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‘Marvel’s Spider-Man 2:’ An Epic Web-Slinging Adventure

“Spider-Man 2” feels more or less the same as the last two games, but with a few new mechanics to spice up the experience.
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(Courtesy of Insomniac Games)

 

Insomniac’s “Spider-Man” was a smash success when PlayStation players first got their hands on it in 2018. It changed the landscape for superhero games. It upped expectations for developers adapting comic book heroes to playable entertainment.

The game not only captures what it feels like to swing from skyscrapers in New York City, but also tells a fantastic Spider-Man story filled with action and emotion.

In 2020, “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” was released, a continuation of the first game following Peter Parker’s protege on a solo mission. The story and gameplay are top-notch here as well. It put all eyes on the most recent entry, “Spider-Man 2” to deliver the best game yet. Now that is has arrived, it’s time to examine if the newest Spidey adventure is another home run.

Gameplay

The gameplay in “Spider-Man 2” feels more or less the same as the last two games, but with a few new mechanics to spice up the experience.

One of the best is the addition of web wings to the suit. They allow you to glide through the air while swinging through the city. They make traversal even more exhilarating than before. These webs wings also help players get across large, building-less land areas faster like rivers and parks.

When it comes to combat, the highlight is the abilities attached to Peter’s symbiote suit. Punches feel harder while wearing it. The special attacks feel dynamic as tendrils of black goo protrude from your body to demolish enemies close and far. While players are aware that the black suit is a bad sign for Peter, it’s difficult not to feel the power of it emanating through the controller. 

The side missions have a nice variety and even turn out to tell some of the best stories of the game. They are still at times repetitive, especially those that include time-wasting puzzles. While there’s fun to be had in fighting an arsonist cult, or getting stuck in Mysterio’s illusions, the main story is far more alluring. 

Story

“Spider-Man 2” begins with the introduction of Harry Osbourne, childhood best friend of Peter and MJ and son of billionaire Norman Osbourne. While Harry has been adapted to the screen multiple times, it’s usually been disappointing or mediocre as the relationship between him and Peter rarely feels genuine. Insomniac’s interpretation of the character is a bit different and the result is the best adaptation to date. Peter, MJ and Harry actually feel like lifelong friends. When the bond begins to become strained by the chaos of Spider-Man’s life, it actually hurts. 

A new set of Spidey’s rogues gallery is featured in “Spider-Man 2” including Sandman, Kraven the Hunter and Venom. Kraven is an intimidating figure who makes sparse but meaningful appearances throughout the game. His presence poses a true threat to the player, especially in the brutal boss fights against him.

The arrival of Venom is of course marked by an adaptation of the classic Black Suit Spider-Man storyline. Thankfully, it is done to perfection here. The symbiote suit not only feels powerful, but it also influences Peter’s character in a believable way. His mean behavior slowly grows with each interaction. He goes from acting like someone having a bad day to someone who enjoys being needlessly cruel. The section with the black suit is easily the most entertaining part of the game. It culminates in a truly epic and powerful sequence. 

Unfortunately, beyond that, this sequel lacks the moments of heart the first game frequently gave out. The story beats are usually predictable, making it hard to feel much during the scenes that try to pull at the heartstrings. Miles’s subplot with the previous villain Mister Negative is occasionally moving, and the eventual struggles Venom and the symbiote pose for Peter are thematically resonating. However, not even these moments pack the gut punches of the original two games. 

Overall Thoughts

“Spider-Man 2” is a fantastic game but slightly weaker than its predecessors in a few areas. The gameplay isn’t an entirely fresh experience, but it’s still an unbeatable thrill stepping into the shoes of everyone’s favorite arachnid-themed heroes. The story has its twists and turns, but they are not shocking enough to create a truly amazing Spider-Man story.

For PS5 owners and diehard Spider-Man fans, “Spider-Man 2” should be an instant buy. For everyone else, it can be something enjoyed later down the line.

 

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@grahamcool8

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About the Contributor
Graham Jones, Arts Writer, News For U Producer
Graham Jones was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and moved to Utah to study film. Despite his passion for cinema, Graham joined the Chronicle to engage with the University of Utah community and pursue his love for journalism. Outside of the student media office, Graham can be found buried deep into the pages of a graphic novel or lip-syncing to the greatest hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

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