Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 fixes certainly one of its predecessor’s largest flaws

Insomniac Video games has at all times had a penchant for silky clean controls, and whereas Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 doesn’t make any drastic adjustments to gameplay, the brand new Symbiote and Bioelectric skills give each heroes (Peter Parker and Miles Morales) extra choices when taking over teams of enemies. Each Spider-Males are a pleasure to play as in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Traversal has additionally seen minor, however useful enhancements, with the addition of net swings and the power to swing round corners, which be sure that virtually no roadblocks to motion exist whereas enjoying as a Spider-Man.

That’s why I used to be stunned that among the most memorable moments of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 for me have been moments the place I wasn’t in command of Peter or Miles — and I’m not simply referring to the sequences the place I managed a drone or Spider-Bot. Among the weakest elements of the primary Marvel’s Spider-Man have been those the place I wasn’t controlling the titular hero. That’s not the case on this sequel, although, making that one place the place Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is a transparent, drastic enchancment over its predecessor.

Warning: This text accommodates main spoilers for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.

Mary Jane

Mary Jane hides from the Symbiote in Marvel's Spider-Man 2.
Sony Interactive Leisure

Within the unique Marvel’s Spider-Man, scenes the place gamers managed the powerless Mary Jane or Miles have been among the weakest moments from a gameplay perspective. They have been mild stealth sections that might immediately fail the participant if an enemy caught them, which inspired a timid and boring playstyle that was a far cry from swinging round from New York as Spider-Man. From the second I began enjoying as Mary Jane in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, it was clear Insomniac had taken that unfavourable suggestions under consideration.

Mary Jane had talked about that she’d gotten a weapon throughout her time in Symkaria with Silver Sable, so it was satisfying when the very first thing the sport requested me to do as her was take down an enemy with it. This occurs as an enemy tries to open a door to a van she was whisked away to certainly one of Kraven’s bases in. From there, she has to discover a method to inform Peter, Miles, and Harry the place she is and doubtlessly escape.

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This gameplay part remains to be stealth-focused, which is sensible as she’s not a superhero and couldn’t feasibly tackle a gaggle of enemies without delay. However the easy addition of a weapon makes it a extra lively expertise. As a substitute of ready for an enemy to stroll away from a selected sample, I used to be taunting them to sure spots by throwing rocks earlier than taking them out with a gun to clear my path. It’s nonetheless not Splinter Cell, however the couple of instances I needed to play Mary Jane once more in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 ended up being nice surprises slightly than a recurring frustration. The part the place she’s operating from Peter whereas he’s possessed by the Symbiote can also be one of many tensest moments of the sport.


Venom perched on a rooftop.
Sony Interactive Leisure

Nonetheless, no second as Mary Jane had me grinning from ear to ear like I used to be when Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 let me play as Venom. The standout chapter serves as a grand entrance following the huge buildup the Symbiote had all through the primary two-thirds of the story. With the ability to play as Venom was a pleasing shock, but in addition a wonderful method to set up what a risk the character poses as a villain. Whereas there are many enemies and even a boss battle with Kraven whereas enjoying as Venom, none of them are that large of a risk.

After I performed as Venom, all I cared about was annihilating something in my path and gleefully watching Oscorp Tower and Instances Sq. be torn to shreds by the ability of this Symbiote. This part additionally wraps up with essentially the most brutal second in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2: Venom biting Kraven’s head off. As a participant, it’s all extraordinarily satisfying, however it additionally put me within the headspace of the villain. After I needed to battle him later in my journey, I’d bear in mind how I felt enjoying as Venom and understood the stakes and Harry’s cause for holding the Symbiote on greater than I did earlier than.

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Hailey spray-paints in Marvel's Spider-Man 2.
Sony Interactive Leisure

Any participant who sees Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 principal story by way of to the top will play as Mary Jane and Venom, however the playable character that caught out to me essentially the most was tied to a single facet mission. In Graffiti Bother, Miles responds to a name that somebody vandalized a flower store with graffiti. Upon getting there, Miles finds out that Hailey, the lady he has a crush on all through the sport, solved the issue first. The sport then helps you to play as Hailey. She’s Deaf, so the audio and visible design displays that. Sound is muffled in a approach that communicates Hailey’s expertise. You possibly can’t hear what anybody is saying; as an alternative, the participant sees little emoticons representing what Hailey believes one other particular person (and cat) is pondering or feeling.

It’s a nonviolent mission, with easy graffiti spraying, puzzles, and platforming that ultimately deliver Hailey to a road artist who’s angsty and struggles to acknowledge their self-worth. As a substitute of punishing them as Spider-Man might have, Hailey communicates with them by way of textual content and artwork. Hailey helps them end their graffiti, turning it into one thing extra colourful and cheerful, and he or she then invitations them to her artist coalition. Even with no dialogue, that is certainly one of my favourite facet missions within the recreation.

Graffiti Bother reinforces the sport’s themes concerning the misunderstanding round criminals and their rehabilitation, and foreshadows that Hailey can fend for herself in the course of the Symbiote Invasion. On prime of that, it’s unbelievable for illustration and hopefully helps some individuals develop into extra understanding and emphatic in their very own lives. It’s uncommon for a Deaf particular person to get this type of respectful depiction in a online game, particularly within the AAA house. Even when it isn’t essentially as “enjoyable” as swinging round New York as a Spider-Man, it’s one mission from the sport that I received’t overlook anytime quickly.

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That’s one thing I’d by no means say concerning the unique Marvel’s Spider-Man. The number of the 5 playable characters in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 doesn’t simply reveal Insomniac Video games’ capability to create a compelling number of experiences for the sport, however exhibits that it took suggestions concerning the unique’s low factors very critically. That is seen with the alternate playable characters, enhancements to net swinging, and the way the sport treats its villains. If you wish to perceive simply how a lot of an enchancment Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is over its predecessor, simply take a look at these missions the place you aren’t enjoying because the heroes on the field artwork.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is accessible now on PlayStation 5.