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16th Oct 2023

REVIEW: Spider-Man 2 is the most fun I’ve had on my PS5 all year

Rory Cashin

Spider-Man 2

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 arrives this week.

Sometimes games can get so caught up in pushing the envelope with graphics, with making things feel so realistic, with giving huge worlds to get lost in, that they actually forget to be entertaining, to be fun.

In this writer’s opinion, the most purely fun game to arrive on the PS5 to date has been 2021’s Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and it is absolutely no coincidence that game comes from Insomniac, the same folks behind the Marvel Spider-Man series. The 2018 outing focused on Peter Parker, the 2020 spin-off sequel re-aimed towards Miles Morales, and now the proper sequel gives the player control over both, capable of switching between the Spider-Men at a moment’s notice.

While Insomniac Games absolutely didn’t skimp on the envelope-pushing graphics, or the physical realism found within the gameplay, or a bigger-than-ever-before Manhattan and surround boroughs to get completely lost in, they also went all-in and creating the most entertaining game they possibly could. The end result is direct competition with Batman: Arkham City in terms of the greatest superhero game of all time.

Spider-Man 2 brings in some previously unseen villains

Picking up less than a year after the events of Miles Morales’ game, things kick off with the unexpected return of Harry Osborne, who appears to have been brought back from the brink of death with an experimental organism, worked on by his dad Normal Osborne, as well as Doctor Curtis Connors (aka The Lizard, now fully reformed).

Meanwhile, as Miles prepares for college and Peter adjusts to a more grown-up life with MJ, New York is invaded by a group of master hunters, headed by the nefarious Kraven. They’ve come to town for the ultimate hunt, and they’re going to do anything they can to accomplish their goal.

That is all just within the main story, but there is still a HUGE amount of side-missions to wade through, and Insomniac has done an incredible job in making these smaller jobs feel essential within the world of Spider-Man 2. From sourcing missing spider-bots to stopping arson attacks performed by cultists, they each add up to their own mini-stories, all hinting towards the ever-widening world of Spider-Man and his place within this version of the Marvel Universe.

It also helps that the game itself is so seamless and effortless to play, from the easy-to-use, hard-to-complete systems within your character’s abilities and suit upgrades. The move set for both Peter and Miles are identical but pay off in different ways, truly hammering home the slight alterations that have been made for each character, with Peter more liable to brute strength and Miles geared slightly more towards the stealth approach.

The expanded map of New York, now adding an entire second island to explore, is absolutely gorgeous and filled with incredible details; watch the people inside the skyscrapers as you blitz passed them on your way to the rooftops. It all adds up to a visually stunning, technically magnificent, constantly entertaining blast.

Spider-Man 2 will be available exclusively on the PS5 from Friday 20 October.

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