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Marvel's Spider-Man 2
Studio: Sony Computer Entertainment, Insomniac Games
Platform: Sony Playstation 5
Release Date: October 20, 2023

Description: Spider-Men, Peter Parker and Miles Morales, return for an exciting new adventure in the critically acclaimed Marvel's Spider-Man franchise for PS5. Swing, jump and utilize the new Web Wings to travel across Marvel's New York, quickly switching between Peter Parker and Miles Morales to experience different stories and epic new powers, as the iconic villain Venom threatens to destroy their lives, their city and the ones they love.

An evolution of the Spider-Man story
The incredible power of the symbiote forces Peter and Miles to face the ultimate test of strength, both inside and outside the mask, as they balance their lives, friendships and their duty to protect those in need.

Experience two playable Spider-Men
Quickly swap between both Spider-Men as you explore an expanded Marvel's New York.

Battle iconic Marvel Super Villains
Fight against a variety of new and iconic villains, including an original take on the monstrous Venom, the ruthless Kraven the Hunter, the volatile Lizard and many more!

Visit an expanded Marvel's New York
Explore a larger Marvel's New York than ever before, featuring two new boroughs - Brooklyn and Queens - as well as locations like Coney Island and more.

The Ultimate Villian. Unleashed
Master the dual force of both Spider-Men to destroy him in an epic battle for the ages.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is an Amazing Sequel Led by Two Spectacular Spider-Men
By James Harvey

Even with lofty expectations, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 not only hits nearly every mark it should but still manages to pack in plenty of legitimate surprises. Developer Insomniac Games pulls out all the stops and delivers a Spider-Man game that's truly bigger in nearly every respect to its predecessors, but that doesn't always work to the game's advantage. Even so, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is an exciting game that ranks up there with some of the best superhero titles out there.

The incredible power of the symbiote forces Peter and Miles to face the ultimate test of strength, both inside and outside the mask, as they balance their lives, friendships and their duty to protect those in need in Marvel's Spider-Man 2. Swing, jump and wing across New York, switching between Peter Parker and Miles Morales to experience different stories and epic powers, as Venom threatens to destroy their lives, their city and the ones they love. Fight against a variety of iconic villains, including the monstrous Venom, Kraven the Hunter, The Lizard and many more.

Insomniac had a difficult task in following-up it's two-punch hit of Marvel's Spider-Man and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, two games full of riveting action, incredibly slick combat and plenty of heart. In fact, the finale of Marvel's Spider-Man stands as some of the most poignant Spider-Man story-telling ever. Rest assured, the studio delivers another break-neck, emotional rollercoaster that can easily stand alongside its predecessors (and even surpasses them in many regards), despite some work needed to freshen up the available open-world activities.

Right out of the gate, returning to the world of Marvel's Spider-Man feels familiar and welcoming. The combot is just as slick and satisfying as ever, and just so effortless while at the same time feeling incredibly powerful. Little time is wasted throwing players right into the action, as the game opens with an epic battle between the Spider-Men and the Sandman! The sequence is clearly set-up as a tutorial to get players comfortable with the controls and to give a rundown of Miles' and Peter's basic abilities.

Tossing around and taking down baddies is as smooth as ever, and the introduction of parry moves (in addition to new gadgets) adds a nifty new wrinkle to spice up the game's plentiful amount of brawls. The stealth missions also return, although there's notably less than the previous titles. Mary-Jane Watson is also again playable for some brief missions and they're still the same basic stealth runs as before, though she has a little bit more to do here this time around.

With combat being so easy to pick up, it not only allows players more ease in getting used to some of the new moves and gadgets mixed in with the Spider-Men's usual repertoire, but it also makes it easier to navigate Marvel's Spider-Man 2's bigger playground and to get that much more invested in the game's lofty story. With both Peter Parker and Miles Morales as the game's co-leads, the narrative is hefty without being overbearing or crowded. As both Peter and Miles struggle with their respective issues, their stories tend to align at key points in the game's narrative, occasionally with life-threatening stakes and massive consequences.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 picks up with Peter is trying to establish his life following the events of the previous two games, including looking for work (after being fired from his current gig at the start of 2's story) and moving in with Mary-Jane. Similarly, Miles is still dealing with the death of his father while struggling with his identity, both in and out of the costume. Both are vulnerable and wrestling to gain some type of firm footing in life, and Marvel's Spider-Man 2 definitely throws in a myriad of challenges their way during the course of the roughly 20-hour campaign.

Further complications for the Spider-Men (or Spider-Mans) arise with the return of Peter's childhood friend Harry Osborn, mysteriously free of cancer and ready to resume his life in New York. Not only that, but Kraven the Hunter decides now is the opportune time to touch down in the Big Apple to hunt its super-powered populace, and that's even before a certain infamous gooey symbiote makes its show-stopping debut (following that quick tease in Marvel's Spider-Man). As readers of the Spider-Man comic titles know, going up against the likes of Kraven and Venom doesn't exactly tend to go well for the ol' Web-Head.

And boy, when the symbiote arrives and attaches itself to Peter, both the story and the gameplay is dramatically impacted. Power-wise, Spider-Man's abilities basically get an upgrade and he becomes a rageful, near-uncontrollable fighting machine (and seemingly taking a cue or two from Spider-Man: The Animated Series). Soon he's brawling and taking down thugs and baddies (among others) without breaking a sweat, with the PS5's DualSense controller shaking madly as if it too can barely contain the symbiote's power.

The Spider-Men's strengths will definitely be put to the test as they battle their way through Marvel Spider-Man 2's ever-escalating set pieces. Our heroes can call upon a vast range of physical and technical attacks, from the usual web strikes and combos along with some new moves added to their repertoire. XP and tokens are gained from these tussles to upgrade skill trees, gadgets and suit tricks, which boost and can even add more abilities and moves to help take down the bad guys quickly. Juggling all these superhuman feats quickly becomes second nature, and the sensation of pulling off these stunts is exhilarating.

As with Marvel's Spider-Man, our friendly (and not-so-friendly) neighborhood heroes will be kicking butt all throughout major segments of New York City. The game makes excellent use of the city, with each district featuring different side missions that'll pop up, the majority of which well worthwhile to do, ranging from stopping street crime to helping out the locals. The new locales added this time around add a nice dash of variety, though the lush scenery can't help brighten up the excessive amount of very same-y side missions. While the variety of thugs to take down has nicely seen a bump, these little quests can end up feeling a little humdrum after a while.

Thankfully, outside of the gradually tiring side missions (and the still-boring puzzles) and some sorta-ugly alternate suits to be won and/or picked up throughout the game, most everything else feels like it clicks as it should. Boss fights are tricky and sometimes quite the endurance challenge, but they never feel underwhelming and definitely test the player's abilities from time to time.

One of the most important aspects nailed in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is that, amongst all the many missions and cinematic spectacle, that game doesn't forget about those key quiet moments. Friendships are explored and tested, characters experience dizzying highs and crushing lows, and Marvel's Spider-Man 2 gives ample time to all of that. Whether through slice-of-life moments, flashbacks, and even touching playable moments (such as one with Miles' love interest, Hailey Cooper), Insomniac Games never forgets the characters themselves - and their respective worlds, relationships, struggles and successes - that make them so beloved and long-lasting. Be prepared to let the tears flow.

The care put into Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is clear and the execution of Insomniac's vision for Spider-Man is to be commended (yet again). There are moments that play like a true love letter to the classic Marvel Comics source material, and the character work is pitch-perfect. It's also fantastic to see a wide array of accessibility options available to ensure as many players as possible can swing high above the gorgeously rendered stylized streets of New York City.

Graphically, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is a total stunner. Visuals are as eye-catching as you'd expect, with incredible detail and character animations across the board. Ray tracing, seamless loading and a ridiculously consistent performance, without a single dropped frame or sputter to be found, showcase the game's impressive technical strengths. Despite the odd glitch or bug, like a clumsy NPC or a misload, the game ultimately stands as a strong final product.

Also deserving a shout-out is John Paesano's enthralling score to Marvel's Spider-Man 2, which builds up and blows out the game's assorted themes by adding a dark touch to an already harrowing, dramatic story. Paesano takes his established themes and stylings of the first two Marvel's Spider-Man and turns them on their respective heads, such as Peter's theme becoming warped as the symbiote begins to consume him. Paesano puts in a grand effort that belongs aside the web-heads most iconic themes from his other big- and small-screen iterations.

Insomniac Games continues to really drill down on what makes the world of Spider-Man so special and delivers possibly the web-crawler's best video game adventure to date. It's a genuinely exciting experience that stays true to the source material while taking some pretty big risks, and rewards players with a whole-hearted super-hero fantasy that's jam-packed with all the drama and emotional stakes you'd expect from a classic Spidey comic book adventure. It expertly builds off the worlds established Marvel's Spider-Man and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and turns over a sequel staggering in scope and near-perfect in execution.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is a thrilling outing that refines the Marvel's Spider-Man formula by giving its slick, familiar combat some slight tweaks and new moves while also tackling some heavier themes in its story this time around. The game only really falls short when it comes to its extensive side missions, whose lack of variety can unfortunately lead to some feelings of repetition slinking in. Even so, Insomniac Games goes three for three with Marvel Spider-Man 2, creating a rousing and enthralling adventure that undeniably ranks as one of the year's best video games and one of best Spider-man experiences to date. Must Play!

Want more Spider-Man? Check out the Special Spider-Man Subsite here at The World's Finest!


Check out Marvel's Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse:


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