The best villains in media are the complicated ones. Those who do morally questionable things for morally justified reasons, who are tricked or forced into crime, or who go along with worse people to protect loved ones. After all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And sexual tension between cats and spiders.
You might need context on that last part.
Marvel’s Spider-Man launched to near-universal critical acclaim, and was one of my own favourite games of the year. So when I swung back in to New York to check out The Heist DLC, I had high hopes. These hopes were well justified.
The Heist begins with, unsurprisingly, a heist at an art museum. Some mob goons are trying to steal a painting, and Spider-Man decides that won’t happen on his watch. Things get complicated when Black Cat, part-time lover and full-time frenemy of Spidey, enters the fray. Black Cat is, incidentally, one of my favourite Spider-Man characters. She’s out for herself, usually, and operates by a strict moral code; steal from those who can afford it. In a world of nutcases and violent criminals, her motives are clean, clear, and refreshingly controlled. Her past relationship with Spidey is front and centre in their interactions, leading to some delightfully awkward conversations with Mary-Jane. Hey, they were on a break!
Also, it’s been months, but to avoid spoiling the main game let me just say that the minor continuances of the main plot are on point, and brought a smile to my face.
More of the Spider-Same
The Heist DLC adds a few main story missions with Black Cat, which are among the best in the game. There’s also a new faction, in the form of the Maggio crime family, complete with (sigh) more random crimes to stop around the city. Many of you loved this, I know, but it was the low point of Spider-Man for me, so I have ignored them as much as possible. These are needed, I guess, because The Heist reloads your game without Demons, escaped prisoners, or Kingpin goons. Same with the new collectables; they’re there, they’re kinda fun, but they’re not anything special. The new Spider-Suits are pretty nice though, although I’m loathe to stop rocking Iron Spider.
If you liked the Taskmaster challenges in Spider-Man, rest assured there are more challenges to follow. This time, Screwball the streamer wants you to get her more fans on the Marvel equivalent of Twitch. It’s slightly ironic that this was the first game I played on stream ever, and it actively poked fun at streaming, but let’s breeze past coincidence. These are similar to Taskmaster, with added ‘Photobomb’ elements, rewarding you for defeating enemies in certain areas or ways, or swinging through the right area. The highlights for me were the gadget challenges; I almost never used the anti-gravity Suspension Matrix in the main game, but when I only had those and Trip Mines, it was an uplifting experience.
I’m not sorry.
Stealing my heart
All in all, The Heist is DLC at its best. It brings an excellent character into the foreground, complements the base experience just enough, and doubles down on why Marvel’s Spider-Man was such a great game to begin with. If you liked Spider-Man, you’ll like this; here’s hoping the rest of the DLC is as spot-on as this.