Spider-Man quickly became the best selling PlayStation exclusive title of all time so it’s no wonder there’s an insatiable appetite for more.
Perhaps unlike any other DLC, people have been willing to buy a Season Pass outright for something they know very little about in order to continue their web-slinging adventures with Peter and MJ. Fortunately, they’ve made an excellent decision.
Because if The Heist is anything to go by, Insomniac have a magnificent treat in store for us and are set to take us on a journey that may even better some of the content in the base game.
Please be aware, this review will contain some slight spoilers for Marvel’s Spider-Man due to plot links. If you’ve not finished the game yet, please stop reading this review now.
As you well know, The Heist is centered around the relationship between Black Cat and Spider-Man. We briefly encountered the cat in the base game through the Black Cat Stakeouts but in The Heist we start to learn more about her motivations and aspirations. In that, Insomniac have introduced us to a complex addition to the cast who leaves an immediate impression.
It all begins when MJ tells Peter about a case she’s been following up, centered around the resurgence of the Maggia family. With Wilson Fisk behind bars, crime is on the up on as suddenly ex dons and mob bosses are feeling confident about claiming NYC for their own.
MJ’s got a lead on a heist happening in a local art gallery which she thinks is tied to the Maggia’s and so she asks Pe…Uh, I mean Spider-Man, to check it out. Turns out, it’s not as simple as it first appears.
Something The Heist really nails is character development. Sure, we got a lot of that in the central game, especially the relationships Peter establishes with Octavious, MJ, and May. But the interactions with Black Cat are a different level again and explore even deeper layers of both characters.
Spider-Man left us with a pretty big insight into Insomniac’s future plans. While a sequel hasn’t even been confirmed at this point, we sort of have an idea of where it can go based on the way Spider-Man ended. And The Heist takes that one step further with some interesting references to things that have happened and things that might come to pass.
It’s teased briefly in the trailer for the DLC, but Insomniac have really deep-dived into the comic archives for this one and worked in some intriguing plot threads that are going to carry The City That Never Sleeps into some exciting territory.
For the here and now, though, Spider-Man has plenty to keep him occupied. Not just chasing Felicia Hardy all over New York City, but dealing with the growing threat of mobs on the streets, entertaining Screwball and her legions of followers with new challenges, and locating some hidden artwork in the unlikeliest of places.
The Heist comes with its own set of trophies and is sure to get the completionists’ blood pumping all over again. That said, a lot of the content can be breezed through in one sitting. You’ll probably need to come back to get all the street crimes done and improve your score on the challenges but once it’s over, it’s not one you’ll likely revisit anytime soon.
At least for me. After this, I certainly feel a bit overstuffed with Spidey’s street crimes. I found myself running out of steam with them towards the end of the base game and now they’re at the point of overstaying their welcome altogether.
Insomniac have mixed things up a little bit by adding in a spider bot who can drive underneath cars to deactivate bombs, and there’s also a few new bad dudes to take down, including a menacing chaingun specialist, but the rest of the time you’ll still be stopping speeding cars, defusing bombs and taking out half the population of the city in one fight as before.
To be honest, if they make their way into the next two DLCs without some bigger tweaks and adjustments, I’m probably going to be skipping them entirely and powering ahead with the story.
Fortunately, there are other interesting things to pass your time. The new Screwball challenges are good fun and really amp up the difficulty in unique ways. You need to keep Screwball and her followers entertained throughout by taking photos at the right time, whether you’ve just beaten an enemy or you’re doing some web-tunnelling acrobatics through tight spaces.
They’re similar in structure to the Taskmaster Challenges in that you can get a bronze, silver and gold for performance, earning challenge tokens dependent on how well you do, and with set conditions ahead of each challenge. But the formula has been mixed up just enough to keep them feeling fresh and interesting.
Likewise, collecting hidden paintings in the city sees you looking in unexpected places for great reward. Especially when you gain further context for the story and learn more about the history of the world Insomniac are building.
And that’s where The Heist’s strongest card can be found. Narrative really drives this DLC and weaves a compelling, self-contained episode with a suitably dramatic cliffhanger that will keep you in suspense until next month.
Insomniac have tried some new things with the set-pieces and the gameplay mechanics, while also giving us a bit more of what we loved from the base game. Sparing no expense, they’ve even given us some cool new looks for Spidey to keep the aesthetic looking fresh, shiny, and new.
The Heist strikes a good balance, then. Offering a thrilling start to this exciting Season Pass, while giving us lots to look forward to in the coming weeks. Slight Street Crime fatigue aside, The Heist easily ranks up there with the best DLCs this year with its quality in narrative, generous offerings, and its ability to continue iterating on an already excellent game.
+ Strong storytelling and excellent character development
+ Interesting new gameplay mechanics
+ Cool new content to explore
– Can complete almost everything in one sitting
– Street Crimes need to take a break
Marvel’s Spider-Man The Heist DLC
8.5 out of 10
Tested on PS4
Code purchased seperately