Updated: Jan 20, 2019
The City That Never Sleeps has been regarded by some as an unfortunate blemish on what is overall, a fantastic game as seen in our review here. Its first installment was regarded as “a middling experience that is more repetitive than innovative.” Unfortunately, with Silver Lining, the third and final piece of content for Marvel’s Spider-Man, it concludes such a fantastic experience on a bland and sour note. But its existence to the gaming industry cannot be understated. Silver Lining, and the other two portions of DLC effectively, are a study on how amazing, tight gameplay can be blemished by sheer mission design. Every activity that the player accomplishes in this roughly 90-minute DLC highlights the issues that the original game had. From the janky camera to the frustratingly unclear UI in combat, Insomniac chooses to throw these issues in a loop as they are repeated constantly in a series of poorly designed combat sequences. Compared to the original game, Silver Lining lacks variety, and relies mostly on endless cycles of enemies for the player to take down. In just the first fifteen minutes, I was already prepared and willing to set the DLC and effectively the game down. And it doesn’t help that the story isn’t able to maintain the player’s interest when the gameplay frustrates. Featuring a bland and underwhelming story, Silver Lining concludes Insomniac’s achievement on a sour note, serving as a devastating reminder on the importance of game design.
If a game doesn’t have the intense or innovate gameplay, then the narrative is usually the one to glue the disparate parts together in order to create something somewhat cohesive. 2018’s Detroit: Become Human and currently being developed The Walking Dead: The Final Season are representations of this. However, while the gameplay of Silver Lining is frustrating and repetitive, its story simply isn’t there to supplement it. Nearly entirely dropping the intensive and promising conclusion of Turf Wars, Silver Lining chooses to resort back to one of the original game’s most under-developed characters, Silver Sable. And while this DLC does try to develop her through prolonged sequences of exposition from Mary Jane, Sable still comes off as a wasted opportunity, whose inclusion doesn’t add anything necessary to the overarching narrative.
In addition, as the final piece of DLC, there aren’t any prevalent stakes. Taking place in the bright sunlight, it’s an odd transition from the first two DLC packs as they both took place at night, giving it a pressurized atmosphere. Here, the stakes are never established, making the hollow villain in Hammerhead feel structurally useless. It also doesn’t help that his physical appearance isn’t seen until the conclusion of the entire episode.