Marvel's Spider-Man 2 | REVIEW | PS5
''MARY JANE IS A FAILED ACTRESS, JUST SAYING''
Developed: Insomniac Games
Published: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Single Player Adventure
Release Date: Oct 20th, 2022
*Review copy provided to me by Playstation*
Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is the sequel to the first successful game for our web slinging hero that is developed by Insomniac Games and published by SIE. With the first game setting records and being a Game Of The Year Contender, Insomniac now tries to re-create that magic and make the sequel even more grand than before. But, do they succeed in making this title more ambitious? or is it a case of same old crap different day? Only one way to find out, so GIVE ME PICTURES OF SPIDER-MAN!
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.
''BRO, YOU HAVE 5 FINGERS TOO!?''
Having to make a game that comes off the success of a previous title is never an easy task, in fact, sometimes it can be a curse, because whether its the movie industry or the gaming industry, a lot of sequels aim to up the ante too much, or they lose sight of what made the original movie or game as good as it was and because of this, ends up losing its ''magic''. Sure there are outliers to this like Terminator 2 being freaking amazing compared to the first movie, Aliens being better than Alien or Skull Island Rise Of Kong being better than the King Kong Xbox 360 game. Ok.. no, that's going a little too far, but jokes aside, you get the point, sequels sometimes lose their identity, but I feel here Spider-Man 2 fits into both categories, meaning it does enough to stand out, but also keeps enough of the familiar to where you still get the sense of admiration that you were left with after completing the first title. It doesn't mean its a perfect experience, no, but like Shaun Of The Dead, says ''where's safe, where's familiar'', well that's right here with Marvel's Spider-Man 2. As usual you will swing your silly butt through the streets of New York as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Peter Parker and the ever emerging fan favorite, Miles Morales, as you encounter eye popping moments, movie tier like super hero dynamics that infuses the games fast pace and rapid combat alongside missions that treat the player like a human with a functioning brain, rather than phoning it in and making something nonsensical that talks down to the player like they're too stupid to comprehend. So basically, the game is the opposite of MJ from the movies, smart, not dumb. You stupid annoying failed actress, you lived next door to Peter your whole life, heard his voice a thousand times and because he's upside down, you didn't know who he was, even AFTER he said a line of dialogue to you that only Peter had said to you, HOURS EARLIER. ''You're trash, Brock?'' no, you're trash Mary Jane. Um. Anyways. Moving on.
Spider-Man 2's inherent strength lies in the same thing that made the Marvel Cinematic a success up till End Game, building up your characters and then expanding on each of their individual narratives and character arcs. Now somewhere along the line the actual MCU lost that vision because, I mean, look at it now, yikes. By further expanding Peter and Miles, it allows players to get fully immersed into both characters relationships with each other, other loved ones and their own personal skills and abilities. This is actually achieved by allowing you to fluidly switch between both Peter and Miles, whether you choose to or if it calls for it for any story driven narratives, and this allows you to play the game at such a different place than you were used to with the first game with only Peter Parker only. We don't count MJ's sections, because you know, MJ be looking like Prince Charming from Shrek in this game. Sorry not sorry. With utilizing the dual character formula, it leaves you feeling gratified and makes the overall gameplay feel a tad bit revitalized, but why is that? well because no one character is a singular in spotlight, Peter doesn't feel better than Miles and vice versa Miles to Peter, each character having their strengths with varied and different abilities and their own unique personalities completely change the dynamic of the scenes they partake in, whether its talking to family or loved ones or interacting with the villains of the story itself - each scene they are in, due to the character build, makes events and suspenseful twists, even more substantial. Character development great, improvement of narrative, that's cool bro, but... ''WHERE'S THE VIDEO GAMES AT!?'', as in, you know, the actual freaking gameplay. Don't worry, were getting to that. Insomniac once again has you navigate the gorgeous looking city of New York, with your web swinging itself, getting further upgraded by integrating features like wingsuits that allow you to engage in high speed gliding. You're basically a gliding flying squirrel looking for a hug. ''HERE I COME, FRIEND!''.
''YOU KRAVEN THIS KICK?''
If you thought the web swinging in the first game was smooth, prepared to be surprised once again. In Spider-Man 2, no animation is wasted and because of the title being on stronger hardware, it allows the movements of both Peter and Miles, whether its running along side buildings, slinging web to grab buildings or poles and glide close to the ground, sling from tops of buildings to other buildings, its all effortlessly done with no input delay and makes it feel like you're in control of your neighborhood Spider-Man at all times while you roam the ever expanding metropolis as you pursuit and stop crime and find many secrets to uncover on top of it. The combat has also improved to the level of upgrade that makes both newcomers to the series as their first game and people who have put a hundred hours into the first game, feeling a bit of surprise, again with the seamless animation of the swinging, melee combo moves, more swift and complex camera shifts and easier to manage QTE and prompted button scenes that don't go by as quickly, but also doesn't make it feel like a fast paced action scene is bogged down or feeling like a chore like other QTE games can make it feel. I'm looking at you Knack. As you roam the city of New York doing main story missions or even the absurd amount of side quests that can make a normal 20 hour playthrough stretch to 50 plus hours, you will find the joy of addiction of mixing each characters different abilities and using them against normal street thugs and even against major boss fights themselves, learning and adapting as you go on to become the Ultimate Spider-Man around town. Well that is, if you aren't like me who always messes up and somehow ends up getting their butt kicked and injuring my back. My overall point being is that both Peter's and Miles customizable abilities add a layer of versatility to their own personal arsenal and allows both characters, even while they're still Spider-Man, to feel like a different version and experience from each other - for a more tailored combat experience. But sometimes this strength also leads to hindrance should you partake in certain missions over and over in regards to taking out enemies, creating a sense of monotony if you aren't careful about your own play time management. I mean its not as tedious as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy's back and forth of ''Oh my god, I love you! but wait nooo its forbidden, your father says no, but he's dead so oh well, I love you, but no no we cant''. Oh shut it already you idiots, take Aisha's advice in the Power Ranger's movie and ''KISS AND MAKE UP'' were over it already. Anyways...
Graphically this go around, Insomniac proves that making this a PS5 exclusive was the smart idea as this title is now able to fully showcase the capabilities of the Playstation 5 itself with quicker chase scenes and swinging, better loading and scene transition and improvement to the environment that can leave you awe struck at times at what Insomniac was able to achieve. Which, once again in relation to the combat and games narrative, adds an extra layer to the game that adds to its immersive feel when gameplay, narrative and the technical side of PS5 is combined into one tight and cohesive package that keeps you heavily entertained and excited to the point, that for no reason, you will just proclaim, PIZZA TIME. However, all that aside, we are again left with a few downsides to go along side the monotony I spoke of before. This has to do with gameplay sections that happen in between the higher points of the game, such as action scenes, fast paced sequences, intense combat, etc. In between these you have elements of the gameplay that garner some head scratching or leaving you groaning to yourself for the gameplay segment to end so you can get back to the actual fun part of the gameplay. What am I talking about? are you sure you want to know? the story of my... ahh, you thought I was going to keep the running gag going didn't you, gotcha. But did you see what I did there? I built up what I was going to talk about and before I explained myself, I switched to something else without finishing my thought. Annoying right? exactly. This is the same in Spider-Man 2 when you're intrigued by story elements or gameplay sequences, ready to find out what happens next, but you're instead stopped in your tracks by uneventful story arcs and cutscenes that bog the story down to a snails crawl with bad pacing here and there, on top of going from high speed action to slow and mundane stealthy sequences that feel more at home in a Batman game, than I would've liked to see in another Spider-Man game. ''WE WANT FUN GAMEPLAY'' the people will shout from the roofs, but me? what do I want? besides more emo Tobey?, I want, JUSTICE... WITH A SIDE OF... SPAGHETTI. Huh? my point being is things like stealth missions in the wrong sections of the game, having to move around the city without powers or tedious ''go here, beat up this person'', can get old at points in the story and leave it unappealing from time to time.
''YOU'RE ABOUT TO BE A SMASH HIT''
At the end of the day, Spider-Man 2 offers an extremely fun package that marries together narrative and combat to near perfectionist levels that a lot of developers out there should strive for. Obviously I say near perfect because the game does have its issues, big and small with gameplay during combat feeling a tad bit repetitive from time to time, balancing having an issue the further you get into the story with cutscenes and gameplay elements like stealth that stop you in your tracks from progressing at a good pace and some side quests being less than stellar that borderline ends up as a fetch quest. However with the expansion on top tier comic narratives with the superb villains, action and emotion that does not underscore the core themes of the story and embracing all that makes Spider-Man, well... Spider-Man. By making us re-evaluate the notion of what is a ''hero' and what is a ''villain'', further propels this title into being an absolute contender for game of the year in 2023, even with the year being as amazing and stacked as it has been. Perfect, of course not, fun as hell and really good? oh yeah, that's some good pie. If you're a fan of Spider-Man and have a Playstation 5, then I feel picking up this title is a no brainer and has me extremely excited to see what adventure Insomniac takes us on next in the future. So with all this having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says, GOD SPEED, SPIDER-MAN. I mean... GameNChick says BUY NOW!