The Spider-Men swing onto PlayStation consoles once again.
The much-anticipated sequel to developer Insomniac Games’ 2018 Marvel’s Spider-Man and 2020’s Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales is finally out.
Taking on the iconic symbiote storyline from the comics, the game holds its own unique twists and turns to keep newcomers and diehards on the edge of their seats.
I had a blast with the game’s main story, which took roughly 15 hours to complete, as Peter Parker and Miles Morales’ Spider-Men go up against Kraven the Hunter and the terrifying fan favorite, Venom, voiced by veteran actor Tony Todd, best known for his role as Candyman in the 1992 film.
This game improves upon almost every aspect of the original, including faster web-swinging/wing-suiting across New York City, suit color variations, and flashy abilities that may even end battles sooner than you’d hoped.
Players are free to switch between Peter Parker to Miles Morales’ Spider-Man in a near instant, thanks to the PlayStation 5’s hardware capabilities. Along with exciting encounters that make the city feel alive, you may even come across your allies protecting the city while you go about your business.
The story is the main attraction of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. The game recognizes that the black suit story is well-known among fans and strikes a delicate balance to respect the source material without making the narrative seem predictable.
Full of spectacular set pieces and easter eggs, Insomniac Games knows what they’re doing.
What could’ve been better?
As much as I loved my time going through the main story and completing all the side missions, The game feels too short. Even though the main story takes roughly 15 hours to beat, more could have been explored, specifically within its antagonists.
Compared to previous PlayStation exclusives, The Last of Us Part 2 takes around 25 hours to beat, and God of War Ragnarök takes 30 hours.
There is a sense of missed opportunity in the third act of the game, and it would have benefited from a few more hours of character development to make the ending more impactful. Additionally, a few of the side quests end on a cliffhanger, which felt unsatisfying.
The game does not feature a “new game plus+” mode at release, most likely to be included in a future update, meaning players who have beaten the game will have to be patient before they can replay the story with all their favorite suits and upgraded abilities unlocked.
The lack of mission or base replays hurt the replay factor of the game, which may also be added in a future update since it was available in previous games, forcing players to start over from the beginning if they want to give a specific mission another shot.
Learning from past mistakes
Spider-Man fans have had some great and not-so-great video games over the years, each excelling in a few areas but lacking in others.
Before Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-Man in 2018, The Web Slinger’s video games consisted of movie-licensed games such as Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man movies and some surprisingly good original games such as Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions and Spider-Man Web of Shadows.
The problem with movie-licensed games is the time constraints. It takes much longer to develop a video game from scratch than a movie, so developers would have to cut corners in the game’s production to meet the release date of an upcoming film.
All of them had their strengths and weaknesses; however, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 combines the best elements of its predecessors to deliver a singular, consistent experience for today’s gamers.
Through their partnership with PlayStation, it is clear Insomniac Games does not have to compromise their production cycle as previous developers have often had to.
What’s the verdict
Yes, I have my issues with the game, but the highs of the game still far outweighed its lows. As a big fan of the character and because it brings in so many great elements from older Spider-Man video games, this is my favorite game of 2023.
If you are a Spider-Man fan, enjoy story-driven power fantasy video games, or simply want to swing around the city to relax, I would highly recommend this title.
Players around the world are hopeful for future updates and expansions to the game, similar to The City that Never Sleeps story content for the first game in 2018.
Insomniac Games’ next major project is expected to be Marvel’s Wolverine, another PlayStation 5 exclusive title announced back in 2021. The game will take on the beloved character from the X-Men and is expected to deliver all the brutality fans anticipate with its rumored mature rating.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has already become the fastest-selling PlayStation Studios release. With their partnership with Insomniac Games turning out to be this fruitful, I can’t wait to see what heroes or perhaps even villains are next in line to receive their own video game treatment.