- Marvel’s Spider-Man 2’s rather short length was a point of concern even before its release.
- The game promised quality over quantity and completely delivered on it with its brilliant story, sidequests, and refreshingly variable tasks.
- Rather than the length of the game, what matters more is the standard of the content it packs.
If you had to choose between a lengthy or a short game, what would you prefer? Since you’re spending about $70 for a modern game, the purchase needs to be justified, right? So will you go for a long game with enough content to keep you engaged for a good week or so? Or will around 20-30 hours of content be enough to justify the price? Quite a dilemma it is.
However, there’s no definite winner here, as many factors need to be considered. First, take a look at a longer game. If done well, it has to be the obvious choice for your cash, more content to justify. And a longer game full of quality will surely be better than a shorter one. But there’s a high risk of the game declining in quality or becoming a slog over time.
Conversely, short games do not have enough engagement to justify the full price. However, if that short content packs such a punch to justify every buck spent, it can give even longer games a run for their money. And that is what Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2 is.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Shows A Short Game Can Stand Tall Too
Spider-Man probably has the most video game appearances among any superheroes and has both very high highs and some steep lows. However, when Insomniac picked the mantle, a revolution was imminent for our favorite web-slinger. Both Marvel’s Spider-Man and Miles Morales threw the competition out the window and were the reason why the sequel; Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, was so much anticipated.
The game’s hype stood strong, but there was one concerning factor: the game’s length. Before its release, we learned that it would take roughly 25-30 hours to experience everything the game has to offer. $70 for a game that can be completed in around two days — is that a fair deal? I admit I was concerned about the game’s length, too. If I’m spending a whopping 70 bucks on a game, I expect it to entertain me for a good while rather than blink and it’s over.
However, after dropping everything to complete the story in a single sitting, and achieving platinum soon afterward, I can assure you that the game is worth every penny as promised. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 fixed many of my gripes with the last two games, like the enemy variety and combat enjoyment for starters. Not only that, it refines the basic formula to perfection with a better, more engaging, and lively open world, a majestic story, heartwarming side quests, and a much more enjoyable progression system.
The Symbiote Is Perfectly Menacing, And I Love It
Let’s start this off with the story, and I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. When the leaks started pouring in, I was overwhelmingly excited about the Venom and Black Suit possibility. It was confirmed later too, and I couldn’t wait to experience it, as the Symbiote is essentially one of the most anticipated features of any Spider-Man content. However, there was the matter of the entity’s portrayal. I was worried about the Symbiote portrayal in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
I wanted Venom to be more menacing and cruel as per the correct depiction of the character, rather than the toned-down, anti-hero-style Venom of the movies. However, the game blew all my worries away in an instant. Throughout its roughly 15-16 hours campaign, the game keeps you entirely on edge all the time. Be it epic, action-fueled moments, the intertwining and heartwarming story of the game’s two main characters, or the humane depiction of villains, it’s all a rollercoaster of emotions.
Still, the stuff that takes the crown is the Symbiote. Once Peter gets the black suit, the gradual but radical change in his demeanor is handled with perfection. Thanks to Yuri Lowenthal’s epic performance, it all feels so surreal. And when Venom takes the stage, you can feel the character’s overwhelming presence in his menacing smile and behavior, it’s all just perfect. Give the story a try and I think that would be enough for you to fall in love with Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, let alone all the other improvements.
The Sidequests Show These Heroes Are Still Humans
After the story amazes you, it’s time to move on to the sidequests. It’s not like there are hundreds of them, just a handful, but once you go through them, you’ll realize this is where the game peaks. It becomes more than just a superhero game. The greatest achievement of these sidequests is how they ground these fictional worlds and stories into reality. They showcase the human nature of your beloved superheroes and are the most fun I had in this game.
The sidequests have you interact with the world around you on a more human rather than a hero level. Take the missing grandpa quest as an example. What seems like a simple request to locate an elderly man soon turns into one of the most beautiful life stories, as Spider-Man is left to wonder about his own life too. Similarly, the pigeon quest has to be my favorite. Howard is a recurring character that appeared in the past two games, and generally, the quests involved finding his missing pigeons.
When the quest appeared in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, I was expecting the same thing, but how wrong I was. The quest is both a beautiful sendoff and the perfect closure for a man who has lived a fulfilling life. Seeing Spider-Man interact with these heartwarming stories and going around town to examine the local culture in meaningful photographs makes this game a lot more than just an action-packed superhero story. Although you can wrap the game up quickly, it makes you admit this is a brilliant adventure through and through.
Districts Are More Fun To Complete In Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Doing the story and side quests takes you closer to the platinum, but we’re not done yet. As per tradition, several tasks need to be completed in every district to achieve completion. And there lies the problem. One thing that somewhat frustrated me in the first game was the need to complete all different types of crimes in a district. These crimes spawned randomly in your vicinity. This meant you needed to stay in a district and wait for the next crime to spawn, and go through a tedious loop.
If I had completed the two types of crimes, I needed to wait for the third type to complete the district. Although the game aids in this completion, the frustration and tediousness are still the same. Couple that with health sponge enemies on higher difficulties, and it became a slog for me. Spider-Man Miles Morales was a little better in this regard, but it still required crime completion for Platinum. Thus, I thought Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 would be the same, but I was positively surprised.
Not only does the game have better and less tedious district completion tasks, but it also has no crime requirement. The game keeps district progression fresh with its variety. Aerial chases, community service tasks, collecting lore-rich Spiderbots, a little photo shoot, and combat encounters of varying difficulty bring impressive variation. You do not feel bored repeating the same task. RNG-based crimes are present but no longer needed, and the health sponge enemies conversely feel good now because the game’s parry is overwhelmingly good.
Regardless Of Length, All I Need Is Quality Games
When Spider-Man 2 promised quality over quantity, I doubted it. Now, you see me supporting it this fiercely. Goes to show how successfully it changed my mind. Honestly, this is what I’d like to see in games from here on too. I’m not bothered by the game’s length or the need for it to be longer or shorter. If it manages to provide quality content in whatever amount it targets, I’ll be satisfied. Longer games just have a higher risk of becoming tedious, one of my complaints with the recent Lords of the Fallen.
On the contrary, this does not mean shorter games will have better quality universally. Elden Ring’s a good example of the opposite, but take a look at a very recent one; Baldur’s Gate 3. A 100-hour RPG filled to the brim with quality content and replayability, it strongly proves longer games can be brilliant too. What I mean by this comparison is for developers to target the game length they’re confident they can deliver the best content in.
If you’re focusing on a longer game, it needs to have strong and versatile content rather than excessive repetition just for the sake of length. If you’re designing a shorter one, the pressure is even higher as you have to justify the price tag. All in all, I believe that a game needs to excel in whatever approach it takes, and the matter of its length can be easily justified. I hope we continue to get the quality of games 2023 has seen consistently, especially Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
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