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Game review: Spider-Man 2



Is Marvel's 'Spider-Man 2' game worth the hype and the cost? Read on to find out about the game's story, graphics and gameplay - all the areas that made the previous two games a roaring success.


Spider-Man 2 was released last month to great critical acclaim. Some of the biggest platforms gave it great reviews, with Gamesradar rating it a 5/5, Eurogamer a 4/5 and the pinnacle of all gaming reviews and guides IGN giving it a solid 8/10.


The game does cost a hefty £62 (can be found cheaper at CEX). However, with such amazing reviews, let's see if it's worth the price...


Warning: Spoilers (but no main storyline spoilers)!



Story


The game is set in New York City which has become a hunting ground. The main villain is Kraven, a hunter from Russia whose goal is to hunt villains from the Marvel universe.


One of his targets is Martin Li aka Mister Negative who killed Miles' father Jefferson in the last game. He also hunts Flint Marko aka Sandman, Tombstone who appeared in the first Spidey game, and Scorpion.


Miles and Peter team up to essentially save all the villains that they fought in the previous games from Kraven’s hunt. The iconic Venom is also featured in the game - Miles and Peter team up to take him down.


Venom is an absolute beast in Spider-Man 2.


The storyline overall in Spider-Man 2 is really strong and engaging. The characters are more fleshed out than the first two games and are given much more depth and character development.


What I really enjoyed was that their lives were not only focused on being superheroes.


In many Spider-Man adaptations in the past - whether that be the games, comics or films (with the exception of the Spider Verse) they really struggled with making them normal people without it being over the top suburbanised.


Spider-Man 2 finds that sweet spot perfectly by balancing side stories with their actual lives in a way that seems genuinely authentic.


Miles enjoying being a DJ as he is hoping to go to university to study music engineering.


I was really gassed to see the return of old favourites such as Teo with his spider cat, Howard the pigeon keeper, Black Cat and Hailey, Miles' love interest.


Insomniac really did these recurring characters justice as they were all central to side stories that you can take part in throughout the world.


We really get to see them from a new perspective - especially Hailey in the mission 'Graffiti Trouble' as you get to play as Hailey herself and experience what life is like for deaf people.


The mission where you get to play as Hailey involves you helping cover up graffiti from a flower shop.


'Cultural Museum' is a mission that sees Miles recovering stolen items from a special music exhibition at the Harlem cultural centre (possibly based on the real life Schomburg Center). We get to see Teo again who is coincidentally playing a trumpet but it isn’t one of the stolen ones.


What’s really beautiful about this mission for me is that once everything is received and the exhibition can go ahead they have real life stories of historical black figures such as Charlie Parker, Gabriel Jones, Langston Huges and Josephine Baker.


It’s missions like Graffiti Trouble and Cultural Museum that really amplify the characters and make them realised and overall I have to give the story 10/10.


There is so much drama I would really rather not mention with the main storyline because I don’t want to spoil it but you are in for the ultimate action adventure if you do choose to play this game.


The Cultural Centre’s exhibition that features real life Saxophonist Charlie Parker.


The soundtrack, composed by John Paesano, really pops off and gives you that authentic Spidey sound you're used to hearing in the movies so it feels super high octane when you're playing action scenes.


However, I wish Insomniac went a little further by introducing a Spidey radio station and featuring music from the Spider Verse franchise and the ability to flick through the podcasts that feature in the game. It would have made it just that bit more realistic.


It is also worth mentioning the game is packed with memes and references to the entire Spidey franchise which, if you are a massive fan of all things Spidey, made the game a little more special.


Each time you fight crime as Miles and Peter you get the option to

interact and they of course replicated the iconic Spidey meme.



Gameplay


If you have already played the previous Spider-Man titles, Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018) and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (2020), you will know that one of the best elements of the game had to be the traversing around an almost true to life New York but it is set in Marvel’s version of the big apple.


They made some significant improvements in terms of traversal. You can now skate on water and use a super slingshot which allows you to use your webs to shoot yourself over NY waters.


Another addition are the web wings, which were inspired by Howard’s pigeons in Miles Morales that meant you could also fly through NY.


There are certain areas where the wind is particularly strong which means you can fly at high speeds because of the slipstream, it is beautifully smooth and there is no real trouble navigating with them.


The only real letdown with the traversal is that they recycled the tricks which allowed you to build X… Give us new tricks!


Flying through Times Square with your web wings, what more could you ask for?


In terms of combat, the new Spidey has made some great adjustments such as: the webline which creates a trapeze perfect for stealth takedowns and the removal of the gadget weapon wheel meaning you don’t have to open it everytime you want to use one.


However… Insomniac really cheaped out on the gadgets. In the first game you got 8 to choose from whereas with this game you only have 4.


While the web shooters obviously remain, Insomniac have kept the concussive blast from the first Spider-Man and have replaced the Gravity Well in Miles Morales with a very similar gadget webgrabber which pulls enemies together with a web, as well as the suspension matrix with a similar gadget upshot.


The only ‘brand new’ gadget design is the ricochet web which is honestly a bit of letdown. All it does is web up a few people and we would much prefer to have the spider drone from the first Spidey or at least the web bomb which captures multiple enemies at once.


The list of gadgets in Spider-Man 2.


The move list is pretty much exactly the same as the first two games which I am not complaining about as they are pretty fluid and really you don’t need to fix something that isn’t broken.


I found the gameplay way too easy, especially when facing low level criminals, despite starting off on spectacular mode. I would say ‘well hey this is a game for kids’ but it's actually rated PEGI 16.


Apparently there is an ultimate difficulty you can unlock after completion but it kind of irks me this is not an option to begin with. Perhaps that’s Insomniac's way of trying to enforce some replayability, but it already has tons anyway.


Some of the mini missions can be really repetitive in areas too but some prove to have a bit more depth behind them.


The Mirror Puzzle was actually quite fun to playthrough as you reveal secret messages on murals.


Overall I'd give the gameplay a 7/10.


Graphics


I played the first two Spider-Man games on PS4 when they were released but since then Insomniac have turned their back on the older gen console and have made it a PS5 exclusive.


It sucks for people using old gen consoles that they didn’t give it backward compatibility but once you start playing, it is easy to see why they didn’t want to sacrifice the games graphics.


Central Park is just that bit greener, the skyscrapers are shinier, the NPCs look more realistic than the previous titles… Best of all there is an option to favour graphics over performance which for me is a really big plus as I prefer to have lush graphics over frame rate.


The Coney Island Big Wheel.


The details are where this game goes really hard. Insomniac found the best way to capture all of the artwork and breathed life into the lives of New Yorkers by getting both Peter and Miles capturing photo ops for Robbie Robertson that really encapsulates the world beautifully.


Some of my personal favourites include the Bodega beef that actually has some great content and banter between the two Bodega cats, the Oscorp protestors and the hidden speakeasy in an old water tower in Williamsburg which made it feel like an authentic city.


The two cats beefing over who is the best Bodega


Overall I'd rate the graphics 10/10.


We hope you enjoyed our review of the new Spider-Man 2 game, have you played it yet? Let us know what you thought!


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