Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Insomniac Games
Medium: Blu-ray / Digital
The first comic book I ever bought was Spectacular Spider-Man #174, featuring Doc Ock trying to wreck the Daily Bugle after burying Spidey under a ton of wreckage. It helped kick off a life-long obsession with comic books, and while I think my favorite superheroes of all time are always going to be the X-Men, Spider-Man is certainly a real close 2nd. As a Spider-Man fan, we’ve had incredible luck when it comes to Spider-Man video games. Especially from the PS1 era on up, there’ve been a number of great games for everyone’s favorite webslinger, and outside of a few duds, you could go back and pick up any number of classic Spider-Man titles and get some quality entertainment out of them.
Developer Insomniac Games continues that tradition with the release of Spider-Man 2 on PS5. Picking up from where the prior Spider-Man game on PS4 left off (our review here), along with the more recent release of Miles Morales: Spider-Man (our review here), we’re quickly re-introduced to both heroes, now a bit more confident in their abilities and individual roles as heroes of New York. They’re also adjusting to changes in their personal lives, stemming from the events of the prior games, and trying to figure out how to proceed as partners (or a mentor/trainee role) throughout all of it.
The main supporting cast from the last two entries return here, along with the introduction of Peter’s best friend Harry Osborn, which sort of changes up Peter and Miles dynamic a bit, both in and out of costume. One thing that Spider-Man 2 does really well is offering up two distinct story paths for both Peter and Miles, weaving in and out of each other’s lives at various points, culminating in a huge ending that works really well for both heroes. I absolutely loved the story in this one, and really enjoy how Insomniac continues to craft a unique take on well-known Spider-Man lore, making their version of Spider-Man feel different and fresh.
In addition to a great story, Spider-Man 2 is just a real joy to play. The movement, whether that’s web-slinging through New York, running up the side of various skyscrapers, diving through the air, or employing the new Web Wings to glide around, is so remarkably fluid and enjoyable. The Web Wings are an excellent addition overall, transitioning between standard web-slinging into the wings and back again is seamless, and while the wings offer a great way to move around the city quickly, it doesn’t really replace the traditional movement either. There are sections of the city that offer wind tunnels that will quickly propel Peter or Miles around with the wings deployed, and it becomes extremely useful when crossing bridges in particular, but you’ll also still find yourself swinging around more often than not.
Combat feels largely unchanged, which is fine since combat in the last two games was already handled very well. Combat still feels like an evolution of the formula that the Batman Arkham games from Rocksteady introduced. Each combat scenario offers up multiple henchmen to beat down, mixed in with robots and other variant enemies from the late game, giving you a decent variety of foes to square off against. Both Peter and Miles have their own unique abilities that work off of cooldowns, and then they also have access to shared equipment like the normal web shooters or an item that pulls enemies into a group making them more susceptible to AOE attacks. It’s a lot of fun, and really shines in larger fights when you are firing off both abilities and equipment in conjunction with all the other combat tools at your disposal. It also helps that enemy A.I. is persistent enough to keep you on your toes.
Much like the prior games, Spider-Man 2 also has a ton of optional side content to check out. I appreciate the more organic approach that Spider-Man 2 takes to unfolding these activities this time out, unlocking more and more as you progress through the main story in a way that doesn’t just litter the map with icons. Instead you’ll likely just run into a lot of these locations while swinging around the city, and you can also do small radar pings to help highlight spots of interest without resorting to bringing up your map constantly. While some of these side missions can be completed by both Peter and Miles, a handful are also character specific, but you can easily swap between characters on the fly and the side mission will even prompt you to do this as you approach if you’re currently controlling the wrong character.
It’s also worth mentioning that if you dug all the optional costume unlocks from the prior game, you’ll be really happy with the variety of options in Spider-Man 2. There’s a host of recognizable outfits from Spider-Man’s history, along with some pretty cool all-new duds for both Peter and Miles, which helps liven up the game even more.
Spider-Man 2 also looks and performs really well on PS5, with a rock-solid frame rate throughout in performance mode. I will say I did run into a handful of bugs, like enemies getting stuck in the environment, my character getting stuck, and a few crashes throughout, so it’s not completely flawless. There is a planned Day 1 patch for release, so I assume some of these issues may get addressed there, but they are worth mentioning.
Still, the occasional bug aside, I absolutely loved Spider-Man 2, and I’m happy to see that Insomniac continues to knock it out of the park with this series. Miles has been a great addition to the Spider-Man universe overall, and if you loved Miles Morales: Spider-Man, I think you’ll be really happy with all the focus he gets in this one as well. While the limelight is sort of shared evenly throughout the game between Peter and Miles, it’s hard not to continuously root for Miles as a character, and he becomes even more central to the overall storyline here in a way that feels pretty impactful overall. So if you’ve been looking forward to the upcoming release of Spider-Man 2, then you can rest assured that you’ve got an excellent Spidey game to look forward to in the near future.
Note: Sony provided us with a Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 code for review purposes.