The third entry in the franchise from Insomniac Games, Spider-Man 2 picks up where Spider-Man: Miles Morales left off. This time, though, players experience playing Peter Parker and Miles Morales. Most of the time, players can pick either one. The game has specific missions, however, that require either Peter or Miles. Miles, for example, has some missions involving Brooklyn Visions Academy, where he goes to school. Then the game has other side quests where it doesn't matter which Spider-Man does it.
The story of Spider-Man 2 picks up after the events of Spider-Man: Miles Morales. New York City now has two Spider-Men to protect the city, and they both get tested by the hunter Kraven. While looking for a hunt worthy of someone of his stature, Kraven and his forces invade New York. It isn't long before they wreak havoc, sending Peter Parker and Miles Morales into action. There won't be any further story details in this review to prevent spoilers. Still, some interesting twists and turns await in this approximately 20-hour adventure.
Swinging Through The Streets of New York City
The basic gameplay feels just like the first two titles from Insomniac. Swinging through New York remains a fun and fast experience while utilizing some new gadgets and skills. The development team has also doubled the previous game's map size. The new boroughs for this game include Queens and Brooklyn. Within those boroughs, Astoria, Little Odessa, and Williamsburg await exploration. Famous landmarks such as Coney Island also appear in the game, allowing players to walk through it and explore the different attractions.
Like the previous games from Insomniac as well, Peter and Miles have several different suits to unlock. Peter has the Advanced Suit, the Classic Suit, the Superior Suit, and more. Miles has the Upgraded Suit, Brooklyn 2099 Suit, Miles Morales 2099 Suit, and more. Progressing through the game will unlock all of the different suits available. Additionally, this time around, the suits have some customization. Select a suit and hold down the button to choose from one of four options. Pick the one that looks the best and then embark on the journey to protect the city and its citizens.
Select What Skills Spider-Man Can Utilize
With both Peter and Miles taking part in the game, that also means the skills tree has dramatically expanded. Insomniac included one tree for Peter, one for Miles, and a third for both. Peter's skill tree includes abilities such as Spider Rush, Spider Shock, Spider Barrage, and more. Miles can utilize Chain Lightning, Thunder Burst, Reverse Flux, and more. The abilities for both include the Slingshot Launch, Web Whip, Spider-Jump, and much more. Completionists who maximize Spider-Man's level can unlock all of the skills.Spider-Man 2 features different mission structures. Of course, the main story quests alternate between Peter and Miles. Some side stories pop up, in addition to “FNSM App” quests and several different collectibles to find in the environment. Other groups also populate the city. Regarding collections, the game has several memories to see, pictures to take, diaries to find, and spider bots to locate. Completionists will discover several different things to do throughout the city. Players can also avoid many of the game's optional puzzles. When trying to do a mini-game, for example, most of the time, hit the pause button and select “skip puzzle.”
Accessibility remains a vital part of games today, and rightfully so. Ideally, every game would be available to anyone who wants to play it. Accessibility presets cover a wide range of items, or it can get a bit more customized. Regarding gameplay, the game's overall speed can change, players can simplify puzzles, ensure that any quick-time events finish automatically, and more. Motion sensitivity options allow players to turn the depth of field on or off, turn off some full-screen effects that might disturb some people, provide a center dot on the screen to provide a focal point, and more. Audio assists also exist, as well as visual and high-contrast options. Spider-Man 2 has enough variance of gameplay that anyone can enjoy it.
Momentum Can Be a Double-Edged Sword
Insomniac incorporated a lot of fun into Spider-Man 2. However, some issues did pop up from time to time. The progression system in the game feels a bit too restrictive. As someone who enjoys getting sidequests done and collectibles found early on in a game, that wasn't possible here. One of the trophies in the game requires one hundred percent completion of all districts. Unfortunately, many objectives needed for one hundred percent completion unlock in a drip-feed manner. Some instances become understandable if they involve the main story. Others don't make any sense. If someone wants to go through most of the side content first, the game should allow them to do so.
Another issue in the gameplay revolves around the momentum-based structure of the game. Swinging through the city involves gaining a lot of speed by chaining together moves and increasing momentum, which allows Spider-Man to swing through the streets rapidly. The problem shows up when that chain gets broken. If the momentum gets halted, it can take a few moments to get started again. If, for example, Spider-Man runs into the side of a building, it can take a few moments to detach and get started again. The programmers should have found a way to make the transition between moves more fluid so it doesn't immediately halt everything and disrupt the flow of the action. When Spider-Man has to take a step or two backward to resume the forward motion, it will frustrate gamers.
Going through the main story, boss fights also hang around too long. A boss fight towards the later part of the game lasts four rounds, which means it takes a while to go through. The battles look fantastic and have incredible design. Still, the designers need to pull back on these battles so they don't become repetitive.
The story for Spider-Man 2 goes to unexpected places. Insomniac has done a great job continuing this story, and it should lead to some exciting developments in the inevitable Spider-Man 3. Players who enjoy going after trophies will be happy to hear the Platinum trophy only takes around 25 hours or so to unlock, perhaps even less time for those who play games faster. Spider-Man 2 has no difficulty-based trophy, so no one has to worry about that. This approximate 25-hour length allows everyone to enjoy Spider-Man's new adventure without worrying about a significant time commitment. Overall, the team at Insomniac did an excellent job with Spider-Man 2, and players should look forward to seeing what they come up with next.
Rating: 9/10 Specs
Please note: Sony provided us with a code for Spider-Man 2 on PlayStation 5 for review purposes.
Brandon Hofer is a California-based writer who covers the entertainment industry. More specifically, Brandon has covered the gaming industry since 2006, attending and covering the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) every year. Brandon has also attended the Games Developer Conference, Penny Arcade Expo, and various events put on by publishers and developers. Brandon has worked with numerous studios, including Xbox Game Studios, PlayStation, Nintendo, Ubisoft, THQ, Activision, Electronic Arts, and more. Over the years, working with those studios has also allowed Brandon to work with iconic franchises such as the NFL, WWE, and the UFC. Thanks to that experience, Brandon also covers what goes on in the world of sports entertainment, primarily WWE. Brandon's work has appeared on MSN, Muck Rack, Flipboard, GameCrate, Wealth of Geeks, and more.