As the final piece of The City That Never Sleeps add-on content for Marvel’s Spider-Man, Silver Lining has a lot to take care of.
It not only has to wrap up the story from the previous two chapters, October’s The Heist and November’s Turf Wars, but also lay the groundwork for Insomniac Games’ inevitable sequel.
Thankfully, Silver Lining proves to be largely successful in both regards.
In Silver Lining, Spider-Man’s friend and NYPD former police captain Yuri Watanabe has been placed on administrative leave following the events of Turf Wars. As a result, Spider-Man loses his main source of support of the NYPD as he goes after the villainous mob boss Hammerhead.
Yuri’s absence from the main story actually proves beneficial in a number of ways. For one, it gives us more of Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship, which is always utterly endearing thanks to strong writing and Yuri Lowenthal and Laura Bailey’s delightful performances.
This also makes way for Silver Sable, the foreign mercenary that was rather wasted in the main game. Fortunately, Silver Lining gives Silver Sable the pathos her character sorely lacked before while also giving her a number of great scenes with Spider-Man. Seeing them alternate between butting heads and begrudgingly work together makes for a real highlight in the entire City That Never Sleeps expansion.
Meanwhile, Yuri’s character herself also benefits from a sidequest line that dives deeper into her fall from grace in Turf Wars. While it’s still frustrating that nothing in the main game ever alluded to Yuri’s complicated past, Silver Lining mostly makes up for this by setting her up for a potentially fascinating role in future games.
The story falls short in its depiction of Hammerhead, however. I was hoping that Silver Lining would make up for his underwhelming, stereotypical characterization in Turf Wars, but it leans even further into it instead by making him a full-blown mecha-supervillain.
This translates into an excellent climactic boss battle but also makes him feel even more like a goofy cartoon character — particularly disappointing when compared to Insomniac’s clever takes on other classic Spider-Man villains like Doc Ock or Norman Osborn.
What does carry over from the main game, though, is Insomniac’s ability to inject intriguing narrative threads into otherwise by-the-numbers optional content. Collectibles this time around come in the form of evidence that’s part of an engrossing murder mystery, while the typical Horde Mode-style gang hideouts are made meaningful through the addition of a sympathetic Sable mercenary that Spider-Man ends up working with. The returning challenges from social medialite Screwball also feature some creative challenges and witty banter, though the payoff to that questline is rather anticlimactic.
While I hope that Insomniac comes up with more varied types of side content in the future, the current offerings are still worth experiencing for these story bits alone. Plus, it’s hardly a bad thing to get more opportunities to play with Spider-Man‘s top-notch combat and traversal mechanics.
Finally, Silver Lining introduces three new suits for Spider-Man, including one wonderfully cartoony one based on the stellar Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Frustratingly, you have to complete all of the content in Silver Lining to unlock it, but it’s well worth the effort.
Overall, Silver Lining is a rock solid conclusion to The City That Never Sleeps expansion. From a gameplay perspective, it offers more of the fantastic combat and web-swinging found in the base game, along with a few neat setpieces and boss fights.
While the central mob war story is a drag and Hammerhead ultimately winds up being a mediocre villain, Silver Lining nevertheless triumphs thanks to the compelling Spider-Man and Silver Sable pairing. Moreover, the game’s side content with Yuri and tantalizing post-credits scene hint at even greater things to come. If this is indeed the swan song for Marvel’s Spider-Man then the game is going out on a high note.
All three episodes of Marvel’s Spider-Man: The City That Never Sleeps can be downloaded together for $33.49 CAD on the PlayStation Store or individually for $13.49 each.