Spider-Man Remastered’s PC Port Is A Swinging Success

Spider-Man Remastered’s PC Port Is A Swinging Success

Sony announcing its plan to release first-party games on PC was a shock to the system. Not because the idea of seeing a God of War on Steam was strange — that phenomenon had already happened — but because of the company’s desire to really push publishing efforts on the platform, ramping up from a few high-profile games here and there to a third or more of PlayStation’s portfolio come 2025. Essentially, PC fans will be getting a ton of awesome Sony titles in the near future. That of course includes the upcoming Spider-Man Remastered, which proves to be a solid port of one of Insomniac’s best games.

First released on PlayStation 4 in 2018, Marvel’s Spider-Man was amazing. Following the exploits of a seasoned Peter Parker, fans were able to experience a dope (if somewhat bloated) plot in which Peter’s personal life nicely complicates and ramps up the stakes of his responsibilities as a superhero. An early bout with the Kingpin leads to an encounter with a group called The Demons. Explosions and wisecracking ensue. Before long Peter and several other characters are caught up in a grand conspiracy that culminates in the birth of the Sinister Six. Good times.

Spider-Man Remastered is the definitive version of this hit action-adventure game. Released in 2020 on the PS5, it presented the same plot, the same great combat mechanics, some nice accessibility features and the best web-swinging found in gaming. It also contained new and previously released DLC as well as a spiffy new coat of paint; fans were able to thwip around New York in either the 4K Fidelity mode, which ran at 30fps but offered enhanced lighting effects and ray tracing, or in the Performance mode, which offered a dynamic resolution at a stable 60fps. More recently, an improved Performance mode was added that allowed for ray tracing by adjusting the game’s resolution, reflection quality and more.

What all of this translated to was an improved version of a very good game. The same thing can be said of the PC port, out August 12, as it offers even more visual enhancements. We’re talking performance-boosting NVIDIA DLSS, support for different screen setups, unlocked frame rates and more. Players will need to have a proper rig to run Spider-Man at the higher settings, and there are some issues that’ll need to be addressed in order to make this version worth fully recommending. All that said, Peter Parker has never looked better.

For those of you who haven’t played the original game, let’s touch on what you can expect from it regardless of which version you play. Spider-Man’s narrative is reinforced by impressive voice acting and a solid bit of world building. The streets of New York feel alive as pedestrians go about their business, only to be interrupted by a car chase or someone robbing a convenience store. Intervene and some onlookers might cheer or ask to take a selfie. Others might be miffed that you ran into them while trying to catch a criminal. Regardless, all of your deeds will be remembered. If it isn’t John Jonah Jameson reminding people how you let the Rhino get away, it’s inevitable damage to the city that’ll reflect your recent battles.

Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku
Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku

Of course, the usual open-world “requirements” are present. Visiting a surveillance tower will pepper the map with any number of extracurricular activities to do in a given area. That said, most of what’s available entertains thanks to how great it feels to be Spider-Man. This is especially true when it comes to the more action-oriented segments. Spidey is proficient in combat, easily bouncing from opponent to opponent, juggling them in the air before webbing them to a lamp post. Certain foes — like shield toting goons or rocket-pack-wearing soldiers — might require different manoeuvres to defeat. No worries. A nice list of unlockable skills and gadgets bolsters an already decent move set. And thanks to his Spidey Sense, you can dodge incoming attacks with a well-timed press of a button.

The fighting in Spider-Man can be challenging at times. If you fail to utilise stealth against a large number of enemies or decide to take on some of the tougher wave-based encounters unprepared, you might find yourself restarting from a previous checkpoint. None of these encounters ever feel unfair though. Rather, they’re almost always entertaining thanks to the combat mechanics and responsive controls.

When you aren’t punching bad guys in the face as Spider-Man, you’ll be hiding from them as MJ or Miles Morales. You’ll hide behind things and knock over objects or hack devices to lure guards aways from an area, usually during key story moments. These stealth sections aren’t as engaging as one would like but they do help in spacing out the near constant fighting.

Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku
Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku

We could spend all day explaining why Marvel’s Spider-Man was the best superhero game when it launched (its follow-up, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, is even better) by detailing its plot and assorted game mechanics. Just know that it’s still a blast to play regardless of platform. Shifting the focus back to this Remastered PC port, let’s talk visuals. The game looks awesome. Running it at 2K at 60fps was a breeze. With NIVIDA DLSS on there might be a dip in frames while swinging around the city, hitting as low as 56fps, but for the most part Spider-Man stayed at or above 60.

In my further tinkering with settings, toggling on HDR resulted in deep darks and richer colours. This mode can be adjusted to reduce the glow of bright lights and such. Keeping most of the settings on high, dipping into very high here and there (for things like texture quality/bumping the ambient occlusion from SSAO to HBAO+), things ran pretty well for the most part. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case when I tried to utilise ray tracing.

For one, putting ray tracing on very high was a no-no. Spider-Man requires 10GB of video memory and my NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti only has 8GB; I could stand and take a screenshot but trying to move anywhere would cause the game to crash. That was more my fault than the game’s. I did, however, have trouble using ray tracing even at lower settings. My frame rate would drop to around 40fps at mid, 30fps on high. There would also be image noise or artifacts around objects that were really distracting.

Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku
Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku

To be fair, the build of Spider-Man Remastered I tested wasn’t the final build. DLSS wasn’t fully optimised, ray tracing was temporarily disabled for AMD GPUs, and more. That said, there’s ongoing optimisation work being done; a few patches were released ahead of launch that addressed most of these issues. I also have to take into account my PC build. While my GPU is great, I’m currently using an 8th-gen Intel processor pending an upcoming upgrade.

All in all, I can say that Spider-Man runs really well. The work being done to minimise the ray tracing memory requirements and optimise frame rates at all settings will help to mitigate what is probably the game’s only issue; I noticed some audio syncing problems and getting dark screens void of input options when trying to adjust a setting, but they’ve since been addressed in a patch. The real win is how adjustable the game is setting-wise. It’s possible to move things around enough to make what’s shown on your monitor look better than what’s available on consoles. You’ll need a powerful enough rig to get the best of the best visually speaking — 4K 60fps with ray tracing set to max will have to wait for a patch — but even at lower tiers the game looks amazing. There’s also keyboard and mouse support, haptic feedback and dynamic trigger effects for DualSense controllers, ultra-wide monitor support and more to tailor things to your liking. It’s even Steam Deck verified for those of you who were able to secure one of Valve’s nifty handhelds. Again, your mileage may vary based on your current setup/devices on hand.

The question of whether or not to purchase Spider-Man Remastered should be based on the strength of your PC. And maybe, if you were able to snag the elusive PS5. Beyond that though, there’s no reason to pass on Remastered. As it stands, it’s a solid port of a spectacular Spider-Man game.

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