Today marked the official release of Marvel’s Spider-Man’s first DLC; “The Heist”. This DLC marks the first in a trilogy of chapters that formulate the “City That Never Sleeps” story package that will have subsequent releases in the next two months. And, rather unfortunately, you can tell. This DLC is definitely on the shorter side. I managed to complete the content to 100% in around only three hours. Now, this may immediately ring alarm bells for some but rest assured, what is there is of the same high quality that was present in the base game.
Despite its short length, “The Heist” actually manages to portray a rather compelling Black Cat story that will seem very familiar to those who are aware of the character even to the smallest degree but it still manages to pull a few of those emotional punches that the main game dished out in droves.
Limited Yet Promising
I am finding it quite difficult to describe my experience with this DLC. After all it has the same stellar gameplay that I adored in the base game, the swinging mechanics still manage to illicit a child-like giggle from me whenever I play the game, and the acting is as superb as ever with every line hitting in exactly the way it means to. So then why do I feel so conflicted?
I think the bulk of my confusion with this piece of content undoubtedly lies with its length. A main story that requires only around two hours to complete it and side missions that feel somewhat tacked on so that no one would complain. I think my main issue with this is that I just find it a little lazy. It seems a little odd to me that these DLCs are being slowly churned out over the next few months when Insomniac clearly wanted to release this story as a whole. And it shows. From the moment the ending cutscene played I just felt a sudden stab in my side that reminded me that I would have to wait another month for the continuation of this story, and then another month after that to find out the conclusion.
Thankfully, there is quite a lot that I actually really liked about this DLC. I bought this DLC for one main reason, I wanted to see where these characters could go and how this particular Spider-Man story could progress. If you’ve read my review of the base game then you’ll know how much I adored the portrayal of Peter and MJ in particular. And it has to be said that this DLC does deliver on the story front. New characters are brought into the mix, classic Spider-Man characters are alluded to, Peter and MJ’s relationship gets even more fleshed out and the pace at which this story is told feels natural and fluid. Which is why it feels so bittersweet when those credits roll, just as it did in the main game. I found myself wanting more. More of the cinematic-like experience that I just played through. More of the excellent voice cast and more of the witty dialogue. More of the familiar yet slightly altered story beats that keep the characters fresh and exciting. More Spider-Man.
Additionally, Insomniac have added three new suits into the game; Spider-Man UK, Scarlet Spider II and the Resilient Suit. While I am personally not a major fan of any of these suits, the level of detail on each of them must be praised. The fabrics all look unique and the lighting of each curve adds an incredible amount of detail. I am sure that many fans will be happy, especially with the inclusion of the Kaine Scarlet Spider.
Despite the very obvious issues with the length of the DLC I have to commend the developers for pricing it accordingly. Here in the UK the whole “City That Never Sleeps” bundle was only £15.99 and if this DLC is the standard then I can expect around nine hours of stellar gameplay with superbly acted cutscenes. In an industry that is currently thriving on predatory microtransactions and squeezing every last penny out of the consumer it is a breath of fresh air to see that Insomniac have not stooped that low.
“The Heist” is an experience that should be played by fans of the base game and the titular character himself. Just maybe not right away. And with Red Dead Redemption 2 around the corner it may be wiser to wait until all the DLC has been released and play it all in one longer session rather than wait a month between instalments. But is this DLC worth it? Yes, I would say so.