HomeNewsMarvel's Spider-Man 2 Review - Being Greater Together Indeed

    Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Review – Being Greater Together Indeed

    Developed By: Insomniac Games

    Published By: Sony Interactive Entertainment

    Platforms: PlayStation 5

    Reviewed On: PlayStation 5

    Review Code Provided By: Sony Interactive Entertainment Singapore

    When Marvel’s Spider-Man came out in 2018, the hype levels were really at an all-time high due to how there were many who wondered if Insomniac Games could pull it off. They were known for creating a few of the most iconic games out there like Spyro The Dragon, the Resistance series, and the Ratchet & Clank series to name a few. It’s kind of weird for me to think how I was also the one who reviewed Marvel’s Spider-Man when it came out and 5 years have gone by. I really enjoyed the first entry in this series but I did find a few choice story bits as well as the side content to be slightly lacking.

    Thanks to the wonderful folks at PlayStation Asia, we managed to snag a review code and as surreal as it might have felt, I spent a whole weekend just consuming the entirety of what the game offered. Before sitting down to write this review I gave myself a week to just kind of marinate in the feelings I had as I really loved so much about the game, but there were just a few aspects which I felt prevented it from being perfect. I hope to get into it (spoiler tagged of course) and these are just my own personal feelings and observations on it which might not bother others in the same way. So let’s get into it.

    Taken in Fidelity Mode

    Heal The World

    Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is set 10 months after the events of Miles Morales with both Peter Parker and Miles Morales dealing with the aftermath in both their personal and “professional” lives. Peter is still trying to get his life together and being Spider-Man isn’t always providing the right balance for him to succeed in his normal life. Miles Morales is at the cusp of heading to college but rather inversely is trying to figure out if he could ever live up to Peter’s legacy instead of always being the other Spider-Man. A new threat arises with the sudden and mysterious appearance of the Hunters led by the enigmatic Kraven the Hunter as well as the looming dark cloud of Venom that really pushes both Spider-Men to their limits.

    The main narrative in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 starts off with a bang and tells a very intriguing story that at times never lets up. But what I appreciated more are the smaller moments in both Peter and Miles’s personal lives that just expands upon why they are both such great main characters. This is due to how the cast of supporting characters like Mary Jane, Rio, Ganke & Haile who provide amazing chemistry with their own performances. The newest addition to this universe is the long-teased Harry Osborn, performed immaculately by Graham Phillips who really endeared me to the friendship shared with Peter in a very believable way. However as with my own experience with the previous entry in the series, there were just some story beats that proved too much of a convenience in the way it plays out that bothered me more than it should have which I will go into in the next paragraph. It will be spoiler tagged for those wanting to remain unspoiled.


    Taken in Fidelity Mode

    My main issue with the story in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is how there are two major story beats that have the same (ironically) inverse problems which are related to Kraven and Venom. See, Kraven is initially built up as this mysterious force of nature that hunts heroes and villains alike for a purpose that is revealed throughout the course of the game but once all the pieces are revealed it falls apart on closer inspection.

    Kraven hunts to battle heroes or villains to find one worth dying for. It is revealed that there are multiple villains that were already taken out off-screen to really build him up and yet there are some that are just conveniently left alive to service another narrative thread like the trauma of Miles because of the actions taken by Martin Li in the previous entry. Martin Li who was captured fairly early on in the game is then absent for a large portion of it only to be conveniently left alive for the confrontation later on with Miles. For someone who is as efficient as Kraven, it felt sloppy. Then when it is revealed how Kraven covets the true fight with Venom, despite knowing the symbiote’s weakness to certain sound frequencies, he only exploits it at story convenient moments but not the most important one and ends up dying like a chump. I get that that moment is meant to really solidify how terrifying Venom is (which I love) but it comes at the expense of diminishing Kraven especially since the build-up for him was so effective.

    The other issue I have is with Venom itself, more specifically how the symbiote came to be as Venom. I actually really love how in this game; Venom is truly a terrifying almost undefeatable foe. But how he got to that point also felt a little sloppy. The story arc does follow closely how Peter gets the symbiote, gets corrupted and after getting rid of it inadvertently creates Venom as we know it. Where it fell apart for me is before the symbiote latches on to Peter, it was inside Harry the whole time and yet Harry was not displaying any corruption at all. So, when it bounces back to him and the true version of Venom is revealed it just creates a significant plot hole of why Harry was not being corrupted in the first place. Even my wife, watching me play the whole time, wondered the same thing further reinforcing how I felt about it.

    These two things really kind of stood out for me how Kraven started and was built up great but faltered at the end. The slow teasing of the symbiote was intriguing and slightly convenient but the end result was still amazing. I just wished that both narrative threads didn’t feel so much like it was playing out too conveniently to serve where it needed to go story-wise.


    Taken in Fidelity Mode

    Nothing More Beautiful

    Starting out with how the game looks graphically, I can confidently say that I was really impressed with it, especially in Fidelity Mode. The game offers both Fidelity Mode with all the ray-tracing effects turned on and Performance Mode which tones it down for smooth 60 fps gameplay but this would probably be the first game which offered both modes in which I chose to still play in Fidelity Mode due to how smooth it still felt. The ray-traced lighting and reflections really add so much amazing detail to the world and environments with very little performance hit. As with all PlayStation first-party titles, the HDR lighting is also spectacular.

    The only slight blemish is how there are bugs like NPCs sitting on invisible benches or odd locations but these are very few and far between. Also, as a sight PSA, this game will also melt PS5s, especially in Fidelity Mode. My PS5 game me the overheating warning twice and the third time it just shut off on its own as certain sections really push the PS5 to its limits. It was especially surprising for me as I just did a cleanup of my PS5 so it definitely requires some optimization. I’m sure that there will be patches that address these issues but I do hope it won’t be a lingering one.

    Sound design is also as impressive as ever with a killer soundtrack coupled with amazing vocal performances. New York, Queens and Brooklyn sound very alive with ambience chatter (with some NPCs even able to chatter on and on hilariously), and traffic noise is heightened further with the amazing 3D audio. I absolutely love how adaptive the sound design is as well as how the ambient soundtrack changes when you use Peter or Miles further adding to their individual identities.

    What I truly loved the most was the near-perfect implementation of the haptics and the adaptive triggers. Since the Dual Sense was introduced very few games utilize its capabilities to its fullest but I am glad to share that it is astounding how immersive both are here. Walking, swinging, gliding through the air and feeling the haptic feedback is just at an elite level. What is even more impressive is how this game pushes the speed of what this generation brings even further. Insomniac Games have brought in their portal tech from Rift Apart with seamless location and character transitions but that isn’t even what blew my mind.

    The fast travel in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is godly. For years, fast travel was bound to a fixed location on the map but in this game, your cursor is that fixed location. Just hover over anywhere on the map and once you unlock fast travelling you will seamlessly jump into that location instantaneously. Amazing application of fast travel which I hope will be replicated in more games moving forward.

    Taken in Fidelity Mode

    I Can Be Spider-Man Anywhere

    The gameplay in Marvel’s Spider-Man is familiar but also changed and in my opinion for the better especially when it comes to setting up your Spider-Men and their gadgets/abilities. The gadget wheel is replaced by a simplified arsenal but is improved by abilities that complement them greatly. Players will alternate between using the gadgets and the new and improved abilities like the Spider-Arms/Venom abilities and Miles’s new expanded electricity powers. There are also three skill trees; one each for Peter and Miles and a shared one that will boost their combat, traversal and utility greatly.

    One of the biggest and best changes for me personally is how visually different activities are now. Instead of constantly just going to a map icon, there are visual markers like pulses or colour-coded areas that go a long way toward making the experience a more visually appealing one for players like me instead of constantly going to the map and highlighting the next checkpoint to head to. What’s also great is how varied the side missions and activities are now as well. The previous entry did feel like too much of the same thing a lot of the time but there is enough variety here in every side activity that makes it refreshing to complete.

    When it comes to the side missions there is a bit more variety inserted in how these play out. Just going to a location and clearing out enemies are still there but what I loved is how the side missions aren’t always about the Spider-Men themselves. The love shown to side characters is apparent and the individualistic touches they provide are just so beautiful to play through. This is heightened with some spot-on applications of licensed music that stir up emotions in minor characters that could have previously felt one-note.

    During my 28-hour playtime getting the platinum trophy, it was just an absolute joy playing through all the content the game had to offer and loved the characters more along the way.

    Taken in Fidelity Mode

    What I Really Loved

    • Characters – The entire cast from Peter, Miles, Mary Jane, Hailey, and Ganke to new ones like Harry & Kraven are immaculately performed and it was easy to just enjoy the tale being told.
    • Graphics & Performance – Insomniac Games are proving themselves to be magicians when it comes to graphics and performance and they are at the absolute top of their game here.
    • Changes To Gameplay – Simplified in some aspects but streamlined much better in providing a more satisfying complete package, especially in a superhero game.
    • TONS of Easter Eggs – I don’t want to spoil anything but keep a look out for so many amazing easter eggs that will sure delight fans. It also makes me REALLY interested in what the future holds.
    Taken in Fidelity Mode

    What I Wished Was Better

    • Bugs & Performance – Just very minor stuff mentioned earlier with the NPC but the PS5 overheating one which I really hope is handled promptly.
    • Plot Holes – It’s a personal choice as it’s a small blip in the larger picture but I am never a fan of convenient plotting. It’s still a great ride from start to finish.
    • Boss Phases – Usually when bosses have phases it’s a tense moment due to new move sets or patterns being introduced but here it’s just to extend the fight so it can feel like it goes on for too long.

    Taken in Fidelity Mode

    When You Help Someone, You Help Everyone

    One of the things I love most about my passion for games is how in every game there is something that tugs on a personal level paralleling my own life in the challenges I face every day. I dropped off reviewing games for a while because I fell out of love with them due to burnout. I was hesitant to jump into Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 because I wasn’t sure I still had that spark and passion but I also realized I couldn’t stop playing it from start to finish. Even with the issues I had with it, it was still such an amazing experience because of how great the gameplay is, how loveable the characters are and what an expertly crafted universe Insomniac Games has created here. I can even argue that this might probably be the greatest superhero game ever made that I have personally played. With how great my experience with it has been I absolutely cannot wait for the next entry in the series not to mention Marvel’s Wolverine. Fans are really going to love Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.

    Final Score – 9/10

    Jashvir Sandhu
    Jashvir Sandhu
    Proud barbarian to her monk, Wondrous Peashooter to her Sunflower, Blue Yarny who will never let go of his Red Yarny, Loving husband of Cadet Cuddles. Also on PSN known as ZDKilljoy

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