Twice as many challenges, adventures, and webs: Marvel's Spider-Man 2 review, the best superhero game in recent years

By: Vladyslav Nuzhnov | 24.10.2023, 17:20

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is definitely a nominee for the Game of the Year award. Even for me, as a person who is not a fan of superheroes, the game gave me a lot of emotions. Insomniac took the best of Marvel's Spider-Man 2018 and Miles Morales' Spider-Man, multiplied it by two, and created something new. A game with two heroes at once immediately attracts attention. Add to this cool enemies, dynamic boss battles, a variety of skills, a live New York City setting, and a great soundtrack, and we have one of the best superhero games in recent years. Of course, it's not a perfect project, but it's worthy of attention. Now the next task of the developers is to fix the bugs that are present in the game and make the sequel even more dramatic and intense, because it's time to go all-in.

5 reasons to buy Marvel's Spider-Man 2:

  • You are a fan of the previous Marvel's Spider-Man games
  • The opportunity to visit the Ukrainian neighbourhood in New York
  • The absence of a long timing
  • Venom's appearance in video games for the first time since 2017
  • You have wanted to fly on the web since childhood

2 reasons not to buy Marvel's Spider-Man 2:

  • Random number of bugs on release
  • You have arachnophobia

Fast forward:

After Marvel's Spider-Man 2, it will be difficult to return to the previous adventures about the friendly neighbour. The plot makes you laugh, worry, sit with your mouth open, and maybe even shed a tear. This story is, if not the best, then one of the best Spidey stories in recent times. The gameplay is also not far behind in quality. And it will take you 20 hours to complete the entire story and most of the additional activities, which is ideal for a superhero adventure. In this case, the game does not end too quickly, but you do not stay in it for a month, and you get a content-rich project. And after completing the game, you are left with a slight feeling of emptiness and anticipation of continuation. Only the impression of all this can be spoilt by bugs on the release. The gg editorial team saved New York from the villains and will share their impressions to help you understand whether Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is worth buying.

Venom, Epic, and two Spiders

The game turned out to be so interesting that you are even afraid to tell the details in order not to spoil the surprises that Insomniac has prepared. The story begins with a great deal of excitement, with a boss battle involving both Peter and Miles, as the heroes are now working as a duo. After defeating the boss, we are shown that the protagonists' lives are more or less going well, although of course there are some nuances. And one day, Harry Osborn, Peter's best friend, returns from a European trip. And everyone is happy, but the joy does not last long, because Kraven the Hunter arrives in the stone jungle of New York to hunt down the most unusual prey in the world - supercriminals such as Scorpion, Vulture and others he meets.

From this moment on, the tie-in begins, which will gradually gain momentum to evoke more and more emotions from the player with each new mission. Here you will see Miles growing up, Peter receiving a symbiotic suit that changes his personality into a crazy killer monster, many other exciting, cool and unexpected moments, and of course, the appearance of Venom, whom we have been waiting for so long. The latter takes all the attention. For me personally, this Venom is the best we've ever seen (sorry, Tom Hardy). Together, it all creates such an explosive mix that you'll do anything to get through the game faster.

If you're a Spider-Man fan and have been dreaming of seeing multiple Spideys fighting off charismatic villains to save what they love so much, this is the story for you. Although the events can be slow to develop in some places, once you get through the first half, there are so many cool things waiting for us that sometimes you just don't have time to pick up your jaw from the moments that the developers throw at you.

I would like to see some characters more often

Although, of course, there were some controversial moments. Yes, most of the characters we will see are pretty cool. Each of the Spiders has a sense of maturation and progress. The people around them are quite nice, and everyone has a role to play; no one feels unnecessary. The main enemies are also not far behind in terms of quality, but there is one small nuance. I wanted to see more of Craven on the screen. Venom is the icing on the cake in the game, and we meet the Hunter in the first hours, and I would have liked to see more of his conflict with the Spiders. This conflict develops well within the film, but then abruptly disappears, and that's it. This character is too charismatic to be shown so little. Every time Craven appeared on the screen, I was emotional, and I have a feeling that the developers lacked just a little bit to bring the Hunter's story to an end. But I can't remember at least one character that I didn't like or even annoyed. In this aspect, the authors did a great job.

Colourful New York City

New York City feels alive. There are more cars and people on the roads now. The latter are constantly doing something, going somewhere, communicating, having parties on the roof of the house, sometimes you can even see an accident on the road, and it's interesting to watch it. There are also new neighbourhoods like Queens and Brooklyn. Although, as a Ukrainian, I was most interested in visiting the Little Odesa neighbourhood, where there is a lot of Ukrainian symbolism from flags to shops such as Michaylo's, The Tryzub or Lviv Kebab.

Little Odesa district

In general, each neighbourhood contrasts with the other and stands out for something different. For example, Astor has mostly private houses and a lot of greenery. There is a large amusement park on the outskirts. And in the centre, there are plenty of skyscrapers, along with the well-known Times Square and Central Park. The city also has many different interesting graffiti and murals, which makes it more colourful. Therefore, Insomniac has also transferred the atmosphere of New York that we have seen in films and other games (for the third time) to Marvel's Spider-Man 2.

Other boroughs of New York

How to play it.

The gameplay can be divided into several main components: the combat system, flying, leveling up, and activities that are scattered throughout New York City.

Acrobatic battles with a touch of aggression

If you've played the previous Marvel's Spider-Man games (and I wouldn't recommend going through this part without getting acquainted with the previous ones), then you're already familiar with the foundation. So what's new? There are new techniques in the game. Peter has made himself four robotic paws that expand his arsenal of skills. He can use them to strike quickly, throw or electrocute enemies. Later, when Peter gets a symbiote, his abilities will change. They will become stronger and more aggressive, which vividly describes Parker's new character.

Miles will get new electrical abilities, because the young man still hasn't reached the ceiling of development as Spider-Man, so he is happy to learn new skills. All this is complemented by several gadgets that are available to each of the characters, which only adds to the variety. Although the most effective battles are when you have another character next to you, and it's not necessarily Miles or Peter, then the battles become even more interesting.

But the coolest battles are the boss battles. They're all well choreographed, have their own peculiarities, and often develop the character and story of the game. Each battle is memorable, some of them are still stuck in your head and you want to play through them again.

The best flights in history

Heroes have web wings that make flying incredible. If you skilfully combine them with a standard web, this process turns out to be aesthetically pleasing, and sometimes even epic. The flights in the previous games seemed almost perfect, but Insomniac has reached a new level here. It's still hard to imagine how the authors will be able to jump over their heads in this aspect in the sequel.

Making Spiders even stronger and better

Now we have three skill branches. The first branch is responsible for the skills that will be available to the two Spiders, the second is responsible for Peter, and the third for Miles.

You can also improve the general stats for Peter and Miles, such as strength, health, movement, and concentration.

Finally, you can buy gadgets and improve them as well. There are 5 of them in total. From a standard web that can be used to shoot at enemies to a pulse that jams everyone around.

In order to improve your skills, you need experience, which is given for any activity you perform. Gadgets and gauges require special "coins" that are also given for completed tasks, or they can be found in boxes scattered around the city.

And of course, there are different costumes. There are about 60 of them in total. Some of them came from films and cartoons, some from comics, and the rest were created by the developers specifically for the game.

What else can you do in New York?

As in any open-world game, there are additional activities. Most of them are quite standard and do not stand out much: open caches, collect collectibles, defeat enemies in their camp, and so on. Among the interesting ones are the tasks where you have to take pictures of the city and additional errands. There are only 6 of them in the game, but almost all of them are cool. In them, we learn about the past lives of the characters, continue the arc of characters we met in previous games, and even play as some people for the first time. I also liked the Flame tasks. There are four such tasks, but they bring back one of the old characters and show one crazy enemy. In general, the game is not oversaturated with additional activities and this is only a plus, and most of them are short, so by the end of the game I completed 80% of the total.

Although I would have given up on the tasks when there are 10 camps, 8 chests and the like on the map. This hasn't offered anything new for a long time. But the authors managed to make interesting quests, and it would be better to have more of them in the game. But I wouldn't say that the activities are boring. They are saved by the fact that they are completed very quickly, but it is worth fantasising about something new.

What about optimisation, visuals, and audio?

The game kept a stable 60 fps all the time, nothing hung or loaded during the game. During the entire playthrough, the game never crashed, and there were not so many bugs, but I was just lucky, and more on that later.

I liked the way the game implemented the system of quick movements. You can move anywhere on the map in less than a second and a half. So Insomniac has once again made good use of the PlayStation 5's SSD capabilities.

Visuals that attract with small details

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is definitely not the most beautiful PlayStation 5 exclusive (I liked Ragnarok better in this regard), but overall the picture is very good. There are a lot of small details on the screen, for example, if you fly between trees, leaves will fall. The water detail is well done. I also didn't notice any problems with the lighting. I especially liked the characters: their hair, facial expressions, and clothes. In this aspect, everything is done at the highest level. Also, the image range has increased significantly, and there are more weather "levels", previously there were only three. Therefore, the game stands out visually with its small details. But the overall picture does not raise any questions, and it is especially pleasant to look at everything around you when you play the game in the morning or evening.

Superhero soundtrack

There are no comments on the sounds at all. Everything sounds good in the game, and I especially liked the voices of the actors and the soundtrack. Composer John Paesano was responsible for the latter element. The game has epic, dramatic, driving, and calm compositions. Each song appears at the right time and sets the right mood.

What I didn't like

Bugs can spoil the whole experience. That's right, they can, because their appearance in the game is a lottery. I had only a few visual bugs, most often when enemies got stuck in objects or when something strange happened to the textures. But there were only a few such moments. However, if you read player reviews, some players were much less lucky. A common problem is that the game simply crashes. Or there are situations where Spider-Man turns into a white cube after the final mission (this is not a joke). So if you are afraid that luck will not be with you, wait for the first major patch and you can safely take the game. Usually, Sony games don't have serious problems on release, but this time something went a little wrong. It would have been better to release the game a week or two later so as not to spoil the experience of the gamers.

Five things you need to know about Marvel's Spider-Man 2

  • Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is an epic adventure that is twice as big and better than the previous ones
  • Fighting enemies and flying around New York does not get boring even after 20 hours
  • The game features some of the best versions of Venom and Craven the Hunter
  • A cool soundtrack only enhances the atmosphere created by Insomniac Games
  • Some players encountered a lot of bugs during the release
Marvel's Spider-Man 2
Genre. Action, Adventure
Platforms PlayStation5
Number of players Single-player
Developer Insomniac Games
Publisher Sony
Time to complete 12-25 hours
Release date 20 October 2023

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The editorial team thanks the publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment for kindly providing the game for review