Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 faces the formidable task of living up to the standards set by its predecessors, two superhero games that offered an enticing blend of excitement and emotional depth. While this might seem like a fortunate position to be in, it raises the question: How do you build upon such success? The answer, it seems, is to go all-in.
Insomniac, the game’s studio, has chosen to double down on various aspects. This means doubling down on Spider-Men, expanding the in-game map, and intensifying the action sequences. The result is a game that continues to deliver an exhilarating experience and boasts the best storyline in the series thus far. However, when you juxtapose the original game against this sequel, it’s akin to having two Spider-Man games point at each other, offering a sense of déjà vu.
The combat system, a standout feature of the previous games, has remained excellent. It retains the same satisfying rhythm of precision dodges, the addition of perfect parries, and the use of acrobatic finishers. The combat animations are fluid, and the punches and kicks pack a powerful punch. In this iteration, Insomniac introduces a new gadget called the Web Grabber, which adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the combat mechanics. This device allows players to pull enemies together, creating opportunities for powerful attacks and combos. The combat has taken a step forward with the inclusion of the symbiote suit, offering new abilities and promoting a more aggressive playstyle. To maintain the excitement, the game incentivizes this aggressive approach as the only way to regain health is by filling up your focus bar through successful dodges and well-timed hits.
Spider-Man 2 also takes a leap forward in terms of enemy variety. In addition to the familiar foes, players will face new threats, such as flamethrower-wielding cultists who keep their distance, flying drones, and hunters who deploy laser grids to restrict aerial attacks. Each enemy type has specific weaknesses, and this adds an enjoyable layer of complexity to the combat system. While it’s not groundbreaking, it adds depth to the decision-making process during fights. The game encourages players to engage in more action-packed battles, with less emphasis on stealthy approaches seen in previous games.
Traversing the city has received a stylish upgrade with new acrobatic moves, spins, and flips. The introduction of web wings allows Spider-Man to glide gracefully through the cityscape. The story maintains a balance between exhilarating moments and emotionally resonant storytelling. It delves into the motivations of both heroes and villains, exploring the complexity of their actions.
The game builds upon the storylines of Peter and Miles, introducing a new threat in the form of Kraven the Hunter. This setup promises a thrilling conflict within the city that is beautifully brought to life through engaging storylines and gripping action.
While the main story shines with engaging and emotionally charged storytelling, the side activities within the open world don’t quite match up. These activities include collecting items, capturing photo opportunities, and thwarting street crimes. Although some improvements have been made, they can still become repetitive.
As mentioned before, the game map is significant – twice the size of its predecessors, featuring 14 unique districts. Fast travel isn’t readily available, but swinging and gliding through the city are so enjoyable that you may not even miss it. However, the world lacks the dynamic surprises and spontaneous events that are often found in other open-world games.
As a bonus there is an extensive selection of suits to unlock, all purely cosmetic, allowing players to customize their appearance. The game’s music is outstanding, featuring distinctive tunes for Peter and Miles.
From a technical standpoint, the game is nothing short of remarkable. It boasts near-instant load times, impressive lighting, and maintains a smooth performance even when played in performance mode at a stable 60fps. This creates a visually stunning experience that is free from any noticeable frame drops.
In summary, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 manages to uphold the high standards set by its predecessors. It excels in storytelling, combat mechanics, and traversal, but it falls short in terms of open-world innovation. Nevertheless, it remains a thrilling superhero adventure that genuinely immerses players in the role of Spider-Man.