spider man 2 logo

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 – Review

The Spider-Man’s (Spider-Men? Spider-People?) are back, this time with a game built for PS5, and boy does that make a difference – but we’ll get to that.

Having been through his own spin-off game Miles Morales is fully in the role of Spider-Man now, but with college admissions coming up he still has some figuring out of who he is and how to move on from his past. Peter is trying to make a go of his new teaching job while still trying to find a balance between his life and being Spider-Man. And now his old friend Harry Osbourne is back from “Europe” or as it turns out some time in a creepy “Bacta” tank thing that seems to have cured his terminal illness.

So the stage is set for Kraven the Hunter to throw the city into chaos looking for his greatest and final hunt. Heroes and villains are both on his list but there’s a new dark presence lurking too… 

spider-man in blue and red suit watches firefighters tackle a fire from the top of a lamp post
kraven the hunter poses under a large bell

Venom, it’s Venom. I won’t spoil the “how’s” and “whys“, but he’s in the trailers and just his presence adds another reason to go play this game.

It’s tradition at this point but the game starts with your first swing, seamlessly transitioning from the intro cinematic and set to a rousing soundtrack. 

spider-man in blue and read does an acrobatic roll while swinging high above a city
spider-man high above the city uses wings built into his suit to glide toward a sandstorm. Subtitles read: "wooooooooooooooooooo!"

Straight into the action as Sand Man attacks and you get a taste of gameplay as both Peter and Miles as well as some of their new tech, such as the web-wings, add another dimension to the already stupendous city traversal from the earlier games. This intro sequence is just a glimpse of things to come with some truly cinematic moments, not just in the cutscenes but in the gameplay too. Glassing mini sand people with Miles’ electric powers is really cool, but then either character can use their webs and acrobatics to knock the sand minions into environmental hazards like burst water pipes or electrical boxes.

spider-man leaps towards a giant sand man as lightning strikes in the background

The Kraven story picks up from there with his hunters setting up bases across the city, with the Venom plotlines weaved through everything. It’s a masterful demonstration of balance and pacing. Even from trailers, I was predicting this to be a better Kraven story than the eventual Sony Movie, but this might just be beyond what most of the Spider-Man movies achieve. This is a story personal to both Spider-Men and any tweaks to the comic lore are done for a reason; there are a few changes that just make more sense than other interpretations of the story. You really feel the care that went into crafting the plot and characters. Even if you have no intention of playing the game, go watch a Let’s Play or something just to experience it.

spider man in a black and white symbiote suit crouched on a spire with a night time city behind him

I kind of struggled with my review of the first game, everything was just “good” and it was difficult for me to expand on that. It just worked, and it was fun, and I probably threw in the cliched but accurate, “It makes you feel like Spider-Man”. This time we take all that “goodness” and level everything up. There are whole new skill trees to take your abilities to the next level and adapt them to your play style.

The web-wings and other upgrades overhaul your traversal and it’s so fast, smooth and seamless, especially now with the PS5 streaming data. It’s so much faster, you can really zip through the streets. The city is incredible, twice the size and with a noticeable increase in draw distance. I don’t think I’ve had to consider draw distance in a game since at least PS3 so I’m impressed it’s had such a boost. Speedy web swinging definitely has some of those “I’M LITERALLY SPIDER-MAN” moments but the bouncy, evasive and aerial combat has been upgraded too.

spider-man in a black suit fights some hunters in a lodge. A darkness creeps in from the edges of the screen.

Obviously, there are new moves and abilities, some powerful and fun ultimates plus some new gadgets (although I miss some of the old ones). The new button scheme ties this all together nicely although it is easy to mistakenly activate a skill or gadget when you, for instance, try to hit block and dodge at the same time. Block and parry are new additions, I didn’t think the games needed them, and the last thing I needed was for the sequel to turn into some kind of Dark Souls, demanding frame-perfect inputs. They do actually add some nice extra depth to the combat and, outside of a few bosses, you can probably power through just focusing on being evasive.

Side missions and other content are back, and thankfully there are not so many that it’s overwhelming, meaningless or kind of hollow. Most of them have their own storylines and don’t get as grindy as in previous games.

a chaotic green misty scene scattered with blue energy as spider-man fights some mysterious goons

It’s also worth mentioning how customisable this game is, which does a lot for its accessibility. There are options to provide for those with vision or hearing-related needs, there are options that change gameplay to reduce the strain on your hands. It’s an impressive suite with more planned in later patches. I do like that these options open up the perceived scope of accessibility options, I may not want the game to be any easier, but I’d sure appreciate a bit more generous of a parry window. I won’t go into the colour-blind settings, but having slightly larger text makes things more comfortable. Bespoke options that cater to players make things better for everyone whether that’s because of a disability or a preference and I hope to see more of this kind of thing.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 might be a relatively short experience (perhaps 30 hours for the platinum?), but it’s so well-made and engaging from start to finish. It’s everything I could want from a cinematic action game, and now I’ve got my fingers crossed for some DLC or at least a New Game + mode.


Platform: PS5

Developer: Insomniac Games

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *