Following the tense ending of The Heist, Spider-Man is back with another episode in The City That Never Sleeps trilogy DLC packs in Turf Wars. While he was more of a background character in The Heist, Hammerhead takes center stage and is plotting to take over the city. Similar to the previous episode, Turf Wars is more of the same great game but this time around it takes a surprisingly dark turn that, unfortunately, doesn’t hit some of the same heights of the previous pack.
Once you choose to play the Turf Wars episode in the menu, you’ll be thrown right into the action. Focusing on Black Cat in The Heist made Spider-Man tackle situations in a stealthy manner, Hammerhead makes Spidey take a more brutal route with focusing more on combat this time around. In fact, outside of the new Screwball challenges, there aren’t many stealth sequences to be found. Turf Wars is just that, an all-out war, and it takes Spider-Man and his friends to some dark places. I will say, that the cliffhanger at the end of The Heist isn’t resolved so hopefully there will be some resolution in the third pack.
These dark places really surprised me. Captain Yuri rejoins the story in Turf Wars, after taking a back seat last time. You get to learn a little more of her backstory, including the personal reasons why she decided to join the NYPD. And she’s out for revenge against Hammerhead. Again, this episode goes dark, and when the end credits rolled, my mouth was agape because of the fantastic performances by the cast once again. At this point it’s clear, Insomniac isn’t playing around with these characters and they’ll do whatever they want with them for a good story.
I was initially invested in the story with the help of the wisecracking Spider-Man, but the relatable tissue grew thin quick. Whereas in The Heist, there was personal conversations between Spider-Man and MJ, as well as Spidey and Black Cat, there isn’t much dialogue with Yuri that isn’t her being aggressive about her revenge plot. There isn’t much that feels relatable in this chapter of the story. There is a moment early in the story that replicates the magic the base game and the previous episode had, but the revenge plot quickly grows more important. I missed the awkward texts, innuendo-filled conversations, and the overall relatable moments. I hope to see those type of moments return in the next pack.
Turf Wars brings new costumes that unlock at different points in the campaign. One of the costumes quickly became one of my favorites. It’s just unfortunate that these new costumes don’t bring any new powers. There are also new challenges from Screwball and random crimes, but they are just more of the same from the base game as well as the previous DLC pack.
One thing I wasn’t expecting was the difficulty during my four-hour playthrough. I breezed through The Heist without much trouble, but I died more times than I’d like to admit in Turf Wars. Be prepared to use your gadgets more often, but also be ready to face a new enemy that uses Sable Tech in a new way. I also got shot by rocket launchers and mini-guns constantly. This made it feel like a real turf war against a couple of rival gangs, so again, be prepared for a challenge.
I’m glad that Insomniac is pumping these DLC packs out at a monthly rate. Returning to New York is always fun and I’m happy to get new challenges, even if they’re more of the same. The story in Turf Wars takes some surprisingly dark turns that will have you enticed to see more. It’s just unfortunate that the relatable connection to these characters gets lost. I can’t wait to see how the loose ends get resolved in the next DLC pack.