Marvel's Spider-Man: Turf Wars

Game of the year talk is starting to ramp up for 2018. One game in the running is still making its case however, with part two of its post launch DLC dropping recently. Swing back into the action with Marvel’s Spider-Man: Turf Wars.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Turf WarsMarvel’s Spider-Man: Turf Wars Details

Platform: PlayStation 4
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action-Adventure
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Swingin’ in the rain

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Turf Wars is the 2nd chapter in the three part DLC arc “The City That Never Sleeps”. Once again you’ll play this chunk of content as a separate save file, with new separate tasks to complete across New York City along with the continuing story beats.

Turf Wars takes place on a rainy day in New York, and it’s definitely refreshing to swing around the city in a new weather system. It also lends atmosphere to the feeling that you are experiencing a new story on a given day in Spidey’s life. The consistent gloomy weather mirrors the seemingly unending drudge as his battle with crime never ends.

Some of Spider-Man’s costumes even take on different textures to show the rain. You can actually see the drops bouncing off the silver Spidey logo in his new Spider Armor MK-1 suit.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Turf Wars

Stuck in the middle

Unfortunately Marvel’s Spider-Man: Turf Wars doesn’t really offer anything spectacular in the way of an interesting narrative. As the middle chapter in a three part series, it really doesn’t do much more than provide a bridge to what will hopefully be a more dramatic conclusion.

Absent is Black Cat—the character who really drove the excitement in part one. In her place the story tries to find an interesting emotional dynamic between Spider-Man and Captain Watanabe (and her crew). Ultimately this attempt to manufacture some drama falls flat on poor dialogue and cliche though.

At the end of the day, Spidey’s conflict with Hammerhead in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Turf Wars just feels like a very short bit of filler to stretch out the DLC package. It almost aims itself at completionists as if to say “hey, you missed a spot”. It’s a snooze-worthy side quest to pass the time along with a few new spots to clear from the mini-map.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Turf Wars

New objectives and enemies

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Turf Wars brings with it a very small set of additional objectives. A few new hideouts sprinkle the form of Hammerhead outposts. Screwball is back again as well with new challenges for Spider-Man to complete.

Of course a number of new crimes will appear for Spidey to stop as well, this time featuring Hammerheads goons. As always the bonus with these new objectives is that their rewards carry over to your main campaign, making it even easier to unlock suits and upgrades locked behind the tokens earned during these tasks.

Just like the last DLC, Turf Wars introduces a new enemy class as well. This time Hammerhead’s goons manage to dip into some of Sable’s tech. The result is a jet-pack clad shield-bearing baddie who bull-rushes Spidey at a speedy velocity.

Dodging this fiend is tricky enough, however to add to the difficulty, he also leaves a wave of gadget-disabling EMP disturbance in his wake. If Spider-Man crosses it he will lose the ability to use his gadgets for a short period of time.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Turf Wars

Unbalancing act

Personally I find this new class of enemy to be a bit of a cop out. It most certainly takes combat scenarios up a notch in difficulty—which might seem like a good thing for those who have already mastered the game and are looking for a challenge. However I still find issue with the balance of power this new foe wields.

The issue I have is that the new jet-pack baddie is so fast that he can interrupt actions you’ve already committed to perform. Throughout all the previous content in the game, if you have successfully locked Spidey in a combat animation (such as swinging an object or enemy in a circle to knock back opponents), then you are generally safe to perform it. This bad guy can get you even after you’ve starting your attack, and there is no way to cancel out even though you know he is coming.

Again, many might see his as a good thing as it adds an additional level of challenge to the game. Unfortunately it can also be frustrating, as it essentially flies in the face of what the game has taught you thus far about how to succeed. I imagine it being a particular nuisance to those who have taken a break since playing the core game, as they may have to question whether the combat is really changing or if they simply are forgetting how the game controls.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Turf Wars

The glitches are starting to sneak in

Sadly I’m not certain that Marvel’s Spider-Man: Turf Wars gains the benefit of the same level of polish as the core title. While my experience up to now has been exceptional, I found more than my share of bugs while playing Turf Wars.

My entire first mission had an enormous issue textures not loading properly. A full reboot solved the problem—and I’m willing to admit that this could aslo have been a hardware issue. My next big glitch certainly was not though.

In one instance I had completed a mission, but was not able to move on without receiving a “leaving mission area” warning. Ultimately I was ok, but at least briefly the worry was legitimate that I might have to replay this mission over again.

I certainly didn’t encounter anything game-breaking, but these issues along with a few other minor glitches still lead me to believe that Turf Wars is just a little more rushed than any other content in Marvel’s Spider-Man.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Turf Wars

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Turf Wars is a sub-par addition to an otherwise amazing game

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Turf Wars may not be the shining point of the DLC arc, but it’s still fun to play for the most part. I may seem fairly critical, but when you consider what a spectacular game this is overall, it’s worth noting that even so-so Spider-Man DLC is better than a lot of games—it just doesn’t meet the high bar set by its core campaign.

The high point for me is definitely swinging around New York in the rain—I love the atmosphere. The story is short and weak, but hopefully the lackluster middle act will be overshadowed by the grand finale to come.

+ Stormy weather

– Weak narrative
– A few glitches popping up


Gameplay: 4/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 2.5/5

Overall Rating 3.6/5 (73%)

Get The City That Never Sleeps (digital download) for PlayStation 4

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Dave Neufeld
Dave is an avid gamer, a musician/songwriter/recording artist, and an ardent reader with a degree in the Classics but a love for comics too. When he's not gigging with the band or pulling books at his local comic shop, he can usually be found gaming on any platform, from consoles to PC to his self-built personal arcade cabinet.