Spider-Man’s first DLC outing didn’t quite live up to the quality of the main game for me. It felt like exactly what it was: the first in a three part story. The experience suffered due to establishing threads that would not come to fruition until later DLCs, which ended up feeling both slow and anticlimactic, especially when it ended just as the story was really about to get going.
The newest expansion benefits from this, as now that the setup has been done Turf Wars is able to throw us into the middle of a mafia war as Hammerhead aims to tighten his grip on Manhattan. Things start with the stakes pretty high and quickly skyrocket as Hammerhead wages war on the city, causing an awful lot of collateral damage. Suffice to say it is a lot more satisfying than the first expansion’s and ends leaving me very much looking forward to the finale.
Hammerhead brings with him some new enemy types as well, as his mafioso have access to a lot of Sable gear that’s been left around the city after the events of the main game. A jetpacked shield-bearing enemy is particularly troublesome, leaving fire in their wake as they dash around, giving you yet another new hazard to look out for whilst dodging gun fire and fists. These enemies manage to keep combat interesting, though it does feel a little like the game is just throwing enemies at you in places to stretch the play time out a little.
The mob even bring some of their own random crimes for you to prevent, such as protecting convoys containing important witnesses from attack, which is a nice change from just chasing vehicles, though there is still some of that too. Screwball, the ever obnoxious social media menace returns with even more challenges, to fill out the side content, but has honestly outstayed her welcome by now. Perhaps it’s because this side content isn’t connected to the main story of the expansion, we get a return of what was already a gimmicky character when she appeared in the main game.
At one point, Spider-Man is being baited as a distraction and the grunts you are chasing are being incredibly obvious about it, almost outright saying they are a distraction. Spidey even responds to their shouts of “Yeah, you just keep following us Spider!” with “I plan to!” It was amusing until the following cutscene where Spidey was all surprised that he was being distracted, despite the comically obvious nature of the distraction. It could, perhaps, have been more obvious of a distraction if there were neon “distraction” signs involved, but not by much.
Turf Wars is ultimately a significant improvement on its DLC predecessor, but still missing the depth and subtlety that made the main game so good. Again, it’s down to the few hours play time and is something that probably won’t change in the next instalment, but this second episode kept me interested in a way that The Heist failed to do. Add to this that it doesn’t feel rushed, there are no oversights in mission design and only the above distraction to distract from the experience, and I am much more optimistic for the finale.