Friendly Neighbourhood Sequel or has Insomniac Webbed the Shark?
Insomniac Games has made a triumphant return with their latest release in the Spider-Man franchise. Spider-Man 2, the third game in the series, has been highly anticipated by fans and is exclusive to Playstation 5. For many gamers, this title alone was reason enough to invest in the new console. Let’s delve into the game’s narrative and see if it lives up to the hype.
A Familiar but Refreshing Story
If you’ve played the original Spider-Man game by Insominiac or its Miles Morales reissue, then you already have a good understanding of the game’s story. The beloved characters we know and love, along with some new additions, are set in Earth-1048. This alternate universe allows Insomniac Games to exercise their creative freedom and bring us a fresh take on the Spider-Man universe.
I’ll do my best to keep this review spoiler-free, but I will mention that the game kicks off with Sandman wreaking havoc in New York City. Both Peter Parker and Miles Morales must join forces to put a stop to the chaos. As you progress through the game, you’ll encounter iconic villains like Kraven and Venom. However, the game doesn’t solely rely on new developments; it also expertly weaves in elements from previous games, creating a cohesive and immersive universe.
Heartwarming Side Missions
While the main story is engaging, it’s the side missions that truly shine. Forget about the repetitive crime-fighting missions that constantly pop up throughout New York City. The real appeal lies in the Friendly Neighbour missions that surprise you along the way. Each of these missions, marked by a blue icon on the spider-app, offers heartwarming and emotionally impactful experiences. They remind us that even without superpowers, we all have the ability to help others and make a difference in the world.
Comic books are imbued with moral messages, and Insomniac Games clearly understands this. They have captured the essence of Spider-Man, whether it’s Peter or Miles under the mask. One of my favorite moments in the game involved a side mission as Miles, helping a Grandpa named Earl and engaging in a heartfelt conversation. It’s moments like these that truly capture the spirit of the hero.
The Thrill of Web-Slinging
A crucial aspect of any Spider-Man game is the web-slinging mechanics. Insomniac Games has done an impressive job with this aspect of the gameplay. While Spider-Man 2 on the PS2 still holds the crown, Spider-Man 2 (2023) comes in a close second. The game offers multiple difficulty options for web-slinging, allowing players to tailor the experience to their preferences. Personally, I immediately turned off all assists and enabled fall damage. I wanted to truly feel like Spider-Man, swinging around New York City, and the game delivers on that front.
Web-wings, a new addition to the game, initially felt unnecessary and threatened to overshadow web-slinging. However, as I gained new skills and explored the sprawling city, web-wings seamlessly integrated into the overall traversal experience. They became a natural and enjoyable way to navigate the city. Although at times they felt forced, especially when tied to mission completion, the web-wings ultimately complement the gameplay.
Familiar Combat with a Twist
The combat in Spider-Man 2 remains faithful to its predecessor, which is a good thing. It feels fast-paced, responsive, and becomes even more enjoyable as you unlock new skills. Both Miles and Peter have their own skill trees, as well as a shared one. Progression feels organic, as you can choose to focus on side quests and exploration. The game avoids the tediousness of grinding and keeps the pace engaging.
Insomniac Games has achieved a delicate balance between catering to Marvel Comics enthusiasts and introducing newcomers to the Spider-Verse. While this opens the game up to a wider audience, some moments may feel heavy-handed to long-time fans. For instance, the friendship between Peter and Harry receives extra attention in the game, even though it doesn’t require much development for established fans. Nevertheless, the game strikes a satisfying balance between catering to different audiences and offering nods to dedicated fans.
The Dynamic Duo
One standout aspect of Spider-Man 2 is the equal focus given to both Miles and Peter. Players may have their own preferences for which character they enjoy playing as, depending on their personal connection to each one. Personally, I found Miles to be more fun to play, but the game ensures that neither character feels redundant. Players can choose between the two and switch seamlessly, adding variety to the overall experience.
In conclusion, Spider-Man 2 by Insomniac Games is a worthy addition to the beloved franchise. With its satisfying story, immersive world, and thrilling gameplay, it captures the essence of Spider-Man and leaves players craving more. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to the Spider-Verse, this game delivers an unforgettable experience.