Marvel's Spider-Man 2 PlayStation 5 Review

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is a mediocre sequel that improves upon its predecessor.

By Rayan, Posted 20 Oct 2023

It's no secret that fans of the original Marvel's Spider-Man and its spinoff, Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales, were counting down the days until the release of Marvel's Spider-Man 2. The introduction from Insomniac is quite impressive. Apart from the extensive usage of sand, which partially dulls the visual splendor that the game will go on to deliver in spades, we have a prologue that attempts to jam as much information about the adventure you are about to join as is conceivable. The climactic finale of Miles Morales is followed by this narrative, which takes place about nine months later.

Peter is going through a rough patch as he tries to cope with the death of his Aunt May and his new responsibilities as Spider-Man. At the same time, Miles has developed into his own Spider-Man while simultaneously realizing the challenges of maintaining the two identities. Peter and MJ feel delighted to see their long-lost pal Harry Osborne, who appears to have been cured of his fatal illness, and to spend time with him after so much time has passed. However, the trio's moments of harmony are fleeting, as New York City has become the sporting ground of choice for Kraven the Hunter.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2, PS 5, Review, Gameplay, Peter, Miles, Screenshots

The plot of Marvel's Spider-Man 2 moves rapidly, making it an exciting, high-stakes adventure. The lulls in the action were well-timed, and I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the characters and the relationships between them. This introduction will, of course, teach you the essential concepts of the game, but it will do so by showing you the most spectacular application of those mechanics, and it will do it on an epic scale. It establishes the mentor-student relationship between Miles and Peter by conveying both Miles' affection for his family and friends.

And Peter's little more assured academic perspective through the challenges they are now facing. The hazardous scenario attracts as much humor as it is excitement as they navigate both the chaos directly in front of them and the relative monotony of their daily lives. This creates a lot of opportunities for comedic as well as thrilling moments. All of this was capped off with a spectacular mechanical display of the immense power offered to them by their collaborative efforts. A concept that will be further delved into in the story's subsequent portions.

As soon as I started playing Marvel's Spider-Man 2, I felt at home. Miles Morales, as Spider-Man, may have been the game's most playable character. Upon reflection, I must conclude that Insomniac Games successfully advanced the gameplay; many elements were far above my expectations, while others left me wishing for more. The most noticeable facelift ever is the traversal upgrade in the game. If you enjoyed web-slinging around New York in Marvel's Spider-Man, you'd love it in Spider-Man 2 as well. Now that Peter and Miles have a Wings suit, they can do incredible things like utilize their webs to swing, launch themselves off points, gallop along walls, bind themselves to corners, and surf.

They also placed slingshot launchpads all around the world as an alternative means of transportation. Adding New York's two most populous boroughs, Queens and Brooklyn, increases the web's swinging speed. Due to the increased pace of swinging about, the larger map area no longer feels overwhelming. When gliding and taking advantage of a jet stream, you can quickly cover a lot of ground. The game even has a power-up that lets you do a loop-de-loop, making you feel like you're flying. The revised traversal is fantastic, especially now that you can choose to activate fall damage, so you can't just jump from the top of the building and land on your feet.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2, PS 5, Review, Gameplay, QTE, Screenshots

It's safe to say that Marvel's Spider-Man 2's gameplay will be one of those divisive features that players will either adore or despise. I found myself enjoying some parts while finding others to be less satisfying. I also find myself in this position. First of all, I like the game's traversal system. The game's web-slinging mechanics are much more satisfying than in prior installments, and so are the many customization options and extended skills at your disposal, such as the game's increased fluid movement.

Aside from a couple of issues, everything is much more polished, tight, and generally useable. One of the strange issues I noticed is that you can't leave the mission's specified area while listening to the dialogue on the phone. An open environment where you can't stray outside a few blocks from your current objective. These limitations do not exist in today's games at all, so it felt very awkward, considering it's an open-world game.

Despite the game's outstanding difficulty, I breezed through it without much effort. The fluid combat hasn't been altered much, except for critical enhancements. In addition to the revamped gadget system, we now have the capacity to parry attacks from our opponents. These two additions to Marvel's Spider-Man 2 are great because, with the parry system in place, stronger foes now have strikes that cannot be dodged and are instead area assaults; the only approach that allows them to stop them without taking damage is to parry. It's incredibly gratifying when you manage to pull it off and when defending yourself against attacks like these.

Sadly, when it comes to combat, you're going to have an altogether different experience. You can't help but feel that something's missing. There doesn't seem to be much-stopping power to your attacks. It doesn't make any sense to me at all, given that Spider-Man is a superhuman with incredible power who could certainly cave in an enemy with a single blow. It takes three successive four-hit combinations to kill even the most basic enemies throughout the game's opening until around the eighth hour. No matter how much you spend in increasing your damage or expanding your skill trees to give you an edge in combat, you never once felt like a superhero throughout this game. It made no sense to me that regular people would be able to beat Spider-Man in a fight using only basic melee techniques.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2, PS 5, Review, Gameplay, Slinging, Screenshots

And given that enemies are so resilient, battles drag on far longer than they should. Killing a single foe is tedious, and you soon find yourself eager for the battle to be ended. The number of enemies you face increases steadily during the game. As a result, a fight that could have started with ten or fifteen enemies could quickly escalate to fifty or a hundred. And keep in mind that all during the game, three or four hits from the correct foe will ensure your demise. If you combine enough, you can reliably heal yourself, but doing so can sometimes be frustrating. After waiting through thirty to forty enemies, having the camera glitch and trap you in a corner makes it difficult to avoid strikes. If you die, the entire fight engagement, which takes roughly fifteen minutes, must be replayed from the beginning.

In terms of gadgets, the system has been revamped such that it functions similarly to your powers. If you're familiar with Spider-Man: Miles Morales, you'll know that Peter Parker now has Miles' Venom powers, activated by pressing L1 and one of the face buttons. Once you activate the black suit, you gain armored spider arms and symbiote powers. They removed the gadget wheel entirely, so now you must press R1 and one of the face buttons to activate a gadget.

This system is much more convenient in Marvel's Spider-Man 2, as it eliminates the need to manually cycle among your gadgets, which slows down the action and increases the risk of selecting the wrong one. Combat now moves along at a much more natural pace. So, only five gadgets are playable in total. The lack of new tools for Peter to play with compared to Marvel’s Spider-Man is a minor disappointment. The trip mine, web bombs, and electric webs were some of my favorites that were not included. However, the game's five gadgets are solid additions.

Black-suit, I'm going to try to set some reasonable expectations, given that Spider-Man is a significant selling point for this game. To begin, Insomniac Games has done an excellent job with the suit's design. You should anticipate witnessing the suit's influence on his character develop as the main tale progresses. Peter's Spider-Man abilities are altered due to the substitution of Venom's powers for those of the spider suit. It's great that he has gained these new skills. In addition, Peter has a unique ability called the Symbiote Surge, which, when engaged, transforms him into a monstrous fighter capable of unleashing devastating combos on his foes until the Surge meter depletes.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2, PS 5, Review, Gameplay, Combat, Screenshots

However, aside from that, his base combos and swing animations will not be changing. Marvel's Spider-Man 2 features 68 unique suits, several of which come in a variety of unlockable hues. While the game's suits are excellent, I'm disappointed that the ability to customize them has been lost. However, it takes a lot of effort to open them all. You can see the damage done to your suit when your health is low, which is a nice touch that helps to immerse you in the game. Spider-Man 2 naturally makes excellent use of the Dual Sense controller. Overall, it's a good experience, from the subtle effects heard through the controller's speaker to the sensation of strain on the adaptable triggers with each swing.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 follows the current trend of AAA games with tacked-on RPG elements and a compulsion toward stealth. However, there hasn't been much of a shift in the stealth mechanics, either. The ability to take someone down from a perch, a wall, or a web strike is back. There is no longer any unknown content in stealth. It's quite cool that Peter and Miles can set up web lines pretty much anywhere. You can now forge your own method to surprise and defeat the opposition. The reappearance of our beloved redheaded lady is, of course, a major attraction.

You'll take on the role of multiple characters during the game, and Mary Jane is one of them. MJ players found her steal sequences irritating in the original game. When she finally got her taser gun, I thought things picked up a lot. Well, in Spider-Man 2, she is equipped with a taser pistol and throwable diversions from the get-go. I'm pleased Insomniac Games decided to improve her parts instead of deleting them entirely. While not as terrible as the ones in the original game, MJ's missions still aren't a blast to go through and detract a bit from the overall momentum of the game.

Similar to Marvel's Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2 features some modest role-playing elements. You can level up Peter and Miles all the way to level 60 and use the experience points you earn to purchase new abilities for them. Both have their own individual skill trees, and they also share a third skill tree with Tre. There are some nice enhancements hidden inside. In Marvel's Spider-Man 2, the player's maximum health and swing speed do not grow with level up like they do in Marvel's Spider-Man. You can improve your health, focus, traversal, and damage by spending tokens earned from conducting open-world activities on the corresponding options under the suit Tech tab of the menus.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2, PS 5, Review, Gameplay, Mary Jane, Screenshots

There is a series of side activities that any Spider-Man can participate in, in addition to the activities that are specific to Peter and Miles. The game's optional quests are excellent in their own right. However, there was a catch: there wasn't that much, which is odd for a free-roaming game. After finishing them all, I felt like something was missing. I was really wound up over this one optional mission that ended on a terrible cliffhanger. That content is being held for some unspecified future DLC. In addition to the Side Stories, there are many things to do in the open world, such as taking pictures, collecting spider bots, and visiting hunter bases.

In addition, random acts of violence in cities are on the rise again. There are both tried and true methods, such as those used to halt a speeding car and unknown approaches. The best part is that, depending on who you are at the time, you might bump into Miles or Peter fighting crime in the city and engaging in some good tag team takedowns. I think it's nice that you added this. You could have to pick up a hurt civilian and swing them to safety, where they can be taken by ambulance. At the beginning of the game, I found the criminal activities in the city to be rather static; however, as the plot progresses and new types of foes are added, the city becomes much more engaging. The open-world features are excellent, but I would have appreciated it if more time had been devoted to the development of optional plotlines and, you know, requests for Spider-Man's assistance from the locals.

Boss fights in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is definitely better than its predecessor but hasn't really improved much in overall experience. There are fewer QTEs during boss fights, similar to the original. While some boss battles are exciting and varied, most of them are tedious and drawn out. The majority of battles consist of you repeatedly dodging their strikes while you whack away at them, which quickly becomes tiresome. And the duration of these battles is usually excessive. There are three stages to certain battles when there really should have only been one.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2, PS 5, Review, Gameplay, Boss Fight, Screenshots

Then there's a huge QTE cinematic pursuit phase that might have served as the full boss fight by itself for the simple reason that the encounter with the boss's first phase contributed precisely zero satisfaction to the game. However, boss battles are sorely lacking in this game. Besides the Sandman, the one boss fight I actually enjoyed in this game, I didn't find any of the others to be particularly rewarding. The issue, however, is that the game never again achieves this degree of thrill throughout its entirety. It's a mixed bag since you get to experience an epic boss battle, but then you never see another one of that scale again.

All aspects of New York City's visual presentation—from its lighting to its assets to its texture to its rate of trace reflections to its distance from The View to its traffic density and its character models—have been vastly improved in Marvel's Spider-Man 2. In addition, Spider-Man 2's cityscape is significantly more colorful and lively looking than that of Marvel's Spider-Man. Insomniac Games has delivered an outstanding performance. Spider-Man 2 features a variety of visual options, including a Fidelity mode that aims for 4K native resolution with all rate trace reflections enabled, the maximum number of pedestrians and vehicles in the environment, and improved hair detail at 30 frames per second. A performance mode allows for a stable 60 frames per second to be achieved by using an upscaled 4K resolution, rate tracing at a lower quality, and reduced graphical detail.

I have to admit that the game's visuals are one of its best features. That said, I don't feel this is the true next-gen, generationally defining graphics showcase title. It looks nice, in my opinion. I have no major issues with the visuals at this point. Except for one case, I did not observe any severe graphics difficulties. It was right at the beginning, when you first face off against Sandman, and the resolution of the sandstorms begins to improve as you get closer to him. Given the taxing nature of the scene in question, it's not out of the question that the frame rate would be drastically reduced rather than suffering a blow. There were no noticeable slowdowns when I switched to performance mode, though I did notice some resolution drops now and then to keep the frame rate as high as possible on the console.


In the end, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 feels like an average game, which is somewhat better than its original. However, if you're coming at this without any prior knowledge or experience with the original, you'll quickly realize that this is not the game for you. The combat is a major turnoff, as it seems like you're constantly hammering weak enemies who respond barely to your blows. Although you gain new abilities and powers throughout the game, you never truly feel like you've advanced in strength. I get that there are fans of Spider-Man who are much more familiar with all the characters. From their perspective, Insomniac has done a decent job of enhancing the original formula with their new additions.

Looking back at the 2018 Spider-Man shows just how far the franchise has come. There is no doubt that there have been some decent upgrades in this sequel but with the exception of the sheer volume of optional story content, the shortage of suit alterations, and the absence of gadgets. The story also drags on for far too long, especially in its opening hours, and then rushes to a conclusion. Since this is where things stand, I cannot recommend the game to anyone who failed to like the original and is cautious about spending $70.

Azfar Rayan (@AzfarRayan)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PS5
Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Insomniac Games
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Fighting, Platforming, Stealth
Release Date: 2023-10-20

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