Considering how successful Insomniac Games’ first two Spider-Man games (Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales) were, it wasn’t going to be difficult to convince fans to purchase the sequel, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, on release day. With the highly anticipated new title, the studio takes everything they’ve learned from their previous superhero games and pushes the envelope even further with a slew of exciting features that fans of the franchise have been eagerly waiting for. So, before we even get into the details, it’s safe to say Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is everything you hoped for and more. It’s a masterpiece and easily the best game the PS5 has to offer so far.
Unlike the first two titles, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 gives players control over the lives of both iconic heroes, Peter Parker and Miles Morales, through instant character switching. This means you can decide between two who you’d like to tackle certain situations. Plus, seeing as they both have a different set of abilities, gameplay always feels fresh and exciting.
But those aren’t their only differences.
Both Miles and Peter are grappling with their own set of personal challenges. On the one end, Peter is burdened with the loss of Aunt May and his responsibilities to the city. Aside from that, he is also struggling in personal life: His relationship with MJ remains complicated, he is struggling to keep a job, and a dear friend of has an incurable illness. On the other end, Miles faces similar situations. He is struggling to balance his personal life with his superhero life, while also dealing with the loss of his father.
In short, both Spider-Men need each other more than ever, but they don’t realise it until it’s far too late. While they grapple with life, on the sidelines Kraven the Hunter launches attacks on the city, which pushes both heroes to their limits.
In all honesty, that’s only half the story. There’s a ton of surprises and twisty turns in the 15-hour main story. And while that might seem short, stretching the tale out longer wouldn’t work. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has a strong narrative – in fact, I would argue that it’s a better story than Sony or the MCU have delivered so far. I’d hate to see it get wasted with unnecessary fluff.
You’ll totally feel for each of the characters here, whether they’re the good guys or the villains. And we spend enough time with them to make every punch feel significant. Kraven isn’t a meathead. There’s purpose and passion behind his madness. The same goes for Venom, Sandman, and the others (yes, there’s a full roster of enemies here).
All of that said, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is still very much a Peter Parker story. Miles has a big role, but he still feels like a guest star in the main narrative.
One of the game’s standout features is its vast open world, which Insomniac boasts is two times larger than its predecessors. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 harnesses the power of the PlayStation 5 to offer players lightning-fast traversal through New York City (which is just begging to be explored from corner to corner).
To give you some insight into just how detailed it is, I am currently planning a trip to New York and was able to travel to many of the actual locations I’ll be visiting (including our hotel). Swinging around the city (and comparing it to Google Maps), I could map out some of the routes I plan to take. That’s quite impressive.
But everything about the open world has improved. The web-slinging animations are smoother than ever. Plus, the introduction of web wings makes getting to different locations a lot more fun. I can’t describe just how awesome it is gliding through the city at super-fast speeds and checking out the amazing scenery – which now includes more vehicles, more variety in pedestrians, and a living breathing world to admire. At one point, I sat on the rooftop and admired birds flocking to feed, while a rat scurried across the wall and a plane flew across the sunset. It’s a beautiful experience.
I’m not sure just how they managed to do this, but the city feels remarkably real. There’s a lot of variety in the shape of buildings and even different parts of the city. Judging by these lively environments, any sequels will struggle to top Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
Giving fans a fresh new story and expanding the world would be enough to draw fans back, but Insomniac didn’t stop there. There’s a ton of cool new enhancements to the characters and the gameplay that make Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 even more exciting.
For example, slingshots, where Peter or Miles pull back on two extended webs and catapult themselves forward, allow for unprecedented speed and fluidity in movement.
The most significant improvement lies in the game’s combat system. Like before, Peter and Miles have access to a wide array of abilities, suits (a sensational 65 suits to unlock), and gadgets, making battles more dynamic and engaging. With the sequel comes new tech and more moves (especially when the two develop new abilities within the story).
The game’s enemy density has also been increased, challenging players to use their various abilities and gadgets strategically. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is a lot tougher than the first game, though. Enemies are smarter and they work together to take you down. You can’t just go around smashing buttons anymore. There’s a bit of strategy required. Also, expect to fail and replay certain sections multiple times – depending on which difficulty level you select, of course.
While no game is perfect, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 does come incredibly close. It’s exhilarating from start to finish but could have done without certain aspects. I personally could have done without the miniature puzzle stuff where you’re required to piece items together to make a circuit work. It’s done a bit better here than in the first two games, but it often slows down the pace of the game.
Then, the awful Mary Jane Watson detective scenes are back! While she works as a side character in the game, crawling and doing stealth missions with the overenthusiastic reporter is still annoying at best. Again, they’ve improved on it a bit since the first title, but it’s definitely something Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 could have done without.
You definitely didn’t need this review to know that Insomniac Games has smashed it out of the park again. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has raised the bar for superhero gaming with its innovative gameplay, beautiful graphics, and engaging story. This is the closest you’ll ever get to actually being Spider-Man. It’s just – pardon the pun – amazing!
Marvel's Spider-Man 2
Another must-have superhero game. Marvel's Spider-Man 2 could be game of the year!