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Spider-Man 2 review: A predictable, but solid, sequel

Peter Parker and Miles Morales in Spider-Man 2 talking to each other

Marvel’s Spider-Man finally brought modern Marvel games up to par with DC’s Batman: Arkham series. After years of questionable titles including Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Insomniac finally matched Marvel’s video games with the blockbuster hype of its cinematic universe. As our review details, Spider-Man 2 carries that legacy on, for the most part.

Five years after the first title, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 launches for the PS5, one full console generation later. Insomniac improves on the web-slinging mechanics that fans loved in the first game, but the sequel suffers from some bloat in the name of fan service. 

The Good:

  • New options for mobility and combat make gameplay even more engaging.
  • Graphics, set-pieces, and boss fights are spectacular.

The Bad:

  • The story can be predictable.
  • Fan service might sometimes take precedence over character development.

Review Details:

  • Platforms available: PlayStation 5
  • Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
  • Official release date: October 20, 2023

The hustle and bustle of New York City in Spider-Man 2

The most crucial part of any Spider-Man game is, and always will be, the web-slinging. Thankfully, Spider-Man 2 delivers on this front. The sequel even adds new features for swinging around New York City, like web wings that allow Spidey to glide around the city. Even though a fast-travel mechanic exists, zipping and slinging around the city just feels too good to ignore. 

Miles Morales and Peter Parker both add new gadgets and abilities to their arsenals that spice up the familiar gameplay. Peter’s moves has shifted from a gadget-based trickster to more of a brawling bruiser, courtesy of the symbiote. Meanwhile, Miles still shocks and awes with his plethora of electricity-based maneuvers.

As for New York City, it feels even more alive than before. After all, what’s a Spider-Man without his friendly neighborhood? Even as Spider-Man fights crazed hunters and rogue aliens, New Yorkers maintain their daily routines as best they can. 

Spider-Man feels even more like a protector here. It makes the moments where parts of New York City get inevitably destroyed hit that much harder. You know exactly how these places looked before villains destroyed them. You feel an even stronger urge to set things right. 

A sloppy Marvel story

Unfortunately, Spider-Man 2 suffers from something that many popular comic book stories eventually deal with, and that’s story bloat. The web-slinging, combat, and boss fights feel even more bombastic than in the first game, but it’s all in service of a mediocre story that favors fan service over real depth. 

For starters, Spider-Man 2 seems allergic to giving any of its characters the spotlight for too long. As a result, none of them get the development they might ideally receive. Miles gets tangled up in Peter’s web of drama instead of developing on his own. Mary-Jane’s podcast feels tacked on to give her more of a presence in a story that doesn’t always justify her presence. The Sinister Six unceremoniously disappears from the story, with only Shocker getting a satisfying send-off. 

Kraven and Venom are interesting villains, but trying to cram them into one story might have limited both of them. Kraven doesn’t feel like as serious a threat as Venom, especially when MJ is capable of taking on his goons with minimal combat training. Meanwhile, Venom’s more engaging story keeps being interrupted by Kraven’s shenanigans. 

It doesn’t help that the game feels like it’s in a hurry, a sharp contrast to the brilliant pacing of the first game. That’s not even getting into the other villains the sequel brushes over with only the briefest of sequences, like Sandman and Mysterio.

gameland.gg’s bottom line: Spider-Man 2 boasts some spectacular visuals and gameplay, but the story doesn’t always hold up its end of the bargain.

Score: 8/10 

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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