Spider-Man 2 is a game that millions of fans have been looking forward to ever since the end of Marvel’s Spider-Man in 2018. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales was a promise for more that left people hungry for a proper sequel, and Spider-Man 2 delivers.
Spider-Man 2 takes everything that the other games in the series did right, cuts away most of the bad, and elevates the experience into something unforgettable. I can’t remember the last time I was so excited for a sequel to come out, and this delivered beyond my expectations.
Spider-Man 2 lets you take control of two different Spider-Men, Peter Parker and Miles Morales. You play as both and battle the likes of Kraven the Hunter and Venom as they try to find a balance between their normal and superpowered lives.
This game is an upgrade from the first two in every way possible. The graphics are gorgeous, thanks to this being a PS5 exclusive. Insomniac doesn’t have to hold back for the PS4, and that has helped turn New York into a visual marvel. Sunlight reflects off the massive skyscrapers of Manhattan and the trees of Brooklyn and Queens. Miles Morales looked good in snow, but Spider-Man 2 does it so much better.
Image from discussingfilm.com
The game mechanics received an even bigger upgrade than the graphics. The core combat and swinging system is the same as the first game, but more has been added. Both Miles and Peter have access to special abilities they can use in combat. Miles’s moves are powered up by his electric Venom strikes, while Peter can utilize mysterious symbiote abilities to decimate his opposition.
The gadget system has also been overhauled.. In the first two games, you had to manually select each gadget from a wheel, while in Spider-Man 2 you can swap between four different gadgets with a simple push of a button. There are also a host of new moves to unlock, so combat has never flowed better.
Spider-Man 2 takes every aspect of the previous games and adds even more skills to the mix. The web wings allow the Spider-Men to glide very fast for short periods of time. The Spider-Men also gain access to a loop-the-loop to increase speed, as well as an air boost and dash.
You can travel across New York with more movement options and speed than ever before. There is no reason for fast travel in Spider-Man 2 because the movement is just too fun.
Image from playstation.blog
Not everything about this game is stellar, though. There is very little post-game content to do once you finish the story. The open world does not offer much replayability once you complete every ounce of side content, and there is no new game plus at the time of writing of this article.
The campaign is also slightly shorter than Marvel’s Spider-Man, but it is still incredible. Spider-Man 2 balances an ensemble of villains including Martin Li, the Lizard, Kraven, and Venom very well without it feeling overwhelming. Peter and Miles have to deal with the pressures of their regular and superhero lives colliding.
Miles doesn’t shine like Peter does, though. He’s supposed to be the co-lead of the story, but for much of the first act of the story, he isn’t the focus. The majority of the plot revolves around Peter’s relationships with Harry Osborn, MJ, and Kraven.
But here is where we must enter spoiler territory! Click the drop down below to read on!
Spider-Man 2 has one of the best superhero narratives I’ve experienced in a long time. Peter and Miles’s stories about finding balance are poignant to my life as a college student who has to balance classes, work, and free time.
Peter’s best friend, Harry Osborn, returns after a “trip” to restore his illness, which has seemingly worked. Peter later finds out it was due to the symbiote that was attached to him. Peter later takes it from Harry after a grievous injury nearly kills him.
The symbiote, Venom, is the heart of this conflict. Kraven is merely a catalyst that rips these friends apart. Kraven and Venom are the highlights of this story for me, and they are some of the best villains in Insomniac’s Spider-Man universe outside of Dr. Octavius.
One of the best parts of the game that wasn’t advertised was a mission where you get to play as Venom. Harry retakes the symbiote from Peter and turns into the musclebound beast we all know and love.
My goodness, is it a chaotic and beautifully destructive ride.
Venom has an original moveset and abilities, as well as a traversal system that I believe is a proof of concept for a potential Venom spinoff title. It was a very fun power trip, and I hope Insomniac will deliver on this wonderful tease in the future.
One of my biggest complaints from the story, however, is Miles’s side. He doesn’t have enough personal stakes in the story beyond having a responsibility to help the other Spider-Man fight Kraven and Venom to save the city. He is instrumental in the victory over the symbiotes, but he deserves more. I hope the third game will let him take the spotlight he truly deserves.
The third game is inevitable, too. Harry Osborn is in a coma, and Norman has been emotionally destabilized to the point that he will become the Green Goblin. Miles Morales has greater responsibility as the main Spider-Man, and he might even make a new friend, if the post-credit cutscene’s reveal of Cindy Moon holds weight.
Spider-Man 2 has a few slip-ups, but it is leaps and bounds ahead of the first two games in regards to quality. This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2023, and it has more than delivered on its promises.
I do not know how another entry will top this one, but Insomniac has never failed to make incredible gaming experiences. This is one of the best AAA titles I have played in recent memory, and it is a top contender in an already stacked year for gaming.
Seriously, go pick this game up. What are you waiting for? Anyone can be greater.