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Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (PS5) Review

In September 2021, Insomniac Games announced something big — Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, the follow-up to its fiercely loved Marvel’s Spider-Man and its subsequent DLC, Miles Morales. If you’re a PlayStation gamer, you’ve no doubt seen footage of the game at this point, and while I’ve kept my eyes on the title, I’ve kept my nose away from its story.

Despite the fact I don’t consider myself a superhero fan nor an open world fan, hero games can pique my interest really easily due to the the expansive lore that a video game can cover as opposed to something like a 2-hour movie or 40-page comic book. Gotham Knights, is a prime example of a middling game that I expected so little from that what I got did impress me. But Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is what Gotham Knights wishes it could’ve been.

While roaming the streets of New York, you jump between playing as OG webslinger Peter Parker and his protege Miles Morales. Taking place nine months after the events of the original 2018 game, it gives some time for the two to settle into their symbiotic relationship as the protectors of the Big Apple before being thrust into another instance of unraveling the big mystery and defeating the big bads. 

Spider-Man looking at his phone

Does Whatever A Spider Can

The story is about as you’d expect — retelling storied pieces of Spider-Man history like Venom’s origin and introducing people to Kraven, a notable yet niche villain regulated largely away from major media like theatrical Spidey films or most well-known tie-ins. As it goes, Kraven is looking for his equal and believes he’ll find that very person somewhere in New York. Meanwhile, Parker is struggling to find a balance between his duties as a superhero, his career, and social life. And Morales struggles to figure out what to write for his college entry essay.

The story is well-executed and offers plenty to keep you engaged and coming back for “one more mission.” Whether that’s seeing how a cliffhanger ties up or finishing side quests that you feel are more important than the main story.

Spider-Man standing by webbed opponent, chill citizen sits on bench

Is He Strong? Listen Bud!

Combat-wise, it’s fluid while unfortunately having that stale button-mash issue that most any superhero game has. It lacks an engaging combat system that gives you variety when spotted. Of course, you can make your own variety by using the powers each Spider-Man has, respectively. Morales, for example, has electricity-based powers that can be useful at incapacitating multiple enemies at once. Meanwhile, Parker has a more traditional setup with a mechanical spider-like special that knocks an enemy in the sky for an extended smackdown. 

Some of the bosses were a bit… much… but with a bit of persistence and the use of my powers, I vanquished all foes with true Spider-Man-level grace. Opponents like Scream and the onslaught of Symbiote citizens were a real challenge regardless of your skill level, you have to manage to watch every enemy around, and I definitely went down more times than I’d like to admit in one specific late-game Symbiote beatdown section.

Stealth-wise, you have some cool spaces here and there, with the web line being a useful tool in making a sort of pathway to an opponent that might’ve been out of reach of a wall takedown. Personally, Spider-Man 2 was probably the most fun I’ve had playing stealth — most of the time, I try and just get impatient and charge through, but with Morales’ cloaking device, it was a fun experience figuring out how I can off each opponent without anyone catching on.

Finally, there were some instances of cleansing my palette with times playing as Mary Jane with her own means of defense against the looming threats. It’s clear that while Insomniac wanted players to know this was a single-player Spidey game, it also wanted some people to have a short breather from the nonstop drama and action that playing as the Spider duo can come with.

Spider-Man getting back crushed

He Arrives Just In Time

So much happens in this game outside of its main story — from criminal activity like arson, speeding vehicles, and assaults to busy work like collecting Marko’s Memories, debugging Mysteriums, finding Prowler technology, and crates of tech stashed by the criminal underworld, there’s a lot to it. But… it’s all so repetitive. There’s hardly any variations to any of it outside perhaps difficulty. Prowler’s tech heists, for example, will be hidden, and you search for where it’s located, you’ll do a minigame involving one of DualSense’s key features (Adaptive Triggers, in particular), and you’ll possibly fight some enemies in the end.

Speaking of DualSense’s key features, they play a significant role in this game, which is a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of games released on PS5 lately. While some sprinkle in one or two instances of using the Adaptive Triggers or tilt controls, Spider-Man 2 goes the extra mile with minigames dedicated to them both on the side and tied into the main story. On top of that, while hanging out with Harry and MJ, you roam the park as Peter and can go on tons of minigames that utilize the motion controls of the controller, something that I haven’t personally seen front and center since Astro’s Playroom.

Basically, the open-worldness of Spider-Man 2 has some cool things, like how you can arrive at the scene of a crime, and the other webslinger will already be giving the baddies a good ol’ wallop. That said, it’s weighed down by repetition, and seeing your fellow webslinger seems to happen a lot more than I was expecting. I was assuming the heroes would occasionally show up, but it happened like 45% of the time. Of course, this kind of repetitive stuff appeals to some, those who like to grind, but for me, it’s not an ideal thing, especially with how high-profile and hyped-up Spider-Man 2’s release was.

Venom screaming

Can He Swing From A Thread?

The swinging. Oh God, the swinging. I can’t tell you how much I love zipping past building after building, swinging up high to get a good view of the city, quick recovering to launch off a building after a small screw up, gliding above the skyscrapers, and zipping to my destination in a matter of minutes. 

The webslinging is probably one of my favorite parts of Spider-Man 2, it makes you feel like you are Spider-Man and while it takes some time to get the hang of it, you’ll soon feel like a pro when swinging from Queens to Times Square in no time.

It’s fast, it’s responsive, and it’s engaging, especially when you combine it with the wingsuit to get the best air you can. Throughout New York, you can find these pockets of wind that you can use to traverse with the help of your wingsuit. It’s a fun little detail that could’ve been niche, but Insomniac wanted it to feel not just helpful but also making the “fly through hoops” thing feel fresh.

Kraven, MJ, and a Hunter

Like A Streak Of Light

So many little things make this a great experience, you can modify the challenge to your liking, changing your health, enemy health, healing, and how hard opponents hit individually regardless of your set difficulty. This can make the game more difficult without feeling overwhelming like its busy work.

Spider-Man 2 runs great, and with the exception of the occasional crash, I didn’t have many issues. The graphics sometimes loaded weird, but were fixed in a matter of seconds. I spent the majority of my time playing the “pretty” mode, complete with Ray-Tracing and all that jazz, so I expected some sort of texture pop-in, so it didn’t bother me at all.

Spider-Man discovers a hidden Hunter hideout

To Him Life Is A Great Big Bang Up

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is a great sequel, combining the old and new with a fresh story, iconic characters, and instances of taking a side step and playing as MJ. It might feel repetitive after a while and a bit on the short side. But, it’s a quality webslinging experience that everyone should have, whether you’re a superhero fanatic or just a PlayStation gamer looking your next first-party fix.

While it isn’t the best game on the market, it’s a stellar continuation to what will no doubt be a trilogy of webswinging action.

You can buy Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on PSN here.

Insomniac Games
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date:
October 20, 2023
Final Rating:

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