Spider-Man 2 – Game Review


Spider-Man 2

(available for PlayStation 5 only)

Insomniac Games has brought the latest entry in the Spider-Man series, launching only on PlayStation 5.  The game has spent a long time in development and takes place shortly after the Miles Morales entry, and this time you play as both Spidermen; Peter Parker and Miles Morales, with your ability to swap between them at almost any point, though some of the missions require you to be either or. Most of the side content can be tackled by either character, and some story missions have you swapping back and forth mid-mission.

Akin to the previous entries in this series, a lot has stayed the same in how each Spidermen play. Miles still has access to some powers that Peter doesn’t have and Peter has access to some gadgets that Miles doesn’t have. But I will also stress that they aren’t incredibly different, especially later on in the game. The marketing has very much pushed the fact that this game has Venom as one of the villains- it’s been a factor in the design of new faceplates for the PS5 as well as a new controller. So obviously, we know that that will affect what Peter Parker can do in the story.

This will be a no-spoiler review, but for the record unlike most games that I review, I did actually 100% this game. This only took me 7 days in total, and that wasn’t even with non-stop play since I was bouncing back and forth between Super Mario Wonder. I will say that this game is very similar to the first one. There isn’t much new stuff here. The combat is similar with some slight changes in the button layout, and the map has been expanded to include other districts of New York like Queens and Astoria.

I personally felt like the argument that the map wasn’t doing much this time was a bad-faith criticism since it’s a Spiderman game… It’s going to be set in New York, how do you change New York?

My major point in this review is that if you liked the last games, this one will satisfy you. It does encourage new players to get involved so there is a ‘What You Missed’ section.

Spiderman gained a remastered version along with Miles Morales and they’re not that expensive, I believe one of them is available on the PlayStation Plus subscription, and they’re not incredibly long, so I would suggest getting them! I personally recommend them, they’re really good games, and I can safely say that this game joins them.

PROS

  • Combat and Travel

While not much has been changed, it definitely follows the rule of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’. The combat seems to have changed slightly, you’re now using the L1 trigger to activate Special Attacks or Powers and using the R1 button plus a corresponding button to activate various gadgets, which is shared between both Spidermen. You’ll want to upgrade those; it will come in really handy down the line. Plus, when you check out the non-hidden trophies that avoid spoilers, it will tell you that you need to max out both your suit tech and the gadgets, if you want to get 100% and claim the Platinum Trophy.

I have heard the combat be described as simplistic by some people, but I think that it works well and takes full advantage of both Spidermen’s powers and abilities and creates really good fast-paced combat. I’ve been playing Arkham Asylum and Arkham City on stream for the past few weeks, and it really reminded me how much I preferred Spider-Man’s fast-paced combat. It definitely made me feel less out of my depth when I’m surrounded by a large variety of enemies.

You’ll have to watch out for new crunch attacks and new powerful moves that can’t be dodged. The game is very fortunately, good on timing for parrying, so while it was a new feature to get used to, I got used to it pretty quickly.

The enemy variety is up quite a bit, with each of the factions involved having various types of goons with different abilities. There are a lot of varieties when you’re fighting Craven’s hunters, and they‘re different compared to the group of Flame Cultists that you’ll be taking down (trust me, you’ll want to do the side missions for that storyline, which is hopefully setting up future DLC or the next game).

The good news is that the game does give Peter and Miles distinctive abilities which does make you think about going into different situations with each character.

The combat is also improved for the stealth missions. In the last game, they ended very quickly since you could only do stealth for the first phase before you’d end up in an all-out fight. That’s changed this time around, not only do you have access to more resources and more combat options to improve on the stealth (the web liner was awesome to use and I particularly liked the fact you could use the Triangle button to take down enemies from a distance, with the cost being that it would make loud noises that could disrupt your stealth) but because the stealth missions are often in larger environments, there’s less of a punishment when you get caught because the goons in the other part of the base didn’t overhear.

This also extends to traversal. Web slinging is also back, but there’s a new major change with a gliding mechanic called Web Wings, which you will want to find air currents for, since you can go really far with them. It also provides good shortcuts throughout the city. Traversal was really good in the city; I was barely doing fast travel since I really enjoyed web-slinging. Plus, there are more opportunities to get experience points since the randomly generated crimes aren’t limited to a certain number per district, which is great for ‘100 percenting’ all of the districts. I hated having to swing around the district waiting for a certain crime to take place in Spider-Man PS4.

This game controls amazingly well. It’s fantastic once again.

  • Graphics

If you want to be pernickety, there are a few instances where it doesn’t look entirely amazing, but I actually think that for the most part, this game looks great. I was playing the game on Performance Mode which lets the game run at 60 frames per second, at the cost of some of the Visual Fidelity, but I still thought in many ways that this game was a step up from the previous one.

I’m still not quite used to the new Peter Parker model, but I’ll say that he looks better in this than he did in the previous two games.

  • Story

The story is a rather interesting one, with Spider-Man PS4 the team was kind of doing their own thing. It did borrow from some comics, but for the most part they put their own spin on these stories, and it was very original.

This one is not original. While Insomniac does put their own spin on it, they are adapting famous Spider-Man storylines for this universe. This one essentially combines Kraven’s Last Hunt with the Symbiote Suit storylines. I wondered how you would combine those two together considering they are two of the most famous storylines, but the team does a very good job. I will say that I think the storyline isn’t as effective for some characters if you don’t do the side content. There are some stealth missions that come up later that add a lot more dimension to Kraven’s motivations, that if you miss means you don’t get the full scope of why he’s a really good villain.

I found it interesting that they have a lot more characters and a lot more to do. I like the introduction of Harry Osbourne to this one, and they really nailed him and Peter’s friendship. Mary-Jane gets her own smaller storyline which culminates in a brilliant way, that I wasn’t expecting either.

If I had one criticism, it’s that early on the story felt like it was way more focused on Peter than on Miles. Miles does get a lot to do, especially in the side content that involves him in high school (I definitely recommend doing all of those because the suit you get for completing it is amazing). But Miles definitely feels that his story kind of repeats some of the elements of when he got his own video game at the launch of the PS5. That being said, when we finally got towards the end of the game, I felt that they really did some justice to Miles’ story, and it ends really well.

This game has a brilliant conclusion that I won’t dare spoil. We obviously know going into this that we’ll see Venom, but how we get there and how it ends is brilliant.

MIXED

  • Side Content

I know I’ve been praising the side content a lot, but I actually think it’s a mixed bag. I didn’t enjoy some of the later side content, and I won’t spoil it since some of it is tied to story segments, and unlike the previous game, you won’t be able to 100% the side content from the start. But man, they range from really good new stealth missions to some quite tedious missions. It didn’t help that some of the earlier portions of the game have a bit of an issue with its side content, particularly because, unlike later side content, there are no map markers. This is particularly annoying considering the first two side content actions you get can be quite vague.

The first one has a visual cue for it, so you can spot it without hitting R3 to scan the environment. But the second one revolves around the new photos that you have to take. They are never labelled on the map, you have to look up how many there are in a district, swing over to that district, and just keep scanning the environment until you get it right. I would recommend doing that one early since it’s really annoying if you leave it until later on, even if the reward for it is not that great.

It also doesn’t help that you can’t use the fast travel at that point. The fast travel is fantastic, letting you seamlessly go to any point of the map with almost non-existent load times, but the problem is that it’s tied to district success. Until you reach a certain threshold, you won’t be able to use it, so it makes getting to those early side content parts quite tedious. Thankfully, it’s fun to traverse in this game.

CONS

  • A Bunch of Bugs at Launch

I will stress that this has improved during my time playing. By the time I was nearing the end of the game, it got its second patch. If you’re reading this and haven’t bought the game yet, it’s possible that the worst bugs have been fixed. However, I experienced some really bad ones. A lot of reviewers haven’t mentioned it, and it’s been suspected that this is because the Day 1 patch caused a lot of problems. I didn’t have crashes like when I played Miles Morales (although a few of my coworkers did) but I mostly experienced silly ones like a car I was pursuing driving through a building… But there were some quite serious ones also.

Most of the side content comes with an extra version of that mission to round it off, but on one occasion it wouldn’t load until I restarted the checkpoint. It’s also tied to a trophy, which I didn’t get until I restarted the checkpoint. Don’t worry, it’s a non-spoiler, this is for collecting both Spider suits for Peter and Miles.

The point is that as much as these bugs did bother me, they weren’t so persistent later on, but they did require some restarts, and most of them were fixed by just reloading the checkpoints.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Despite some bugs at launch which are currently being fixed, Spider-Man 2 is one of the best games I’ve played all year. The gameplay is great, the storyline is fantastic, the boss fights feel improved, traversal and combat are fantastic, and it’s really enjoyable going for the 100% trophy.

If you’re on the fence about these games, now is a good time to jump in. If you enjoyed the last two, why have you not got this already? This is a very good reason to get into the PS5 if you haven’t already, especially since PlayStation is offering a bunch of bundles later this year. Insomniac is continuing its excellent track record on this console, and I’m looking forward to what they do with Wolverine.

FINAL SCORE: 9.5/10

Calvin
Director of Axia ASD Ltd.
Self-proclaimed Nerd Consultant
and Head of Axia’s Film Society.

Next up is Reece’s review.

Spider-Man 2 is the 3rd entry in Insomniac’s Spider-Man Trilogy and picks up after the events of Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It is an action-adventure game exclusive, (At the time of writing) to the PlayStation 5 only and sees the player taking control of both Peter and Miles when New York is invaded by a new threat, that fans of the comics will greatly enjoy.

While this is the 3rd entry of the franchise, players do not need to of played the prior entries as Spider-Man 2 has a great recap video at the start, that does a good job of catching the player up to speed. However, I would recommend players to have finished both earlier games since they are fantastic, comic book-based videogames and Spider-Man 2 does carry on plotlines from both prior games that may not have the impact for new players if they go into this game fresh.

Pro:

Graphic fidelity.

It goes without saying that the game looks outstanding with the engine now being on a current gen system, exclusively making the city come alive with the vibrancy and the colours truly popping, especially with the graffiti on almost every corner, with new designs that all look photo realistic and amazing.

The character models have also seen a major uptick in textures and shadows from prior games, but this is best seen in darker environments, since when the game is in broad daylight the faces of the characters seem to take a noticeable hit to the levels of fidelity on display.

The game really shines with the costumes of the characters from the main story and unlockable side content suits, as with the Symbiote being a major focus of the game the suits for both Peter and Miles that feature Symbiote flesh look, parts are disgusting and creepy for a great balance.

The one graphical change that caught me off guard is how thick they made Peter’s neck in this game compared to his last appearance in Miles Morales, even though there isn’t that much of a time jump between entries, and while not that big of an issue it was definitely noticeable and caught myself by surprise.

Size of the map.

Since Spider-Man 2 is only on PS5 the team at Insomniac were able to push the game more so than when it was on PS4,  as instead of just the island of Manhattan now it includes the surrounding boroughs of Brooklyn & Queens effectively doubling the map and all of it seamlessly loading as the player swings or flies through the city with no drop in performance.

The game also makes sure that nowhere feels empty, since every district now has its own dedication completion bar that fills when side content is undertaken, from either side missions or collectibles, making all parts of the maps teeming with life, as when the game is put on fidelity mode instead of performance, there is a noticeable increase in the number of pedestrians on the streets and cars on the road.

Boss fights.

The boss fights in this game are a step up from both Spider-Man 1 and Miles Morales, where they have increased the scope of the encounters with new set pieces, to making them more dynamic in their encounters and requiring more than just spamming the Web shots with the attack button because of the new Parry mechanic, but also new ways to use the environment in each boss fight.

The highlight of the game is the end of the Mysterium side quest tackled by Miles, where it has the boss fight with the most spectacle in the game that is straight out of Arkham Asylum, but improved and I would highly recommend players do not skip out on that side quest so they can experience it for themselves.

Spider-Man 2 in my opinion doesn’t have a single bad or poorly designed boss fight and when they are glitch free, are all a joy to experience, as they build upon everything that came before, even some being similar to the Rhino encounter from the previous games in aspect.

Mary Jane missions.

The Mary Jane missions in the prior game were a low point since they slowed down the gameplay to a crawl and took way too long to finish, in comparison to the usual Spider-Man missions.

Now the Mary Jane missions were actually fun to play as now MJ can use a stun gun to take down enemies and later on in the game are able to distract guards by shooting a distant object.

So now they add to the overall narrative, like in the original game, but are no longer a chore to play, so I will be looking forward to the next game to see how they improve upon the MJ missions even more.

Voice cast.

The new voice cast for the new game were fantastic additions to the franchise and while all of them won’t be sticking around they were all great in game.

The best new voice actor that was announced pre-release is that Tony Todd voices Venom and is made for the role as the menacing Symbiote. I just wish he had more time on screen, to flesh out his new role with his amazing, almost guttural voice, which harkens back to the work of Hank Azaria as Venom in the 1994, Spider-Man The Animated Series.

The other main standout new voice actor was for Kraven the Hunter, voiced by Jim Pirri, who has now become my personal favourite voice actor for the Russian big game hunter, able to channel complete authority in one scene to sheer defiance In his final encounter. Since Kraven is the overarching villain for the first 2/3rds of the game he has a lot of great moments, not just from direct encounters but also from recordings, talking about his past and setting up his backstory and reasoning for why he made New York his new hunting ground and kicking off the events of the game.

New Suits.

One of the best aspects of the Spider-Man games has always been the unlockable Suits for Peter and Miles to wear from either levelling up or as rewards for side content.

Spider-Man 2 introduces over 80 Suits across both Spider-Men, and they all look great on the PS5 with its higher fidelity, as the new Symbiote inspired Suits all look equally disgusting and slick, with the main story Symbiote Suits looking alive with the constant pulsating and writhing of the skin, making the Suit look alive.

While the game did cut over 20 Suits from prior games, they did cut some of the more average designs so not much was lost from the jump to Spider-Man 2.

Fast travel.

In prior games the player could fast travel by using the Subway to dart across the map without swinging, but now the more activities the player completed per district it unlocks the abilities to fast travel at any point from the map screen and thanks to the PS5 the load times are now near instant, making it very easy to get to the other end of the map as new missions and side quests unlock as the player progresses through the main story.

Web Wings.

A new mechanic is allowing Peter and Miles to use Web Wings to glide on air currents and reach areas that cannot be reached by Web Swinging alone.

The Web Wings also give both Spider-Men a big speed boost through the updraft or air currents across New York, than just chaining Web Swings together.

Con:

Glitches.

Spider-Man 2 has a lot more glitches and crashes that I encountered during my play through, more so than my time with Spider-Man 1 and Miles Morales put together.

I experienced soft locks while playing as Miles 4 times during my play through, including during the tutorial with the boss fight against Sandman. Where Miles has to finish the boss fight with a QTE (Quick Time Event) but instead encountered a soft lock where Miles would repeatedly web swing up to the top of Sandman then immediately dive down to the bottom of the arena before repeating, in a never-ending loop, causing a reset.

Other glitches were encountered that didn’t require a reset, where when enemies would semi-frequently phase through the floor or wall, requiring to use big Area Of Effect attacks to knock them out.

A particularly annoying glitch that I encountered, that wasn’t that widely reported, revolved around the new Spider Bot side quest, that tasks Peter and Miles to scour the city for over 40 of them and they are supposed to radiate a giant pink bubble, whenever the player is close and appears on the mini map when in proximity. However, both of these wouldn’t work for myself on a frequent basis and instead I could wall crawl straight up to them in the overworld and neither the bubble or mini map would display the Spider Bot no matter how close or far away I was from them.

There were also glitches with the audio department where the score would suddenly cut out during cutscenes, or while web swinging throughout the city.

Parry mechanic.

The new main combat mechanic in Spider-Man 2 is the Parry mechanic, where players are able to time a button press to repel an attack and deal damage back.

Unfortunately, I do not like using this mechanic as it takes away from the regular flow of combat and Web Gadgets/Venom powers, for a quick button press that always felt awkward to use in combat.

The game also really pushes this mechanic on the player, as there are several bosses and standard enemies, that need to be parried to deal damage to them and without doing so leads to them doing massive Area of Effect damaged in combat, while the player is focused on fighting the rest of the crowd of enemies.

The parry mechanic feels like a system that was put in just for the excuse to say that combat is now deeper or more challenging, without taking into consideration how tacked on it feels and railroaded, the player is to repeatedly use the mechanic in combat situations, rather than relying on other combat options.

Removal of Suit powers.

A fun highlight of the original game was that each Suit would reward the player with a new ability exclusive to that Suit, which could then be put on any other Suit.

This system made every Suit feel unique and useful, as the player didn’t know what kind of ability it would unlock, leading to more experimentation and making every new Suit useful.

Unfortunately, with Spider-Man 2 they have completely removed Suit abilities and just made it so that they are cosmetic only and more of a checklist for ‘the all Suits trophy’ rather than taking time to use each Suit to see how unique each Suit is with its ability.

Limited Web gadgets.

In the very first Spider-Man game the player had access to 8 different Web Gadgets, compared to the new game that only has 5, with the rest being supplemented with Peter’s new Spider Arms.

The removal of these options does make the combat feel slightly more limited, without the extra gadgets, for even more combat options, as instead the Spider Arms don’t feel as satisfying to use with them being more damaging than Web gadgets, but with less utility.

No suit credit.

Again, an annoyance for this series is that they do not credit the artists who created the various suits in game or where they had their first appearance in the comics or films.

A great solution to this is just to copy what Marvel already did with another videogame adaptation with the Guardians of the Galaxy game which does a great job of this.

Conclusion:

A fantastic 3rd entry in Insomniac’s Spider-Man trilogy that is a must buy for anyone who has a PS5 or an interest in the Spider-Man IP from Marvel.

The game also does a great job of sequel baiting, with its various side quests and the main story, so there’s plenty of ideas to explore in the sequels going forward.

Score: 9.5

Reece Imiolek
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant


And finally, Elliot’s review

I think it goes without saying that Spider-Man is one of the most iconic superheroes in history. Out of all the superheroes out there (aside from maybe Batman) he is the one with the most adaptations spread throughout different mediums, from cartoons to movies and, of course, video games. Unfortunately for our wise cracking web swinger, there haven’t been that many that you would really consider great, in fact, a significant portion of them you would even call bad. That was until Marvel’s Spider-Man, developed by Insomniac Games, was released in 2018 and was met with an insanely high amount of praise, nominated for a number of awards at The Game Awards and has since been hailed as one of, if not, the best superhero game ever created. Now, after five years, we have Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, the long awaited and highly anticipated sequel, that has already received a ton of praise and even some nominations at the Golden Joystick Awards. So now we ask, does this game deserve such high acclaim, and how does it improve on the first game?

Story 

The story of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 takes place ten months after the event of Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Peter Parker and Miles Morales are both having trouble balancing their roles as New York’s Spider-Men and their regular everyday lives, with Peter not being able to keep a job and Miles having to write a college application essay. One day, after stopping Sandman from destroying the city and getting fired from yet another job, Peter and his partner Mary Jane Watson are surprised by the visit of their friend from high school, Harry Osbourne, who had previously been suffering with a crippling terminal illness which he has now mysteriously recovered from. Harry informs Peter that he has started up a company called the Emily May Foundation (EMF), which he intends to use to “Heal The World” and invites Peter to become a part of it. Though it wouldn’t be a Spider-Man story if everything was going entirely well, as Kraven the Hunter has arrived in the city and is freeing all of Spider-Man’s jailed villains, reformed or otherwise, and plans to use them in what he calls his last hunt. Including other conflicts, such as Spidey’s old friend in the police Yuri Watanabe now taking on the persona of Wraith to fight The Flame and Miles in pursuit of Martin Li who was originally My Negative in the previous game with ambitions of getting revenge for the murder of his father, and now both heroes really have their work cut out for them. Spider-Man 2’s story is very well done, it does a very good job at showing the conflicts of the heroes, builds up and greatly represents the villains and is ultimately filled with fun, tragedy and lots of bad puns. 

Presentation

The city of New York has never looked finer. While Marvel’s Spider-Man already looked great, this game looks so much better, which is mostly emphasised by the improved usage of colour and lighting. Even the smaller details are greatly appreciated, the one I’m always pointing to being how Peter’s Black Suit looks very glossy and slimy, like how you’d expect a suit made from a Symbiote to look. I played in performance mode, and I am happy to say that the framerate was completely stable at a solid 60fps, no matter how fast I was swinging between buildings or how many enemies were on screen, the game never lagged once. In fact, there are barely any loading screens, one selling point before the game was released was that there was no loading when you fast travelled from one section to another, and I can confirm that that is absolutely true. The voice acting is fantastic, actors from the last game, like Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker or Nadji Jeter as Miles Morales return to this one and once again carry the same charisma as they did before, and the new actors really nail their characters as well, I especially love Tony Todd as Venom who sounds frighteningly menacing and sinister. And I can’t just leave this section without giving praise to Darin De Paul as J. Jonah Jameson, who absolutely nails the performance, from the voice to the mannerisms, everything is just perfect. If you want a game that nails that Marvel sound with its music, then this is it. Each song is action packed and sounds like it was taken straight from an avengers movie. Each song fits each scene as well, perfectly accompanying the tragic, the sad and the powerful moments that you’ll encounter in this story. 

The Sandbox and Traversal

New York seems to have been given an expansion in between games. Marvel’s Spider-Man and Miles Morales both took place on one of the islands in the city, now the map has doubled, giving you access to Brooklyn and Queens on top of what you had before. Your main method of traversal is of course web swinging, which works the exact same as any other Spider-Man game, just stay near any building, lamppost or tree and you can swing from said object. You can also use a web to pull you forward and increase speed a little bit, or you can latch yourself to a lamppost or a fence and launch yourself from it for a massive speed boost. The web swinging was already a lot of fun in the last two games, this game makes the swinging in those games feel boring by comparison, this is entirely due to the fact that your speed has been increased tremendously, making going from district to district and hunting for collectibles so much quicker and more exhilarating. 

This game also introduces the Web Wings. The Web Wings essentially let you glide through the city, while maintaining and increasing the speed you were doing while swinging. It’s not going to let you fly forever as you’ll start losing altitude very quickly and your speed will decrease if you try to rise higher, so you’ll either have to web swing to regain speed and altitude or find a wind current and zoom across the sky for a great distance. This is honestly one of the best new additions to the game, it enhances traversal greatly and I cannot stress how much fun gliding throughout the city it is. 

Combat and Enemy Design

Combat in this game mostly works the same as it does in the previous games. It plays a lot like the Batman: Arkham Series, where you fight groups of enemies one at a time, automatically locking on to one enemy and fighting them off one at a time. You’re able to incorporate your webs in your battles, whether it’s pulling yourself closer to your enemies, firing webs to restrict the enemies for a couple of seconds, or binding opponents to walls or the floor. When an enemy’s about to hit you, your Spidey sense will go off, warning you that it’s time to dodge, if you dodge at the perfect time Spider-Man will shoot a web at the enemy, restricting them for a brief period. When you hit an enemy you increase your focus bar, when full you can use up one of your focus bars to either heal or perform a finisher that will instantly knock out an enemy or at the very least deal heavy damage. 

Strangely enough, avoiding attacks has been changed slightly. You now have a block and parry mechanic, which is pretty self-explanatory, press or hold a button and you reduce damage from an attack coming your way, press it as the attack is about to hit and you take no damage and deal a bit yourself. Some of the tougher enemies and bosses even have attacks that can’t be dodged and will have to be perfectly blocked to avoid and vice versa. I’m not a massive fan of this – though that could be just because of my skill – it feels like it over complicates things a bit too much, and after playing the previous games I’m so used to just dodging attacks, so I’ll dodge on instinct, leading me to get hit. Again, I am aware that this is mostly due to my own skills, or lack thereof, and I appreciate them changing things up a bit, but it’s still a bit of an annoyance at times. 

On top of your usual attacks, you also have access to gadgets and special powers. To start with the gadgets, both Peter and Miles have access to the same series of gadgets, each with different effects and benefits, like pulling a bunch of enemies and some throwables in the area together, or one that shoots lasers at opponents and at times shoots them into the air. These don’t regain automatically and will require you to defeat enemies to get more. These gadgets are super useful, there aren’t any that I prefer over others, and I found myself using each of them frequently. As for the powers, this is a feature that’s returning from Miles Morales though it’s not just him that’s getting powers, Peter also has his own series of abilities as well. These powers vary quite a bit, like doing a massive attack that hits one foe, an AoE attack that’s designed to make enemies easier to hit for a short while, one that launches opponents further away from you (preferably off a building) as a few examples. These will need to be recharged after use and can only be recharged by you hitting opponents or using finishers on them. Both characters actually get two sets of powers, one that they have from the start of the game and one that they obtain as they progress through the story, and you can swap them out at any time. If I have any problems about this, it’s that each power is permanently linked to one of your buttons, for example, if I have two powers linked to the triangle button that I really like, I can’t move one of them onto a different button, I have to decide between the two. I would have much preferred it if you could swap them between buttons, that way it would improve customisability a fair bit more and it would mean I would be able to use more powers that I like. 

Enemies are essentially the same as they were in the previous and will require different tactics depending on what weapon they’re carrying. Like ones carrying melee weapons needing to be launched into the air or those with shields needing to be dodged through their legs before they can be struck. The big thugs are needed to be fought a bit differently this time though, as before they needed to be restrained by webs before being attacked, now they need to be perfectly parried before you can strike back. One thing I really like is that disarming enemies is much easier in this game than it was in the others, in those ones you have to hold down the web pull button to yank their weapons away, now you just have to press the web pull button and then press a second button, it makes it super easy and less of a headache to do so. Overall, I am happy that enemies haven’t really been changed, if they added a lot of new ones, I feel like it would have overcomplicated things, and these are meant to be quickly dispatched so having them stay simple does work better for the combat.

Return of MJ

One thing that a lot of people were dreading, and begging for not to return, were the stealth missions, where you play as Mary Jane Watson. Unfortunately, these missions return, thankfully, these are a massive improvement from the ones on the first game. To start off you have way fewer of these and they’re not nearly as long, so they don’t take up much of the action for too long. They also don’t feel as intrusive, feeling like they’re naturally tied into the story better, whereas they felt pretty forced previously. Unlike the last game as well, MJ actually has a form of defence with her, while all you could really do in the last game was cause distractions and sneak around enemies, this time she’s equipped with a taser which takes out an enemy instantly when used on them. No doubt some would prefer these sections weren’t in this game, but I don’t really mind them too much, they act as a bit of a break from the constant action and the improvements made, actually made me enjoy them a fair bit.

Side Content and Collectibles

Just like every sandbox game should be, the story takes up only a small portion of the game, as there is a plethora of side content and collectibles for you to gather. Some of these can be played by either Miles or Peter, meanwhile others are exclusive to only one of the characters. I won’t go into detail with each of them as there are some that you’ll encounter much later into the game and we don’t need a repeat of my Tears of the Kingdom review (please for the love of God not again), so I’m just going to talk about the ones that stand out the most as well as some of my favourites:

Photo Ops: To help pay the bills a tiny bit, Peter and Miles are asked to take photos of the sites of New York and to really show off the greatness of the City. These are pretty easy, all you have to do is find a site where you can take a photo, line up the camera right, and then snap a pic. This may seem kind of basic, and I will admit it is really easy, but I still enjoy it a fair bit as, just like the MJ missions, it’s a brief break from the constant action and gives you an excuse to use that photo mode. 

EMF Missions: Seeing as Peter is helping Harry run EMF; it makes sense that there would be some missions based on that. These are fairly pleasant, having you testing out contraptions and performing experiments in the form of puzzles to aid their attempt to Heal the World. These are actually quite enjoyable and never take up too much of your time, easily beatable in a couple of minutes. 

Mysteriums: Classic Spider-Man villain, Mysterio aka Quentin Beck is reformed and has created a new form of entertainment called the Mysterium, which is said to bring forth a new age of entertainment. Unfortunately, these attractions are drawing people in and not letting them leave, thus it’s up to Miles to dive into them and set them free. These are basically the combat challenges from the previous games, where you have to beat a set of challenges with certain objectives such as not taking damage or defeating enemies in a certain time limit, with reward tiers depending on how good you do. Compared to last time, these challenges are very easy, which is a bit of a blessing and a curse. Good, because I didn’t spend hours on each one, bad because they weren’t as challenging as I would have liked.

Spider Bots: This one is probably the collectible that will be the biggest headache to most players. Spider Bots have been spread throughout the city and it is up to you to find them. So why can this be a headache? Because unlike everything else, Spider Bots don’t show up on the map, meaning that their location isn’t going to be obvious, and will require you to swing and zip through each district until you eventually hear one beeping. I personally didn’t mind this, mostly because of how fun it is swinging through New York, so I didn’t mind the hunt that much. 

One of the big rewards you get for completing these tasks and just through progression are the various suits that can be worn by Peter and Miles. A number of these being original to the game, while others are suits that are references to Spider-Man’s history. I especially like the Spider-Verse costumes, mostly because they retain the choppy frame rate that those movies did. There is one problem that I have with it however, in the previous games, every suit came with a power-up that you could equip and swap around, this is a feature that unfortunately seems to be absent in this game. It’s a real shame as it doesn’t give you as much incentive to unlock all the suits, outside of them looking cool, I would have loved it if they brought the power-ups back, so the fact that they didn’t is pretty disappointing.

If there’s any issues I have with the side content, it’s that there’s not a lot of variety as there was in the first game. Most of the side content seems to be some form of combat challenge or at the very least involves combat in some way, which isn’t a deal killer as the combat is very solid, but I would like a bit of variety, at the very least I would have liked them to have brought back the web swinging challenges. 

Bugs and Glitches

Unfortunately, the game isn’t completely flawless. While certainly not as bad as other games there are still a number of bugs (insert spider pun here) and glitches that have seemed to affect the game in some way. From interactable prompts that don’t show up until you restart the game or subtitles going out of sync, to much madder ones like cars going through buildings and we all know about the Spider-Cube epidemic. I didn’t really encounter any glitches, though I did have the game crash on me a few times, a couple times after dying and a couple when loading a cutscene. Luckily, I think that most of these have been patched out now, but it’s still unfortunate that the game ended up releasing in such a state. 

Conclusion

I admit, I became a bit addicted to this game, to the point where I managed to get the Platinum Trophy mere days after it came out. I had a lot of fun with this game, while there are some things that were done better in the previous ones, this one still improved on other elements tremendously, making it better, if not on par with those ones. If you’re a fan of Spider-Man or Sony then I highly recommend this game, a great continuation to the best superhero game series out there. Cannot wait to see what comes next. 

9.3/10

Elliot Chapman
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant

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The Next Axia6th March 2024
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