Let's start by addressing the elephant in the room. Despite owning a PS4 and PS5, I've never played Insomniac Games' critically acclaimed Marvel's Spider-Man or Miles Morales. While my love for Marvel peaked with X-Men: The Animated Series and Gambit's fierce Cajun accent, I've always had a soft spot for superhero video games. And, as a massive fan of previous efforts from Insomniac Games like Sunset Overdrive, I'm not sure why it took me so to play this former PlayStation exclusive.
Thankfully, one of my cardinal gaming sins was rectified this week when I dove face-first into Spider-Man: Remastered. With a host of visual enhancements and a suite of PC customization options, a whole new audience can enjoy this revered open-world experience, including web-slinging on Valve's excellent handheld gaming machine.
After spending the last several days virtually soaring above the streets of New York City from the comfort of my toilet, I can say Spider-Man: Remastered kicks serious ass on Steam Deck. There are a lot of great games you can play on Steam Deck, but Spider-Man might be one of the most impressive.
Spider-Man: Remastered — Visuals and performance
Like other PC ports of PlayStation Studios titles such as God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn, Spider-Man: Remastered is Steam Deck Verified. This designation promises solid visuals and performance without needing to tinker dramatically in the settings. In my testing with Peter Parker's superhuman prowess, this is absolutely the case.
Given the open-world nature of the title, I was thoroughly pleased by the draw distance and environmental details. The stunning and enhanced New York City landscapes really shine, and even during chaotic action sequences, the Steam Deck maintains a consistent framerate. Even without ray tracing activated, the reflections on glossy surfaces like passing cars or recently waxed floors are undeniably impressive. With default settings registered to medium across the board, there isn't much to complain about regarding the graphical aesthetic of Spider-Man: Remastered on Steam Deck.
Spider-Man also excels in the performance department. Framerate purists may be slightly disappointed by the initial target of 35-40 FPS. Still, you can move the handheld version potently close to a locked 60 FPS with some quick adjustments. Something as simple as enabling FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) from the Steam Deck's operating system elevated my average framerate from under 40-50FPS. If you're willing to take a hit in overall fidelity, dropping some settings to low or increasing dynamic scaling should deliver the 60 FPS you crave.
The Steam Deck can't directly compete with the visual possibilities of Spider-Man: Remastered on a high-end gaming PC or PS5. However, considering the relatively weaker specifications of this portable PC, the handheld adaptation of this beloved action game is worth the concessions. If you want to play Spider-Man: Remastered at 120FPS with ray tracing, use your RTX 3090. If you want to enjoy swing-kicking drug dealers from a Taco Bell parking lot, the Steam Deck is your best bet.
Spider-Man: Remastered — Steam Deck gameplay
As I mentioned in my review, I've grown fond of Steam Deck's unconventional gamepad. The left and right trackpads have proven far more functional than I originally anticipated. From inventory management to precision aiming, the ingenious incorporation of mouse-like sensitivity with the established design philosophies of traditional console accessories consistently heightens the control options on Steam Deck. Spider-Man: Remastered totally benefits from this gamepad flexibility.
In many ways, I'm spoiled by the robust functionality of the Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller. The rear paddles have transformed my expectations of modern hardware and using standard controllers when playing action-oriented titles just hasn't been the same since. The four buttons on the back of the Steam Deck gamepad enabled me to remap actions like jump, dodge, and special attack. This deep customization allowed my thumb to remain firmly locked on the right stick.
Gyro controls are another supplemental way of busting crime in The Big Apple. I haven't been the most prominent advocate of gyroscopic gimmicks in video games. However, my admiration for the technology has grown regarding handheld gaming. Subtly shifting my Steam Deck to gracefully command Spider-Man across skyscrapers and scenic landmarks feels extremely satisfying. Gyro controls probably won't be the primary way I play Spider-Man: Remastered, but when kicking back in bed, I greatly appreciate the choice.
Spider-Man: Remastered — Should you buy?
Spider-Man: Remastered's PC release brings a fantastic superhero adventure to even more players. With noteworthy additions like ray tracing and support for up to 240Hz, this sprawling city sandbox will undoubtedly look and run better than ever if you have a premium gaming rig. As a re-release of a title that launched in 2018, some critics may find the $60 price tag a bit lofty. However, with massive graphical enhancements and the inclusion of the City That Never Sleeps DLC, it's probably an easy purchase for Spidey fans and others who want the best PC games to justify.
Compared to the wild possibilities with this PC port, the handheld version provides an objectively inferior experience to its desktop counterparts. That said, I've had limited interest in installing Spider-Man: Remastered on my gaming PC because of how stellar it handles on Valve's tiny PC that could. I intend to play the entirety of this open-world epic on Steam Deck.
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Miles Dompier is a Freelance Video Producer for Windows Central, focusing on video content for Windows Central Gaming. In addition to writing or producing news, reviews, and gaming guides, Miles delivers fun, community-focused videos for the Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel. Miles also hosts Xbox Chaturdays every Saturday, which serves as the Windows Central Gaming weekly podcast.