Published on October 17th, 2023 | by Tory Favro
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 Review. A real contender for Game of the Year
Summary: Truly a contender for Game of the Year, Spider-Man 2 is a game that justifies the purchase of a PS5 if you don't already own one.
Well, you know I’m going to say it, so here it is straight out the box; Spider-Man 2 comes swinging onto PlayStation 5 consoles as one of the most anticipated titles of the current generation. We at impulsegamer were lucky enough to have hands-on with the brand new game from Insomniac, and I’m here to tell you that this game is to put it quite simply, a must buy for your PlayStation console.
After the success of both the first Spider-Man game, and its successor Miles Morales, Insomniac decided in their wisdom, that more is better, and now you are able to play as both Peter Parker and Miles Morales in their own right as Spider-Man or should I say Spider-Men? Now, I promised myself that when I was writing this, that I would not introduce any spoilers whatsoever; that this review would be simply an indication as to how I felt playing the game and I really don’t want to wreck anything for you guys, but I’m so excited about the title I’m just gonna have to be very careful with my words okay?
Insomniac has taken everything that was great about the first two games and made it even better, about that I have no doubt whatsoever. I am sure that you are going to feel the same way after getting your own greedy little mitts onto this title that comes out really soon.. In this game you are were going to face off against some of Spidey’s biggest villains, including the Lizard, Kraven the Hunter, Venom and many more! Spider-Man 2 has an ambitious task in bringing gamers two very compelling stories from the perspectives of both Spider-Men. There is a complexity to this that will make you very appreciative of just how mammoth a task this was and quite simply how spectacularly it was pulled off. All your favourites are back in this one and all have their moment to shine. As a writer, reviewer and author I was stunned at just how damn good every facet of the storytelling was and how seamlessly it felt that all the tales coalesced into a beautiful singularity.
At first, I found the game a little bit overwhelming. Having two Spider-Men with slightly different combat styles I found to be a little bit too much to take on initially, but you do eventually get used to it, and it happens in a soon enough. I was worried that it would be overwhelming having all these abilities to remember whilst running through an expanded New York City as either one or the other Spider-Man. The way that Insomniac teach you to play the game had me set at ease pretty darn quickly. And speaking of skills, as per previous games, you are able to upgrade your skill set; some of these will pertain to just Peter and the others to just Miles. However, there are additional skills that will transfer over to both Spider-Men. The actual pathways for skills and gadgets you can make are easy to follow and the game will lead you through how to get the most of them pretty gently.
Traversing and general web slinging is as good as it ever was, in a way even better, the movement is smooth, and you do feel as though you are totally in control of the movement of your chosen character. You might be used to some of the acrobatics from the first two games and these are re-visited in this title helping you to rack up XP, which, in addition will increase the abilities that you have in getting around New York. Multiple missions will raise their heads during the game taking you on a journey that falls way outside of just the single player storyline as you will help the residents of NYC with every day disasters that occur that are available to access via a Spider-Man app that is developed for you. These missions are fun and do flesh out your character a lot more. Something that is really special about this title is the general feeling for the most part of this being a living, breathing city that not just your current Spider-Man lives and fights in. You would believe it if the whole city went about its business even if you were not playing! Occasionally, when you are battling and fighting the good fight, the other Spider-Man will appear much to your delight and help you out and of course offer witty banter along the way. It helped increase the immersion factor even more.
I must confess that I felt terrible after one altercation. I really had to stop myself from following the other Spiderman as he swung away. If you’re thinking of doing so don’t bother, he simply shoots the web skyward and disappears. It would’ve been really cool if you could’ve tagged along and taken part in some of his adventures being led by the AI. Little things like attending to emergencies that weren’t intrinsic to the actual storyline etc. Maybe in an update????
From a graphical perspective, this title absolutely shines. From shadow and overall lighting effects, to the smooth and silky motion of the on screen action, Spider-Man 2 does not let you down at any stage of the game regardless of how much is happening in the world. It is a delight to play and quite giddying at times as the skyline of New York City is your playground filled with many interesting things to do and see as well as a plethora of collect-a-thons that you can take part in. Similar to the first title, and the Miles Morales sequel, gamers are going to be delighted with the sheer amount of things that can be interacted with in the game. In fact, it is the sheer point of interacting with those things that highlights pretty much the only complaint I have about the title: the AI of the non-player characters that make their way through New York City is a little lacking in my opinion, and quite often they are presented as fairly lifeless and dull. Insomniac have done their best to try to bring this massive city to life, and that involves a city full of citizens, however, at times you feel as though you’re surrounded by poorly represented animatronics. Sure, they will react to what you are doing, to some extent some better than others. There are times you might as well not even be there, even as you are smashing and crashing through them as you race two yet another emergency with nary a complaint or reaction.
I have to counter my last comment with this: The whole game is so massive that whilst this is a point I’ve raised it barely takes anything away from the overall experience.
The soundscape is beautiful and ebbs and flows as you make your way through the game. The soundtrack soars through the cinematic scenes and the ambient noise that takes place when you move through NYC really fills you with a sense of wonder. The sounds of Spider-Man making his way through the city are a treat, especially if you are lucky enough to be equipped with good surround speakers or a headset that is capable of mimicking this type of sound. The way the street rushes up at you as you plunge downward gives you a sense of momentum, and really adds to the immersion factor.
Combat within the game is super intense and truly makes you feel as though you have skin in the game. The way Spidey moves about is phenomenal, and the ability to combine moves is easy and fluid. The game holds your hand whilst you learn how to better control your characters, which will be useful later in the title, which I had a blast doing. No, I am not going to give away anything here; suffice to say, this is, in my opinion, the best superhero title to ever be released, and I will include it being superior in terms of look and gameplay to even my favourite series, the Batman Arkham titles. For those of you who know me, you know it is a big deal for me to say that.
It’s funny that this game has had so much hype in the lead up to its release; to the point that a lot of people thought it could never actually live up to its expectations. I’m here to tell you right now, that Spider-Man 2 lives up to, and exceeds all the amazing expectations that you as gamers, and myself as a fan of Insomniac were looking forward to. Once again Insomniac have released a title that totally justifies gamers going out and buying a PlayStation 5 if they don’t already own one.
I cannot wait for this game to come out, and for you guys to be enjoying it just as much as I have. It has a depth and complexity that will have you playing for many, many hours on the single player storyline alone. Add to that all the little side missions and interactions that you can have with a living breathing New York City, and you’ll understand why it is so intoxicating to don the mantle of the amazing Spider-Man!
I cannot recommend this title highly enough, and I look forward to reading your thoughts about your experiences a little bit later in the month. Until then try to hold back on finding out too much about the title, as there are so many wonderful experiences to be had in the storyline it would be a genuine shame to read a spoiler filled article, or even worse witness a let’s play the gives away all the genuine thrills that wait for you in Spider-Man two.
This is a game that is truly bigger and better than the original, and that my friends is saying something.
Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man (ahem men!) (again!). Thank you Insomniac for taking the time to make this game something to truly cherish and remember.