there be little minigames and sidequests to explore, as we travel through the world? There better be. Is there enough between waypoints to keep us engaged? We sure expect so. The fact of the matter is, an open world that’s too open is barren, lifeless and empty. It’s like walking along a grassy equivalent of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker’s Great Sea.
Marvel’s Spider-Man, meanwhile, tries to sidestep this by going the Grand Theft Auto V route. Here, the world is a vast and busy city, where there’s precious little room for empty space. The game is a treasure trove of little distractions, side-quests and crimes to deal with, as players are finding (we’ve got a rundown of some of the cooler things you can do outside of the main story right here, if that’s something you don’t mind having ‘spoiled’).
It’s also chock-full of references for Spider-Man aficionados to appreciate. Aside from that, as is often the case with the comic book world, there are nods to different aspects of pop culture spread liberally throughout too. One of the neatest of these has just come to light: a reference to Niko and Roman Bellic of Grand Theft Auto IV fame.
During the course of his Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man-ing, doctatortuga of Reddit, reports our hero is investigating a heist. He stealthily wall-crawls to the window outside the room where the thieves are making their plans, and overhears a man named Niko say: “Alright, Roman’s ready and we are running late.”
This is, of course, just the sort of thing that the Bellics would be getting themselves into. While it doesn’t affect gameplay in any way, it’s just another example of the care and attention to detail that devs put in their games at times. Marvel’s Spider-Man is full of these moments, big and small, and it’s always gratifying to spot and appreciate them.