Spider-Man is back for his first DLC outing just less than two months after the game launched in September. The first part of Insomniac's three-part City That Never Sleeps series, The Heist centers around Black Cat, aka Felicia Hardy. My ignorance of comic book lore makes me feel like Black Cat is Spider-Man’s answer to Catwoman, but I’m sure there’s more to it than that. Her appearance was teased in the base game, but her introduction still manages to be surprising and unpredictable.
Check out our original review of Spider-Man here.
The DLC begins with Spider-Man investigating some suspicious gang activity, leading him to bump into old rival and ex-girlfriend Black Cat. Her first appearance is a memorable one and The Heist delivers on her character. She’s mysterious and complicated, while being both alluring and threatening to Spider-Man. There’s some interesting conflict and character development as an awkward romantic triangle between Peter, Mary Jane, and Black Cat rears its ugly head. This tension permeates the DLC, keeping things fresh and uneasy for the 2-3 hour duration.
You’re given a fresh set of set activities to complete alongside the narrative throughline. There’s one new thing thrown into the bunch, which has you complete a mini-game to defuse a bomb before disarming the other smaller bombs within a time limit, but it’s mostly more of the same stuff from the main game—robberies to stop, car chases to intercept, bad guys to beat up. As someone who 100%’d Spider-Man just a few weeks ago, doing more of the same wasn’t exactly the most thrilling thing in the world.
On top of the side activities, you’ll find a fresh set of challenges to engage with from the annoying streamer lady. Although the writing for these can be a little groan-worthy, the challenges themselves provide some of the DLC’s most unique slices of gameplay. The swinging-focused challenges are pretty basic, tasking you with taking a specific route to disarm EMP bombs, but the combat challenges are more interesting.
They require you to take down a set number of enemies in a certain time while adhering to the rules. The rules include things like using only two specific gadgets to take down foes or defeating them in a small area. They make for some interesting and compelling challenges and they had me wishing for more like it. There’s also a brief questline you do for soon-to-be-retired Police Officer Detective Mackey. It’s an engaging enough storyline, but it’s a little thin.
There’s no real reason to do a lot of the side activities if you hit max level before going into the DLC. I hit the level cap of 50 with no real problem during my time with the base game, so I was disappointed by the lack of any new abilities or an extension to the skill tree. There’s a couple of new suits to unlock, but neither offers a unique ability. The lack of anything mechanically new makes most of the DLC feel like more of the same, combining swinging with sneaking and fighting in a way that doesn’t mix things up much.
Of course, the core systems are still great fun to engage with. The swinging is as responsive as ever, while the combat and stealth are still sharp and fluid. I got more than my fill of that stuff in the base game, however, so it quickly became a little tedious. The DLC doesn’t offer much of a challenge on the default difficulty, either. I was more than equipped to dispatch groups of guys in a few swift moves. Each encounter felt like a slog I wanted to get through as fast as possible to reach the next cutscene.
More of the same gameplay means more non-Spider-Man stealth sequences. This time around there’s only one, which has you playing as MJ, and it’s a fairly brief one that doesn’t outstay its welcome. Without getting into spoiler territory for those who haven’t finished the main game, there’s a tease relating to Miles that addresses the repercussions of that post-credits scene, but it seems you’ll have to wait for another DLC to see that play out.
Ultimately, The Heist provides Black Cat with a memorable introduction, doing her character justice. Some exciting potential is set up for the two remaining pieces of DLC, but the surrounding content is thin and largely recycled. The formula at the core of Spider-Man is a quality one, but Insomniac need to try some new stuff if they want the appeal to last. Another DLC comprised of the same gameplay doesn’t sound very interesting.
TechRaptor reviewed Spider-Man: The Heist on PlayStation with a copy purchased by the reviewer.
The narrative surrounding Black Cat and Spider-Man is interesting and engaging, but the side stuff is recycled and disappointingly thin.
- Great Introduction For Black Cat
- More Great Swinging And Action
- Sets Up Some Interesting Stuff For Future Content
- Recycled Side Content
- Side Stuff Comes With No New Incentives