I liked the first part of Spider-Man DLC The City That Never Sleeps. I liked it. It was more of the same but I liked it. I hoped the next parts would be better. This … this is not better.
What made The Heist fun was the relationship between Black Cat and Spider-Man and how that affected Peter Parker’s relationship with MJ. The gameplay might have been more of the same, but we got to see more of Peter and there was character development and it was fun.
In Turf Wars, instead of MJ and Black Cat, we’re focusing on another woman in Spider-Man’s life, Yuri Watanabe. I like Watanabe! She’s super cool. I was excited to see more of her. But the thing is, we don’t. And I think that’s where Turf Wars fails. It doesn’t have the one thing that made The Heist good.
The plot is basically Watanabe getting into a huff and spending the majority of Turf Wars avoiding Spider-Man. He’s left all by himself. And it’s just Spider-Man, too. There’s no Peter Parker. No other recurring characters. Or that’s what it felt like anyway. Any interaction with MJ or Miles was only ever over the phone – and never in cutscenes.
I was bored. I had no drive to continue the DLC. Eventually I did manage to finish it and I was rewarded with Hammerhead’s first hint at a personality – which, to be fair, was an exciting moment. I don’t read the comics, so I don’t know Hammerhead. He wasn’t scary in The Heist and that indifference continued right through Turf Wars. Perhaps this is a spoiler, so maybe skip to the next paragraph if you’re pedantic about spoilers … but he finally got some good lines near the end and I started to realise what kind of a person he was! Why didn’t we have more of this throughout the game?
Now, Turf Wars did actually improve upon the idea of side missions. There are still more Screwball challenges and there are still Maggia bases to close down. But each base helps MJ in her case against the Maggia, and you get a few new pieces of information that compliment the main mission story. Spider-Man also has a “legit” reason for doing Screwball challenges now, and so every time he completes one, he pings her general location and gets closer to finding her.
Unfortunately for Turf Wars, I do not play Spider-Man for its challenges and criminal bases. I play Spider-Man for Peter Parker and how he juggles his civilian life with his crime fighting life, and how he interacts with all his friends, Miles, MJ, Watanabe, etc. None of that was present in Turf Wars!
Add to that the final battle was pretty meh. The fighting is still the same great stuff, but the supposed cliffhanger at the end just felt like the story was being left unfinished, instead of being a tantalising teaser for the next and final part.
If you love Spider-Man, don’t get this chapter standalone. Let’s see if the third and final part makes it all worth it.