Theo Andrews ‘26 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Spider-Man 2 for the Playstation 5 is simply amazing, but there are some downsides. Unfortunately, it makes some of the previous games’ mistakes, but overall it is a very enjoyable experience. The gameplay is absolutely magnificent, including any additions made in terms of stealth and special abilities of the two Spider-Men. Miles Morales’ venom powers get a big boost when it comes to choice of abilities, and Peter Parker’s spider legs add more variety to balance out Morales’ venom powers. Both Spider-Men now have gliders, which allows them to glide in the air similar to that of Batman in the Arkham Games. Gliding can feel a bit broken in terms of traveling, but it does make it easier to navigate between the newly added boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. These changes are a big improvement, specifically the newly added ability to create web-tightropes between walls to make it easier to stealthily take down enemies.
Now for the suits: there are seventy-eight suits in the game. Both Parker and Morales have many suits from their previous games, with some new additions. Morales has a great selection of suits, both from the comics and the Spider-Verse movies. Some lack in design, especially the Endgame suit, but arguably the best is the Programmable Matter Suit. On the other hand, Parker, who has more suits, suffers from the downside of them being film replicas, especially from the MCU. There is no problem with live action suits, especially the Raimi suits and the Amazing Spider Man 2 suit, but a large chunk of Parker’s suits are from the films instead of other media, such as television or comics.
The graphics of the game look amazing; it is very similar to the previous two games, but since they already looked quite nice there are no complaints about that. However, there is an elephant in the room—or should one say elephants? The character design is all over the place. Villains and side characters such as Kraven, Venom, Norman Osborn, and Rio Morales all look great. The problem lies with our four major characters, Peter Parker, Miles Morales, Mary-Jane Watson, and Harry Osborn. On the surface they look fine, but something about their faces looks off. Hopefully they will tweak the faces to look better in subsequent games and/or patches.
The story is amazing but frustrating at the same time. Kraven is absolutely amazing and intimidating as a villain. The thirst and hunger he has for the hunt, as well as his resolve, adds so much tension to the game. His motion capture and voice work is also a marvel. Another aspect done exceptionally well is the setting up for future villains, including Carnage, Chameleon, Kraven’s daughter, and Peter Parker’s arch-nemesis the Green Goblin. The game only builds anticipation for future DLC and Spider-Man 3. The redemption of some villains was also done amazingly, Sandman, Mr. Negative, and Mysterio are all redeemed over the course of side missions and the main storyline. This serves the theme of rehabilitation in the game quite well.
Another especially done aspect was Symbiote Spider-Man. The build up of Parker’s anger and frustration and seeing the symbiote corrupt him was like seeing comic book pages come to life. The symbiote coming off Parker’s body and bonding with Harry was another amazing moment, to finally see Venom was the cherry on top. What was even more surprising was playing as Venom, rampaging through Oscorp Tower and Times Square, and finally battling and killing Kraven. Both Kraven fights were amazing, and so was the Scream fight—in which Watson was corrupted by an offspring of the symbiote.
Unfortunately, the story is not all sunshine and rainbows. If you liked the previous villains from the first game, you may be disappointed. Besides Mr. Negative, Rhino, and Doc Ock, the previous villains were all killed off-screen by Kraven. Scorpion, Electro, Vulture, and Shocker are all dead. It makes sense from a storytelling perspective to build up Kraven as a massive threat, but having their deaths, besides Scorpion’s, be offscreen is off-putting.
Another downside is the story’s pacing. There is a lot to love about Symbiote Spider-Man, but it does not last long. The game quickly moves on to Venom after a couple of main missions. Speaking of Venom, the final boss fight against him felt like wasted potential. Instead of the promotional material making players think they would fight Venom outside, they instead fought him on elevated football fields and a research center-turned-arena. It was also weird that players fought Venom as Parker first, then Morales, even though Parker has the connection with the symbiote and Harry Osborn is his best friend.
The side missions could have been better. Aside from the ones that set up future villains and some other stand outs, they felt like chores. This applies especially to the Miles Morales related side quests at Brooklyn Visions Academy. Setting up dates, spray-painting walls, and taking photos for clubs felt so benign when Cletus Kassidy is running amuck. Some of the “chores,” were enjoyable, and they are a part of the Spider-Man character, but they do not translate well to the video game format. Otherwise, the story is amazing and there is only anticipation for what they will do with Spider-Man 2 DLCs and Spider-Man 3.
Spider-Man 2 for the Playstation 5 is better than Spider-Man: Miles Morales in almost every aspect and surpasses Spider-Man 1 in terms of gameplay. However it does not surpass Spider-Man 1 in terms of story, suit selection, side missions, and character designs. That is not to say it does a bad job, just that the standards introduced in Spider-Man 1 were not met in Spider-Man 2.