It’s simply so much fun to be Spider-Man in Marvel’s Spider-Man that you’ll look for any excuse to hop back into it and swing around, which is what players get to do with the release of the second chapter of “The City That Never Sleeps” DLC chapter: Turf Wars. If you’re looking for more Spider-Man action, Turf Wars will not disappoint in the least, however a short playtime, repetitive tasks, and a hollow story make this feel like a stop-gap chapter at best between The Heist and the final episode in December.
Turf Wars picks up after The Heist and focuses on the crime lord Hammerhead’s rise to power in the wake of the vacuum left vacant after the arrest of Wilson Fisk. It starts off strong with a battle between Hammerhead’s men and the NYPD – a cutscene at the end is masterful work that we won’t spoil – but it fails to really build into anything after that and when it does try to advance the world, it seems very forced.
This episode focuses at lot on Spider-Man’s partner in the NYPD, Yuri Watanabe, but the way in which they change her character here compared to how she was in the main campaign feels very unearned because it’s such a drastic shift in her personality. Those who read Spider-Man comics know what Yuri will eventually become, and even if you don’t, you’ll still feel like this change should have been saved for the next game in this series instead of being introduced here. For playing such a large part in Turf Wars, Yuri is also largely absent from it without even an MJ style stealth mission thrown in for good measure.
Those looking for even a little closure after the The Heist’s final will also come away disappointed as it seems those threads that are lightly touched on here are being held off until next month at least. Black Cat in The Heist brought some interesting details that shed new light on Spider-Man’s past leading up to this game, and Hammerhead offers no such insight. You spend so little time with Hammerhead that he’s never made to be that big a threat as it sets him up to be with the final moments of Turf Wars being downright silly.
The Heist wasn’t a terribly long addition to Marvel’s Spider-Man, and what makes Turf Wars that much more of a let-down is how little of it there is. There’s no new collectibles to track down, there’s barely any main missions – though one where you’re controlling spider-bot is pretty fun – and the side activities are made up of more bases, something there was already too much of, and Screwball challenges. If you’re looking for a challenge at least, the new bases will certainly provide them as the chain-gun enemies from The Heist are mixed in with every other enemy type from the campaign plus a new foe that has a jetpack as well as an energy shield and it can get pretty heated. While Screwball is an obnoxious framing device, the challenges she offers are for the most part fun, save a few stealth missions that don’t blend with the “photobomb” stipulation she’ll throw at you.
Like it was for The Heist, Turf Wars adds three new costumes for you to unlock, but they once again don’t add any new abilities to play around with and while all are fan-favorite suits, two are armor themed in a game that’s already full of too many variations of this theme. It’s also a bit of a slog to unlock one as it’s placed behind having to once again clean up all the crimes in multiple districts which is less desirable to do after tackling four bases with six waves of enemies each.
Turf Wars gives you more Marvel’s Spider-Man, which is good in theory because the mechanics of this game are so much fun that it has rightfully been nominated for Game of the Year awards. As a stand-alone chapter though, Turf Wars adds very little to this universe created by Insomniac with a shallow villain and a forced turn for a character that was handled far better in the main campaign. Coupled with a small number of main missions and repetitive distractions, you’re probably best saving this until all of the chapters of “The City That Never Sleeps” are released unless you’re starved for more Marvel’s Spider-Man.
‘Marvel’s Spider-Man’ Turf Wars DLC is available now for PlayStation 4. This review is based on a copy purchased by the writer.
'Marvel's Spider-Man' Turf Wars
- More Spider-Man
- Tough missions for those looking for a challenge
- Too short
- Anemic story and questionable character motivations
- Repetitive side-content
- New suits are cool, but offer no new abilities and most are new armor types