Following two underwhelming episodes, Marvel’s Spider-Man’s Silver Lining DLC finishes the Hammerhead saga. With the potential for something better off the table, it all falls on this episode to bring it home. Naturally, there is no Silver Lining to this expansion, if anything it just further dives into the problems of the previous episodes.
It goes without saying Peter will devise some tactic to bring down Hammerhead, which naturally involves Silver Sable, forcing the story to progress to an inevitable conclusion. The issue isn’t his defeat, though don’t mistake that for it being a good end, it’s the messy storytelling along the way.
The Heist focused on Black Cat, as a way to introduce Hammerhead to the story, without offering a satisfying conclusion. Her story ends on a cliffhanger, one without any tension, that gets resolved rather randomly in the middle of Silver Lining. Nothing is explained, it just acts as a way to bring Peter to where he needs to be to defeat Hammerhead.
As we saw with Turf Wars, Hammerhead might not be the most notable or interesting Spider-Man villain, but he has a plan. There is a lot to be said about villains who are more cunning than anything else. With him constantly being ahead, it’s Yuri’s desire to bring him down that leads to his plan coming together.
By the time we get to Silver Lining, it’s all building to the eventual confrontation between Silver Sable, Spider-Man and Hammerhead, that it almost forgets to tell a story. Almost everything from the previous expansions, be it Yuri’s complicated past or Black Cat’s possible demise are left on the back burner in favor of explaining why Silver Sable is motivated against Hammerhead.
Giving her home country of Symkaria a civil war gives her efforts meaning, at the cost of it just being thrown in. If this was a more prominent plot point in the beginning or appeared in the main story it might work out, however, it just adds as a reason to bring the two together. Worst yet, it also motivates MJ to choose her career over being in town with Peter.
By the time you get invested in the struggle, it’s time for the final confrontation. At this point it almost feels like you’re no longer playing a Spider-Man game. Hammerhead goes full Terminator, something the trophies suggest is a common thought, giving us another QTE boss fight.
Given their fears he might become unstoppable, it’s concerning he is among the easiest bosses, with some of the least interesting mechanics in the game. His defeat is certainly flashy enough to give players a sense of satisfaction, it just doesn’t have much else going for it.
Once we move away from the central struggle between Spider-Man and the mafia families, the core experience is more reused assets. There is a new crime family to stop, complete with different random crimes, though they all center on the same basic ideas. Screwball also makes her final appearance, giving Peter one last set of challenges to overcome before moving to the next game.
By the time you make it to the end, it’s just a lot of what we’ve already seen, coupled with another piece moving story. What will likely happen is Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, or whatever they want to call it, will pick up these threads and build a more compelling story around them. However, it’s just as likely we will see them hand wave story elements and just tell the adventure they want to. Whatever the case might be, Marvel’s Spider-Man: The City That Never Sleeps never lives up to the excitement of the original game, leaving us with a bunch of odd puzzle pieces. It isn’t so bad there is no point in ever playing them, they’re just the type of expansions that feel like a lot of good ideas that never quite come together or make sense in regards to how they play out.
[Editor’s Note: Marvel’s Spider-Man: Silver Lining was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]