The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man 2’ swings its way to greatness on PS5

Photo courtesy of IMDb
Mile Morales Spider-Man voiced by Nadji Jester and Peter Parker Spider-Man voiced by Yuri Lowenthal in Play Station exclusive videogame “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” released this year.

Three years since Insomniac Games’ last entry in its “Spider-Man” series, fans are finally able to play the long-awaited sequel to 2018’s “Marvel’s Spider-Man.” 

The wait was very much worth it. We have a modern marvel — no pun intended — on our hands. This is one of the best superhero video games ever made.

The story takes place ten months after the events of “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.” 

The game follows Spider-Men Peter Parker and Miles Morales. They deal with Kraven the Hunter, a hunter looking to turn New York City into his domain and take down heroes and villains in New York City.

Each character has their own arc.

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    Peter’s story follows his struggle to balance his life with his work as Spider-Man.

    On the other hand, Miles is trying to balance his relationships with his friends and his responsibility as Spider-Man, while also dealing with college application stress.

    The game balances these characters and their stories equally and gives each character their own time to shine. At no point did the game feel dragged out; it truly keeps the player on the edge of their seat.

    The only apparent issue with the story is toward the end. One of the main characters obtains a new suit that feels like a product placement for Adidas. 

    This wouldn’t be much of an issue if it weren’t for the fact that this new suit is supposed to be this character’s new permanent costume. 

    It’s pretty ironic when you consider the fact that one of the Spider-Men says that “they don’t do brand deals.”

    The main story takes roughly 20 hours to complete and around 8 hours to collect all collectibles and complete all side missions. 

    For any trophy hunters, “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” is similar to previous entries’ achievements and will prove to be a fairly simple time to get all the achievements and the platinum trophy.

    While the first game felt tedious with the collectibles and side missions, “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” improves this by connecting the side missions to the overarching story of the game and possible storylines in future entries of the series or downloadable content. 

    There is a downside with these side missions where once they are completed, as they can’t be accessed again unless you start a new save file. This causes the game to suffer from a lack of post-game content which, for the time being, can make replayability harder to sit through. 

    However, according to a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, by James Stevenson, community director at Insomniac Games, an update adding New Game Plus is expected by the end of the year. 

    Assuming the mode is similar to the mode found on previous entries, New Game Plus would allow players to replay the game with all of the suits, gadgets and upgrades they unlocked from their previous save. The update would also include the option to replay missions without the need to start a new save file.

    “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” has five difficulty levels: Friendly Neighborhood, Friendly, Amazing, Spectacular and Ultimate. In the first playthrough, the highest difficulty you can play is Spectacular. You unlock the Ultimate difficulty when you beat the game for the first time.

    Having played the game in the Ultimate difficulty, it’s safe to say that this game gets hard, though not impossible. Both Spider-Men are significantly more vulnerable to attacks and are very weak in their base form.

    Making a return in this sequel are the unlockable suits for both Peter and Miles. Both Spider-Men have a large number of unlockable suits from the movies, comics, and original designs made for the game. With some of these suits, there are also unlockable color combinations that result in over 200 combos available.

    In a technical sense, “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” is a great showing of what the Playstation 5 is capable of. When played in Performance mode, the game rarely dropped below the 60 fps target. 

    The Fidelity mode of the game is also stunning with the 4K resolution that shines when you take a moment to see the city around you, albeit at a lower framerate of 30 fps.

    The game’s combat has also been reworked from the first game, as there’s less of a focus on stealth and more of a focus on hand-to-hand combat. This can be seen with the decrease in web gadgets available to both Spider-Men and the fact that these gadgets are used as a means to help Spider-Man in combat rather than ending it. 

    However, this change in gadgets works as a double-edged sword as it effectively limits the ways players can finish a level or defeat a large group of enemies. At the same time, it allows players to practice and hone their skills for the main boss fights which mainly involve dodging at a fast pace and parrying enemies’ attacks while waiting for the right time to attack. 

    Alongside the changes to the web gadgets, “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” brings back the abilities from “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales” for both Peter and Miles. 

    As the story progresses, you gain various abilities for both characters to use midfight to level the playing field. Each of the abilities fits different play styles, allowing for a variety of ways to enjoy the game.     

    Another great improvement to “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” is the web-swinging mechanics. 

    When “Marvel’s Spider-Man” came out in 2018, the web-swinging felt amazing and was a great successor to what the video game adaptation of 2004’s “Spider-Man 2” had created, but when compared to the web-swinging in the newest title, the 2018 game now feels bareboned.

    Using similar mechanics used in “Spider-Man: Miles Morales,” both Spider-Men effortlessly move all around the city with flair and ease with different ways to go from one point to another. As you progress through the game, you unlock more abilities and upgrades to your traversal.

    The use of the DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers adds to the immersive experience of swinging through New York City as some resistance is added to the right trigger each time you press on it to “thwip” out a web.

    The inclusion of optional fall damage and swing assist also adds to the immersion of the game. 

    Playing with fall damage activated and no swing assist forces you to think like Spider-Man and make sure you throw your web out in time or else you may swing straight into the ground. 

    Turning off swing assist also makes the physics of the web-swinging more realistic, which adds another layer of skill to master. 

    A new addition to “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” is the Web Wings mechanic, which allows the player to quickly glide through the city as well as take wind tunnels that increase their speed and distance. This is a great addition to the game, as this sequel’s map almost doubles in size in comparison to “Marvel’s Spider-Man” and “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.”

    The expansion of New York City lets you explore more of the map and spreads all of the missions throughout it. 

    With the power of the PS5 and the increased draw distance, you can see a large part of New York from any skyscraper and the city is as beautiful as ever. As you swing or glide, the city almost instantly loads all the textures and models of where you are currently and looks great.

    “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” is an impressive sequel that lives up to the hype surrounding it for the past couple of years. Insomniac Games has improved upon every little bit from previous entries of the series, bringing fans of the web-slinger one of the best games of 2023 so far and one of, if not the greatest, superhero game of all time. 

    Despite all the memes surrounding the phrase, it’s hard to deny that “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” truly makes you feel like Spider-Man.


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