Spider-Man is back on PS4 and PSVR. Although, he isn’t quite the same as Insomniac’s iteration from last September. Instead, we get to play as Tom Holland’s version of the web-slinging teen from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We only get a short, twenty-minute experience; however, the Spider-Man: Far From Home Virtual Reality Experience improves upon the tie-in that was produced for Homecoming, focusing on gameplay rather than trying to be a visual spectacle.
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man
The Spider-Man: Far From Home Virtual Reality Experience picks up with Peter relaxing in his room, before being called by Ned who hastily tells him to put on his suit and go swinging around New York to finish up some errands. After a short tutorial teaching me how to swing, I was let loose, free to explore New York, running on the ground or swinging from building to building.
Surprisingly, the swinging felt cool and novel for the length of the experience. Aiming the Move Controllers, pulling the triggers, and flicking the wrist to point, shoot, and pull me forward towards a building was a great experience. Doing this with both hands at the same time gave me an extra boost forward, which was a nice touch. New York City doesn’t exactly look great, with poor textures and a lot of pop-in, but the experience is more about, well, the experience, not the graphics.
Of course, with this freedom, you have the possibility of a lot more issues that VR is prone to, particularly motion sickness. Luckily, this can be minimised by choosing to narrow your field of view. Turning the option on will put a large black void around the edges of the display when you are in the air. It gives the impression that you are looking through a keyhole. Having this on gave me no issues whatsoever and the swinging was easily the best part of this experience.
You can opt to play in the ‘immersive’ mode which doesn’t apply the keyhole-like effect; however, upon trying this I had to stop after a few swings because I instantly felt queasy. Therefore, I recommend opting for the ‘comfortable’ mode of play, as the experience still gives you a good impression of what it is like to swing around New York.
More Than Just A Swinging Simulator
After a minute or so of swinging, drones start to appear around the city. All of a sudden, the screen fades to black and Peter is knocked out of the air. As Peter awakens, I look up and realise I am in front of a large mechanised robot that is half a skyscraper tall. Oh, and that robot uses chunks of the roads as armor.
This part of the experience turns into a chase sequence where you must stop the robot before it reaches Central Park. Here is where the demo loses the fluidity of swinging through the streets and becomes clunky and frustrating.
The first phase of this fight focuses on removing the armor from the robot by shooting webs at the pieces and pulling them off. You can swing your way in front of it and slow it down by creating a web wall, which is done by shooting a web at two opposite buildings and bringing your arms together, as well. For the most part, this section worked well and was fun to play through, even if the robot wobbles and turns a lot making it hard to target your webs at times.
The second phase of the fight is just frustrating and poorly made. After trapping the robot with a web wall for the final time it will make a last stand by shooting out a red laser that will disable your web slingers. A few flying drones will also come down and shoot lasers that do the same thing. The problem is that if you get hit by one of these lasers your web-slinger is disabled for upwards of five seconds, which gives the drones and the robot more than enough time to shoot you again and restart the cooldown on your web-slinger, effectively stun-locking you
It became a game of running around trying to dodge the lasers (they are very hard to dodge) or hiding behind a building and waiting for my Slingers to recharge, quickly shooting the drones, and peeking out from behind the building to get as many shots as possible on the robot before it fired another laser. It felt like everything was against me and no one even tested this section.
Free Swinging In Free Play
On top of the Story Mode, the experience offers a Free Play mode, allowing you to swing around New York as much as you want. Here you can complete a few small tasks, such as combat trials and swinging time trials. Although, this is busywork and offers nothing in return. Ultimately, this mode is bland and if the novelty of swinging hasn’t worn off by the time you finish the Story Mode, it sure will after a few minutes in Free Play.
The Spider-Man: Far From Home Virtual Reality Experience is a solid way to spend twenty minutes. It offers a mostly exciting experience and fulfills the Spider-Man fantasy in an enjoyable and comfortable way for VR.
Past those twenty minutes, you won’t find much to do. Nevertheless, the experience is free and if you have some spare time on a rainy day fire this experience up and go for a swing downtown on PSVR.