Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is one of the best sequels ever made, and one of the most accessible games I’ve ever had the joy of playing.
Developer – Insomniac Games
Publisher – PlayStation
Platforms – PlayStation 5 (reviewed)
It’s that time once again. That time where we put down the latest movie or episode of the MCU, close any comic books you might have laid around, and it becomes time to leap headfirst into the best ongoing Marvel universe, the Marvel’s Spider-Man series created by the brilliant team at Insomniac Games. Not only have they out done themselves with a bigger and smarter game, it’s also one of the most accessible and inclusive experiences I have ever seen.
My review will be a bit unique, and it will come across as a bit short and sweet I’m sure compared to my contemporaries. I loved the previous games, but I was very excited for this title for several reasons. PlayStation as a publisher has been growing more inclusive, especially for players with disabilities. The Last of Us Part One, God of War Ragnarök, each exclusive triple A title keeps raising the bar on options and features specifically designed to give players such as myself a deep and comprehensive experience.
I don’t want to speak on this subject for my whole review, so instead I will hit key highlights and point everybody to the accessibility blog as it does a fantastic job of breaking down the nuances of each option and how they function. Check it out at the link here.
Without diving into specifics, Insomniac Games has raised the bar on creating an experience that just about anybody can pick up and play. A game that features such complex combat skills, and more mechanics than most prestige cinematic games have to offer, it all feels manageable and under my control. I end up feeling powerful, and emboldened to experiment in a way I can’t with most other complex action experiences.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 takes place sometime after the events of Miles Morales. In what is now customary fashion, we are briefly reintroduced to our main players, before setting off on an action-packed opening set piece with the Sandman. It’s the first time we get a dose of the real hooks of this sequel, the dual heroes, and the incredible web wings they can use to traverse with ease.
As advertised, we get not just one but two capable webslingers who are equally capable of taking on baddies and stopping crimes left and right. Peter Parker and Miles not only share similar base abilities, but they also share suit upgrades, resources, and they even sport a combined skill tree. Their inputs are also shared, but once you move past those core shared items, these two heroes quickly differ in terms of move sets, powers, and of course, personalities.
Peter is trying to find a steady job and figuring life out after Aunt May, while also juggling the sudden return of his best friend Harry and MJ. Meanwhile, Miles is starting at Brooky Visions Academy and is balancing a big school paper, and being Spider-Man. He also has Genke, Hailey, and his mother all providing a support system for him.
The next 50 plus hours I spent were riveting, and without getting into spoilers, its everything you would expect. This version of Kraven, Venom, and the supporting cast of villains are some of the most creative interpretations of some classic characters I have ever seen. The way characters introduced in this version of Spider-Man’s world is so unique to these characters and story, which creates an excellent pace through the core story.
I don’t want to go too deep into the main story, but suffice to say, its action packed, full of some great moments and outdoes the previous two games. The one aspect I do want to mention is the side content. It’s a pretty big step-up, even if most of them from a mechanics standpoint aren’t really groundbreaking, but the stories and characters involved in them tell growing stories that lead to some fun story beats in their own right.
I want to spend a bit of time on one section in particular. I won’t once again, go into spoilers, but Hailey, Miles deaf friend and crush, really does sets an example of what Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 does best. It’s inclusivity, it’s really something special. Hailey has appeal, she is cool, she is well liked, she knows what she wants. She is a woman who just happens to be deaf, not a character who is only defined by their disability and nothing more. This means the world to me, as a deaf woman myself, it’s the best representation of somebody with my disability that I have ever seen. Look forward to a detailed column about her, and what she means for a writer like me, once the game is out in the wild and people can see it for themselves.
Before I close off the review, I will touch on some other technical facets of the game. It of course looks phenomenal. I played in Performance mode for my entire run. The 60 frames per second and ray tracing were jaw dropping, especially when the big set pieces or nighttime scenes in the rain took over. The much-vaunted Symbiote powers truly separate Peter and Miles, and the sheer number of quality-of-life features packed in make the game such a breeze to play.
If you are new to PlayStation, a disabled player looking for a blockbuster they can fully experience, or a returning fan, playing Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is an absolute no-brainer and its easily one of my favorite open world games I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing for myself. Fully and without compromise, it really does feel like it was designed for everybody.