Marvel’s Spider-Man, developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, was an extraordinary open-world action-adventure game. It allowed players to become the iconic friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Released in 2018 exclusively for the PlayStation 4, Marvel’s Spider-Man became one of the best games that year. Now in 2023, we can once again play as our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. This time as both Peter Parker and Miles Morales. With the new threat on the horizon, they must save New York City. In this non-spoiler review, we’ll delve into the narrative and gameplay of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and talk about technical aspects and overall impact on the superhero gaming genre.
[Note: While I am reviewing this game independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by PlayStation Poland for the purpose of this review. Warning: Light Spoilers from Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales are below!]
The story of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is breathtaking and unique
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 delivers a captivating narrative that brilliantly balances Peter Parker’s and Miles Morales’ lives as superheroes and their struggles as regular people. It is a breathtaking tale with both new and familiar characters, taking us further into the complexity of Peter’s and Miles’ relationships. Particularly their friendship, specifically the mentor-student relationship the two develop, as well as personal problems and their ongoing battle with old/new villains.
The storyline is definitely meant to let fans experience the immersion of becoming a superhero. Especially one as cool as Spider-Man. There’s a lot of Easter eggs, nods to the comic books, and a full-on rogues’ gallery of villains. The dynamic interactions between Peter and Miles and their adversaries, such as Mr. Negative, Lizard, Kraven, and others, add depth to the narrative, making it a truly memorable experience.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 takes place almost a year after the events of Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The game doesn’t wait to introduce players back to this already-established world, jumping right back in with our favorite web-slingers. What I really love about the story in this game, is that it’s logical and doesn’t have weak moments. There are no moments that are only an excuse to just push the story forward. Not spoiling anything, but some moments really came out of nowhere and left me with a shocked expression.
One of the game’s standout features is its ability to humanize both Peter and Miles. We see them struggling with everyday issues, such as paying rent, balancing superhero and normal life, and maintaining their relationships with MJ, Harry, Ganke, etc. This humanizing element sets the game apart from other superhero titles, making Peter’s and Miles’s journeys as compelling as any typical Spider-Man adventure. Maybe even more.
Characters like Mary Jane, Harry Osborn, even Norman Osborn and the rest of the villains, are deeply explored in this game, and that’s a really meaningful thing for the story of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. And the Venom arc needs to remain a secret because it’s so good that I feel you should experience it for yourself.
The character development is top-notch. Peter’s growth as a mentor to Miles and the moral dilemmas they both face when their responsibilities as Spider-Man collide with their personal life are handled with subtlety and depth. It’s a testament to the game’s writing that players become emotionally invested in the characters and their arcs, making each victory and loss all the more meaningful.
The gameplay of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
The heart of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is its exhilarating gameplay. The web-swinging mechanics are pretty marvelous in themselves, allowing players to traverse New York City with a level of freedom and fluidity that’s unparalleled in any other superhero game. Adding to the iconic web-swinging we now have the option to “web-glide” and more. Web gliding is my personal favorite form of travel because you can get as high as you can, allowing players to make longer acrobatics that are pretty unique in this game.
The ability to fast travel was also changed. Thanks to the PlayStation 5, fast travel is instant. There are no loading screens and you can freely switch between Peter & Miles or fast travel to EVERY available place on the map. Depending on which costume you’re currently wearing. Insomniac Games really nailed the feeling of being Spider-Man, offering a wide array of acrobatic moves and combat abilities.
The combat system is fast-paced and responsive, allowing for quick and flawless transitions between melee, web-slinging, and gadgets. Peter Parker’s agility and experience shine through, with a mix of timed combos and gadgets to keep players engaged throughout the game. On the other hand, we have Miles, who mostly uses his abilities like venom strike, invisibility, or speed and agility. Additionally, the stealth segments as Miles offer us a refreshing change of pace, which at some points is really needed.
Besides elements like fighting and quicker travel, Spider-Man 2 offers a wide variety of challenges and side activities that further enhance the gameplay experience. These activities range from stopping random crimes in progress to solving puzzles and more. These tasks not only add some friendlier elements to the game but also serve as a testament to the fact that Peter and Miles are truly protectors of the city, always on the lookout for ways to help the citizens of New York.
Another highlight is the suits and gadgets that Peter and Miles can acquire and upgrade. Each suit comes with unique abilities that can be customized to match different play styles, whether you prefer stealth, combat, or a balance of both. The expansive gadget selection, from web shooters to impact webbing, provides a wealth of options for creative combat strategies. For people who were surprised Insomniac didn’t add iconic suits to the first Marvel’s Spider-Man, I have good news. Almost all iconic Spider-Man suits are in the game. Including all suits from the movies and animated shows.
New York City has never looked better in a video game. The open-world setting is perfectly detailed, as the PS5 really offers an expansive playground for both crime-fighting and exploration. From iconic landmarks like Times Square and Central Park to lesser-known neighborhoods, the city feels alive and true to its real-world counterpart. The dynamic day-night cycle further enhances the sense of immersion. What sets Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 apart from other open-world games is its ability to convey a sense of verticality and speed. As Spider-Man, you can seamlessly swing from skyscrapers, run up walls, and dive into the bustling streets below.
Swinging/flying through the city is an experience unto itself, and Insomniac Games deserves applause and a big thank you for creating a world that makes players feel like the iconic hero. The attention to detail is staggering. The little touches, like civilians recognizing and cheering for Spider-Man, and Peter and Miles meeting each other by accident and doing fun stuff, further enrich the immersive experience.
The technicalities of Insomniac’s newest game
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 showcases some of the best graphics on the PlayStation 5. The character models, animations, and visual effects are stunning, and the game consistently maintains a smooth frame rate. The attention to detail, especially in the various Spider-Man suits and their unique abilities, is commendable. Different times of day allow us to experience different lighting, seeing ourselves in the mirrors, is something that only new generation consoles can do.
The audio design is equally impressive. The soundtrack, composed by John Paesano, perfectly complements the action and emotions in the game, enhancing the overall experience. The voice acting, led by Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker and Nadji Jeter as Miles Morales is superb, showing the humanity, vulnerability, and heroism of their characters.
The environmental audio, whether it’s the bustling streets of New York, the roar of the subway, or the howling wind as you swing through the city, immerses players in the world. The sounds of combat, from web-shooting to punches, are crisp and satisfying. The voice acting throughout the game, not just from Peter Parker and Miles Morales but from the entire cast, is top-notch and does justice to the characters’ depth and complexity.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2‘s impact on the superhero gaming genre
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has had a significant impact on the superhero gaming genre. It sets a new standard for open-world superhero games, showcasing the immense potential in storytelling, character depth, and gameplay. It proved that superhero games can be more than just mindless action; they can be emotionally resonant and thought-provoking experiences.
This game can inspire a wave of other superhero games and have a lasting influence on game development. It paves the way for titles like the upcoming Marvel’s Wolverine game, pushing the boundaries of what superhero games can achieve.
The projected success of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 will hopefully lead to a resurgence of quality superhero games, with other iconic characters getting their own titles and exploring unique narratives. But maybe I’m biased because I’ve been a Spider-Man fan since I was a little kid.
In conclusion, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is an exceptional gaming masterpiece that captures the essence of being Spider-Man in all its glory. Its emotional human narrative, exceptional gameplay, breathtaking graphics, and immersive open-world setting make it a must-play for fans of Spider-Man. Insomniac Games successfully created a game that is not only faithful to the source material but also elevates it to new heights setting as new standard for the gaming industry.
The game’s ability to humanize its characters, the sheer joy of web-swinging, and the depth of its combat mechanics make it a compelling and unforgettable experience. The impact will continue to shape the future of superhero games for years to come. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is definitely my favorite game of 2023 and even though there are titles that people will like better, this is my Game of The Year contender.
And it’s definitely a 5/5 game.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 releases on October 20th only on PlayStation 5. Are you hyped for it? Do you like previous Marvel’s Spider-Man titles? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus and our own Discord channel.