We have more than enough Spider-Man movies. Why is it taking so long to get a good virtual Spider-Man game?
Spider-Man is the coolest a superhero can possibly be. He doesn't have the stuffiness and obvious powers of a Superman who just flies in the same way we mere mortals can make ourselves get up and go to the fridge for a soda. He moves through cities with the sleekness of a pro skateboarder and shoots webs with the aim of a military assassin. What part of that doesn't sound like the most awesome VR game you'll ever play? It's taking all my strength not to go to the roof of my building with a nylon cord and two cans of Silly String right now. At least I can simulate the feeling with my Quest 2 and a good pair of hand straps.
The only Spider-Man "games" that come close to those descriptions on the Meta Quest and Rift are more of an "experience" than a game. The VR versions of Spider-Man: Homecoming and Far From Home have the Spider-Man name and logo but they're more of a mix between a shooting gallery and a choppy, interactive, animated movie than a full game.
Resist is the best thing we've got to a first-person Spider-Man game and that's just the first of many great compliments this title from The Binary Mill deserves.
Our Oculus Quest Game of the Week column highlights recent Meta Quest titles, indie gems, App Lab up-and-comers, or cool sideloaded mods. Games that we didn't have time to review but deserve recognition.
For starters, Resist is NOT for people afraid of heights, real or virtual. Resist is the kind of dizzying attraction that makes Richie's Plank Experience and The Climb feel like a trust fall in a psych session.
You take on the role of Sam Finch, a resistance fighter going up against an evil corporatocracy called Astra Robotics. She infiltrates the tech giant by getting a job as a high-rise window washer who's tasked with bugging an executive's office on (where else?) the top floor of a huge skyscraper. The simple plan becomes something much more complex and sinister when Sam gets framed for murder and chased down by military drones more than 1,000 feet in the air.
Sam is saved mid-fall by a mysterious program occupying her mind that gives her the ability to shoot grappling cords out of her gloves and maneuver mid-swing through a complex urban landscape called Concord. Some of Astra's arsenal includes drones and huge robots armed with a heavy dose of firepower.
So Sam starts her new quest with a pair of laser pistols that can be upgraded to different weapons like handheld shotguns as she progresses through the game and completes a series of missions and challenges. Her abilities and armor can also be enhanced on a point tree that allows for bigger jumps, more effective shots, and slower swing times.
Oh and as if that wasn't awesome enough, she also has a jetpack.
Getting in the swing of things
The main component of Resist is movement and you can move REALLY fast in this world. You can traverse just about any area of the map by doing a super jump from the ground or the tops of buildings and shooting cables from your hands to latch onto surfaces and swing from place to place.
You can control the direction of your swings by rotating your wrist that's holding the grappling cord and/or turning your head in the direction you want to go. It takes some getting used to using your wrist and head as part of the controller but you don't instantly die if you faceplant into a building or fall from too far of a height. Whether or not you do a superhero landing, however, is completely up to you.
Once you get the hang of the controls, the swinging is the most enjoyable and thrilling part of the game. Resist gets more exciting when the shooting component kicks in and you have to evade an enemy that's trying to disintegrate you or get to a higher spot for a clearer shot. It's like playing Tony Hawk Pro-Skater if gunplay was allowed.
An open world of puzzling possibilities
The shooting and swinging action never gets repetitive because there are all sorts of challenges to tackle in this complex world of corporate espionage. The map is complex and the challenges are varied. The whole layout looks like the heavily decorated map of a Rockstar Games open-world title littered with all sorts of different things to do.
Part of Sam's duties require a keen sense of puzzle solving as she hacks into radio towers to gather intelligence and digital billboards to help push the Resistance's propaganda machine. These can unlock more side missions and storylines to gain more points for upgrades.
Just being allowed to swing, fly and shoot in mid-air would be enough for an adventure game but Resist adds some strategy with an interesting RPG element. Sam has the ability to upgrade her arsenal and skills as she completes main and side missions. Some of these upgrades give her different weapons with faster shots or greater damage, higher health bars, stronger protection from enemy fire, and slower swing rates so she can get to the finish line faster and outrun her enemies without doing a George of the Jungle into the side of a building.
Just swinging from buildings and shooting at robots can get repetitive without other things to do in between bot battles. Resist is an adventure game that takes inspiration from other virtual genres just to mix up the fun. All of the missions are seamlessly woven into a complex storyline so they don't feel crammed in for the sake of variety.
The write stuff
One of the best and most surprising pluses of Resist is the writing. It's clever, bracing, gripping, and even funny at times and not one line of dialogue feels forced to fit into the story or the gameplay.
Resist's story is loaded with satiric themes about authoritarianism and the effects of corporate malfeasance but it never takes the story too seriously like some writers who believe they are writing the next cautionary George Orwell novel. It's a delicate balance of the societal tech fusion of William Gibson and the anti-bureaucratic wit of Douglas Adams.
Every line whether it's an instruction or a plot point sounds like it comes from actual people and not voices buzzing in your ear. They curse. They cry and scream. They emote without chewing the scene like it's a stick of spearmint gum. A lot of care and attention was given to what comes out of characters' mouths from the main cast to the most minor roles. Even the side missions that are simple race challenges take opportunities to throw satiric shots at things like clickbait media and the voyeuristic spectacle that has become our modern Internet.
Resistence is FUN-tile!
Most players would've been happy with a game that just lets you swing like Spider-Man and shoot like Deadpool but The Binary Mill, the studio that made Resist as well as the shooting simulator Gun Club VR and the high-flying Rush, has delivered something dizzying and stirring and that doesn't just refer to the simulated heights.
Resist has a great central player mechanic with its swinging movement interface across a detailed, open world that can give the most brazen height seeker a sudden case of vertigo. However, it delivers more than just a web-swinging, height simulator like any of the past Spider-Man titles on the Oculus headsets.
Resist is an awesome shooting game, a puzzle game, a RPG, and a trackless roller coaster ride. It delivers the great power AND the great responsibilities that come with being a friendly neighborhood freedom fighter.
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Danny Gallagher is a freelance tech, game and comedy writer based out of Dallas, Tex. He's written features for places like CNET, Cracked, Maxim, Mandatory and The Onion AV Club. He's also written material for games produced by Jackbox Games and SnapFingerClick.