We've hit Manhattan as your friendly neighbourhood hero in the PC version of Insomniac Games' action-adventure game.
Let's get to the point right away. Spider-Man is not a new game, in fact, we've reviewed this title a bunch of different times, be it at launch in 2018, and at its second launch in 2020 with the Remastered edition - which also brought the similar Spider-Man: Miles Morales to PlayStation 5 players. With that being the case, we won't be reviewing Spider-Man itself a third time to mark its PC launch. No, rather this review will be focussed solely on the performance of the PC edition, to see just how the game holds up on a platform that is generally superior to even current-gen consoles, when talking purely in a hardware sense.
So, if you've yet to play Insomniac Games' brilliant action-adventure title - and it is still brilliant, let that be known - then you can check out our previous reviews at the links above. But if you're wondering how the game plays on PC, this is the place to be.
To start with, it's worth noting that Spider-Man is a 2018 game, even if this edition is the more modern and pretty Remastered one. With that being the case, the game itself isn't a hugely demanding title, and you will be able to play it on a wide-array of PCs. But for the sake of this review, we've put the game to the test on a PC powered by a GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card, an 11th Gen i9-11900KF CPU, all backed up with 64GBs of RAM, and playing at 2K (1440p) resolution. Essentially, this means that the Very High graphical settings are an expectation, but how well do they run?
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Over our time testing, we discovered that on the top settings, the frame rates dip and peak depending on what you're doing. With Ray-Tracing and all the other graphical doodads maxed out, we found a peak fps of around 85-90, usually in cutscenes in buildings (not the open world). As for swinging through the densely packed streets of Manhattan and fighting crooks, the fps would drop as low as 35, although it should be noted that the fps would sit somewhere in between when simply standing in the New York streets.
Frames aren't everything however at this setting, as on PC you get a truly beautiful portrayal of the New York cityscape. From the dazzling reflections to being able to pick out the details of planes travelling over the distant city boroughs, there's not a lot to complain about here. And for a point of comparison, the PS5 would render this level of detail at a maximum of 60fps on the Performance RT mode, which used various tricks, such as lowering pedestrian density to ensure the console could render and support this level of detail and fluidity.
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As for those wondering about the other end of the spectrum, the lowest graphical settings made for incredibly fluid gameplay. During the most intense of moments, the fps would clock in at least at 71, with low stress situations seeing this peak as high as 203. It all makes for web-swinging and combat like nothing we've seen before in the game, and it's very satisfying to pull together a trick combo while catapulting over skyscrapers like this. The interesting part about the lowest settings is that the game still looks very, very good, even if there's a noticeable lack of the finest of details and reflections.
From our testing, the best setting to run the game at for less capable PCs would be the medium graphical options, as this saw fps ranging from a high of 171 to a low of 67, which isn't too far off the lowest graphics settings, but adds to the experience with a bit of extra detail here and there.
It should be known that one of the biggest and best improvements the PC edition offers is in the form of a field-of-view slider, which allows you to see more of New York City as you swing through it, and also gives you a better perspective of what's going on when in combat. This might be the best upgrade that the PC edition has out of all the features that it offers, as it just elevates the gameplay experience in pretty much every way.
The one area that the PC edition does lack a little in however is the controls and the DualSense support. The latter isn't bad in any sense, but if you want access to the full DualSense list of features (haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, etc.) then you have to play with a wired USB connection. Likewise, as PCs are generally noisier than the current-gen consoles when under stress, it's hard to appreciate the controller audio over the humming of fans and through a headset. The mouse and keyboard controls also work fine, but it's hard to say that they are even marginally comparable to playing Spider-Man Remastered on a controller, as it has been fundamentally built to be played with a controller ever since its original PS4 release.
My main concerns and issues with this game on PC are pretty minimal, but on the other hand, this PC edition doesn't feel like a huge step up as have other PlayStation-to-PC ports. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Spider-Man Remastered is one of few PlayStation Studios' titles that had a PS5 native edition before coming to PC, which makes the performance leap between the two platforms less impressive than say Days Gone, God of War, and Horizon: Zero Dawn, all of which at best received new-gen performance updates and never native PS5 versions.
Still, any PC players who have yet to experience this game should see the PC edition of Spider-Man Remastered as nothing less than a must-have, because this game remains one of the greatest PlayStation titles to date, and this port does very little to detract and hurt that impression in any way - if anything it slightly improves it. Long story short, Insomniac Games' title is still brilliant, regardless of where you play it. It's just a shame that the Miles Morales extra helping of content didn't arrive as part of this launch.
9 / 10
Visuals are incredible. High frame rate web-swinging is very satisfying. Performance holds up well at both the highest and lowest graphical settings. Field-of-view slider is a massive bonus.
DualSense support isn't as seamless. Shame it lacks Miles Morales content.