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Critics Aren't Holding Back On Marvel's Spider-Man 2

"Marvel's Spider-Man 2" finally arrives this week, bringing fans of the beloved web-slinging superhero the next chapter in Insomniac's growing comic book universe. Ahead of its October 20 release, the first reviews of the game are making their way online, and it's looking good for Amazing Spider-Fans out there. 


In this adventure, Peter Parker and Miles Morales have to contend with the likes of Mysterio, the Lizard, Sandman, and Kraven the Hunter, all while dealing with Peter's slide to the dark side and the mysterious Venom Symbiote. This game promises to provide answers to mysteries that were first set up in 2018's "Marvel's Spider-Man," so there's a lot of hype for this particular installment — especially since the first two games were so beloved by fans and critics alike. 

Thankfully for fans who have waited years for this moment, critics have found few flaws in the superhero epic. It sounds like this new game not only lives up the hype, but blows the first two chapters out of the water in terms of scale.


Spider-Man 2's story sticks the landing, but beware

Though nobody is getting into major story spoilers just yet, reviews thus far have commended the game's writing for the ways in which it builds upon what came before. The characters feel like they've evolved in major ways, with Peter's personal relationships being a large focal point of the story yet again. His best friend has come back into his life with secrets to spare, his relationship with MJ is tested like never before, and his partnership with Miles Morales is strained as the younger hero longs to prove himself as a solo act. Add in a returning ex and tons of new villains and you've got a recipe for a story that hits every note of a proper Spider-Man tale. That might sound like way too much to juggle at once, but Gadget360's review notes, "Marvel's Spider-Man 2 does justice to its every idea with astonishing style and incredible substance." According to IGN's Simon Cardy, "It's the best-written story in the series yet (if still a bit cheesy at times), with performances worthy of the script." 


Some critics have found that Miles' storyline unfortunately gets put on the backburner for long stretches of this game's narrative, but it seems the final act of the game really gives the younger Spider-Man a chance to shine. However, a number of reviews have also cautioned players that "Marvel's Spider-Man 2" definitely functions as a middle chapter. Much like with this year's "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," fans may feel like they've just witnessed this series' "Empire Strikes Back" when the credits roll.

Spider-Man 2's combat is next-level

The series' tried and true gameplay formula has received a pretty significant overhaul. Rather than try to fix something that's not broken, Insomniac has opted to make everything bigger and wilder than in previous chapters. There are fewer "Arkham"-style stealth sequences in this game, with Miles and a more aggressive black-suited Peter preferring the more direct approach in this round. Outside of story missions, players can swap back and forth between Miles and Peter at their leisure. Both characters offer very different challenges and side missions, and reviewers recommend swapping frequently. Though the game's story is quite compelling, changing between heroes can go a long way towards keeping things fresh between big story beats.


Critics have especially enjoyed Peter's Symbiote abilities, which go for the jugular and look like they leave a mark. Some reviews have compared this new fighting style to that of the original "God of War" games, complete with a Spartan Rage-type attack that can clear rooms of enemies with a few nasty swipes. Gadgets also make a return from previous games, including some old favorites and new toys. Reviewers have particularly enjoyed how different abilities trigger varying functions in the PS5's DualSense controller. Symbiote abilities cause a dramatic rumble, while more subtle vibrational frequencies are used to find Prowler devices hidden around the city.

Overall, reviewers have applauded the game's sense of escalation and execution of dazzling setpieces. Game Informer's Matt Miller writes that the game features "High-speed chases, sudden, instantaneous scene changes, and titanic dynamic shifts to the game environment are common and exhilarating – and that's just in the game's first 15 minutes.


Spider-Man 2's open world might be slightly too open

The open world of "Marvel's Spider-Man 2" makes the sprawling maps of the previous games look like a city block, but critics are a bit divided on how successful the open world missions really are. While the new game has a much greater variety of enemies to web up and smack around, some critics have found the side mission content to be a bit repetitive. Others feel like Insomniac might have tried to hard to avoid repetition, only to instead come across like the game is too stuffed with too many ideas. VGC notes, "There are so many quirky little bespoke gameplay sequences that come up for a mission or two, and before you have the chance to get sick of them, they're gone." This is a bit of a double-edged sword, as it means players might really enjoy a break from the norm, but "sometimes Insomniac is a little too keen to drop mechanics that could be explored further."


Meanwhile, Mary Jane's side missions also make a return from the first game, which critics are a little more split on. Some have appreciated the ways in which Insomniac has tailored these missions to a more survival horror vibe, while others have found that they break up the momentum in what would otherwise be a non-stop rollercoaster ride of action. Your mileage may vary when it comes to these missions. 

Overall, it sounds like "Marvel's Spider-Man 2" is a real winner. For fans of the comics, it presents a daring remix of the storylines they know and love. For fans of the PS5-era games, it's a loving expansion of nearly everything that made the previous games spectacular.