Marvel's Spider-Man 2 Review

Richard Walker

When it comes to white-knuckle set pieces, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 doesn't do things by halves. The sequel to developer Insomniac Games' superlative 2018 Spider-debut opens by throwing you headlong into an action sequence that immediately sets the tone, pitting Spider-Men Peter Parker and Miles Morales against a rampaging classic villain across the game's expanded New York City. Few games open with such gusto, Insomniac setting out its stall for tantalising times to come, and from this point on Spider-Man 2 fails to disappoint.


With Peter striving to hold down a job as a college tutor and Miles attempting to live as normal a life as possible, following the events of 2020's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, it's not long before things inevitably go topsy-turvy. Thanks, in no small part, to Kraven the Hunter's visit to NYC on the hunt for the ultimate prey, both Pete and Miles' lives are turned upside down, and when you throw a mysterious 'symbiote' suit into the mix - which Peter inherits at a certain juncture during the story, gaining untold powers in the process - you have all of the requisite ingredients for high, comic-book-inspired drama.

Despite the glut of trailers building up to the game's launch, revealing Lizard as a villain, alongside Kraven and Venom, Insomniac has, amazingly, managed to keep a fair few twists and secrets under its hat. Consequently, Spider-Man 2's narrative has ample capacity to surprise, although comic book pedants like myself might be perturbed by the quite major departure in how events unfold – suffice it say, things happen very differently within the hallowed pages of Marvel's classic comics. The result, however, is an unpredictable and wonderfully fraught rollercoaster ride. Despite playing a little fast and loose with widely known Marvel lore, this nonetheless feels like a faithful take in its own right, retaining the spirit of its characters. Crucially, this is another delicious slice of that same divine traversal and crunchy combat that lit up the previous two games.

The joy of swinging between New York's skyscrapers is all the more joyful thanks to the addition of web wings to Peter and Miles' suits, enabling you to gracefully glide across the skyline, using updraughts from ventilation fans and tracts of wind to go higher, further, and faster. It's utterly glorious. Equally brilliant are the additional skills that Peter and Miles can bust out during a fight, the former using his metallic Spider Arms to pummel and electrocute enemies, while the latter is able to summon Venom abilities to zap baddies with bright orangey energy – great for turning the tide when you're outnumbered.


Later, Pete can swap out his Spider Arm skills for all-too-gratifying symbiote strikes from his swanky black symbiote suit, while Miles' formidable Venom gifts evolve, granting even more potent jolts of crackling lightning (blue rather than orange). The Focus meter returns, too, offering either a cinematic finishing move or an injection of health, encouraging you to string together unbroken combos to keep the cells (up to three of them) charged up. As before, you can web up and throw enemies around; yank weapons and shields out of hands, before forcefully hurling them back; and generally mete out non-fatal Spider-justice. It's spectacular stuff. Even the Mary Jane bits (yes, they're back) are better than they were in Spidey 1 – MJ has learnt some new tricks since last time. She’s even acquired a new face that few are talking about - Insomniac seemingly can’t settle on definitive faces for its cast.

You'll find enormous scope for brawling, swinging, and gliding, with the game's detailed rendition of New York almost doubled in size, thanks to the addition of Queens and Brooklyn. Taking in the Coney Island fairground, both Miles' college campus and Pete's old seat of learning in Midtown High, there are myriad new places to explore, and Insomniac has done a fine job in filling its world with fun, interesting stuff to do, whether it's conducting experiments for the Emily-May Foundation, founded by Peter and his best pal Harry Osborn, downloading data from Kraven's Talon drones, investigating Hunter Bases, or looking for skittering Spider Bots.

Every little bit of Spider-Man 2 has been expertly crafted by a studio that really grasps the unique appeal of ol' webhead and his newer webhead companion. Thrust together, Peter and Miles make a sensational duo, and, when you're off the leash in NYC, you can switch between Spider-Men at any time, via the revamped Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (FNSM) app – accessed with a left swipe on the PS5's DualSense controller touchpad.


Speaking of the DualSense, no game has quite nailed the wobbly haptics and added immersion of the adaptive triggers quite like Spidey 2. The feel of the breeze as you soar with your web wings deployed rippling through your fingers, special abilities pulsing into your palms, collectible tech stash doors accessed by pulling both triggers to a specific point, before you find the biting point and the triggers go slack - this is how you do haptics.

And, this is how you do superhero games. Marvel's Spider-Man 2 cements Insomniac's place as purveyors of comic book heroics par excellence, telling a compelling, swiftly paced story with enough downtime to give you room to breathe between the myriad freewheeling, eye-saucering set pieces, transcendent traversal, and superior combat. It sets up exciting things to come, too, leaving a few threads dangling tantalisingly. Clearly, Insomniac is the best there is at what it does, which bodes remarkably well for its upcoming Wolverine game.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2

Pete and Miles join forces for a stellar dose of open-world superhero shenanigans, setting a new standard for Marvel video game adaptations. The first one was amazing, but Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is truly spectacular.

Form widget

Pete and Miles get their own themes and ambient tunes, both befitting of their cinematic superheroics. The sound of web thwipping from the DualSense speaker is great.


Jaw-dropping. Spider-Man 2's New York City looks stunning, and its cast of characters are rendered in sumptuous detail. One of the best-looking games on PS5.


From the traversal to the combat, every little nut and bolt in Spider-Man 2 has been polished and tightened up. Also, web wings. This is utterly sublime. 'Nuff said.


A solid 30 hours of game, with very little filler. Not every side activity hits the mark, but, overall, this is a generously proportioned slab of Spider-brilliance.


Like the first game, this is a nice, simple list that you can complete at a lovely leisurely pace. Covering all the bases, this is a good, fun Platinum.

Game navigation