Spider-Man 2 Review – Another Incredible PlayStation Exclusive

Insomniac Games has outdone themselves once again.

Spider-Man 2 Review
Overall
4
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Spider-Man 2 is a cut above its predecessor, with significantly improved gameplay and a narrative that tugs at your heartstrings.

Pros

  • Captivating Storytelling
  • Cast Of Characters
  • Engaging Combat
  • Graphical Fidelity
  • Accessibility Features
  • QoL Upgrades

Cons

  • Boring Open World Activities
  • Minimum Enemy Variety
  • Half-Baked Stealth Sections

Being a massive Spider-Man fan since a very young age, I was immediately captivated by Insomniac’s version of the web-swinging hero that we saw in 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man, and it quickly rose to become my favorite superhero game of all time next to Batman: Arkham City.

Key Takeaways
  • Developer: Insomniac Games
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Release Date: October 20, 2023
  • Platforms: PlayStation 5
  • Game Length: 25 Hours
  • Time Played: 40 Hours
Editors Note: For the full experience we do recommend playing Spider-Man (2018) and its Miles Morales expansion first.

And now, after finishing my NG+ replay of the original game this year on the Ultimate difficulty, it’s my utmost pleasure to report that I was chosen to review Spider-Man 2, a sequel that profoundly improves the brilliant gameplay foundations of the previous entry while delivering an emotional story to boot.

Story And Setting

review of spider-man 2
Story. (Image Captured By eXputer)

(Potential Spoilers Ahead)

Now, when it comes to the narrative, I strongly recommend that you read this section at your own discretion due to the massive amount of spoilers present here. But with that said, the story of Spider-Man 2 picks up roughly 10 months after the events of the Miles Morales spin-off title.

Right from the opening moments of the game, we are introduced to Kraven the Hunter, who’s come to New York with his underlings to hunt down the Lizard, aka Doctor Curtis Connors.

And while both of our Spider-Men, Peter and Miles, work hard to thwart most of his plans, the main charm of the narrative is about the characters and their dynamic relationships.

review of spider-man 2
Peter And Harry. (Image By eXputer)

Harry Osborn is finally here as well, and we get to see him interact with Peter after so much time has passed between them. It is both fascinating and heartbreaking to see how their personal ambitions manage to conflict with each other as they have heart-to-hearts at various points in the story.

Miles on the other hand, after losing one of his closest friends Phin in the previous game, is still struggling to accept his duty as a superhero. His arc focuses on him trying to confront Mr Negative in the hopes of finally being able to put the memory of his deceased father to rest.

Venom takes center stage as one of the major antagonists of Spider-Man 2, and one whose reveal had me shaking in disbelief, wondering what was coming next.

Now onto one of the most anticipated new characters in the game, Venom, who is played by the charismatic Tony Todd. He takes center stage as one of the major antagonists of Spider-Man 2, and one whose reveal had me shaking in disbelief, wondering what was coming next.

He’s a character that had me on the edge of my seat, especially when it came to a certain in-game set piece which alone was one of the best things I have experienced in recent memory.

spider-man 2
Miles Morales. (Captured By eXputer)

Insomniac Games has done an exceptional job crafting its version of the web-swinging hero the world knows and loves. It takes the wonderful cast of characters from the previous two entries, propelling them forward to greater heights with absolutely insane character development for both Spider-Men.

The overall narrative does a brilliant job of showcasing to you, the player, how these two superheroes share the burden of responsibility with each other, along with their intertwining personal lives to deliver one of the most emotional Spider-Man stories in a long time.

Gameplay

spider-man 2 review
Gameplay. (Image Captured By eXputer)

Spider-Man 2 largely improves on the gameplay of its previous two installments in both the world design and the combat mechanics.

The brawling is taken one step further with an assortment of new elements and quality-of-life enhancements that I personally love. But while there are some highs, there are also a few lows that didn’t excite me when I experienced the game firsthand.

First things first, the main combat generally remains the same here, and I would argue that if you wholeheartedly enjoyed the previous title, chances are that you won’t notice too much of a difference here, other than the polish and touch-ups here and there.

What I personally love is the addition of L1 and R1 being the gateway to both Spider-Men’s gadgets and abilities. So I won’t have to manually open up the radical wheel to know the capacity of each gadget or ability’s cooldown during combat.

spider-man 2 review
Tag Team Attacks. (Image Captured by Us)

This change is certainly noticeable in Miles due to his acrobatic Venom powers, which you will constantly need to juggle during intense encounters. For Peter, the feature was especially helpful when I equipped his Symbiote suit, which has its own set of abilities.

Spider-Man 2 largely improves on the gameplay of its previous two installments in both the world design and the combat mechanics.

A minor, but welcome, new feature includes the ability to parry during combat, but it will take players a bit to get used to it after using the Perfect Dodge mechanic for so long in the previous games.

spider-man 2 activities
Map Activities. (Image Captured By eXputer)

The map of Spider-Man 2 was also expanded this time around, as you now have access to both Queens and Brooklyn on the eastern side of New York City.

While it does feel fresh to swing around there for the first time or use your brand-new Web Wings (more on that in a bit), I couldn’t help but feel as if these boroughs and most of their assets felt copypasted from Manhattan or the Upper West Side.

Speaking of the map, while there are a handful of new activities to explore and chase after, the crimes and “Collectible Marathon” aspects that felt weak in both previous games still exist here, which is unfortunate as they were the weakest elements of exploration for me.

spider-man 2
Web Wings. (Image By eXputer)

The new Web Wings however are arguably one of my favorite new gameplay additions, as they not only feel fun, but are an excellent means of traversal throughout the expanded city, almost making the instantaneous fast travel system redundant.

Spider-Man 2 does a phenomenal job of delivering a rich gameplay experience, one that borrows the foundations of the previous entries and turns them up a notch. 

Not to mention that when using Web Wings, you can also fly through large visual rings in front of you to boost your speed considerably. It is definitely a feature that makes me appreciate Insomniac Games’ continued strive to implement creativity in their games.

spider-man 2 review
Skill Tree. (Captured By eXputer)

There’s also a revamped customization section here with over 60+ outfits combined for both Spider-Men to choose from. You can also change up the color or tone of each individual suit to truly make them feel unique and to your liking.

On the subject of customization, the brand-new set of skills is also intriguing to see, especially the team skill tree.

spider-man 2 stealth
Stealth Sections (Image Captured By eXputer)

Aside from that, one of the things that was a setback for me was the returning stealth sections from the original game. Now, I know you could quickly complete them without any hitches, but the problem was that they broke the game’s pacing in an unorthodox manner and just felt overly repetitive.

While MJ’s stealth sections in Spider-Man 2 feel improved, I can’t help but shake off the feeling that these were somewhat unnecessary here after the initial backlash.

Overall though, Spider-Man 2 does a phenomenal job of delivering a rich gameplay experience, one that borrows the foundations of the previous entries and turns them up a notch. But despite that, the open-world activities and other sections feel mostly the same, almost as if the developers wanted to play it safe 

Needless to say, at least the side missions add a ton of more depth to the world-building, which is great to see.

Visuals And Performance

Spider-Man 2 review
Visuals. (Image Captured by Us)

Spider-Man 2 boasts one of the most optimized game engines right now in the industry as Insomniac Games has pushed the boundary further by adding Ray-Tracing capabilities to both Performance and Fidelity modes this time around.

You also have the middle option of using VRR to boost your framerate to 40 fps on 4K if your monitor supports HDMI 2.1 along with an unlocked Refresh Rate. On top of this ground-breaking optimization, loading times are almost non-existent, even when seamlessly switching between the two Spider-Men from halfway across the map.

Spider-Man 2 boasts one of the most optimized game engines right now in the industry.

Moreover, the visual differences between this game when compared to the 2018 one, even in its remastered version, are extremely noticeable. The character models are more refined and detailed than ever before, along with the street-level areas of NYC having more detail this time around.

I also noticed that this game had a much better color grading and vibrancy, as each part of the world felt more natural instead of dull at certain intervals. Traffic and pedestrians are also increased in capacity, making the world feel more alive and inhabited when exploring or dealing with catastrophes.

Verdict

spider-man 2 review
Verdict. (Captured By eXputer)

Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man 2 is a celebration of Marvel’s most well-known superheroes, as it takes you on a gripping storytelling experience that not only tugs at every fan’s heartstrings. The performances and the way they tug at your heartstrings, only leave you more excited for what’s to come in the future.

The game brilliantly showcases the limits of the PS5 via the increased visuals and level of polish, which are most obvious when exploring the world or experiencing its cinematic cutscenes. And despite some hiccups along the way, PlayStation and Insomniac Games have truly set the bar for future superhero games.

This has been our Spider-Man 2 Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles. 

This is box title
Get This Game
For its great web-swinging, refined combat systems, and spectacular visuals.
Dont Get This Game
If you’re not a general fan of superhero games, and if the last Spider-Man title didn’t impress you.
Do I Need To Get This Game
Yes. This sequel is meant for both older and newer Spider-Man fans.
Alternative Games
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Sunset Overdrive
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
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Usama Mehmood is a Games Specialist, and writer on eXputer who's either hunting for the richest loot in Destiny 2 or endlessly playing his favorite games such as Yakuza or Final Fantasy. Usama has been gaming for 15+ years during which he has accumulated 4000+ hours on Destiny 1 & 2. His constant adoration for video games has allowed him to pursue eXputer as a platform to showcase his striving talents in writing helpful articles. Get familiar with Usama's extensive gaming library on his Steam, PSN, and Xbox profiles.

Experience: 2+ Years || Mainly Covers Reviews And Guides || Education: Bachelors in Physiotherapy.

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