Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - Miles Ahead
The Spider-Men triumph in a brilliant sequel that truly goes above and beyond. Excelsior indeed.
4.5Overall Score

Webisode 2

Let’s front-load this one with praise: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 may be the best sequel since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. Since the release of Insomniac’s first title Spider-Man’s media world has gotten out of control. An animated Spider-Verse series has won an Oscar, Maguire, Holland and Garfield teamed up in a big Christmas blockbuster and even Dr. Michael Morbius inexplicably had a feature film. So large and unwieldly hath become the Spider-Verse phenomenon that returning to the simpler world of Insomniac’s New York is a dream.

Sometime after the previous game (and Miles Morale’s standalone title), New York has two Spider-Men, allowing for two playable characters. Similarly handled to GTAV’s character swapping, at almost any time players can switch between the two with character-specific missions for both as well as general spider-work.  Whether you prefer Peter’s extra robot arms or Miles’ electric attacks, both characters are uniquely fun, though when the symbiote comes into play it feels like Peter takes more of the attention. The symbiote is realised as a gooey freakish nightmare, tendrils truly slamming the living hell out of hapless goons. You would almost feel sorry for them if it wasn’t so fun to use! Enemy variety has been greatly improved with fire-based cultists, athletic hunters and animalistic machines providing juicy web fodder.

New New York

New York has been expanded to include suburbs, Coney Island and more, allowing for more varied locales than the strictly Manhattan-based first instalment. Indeed, Big Apple may be bigger but that doesn’t mean it’s been filled with bloated side tasks. From surreal challenge rooms, science minigames and enemy bases every bonus mission has a hand-crafted feel, not simply copy-paste busywork. They can vary in quality, including a truly duff robot bee segment and some tedious chemistry puzzles but they never outstay their welcome. These side-missions lead to some great boss fights and hints of potential future directions the series may take.

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Brilliantly the game ties your ability to fast travel between districts to how much superheroism you perform in each. Gone are the boring towers to gain map information, along with the weird police-heavy emphasis of the first game. Fast travel is stunning, allowing almost instantaneous transport to any part of the map. 

Despite this amazing feat, the amazing traversal options make this vast space wonderful to travel for travel’s sake. As well as the increased swinging speed there’s the addition of the web wings. These are an aspect of the original Steve Ditko Spidey design that has been somewhat underutilized in Spider-lore. These allow players to glide at incredible speeds across the city, using air tunnels and skyscraper ventilation to reach amazing heights. The only downside is that this gliding is so compelling that you may neglect to use web-slinging as much, sacrificing the hero’s trademark power. The unlockable costumes delve even deeper into Marvel lore, providing a compelling reason to level up beyond character power.

A Tale As Old As Slime

The main story is comparative in length to the original game, almost all killer rather than filler. Unfortunately, there are still occasional segments where you have to play as regular folks sans superpowers. These diversions are just plain dull compared to the main gameplay. The story is mostly a mashup of famous comic storylines with some clever tweaks and turns, combining a truly unwieldy cast into one narrative. Impressively the story is divided very evenly between the two Spideys, without the emo symbiote guff completely dominating. Kraven makes for an excellently nasty villain and the use of returning characters is delightfully unexpected. There are emotional beats that are underdeveloped, leading to characters having to suddenly explain all their motivation wallop them. Despite this, even the silliest parts of the tale are told confidently with superb presentation.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is a sequel that builds on its predecessors in every way as well as an incredible technical showcase. As a PS5 masterclass that is certain to guarantee revisiting, it proves that with great power comes great replayability.

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About The Author

Niall Glynn has been playing video games since he first realised that Mario could go INSIDE a pyramid on the N64. In-between his day job and sleeping you can find him watching poorly dubbed kung-fu movies and/or playing weird games on his Switch. Thinks Return of the Jedi is the best Star Wars and is colour-blind.

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