Marvel’s “Spider-Man 2”: The Game of the Year

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Recently, I had the pleasure of playing the sequel to Marvel’s 2018 masterpiece, “Spider-Man,” the long-anticipated “Spider-Man 2.” 

“Spider-Man 2” is everything we expected it to be and more. The visuals in this game cannot be explained through words alone. It is something I strongly encourage those with an interest in this game to experience for themselves. New York City looks stunning, especially in scenes when you’re chasing The Lizard throughout the city and the heads-up display (HUD) is completely removed — almost making it feel like you’re playing a movie. 

The game doubles down on everything that made the original great — with a few sacrifices here and there — but I’m unbothered. We have the newly added “Web Wings,” which allow Peter Parker and Miles Morales to glide around the city using the webs around their armpits for aerial support — reminiscent of the gliding in the “Batman: Arkham” series. Now we have two options for getting around the city, including the already perfect web swinging that fans love so much. There’s something remarkable about swinging throughout the city in true Spider-Man fashion whilst doing cool airborne trickshots.

A new addition to the combat in this game is that both Peter and Miles have abilities which appear in the bottom left corner of the screen. They recharge throughout fights to help with attacking and defending when you’re in a bind. Peter’s abilities at the start of the game feature four spider claws on his back, until you unlock his Symbiote suit in which he uses his Symbiote powers instead — and boy is it fun. Miles’ abilities feature his electric venom powers,  and he later unlocks a blue variant from Martin Li. There’s also the new “Web-Line,” which makes stealth play simpler. The new switch feature that allows you to seamlessly alternate between the two Spider-Men is as smooth as advertised, but I wish it was possible to switch back and forth between them, mid-fight. There are many boss battles, including the Lizard, Martin Li, Scream, Kraven the Hunter, Peter, and finally Venom — whom you have to fight multiple times through different stages increasing in difficulty, as if you were playing a “Soulsborne” game.

 The storyline is my favorite aspect of “Spider-Man 2.” Each time I thought the game reached a peak, it was shattered by an even bigger one, as the plot seemed to continually improve upon itself. The game plays like a live action comic book, and you truly get to see the struggle of being “Spider-Man” through the perspectives of Peter and Miles as they deal with loss, regret, and misery. Peter’s main motivation is to protect villains from getting hunted by Kraven, while also ensuring his best friend Harry — who is terminally ill — can get treatment. We discover Harry has been given the alien Symbiote to temporarily treat his condition, until he gives it up to save Peter’s life. 

My favorite stretch of the game is the middle portion, in which Peter gets his Symbiote — until he loses it — as the whole sequence is rather epic and dream-like. Miles Morales can be considered the true MVP in this game, as time and time again he proves that he truly can be a standalone Spider-Man. Miles’ story revolves around dealing with Martin Li, who killed his father and is now free, while also trying to bring his mentor, Peter, back to his senses. When I realized Venom was a playable character, I completely lost it. That’s when I knew Insomniac Games put everything forth into this sequel. It was exhilarating to experience a boss’ point of view during gameplay, as players get to dominate soldiers, then destroy Kraven the Hunter himself.

The last stretch of the game felt a little rushed, and I feel that they made Peter seem  rather incompetent. He was indeed dealing with a lot mentally, but after a while, it felt like “The Miles Morales Show,” when they both should’ve shared the spotlight. I was extremely disappointed to see that the section we saw in the trailer, in which Peter and Miles fought Venom throughout the city, was mainly for advertisement purposes, and the in-game ending scene failed to live up to those visuals. I was waiting for a moment that never came, and I also wish we were able to fight Venom with both Spider-Men at once. Instead, they each fought Venom solo for the boss battles. We get many things hinting at a potential sequel including Green Goblin, and a Silk easter egg — hinting that Cindy Moon will be starring in the next game as the third Spider-hero. 

Overall, I rate “Spider-Man 2” a 9.5 out of 10 points, being deducted on account of the lackluster ending and final boss battle. I’m excited to still be able to hop in, free roam and complete all the side missions. If you want to experience potentially the greatest superhero video game sequel, I implore you to play this game.

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