The first chapter of the Spider-Man PS4’s DLC expansion in ‘The City That Never Sleeps’ was pretty disappointing for me despite it bringing in a personal favourite Spider-Verse character in Black Cat for ‘The Heist’. I found it far too short and lacking in anything really fun to enjoy story wise or gameplay wise but it being the opening chapter for what will be a three part expansion had me already looking forward to the second chapter in Turf Wars, and thankfully I enjoyed this extra story far more.
Now I will say that just like ‘The Heist’, this DLC can also be completed in just about 90 minutes if you just stick to the main story missions and under three hours if you do all the side stuff in the DLC. That is not a lot after a similar length for the first part and now has me worried that the third and final DLC chapter due in December called Silver Linings will suffer this same issue, I want to be hopeful that it will be longer but so far it is not looking good.
But I am rather happy to say that I really enjoyed the more grounded story in Turf Wars as it focuses on the criminal gangs who following the fallout to the main campaign and following Wilson Fisk being put in prison, are now fighting for dominance with Spider villain Hammerhead looking to take over the Maggia, its version of the Mafia, family’s turf. To do this he has managed to get hold of stolen SABEL Tech and is taking no prisoners in his desire to be the new crime boss of New York. He is an imposing character and unlike the sinister six team of villains from the main campaign, Hammerhead is all business and uses brute force, lethal violence and fear to get what he wants.
The opening really sets the tone for this chapter and it is a far darker one than I had honestly expected as Hammerhead attacks the police and puts ally to Spider-man Yuri on a course of wanting vengeance for most of the story forcing Spider-Man to try and end the turf war and stop Hammerhead before Yuri does something she will regret. It also puts Yuri and Spidey at odds as his failure to stop Hammerhead fast enough triggers Yuri to take it upon herself to stop him which scares our friendly neighbourhood wall crawler leading him to feel guilty about failing to help her but after their rather fun relationship in the main campaign with Spider-Cop being a fun bit of banter between the two but especially in Turf Wars, never comes up showing how strained things are between them.
I also really liked how the usual sunshine and blue skies of New York are replaced with constant rain and grey skies for the day time missions in the DLC, it keeps everything just that more grittier for the story telling and makes everything just so miserable especially with the story itself confined to only the northern parts of the city in Harlem keeping it in the more industrial parts of the city just helps make if feel locked down as a side story to everything that has happened. Even the additional content such as the crimes you get to stop in each district have that tone with snipers on the roof looking to take out our hero and the police as well as the lovely touch of Spiderman shadowing police convoys as they take an informant into protective custody before Hammerhead’s goons can attack them.
Just like with ‘The Heist’ the Screwball challenges returns as the reality TV and online wannabe villain Screwball is still obsessed with forcing Spidey to play her games to get views and followers o social media but I have to admit, I actually really liked these challenges which focused on combat and stealth take-down scenarios but were much tougher than the first DLC. Being tougher is definitely the way of things here as well with all the enemies being far tougher than expected and I say this as someone who just completed the game on New Game Plus on Ultimate difficulty and this DLC, which was played on Spectacular difficulty, was far tougher than playing the main game on Ultimate. The new SABEL tech saw jet-pack uses now having shields and the ability to drop electrical shock trials behind them which can cause Spidey damage and prevent the use of his web gadgets until the effects where off. It did become a little frustrating especially when tackling the Hammerhead base fights to just get obliterated in seconds by a combination of these new enemies as well has just about every enemy having a gun or missile launcher but I welcomed the new challenge now that I have maxed out Spider-Man at level 50 with all gadgets upgraded fully and skills unlocked.
Turf Wars is again a very short DLC but is certainly more enjoyable to play with a very solid story that removes all the super powered enemies for one in Hammerhead that feels more street level and something Spider-Man would deal with on a daily basis. I loved that Yuri was given more screen time as we learn more about her early days as a cop giving her character more substance in this world created by Insomniac Games. The subtle hints that Peter has already started to train Miles Morales via the calls to Peter throughout this DLC just makes me wish one of the DLCs had or could feature Miles as a playable web slinging character, but by holding back and just teasing at his training gave me smiles and chills whenever Peter took his calls. The action was thick and fast and has a few solid set pieces to enjoy and its finale gives no clue as to what will happen in the final DLC chapter due out in December.
I certainly enjoyed this 2nd DLC far more than The Heist and the three new spider suits including finally getting the true Iron-Spider Suit from the Civil War comic saga was a real treat for me as a long term Spidey-fan and whilst the new suits are purely cosmetic and do not come with any new suit powers, they are cosmetically fun to use in the game showcasing again just how in touch with the fans Insomniac are at this point. I just hope the final DLC is longer and meatier and wraps up everything nicely as well as my own person hope it will end with a tease for more DLC in 2019 or hint at a sequel.