Spider-Man was one of the most anticipated titles of the year, understandably fans went nuts when the game released and was every part as good as well hoped it would be. So, naturally, we were all super hyped to hear about the 3 DLC story chapters Insomniac Games have planned. The first of which is The Heist.
Spider-Man: The Heist DLC finally introduces Black Cat as more than just a handful of collectible missions scattered around New York. The way the DLC ties into the main game is executed brilliantly; As you identify each of Felicia’s stake-out targets, Peter comments on her possible motives and targets, questioning what she’s doing back in New York and robbing dudes once more. Beginning the DLC reveals just what Cat is up to and reunites the old lovers in an unexpected way while Spidey is off investigating a disturbance, as he often does, a familiar face shows up in exactly the kind of way you’d expect.
First things first though; How do you start Spider-Man: The Heist DLC? This is actually really simple and the title menu screen even tells you how to do it. Starting the DLC is as simple as loading up your game file, opening the map and pressing L1 or R1 to navigate through the tabs to the DLC tab. Select The Heist and it will begin loading you into a brand new and “cleaner” version of New York. I would also recommend that if you haven’t completed the main campaign’s storyline then blitz through that and collect all of Black Cat’s stakeouts before beginning The Heist.
At first, I thought this was a little weird, why not just integrate The Heist into the existing world? But on reflection and actually playing the campaign through it makes a lot of sense. Swinging through New York without having to deal with Demons, Sable, Rikers or Kingpin henchmen is actually a nice change of pace. That and Black Cat brings her own problems to the city for you to deal with in the form of the Maggia crime families.
For anyone who doesn’t know, there are five Maggia crime families who make up one of the many different mobs attempting to dominate New York City in the Marvel Multiverse. These guys exist within a delicate symbiosis and truce where they co-operate in order to survive against leviathans like the Kingpin, but of course, being mobsters they’re totally okay with stabbing each other in the back. Which is the premise of Black Cat’s return to The Big Apple.
Sticking to the main game’s pretty great writing, The Heist is just as entertaining as the full game, if not more so. Felicia and Peter have a pretty steamy past, something of which Cat takes great pleasure in reminding Spidey at every turn. You would think this gets overplayed, but it’s totally in keeping with her character and Pete’s overly awkward response every time never gets old. Peter and Felicia’s interactions are all pretty good fun, full of euphemisms and awkward fumbling from our favorite web-slinger.
Of course with the new DLC comes a whole host of new “Just the Facts” podcasts where J. Jonah Jameson criticizes pretty much everything in his scathing tirades about the fair-haired feline and spandex-clad wall-crawler. As with all the others they are full of Jameson’s very special brand of truth, although with a couple of topics you find yourself struggling to disagree with the man. These little news bites are immaculately well timed and help break up the periods of inner musings while swinging across the city.
It would be rude not to draw attention to Cat’s character model, only seen in small parts during the main game. As you’d expect she’s all curves and skin-tight leather with some incredibly well-animated movements and fancy gadgets. There’s a number of exceptional sequences, especially when chasing Cat through Chinatown after getting tazed. The parkour foot-chase sequence is a nice change from the high flying and slightly awkward aerial pursuits. Cat even joins Spidey for a stealthy-takedown mission at one point and shows off her cat burglar prowess by mercilessly beating down a bunch of Maggia thugs. I’m sure they’re just taking a cat nap.
While discussing controls, it does seem that Spidey’s handling has been somewhat improved, this may be due to The Heist or an earlier update. Hurtling through the skies of New York has been made easier and gives more control of Spidey’s positioning in the air. It could be that this has always been there and some time away from the title has made it all the more noticeable.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an open world DLC without a good ol’ collectible mission, and when dealing with an infamous art thief it’s no surprise you’re collecting stolen paintings! This was actually a pretty fun collectathon, as the story behind it was pretty interesting. Detective Mackey gets you swinging around the city hunting down a collection of masterpieces stolen by the original Black Cat, none other than Felicia’s father. As a side-mission, it added a pretty interesting element and enhanced the characterization of Black Cat.
Spidey’s supporting cast makes a return in the form of the customary MJ stealth mission. Although I didn’t dislike these in the main game, it felt kind of unnecessary and didn’t add much. Miles appears only in the form of conversation and a couple of calls to Peter but teases that he will make more of an appearance in the newer expansions, possibly in Turf War.
All in all, Spider-Man: The Heist is a thoroughly enjoyable play. Timed perfectly in order to bring players back to the title and introduce some fun characters and elements. Turf War is likely going to feature a battle between the Maggia families and possibly involve the Kingpin’s thugs, Demons and Rikers as well. Considering the late game situation all out war between the factions wouldn’t be unsurprising.