Marvel’s Spider-Man 2: Review
This game was reviewed on Playstation 5.
Reviewed by: Nikola Hristov
As a gigantic Spider-Man fanboy, I really cannot hide my love for the Insomniac games. They've always felt like a love letter to fans, as they always feature references to the movies, shows, games and comics we all grew up with. However, they also manage to go toe to toe with the biggest gaming giants out there in terms of story and gameplay. In short, Marvel's Spider-Man is a phenomenal franchise that keeps pushing the boundaries of gaming with every new instalment. And boy am I happy to say, the third game is absolutely amazing.
To start things off, let's talk about the story. It's mainly focused on telling two separate stories – the Symbiote saga of Peter Parker and Miles' revenge path against Martin Li, both of which are connected and intertwined because of Kraven the Hunter's actions. Something I do feel like the game could've done better is the length of the story. Without spoiling anything, every character is done well, with emotional connections everywhere and heart-wrenching moments that will leave you wanting more and more. Everybody has a chance to shine here – Peter Parker with the black suit, Miles with his responsibility towards his friends and family, MJ with her career and of course, her boyfriend, Kraven and his interesting motivations, and last but certainly not least – Harry, who is the most important character in this story as everything regarding the Symbiote happens because of his and his disease. One aspect I felt like the story could have done better is the length. Clocking in at about 18 hours, it's as long or shorter than Spider-Man 2018, which is a bit disappointing. I feel like they could have added a few extra hours while Peter wears the black suit, because Yuri Lowenthal's performance is probably going to win Best Actor at the Game Awards this year and I really wanted to see more of it. But with just a short 18 hour story, the game doesn't really have much time to go in depth.
It's also not a bad idea to mention the side quests in this game. They went for a quality over quantity approach. Though there's only like 8 side quests in the game, all of them feel different from the previous entries and are even quite emotional. Not going to lie, there's a mission which made me tear up a bit and it ain't even part of the main story. I wish we had gotten a few more side missions though.
The gameplay is nothing short of spectacular. Two words – traversal and combat. Every element of the game is elevated to a whole new level compared to the last two, but these two shine the most. The web swinging is about three times faster and the animations as well as air tricks for Peter keep it fresh and intriguing even for players who have hundreds of hours web swinging. But of course, the key player here are the web wings, and while not everyone is a fan of them, saying they make Spidey feel too much like Batman, no one can argue they've been designed amazingly and are probably the best traversal mechanic in a videogame, next the web swinging itself. You can spend hours upon hours just going around the city and it's not going to get boring. Combat is the second majorly improved aspect – with Peter's new special abilities which include the Spider Arms and the Symbiote, while Miles plays around with his evolved venom powers. Each Spider has at least 8 different abilities they unlock as the story progresses (or through the skill tree) and they're all incredibly fun to use. The gadget wheel is gone and, in its place, you'll find a system – to quick-cast gadget using R1 + action button. However, because of that the gadget diversity is quite low. Still, they chose some powerful and unique gadgets which you'll find great and will end up using throughout the whole playthrough.
By far the most important achievement of the game is just how much of a technical marvel it is. The massive opening sequence, the fast travel being near instant and the fluid 60 fps gameplay with next to no bugs – now that's special! Insomniac are wizards and they've proven it again. I did experience a few minor bugs, but I'm sure they will be patched later, and they didn't really hinder my enjoyment whatsoever.
All in all, I cannot stress how much I adore this game. It feels like a love letter to Spider-Man, to Venom, to Miles, to Peter and MJ, to Gamers and to the biggest fanboys (me). The game features a very deep and emotional story, riveting side quest chains, plot set ups for future games, amazing combat and traversal but most importantly – it features heart. When love and care are put into a product it shows – and Spider-Man 2 is no exception. It's hard to explain how good the game is without spoiling any story beats, but you got to do what you got to do. Thank you, Insomniac!
Reviewed by: Nikola Hristov