Spider-man 2 Review

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Insomniac’s Marvel’s Spider-man was a revelation for the web crawler in the video game space. Miles Morales was a great campaign, but that city and its open world design began to wear out its welcome quickly. Marvel’s Spider-man 2 had big shoes to fill. I wasn’t concerned about the story, set pieces, or combat, but I had concerns for the open world. They needed to do more than just fill it up with even more collectibles or things to chase down. 

From a pessimistic view, they did just add more things to collect, more things to chase down, and more sites to clear out. Adding gliding as an additional traversal element was a significant and enjoyable spice to the open world mix, but if I were expecting more interesting activity types to tackle in the open world, I would have been very disappointed. They added different activities, but the repetition throughout the different districts of New York City pulverized any semblance of novelty quick.

Aesthetically, the city evolved as I progressed through the main story line. The epic battle with Sandman left its mark on the story early on with additional visible transformations to the city occurring towards the end. I expected prettier buildings and lighting to reflect the time of day transitions, but I didn’t expect the city to be affected by the story at such a scale. The unfortunate side effect to these wide reaching alterations was the lack of urgency reflected by the citizens of the city. They say nothing stops New Yorkers from getting to where they need to go, but I think Marvel’s Spider-man 2’s citizens took it too far by their non-reactions to an epic brawl involving a couple of Spider-men and a crowd of goo monsters. 

I was a big fan of how Insomniac enabled seamless transitions between Miles Morales and Peter Parker. Sometimes I transition in mid-swing and other times, the other Spider-man was just idling playing with their Spider-robot or drinking a coffee. It gave both Spider-men independent and occasionally integrated lives. Each Spider-man had their time with the main story missions, but I was glad to see each of them have their own meaty side missions to follow through with. 

One of the side missions called back to the DLC content from Marvel’s Spider-man which I overlooked and forgotten existed. I had to dig up some info on the events of those DLC chapters which made me realize that the DLC content was actually quite important in the grand scheme of things.

The set pieces were bigger than ever with increased scale and dynamism afforded by technical enhancements since the 2018 game. The rapid transitions into completely different spaces were reminiscent of Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart, for example. 

New abilities and gadgets refreshed the combat a bit, but it was familiar for anyone who’ve played the previous games. The symbiote abilities were an attempt to catch Peter Parker up to Miles Morales’ flashy venom powers, however, I found Miles Morales more entertaining to play as. His ability to instantly go invisible and chaotic look of his electric powers made for more frenetic and exciting fights. 

Further explorations into the personal lives of both Spider-men made created earned tension points in the story. I really felt the divide in responsibilities between the two lives that each of them lead. Their closest loved ones knowing the double lives they lead didn’t make things easier for them. I don’t know if the Mary Jane stealth sections needed to make their return, but what else can one do to give supporting characters more interactive game time?

Exploring the classic Spidey villains as humans who broke badly and had their own reclamation arcs was also something I didn’t expect from a video game. Second chances and how people dealt with them the prevailing theme throughout the game and now more than ever, we need to be mindful of that. Reformation of criminals is a complex topic to cover in daily life let alone in a video game, but I felt Insomniac Games did a great job.

Marvel’s Spider-man spawned story threads leading towards the this game, Spider-man 2 also laid out foundational elements and hints for even more Spider-man related goodies in the future. After wrapping up the game, I couldn’t help but look forward towards the future of this franchise. I initially ignored them, but I just had figure out when the next Spidey hit was going to land. According to that awful ransomware attack, Insomniac Games has a Venom game planned for 2025 and Spider-man 3 in 2028. Very long waits, but I’m sure it will be worth it. 

Verdict:
I liked it

Ratings Guide

LTTP: Marvel’s Spider-man: Miles Morales [PS5]

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loved 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-man game by Insomniac Games; it was easily the best Spider-man game to date and one of my favorite games in recent memory. Having said that, I didn’t have the desire to jump in and revisit New York City in 2020’s Marvel’s Spider-man: Miles Morales. Sure I enjoyed Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse and the 2018 game, but after hearing how familiar it was to the first game by Insomniac, I felt the need to create more distance. 

After nearly three years , a subscription service launch, and a pretty attractive sale, I decided to finally play the “standalone expansion”. Unsurprisingly, it was both familiar and enjoyable. I found Insomniac did well to channel the vibe of Into the Spider-verse while creating their own take on Miles Morales. I was pleasantly surprised with their own take of The Tinkerer. 

The entire setup of having Miles take care of New York while Peter was out vacationing with Mary Jane was cute. We got a little bit of Miles and Peter which gave me a glimpse of what Spider-man 2 could look like before it was Miles’ game. Many of his moves felt familiar to Peter’s, but the Venom bioelectric powers made Miles very distinctive. He felt more powerful and stealthy thanks to his bioelectric powers and the ability to just turn invisible. I found myself not utilizing many of the web gadgetry or web related moves much at all due to the Venom moves.

The strength of this game was still the main story thread and the swinging. I like the idea that Spider-man takes a vacation and leaves it to the backup that is Miles Morales. The new Peter Parker was indeed Tom Holland-esque, but it’s honestly been so long that you could have kept change from me and I wouldn’t have bat an eye. I was pleased with the brisk pace of the main story. They set everything up well enough to the point where the main antagonist was a believable and worthy adversary to Miles. I had no idea Insomniac Games did their own spin on the Tinkerer character until I checked the wikis. An excellent job!

The technical and graphical feats was equally commendable. I played the game on the 40FPS mode and it looked and ran great. The ray traced reflections held up well during gameplay, but even with that little nicety, it was clear that this was a PlayStation 4 game at its core. The city and nearly anyone who wasn’t the core cast were noticeably a step down in detail and quality.

Spider-man: Miles Morales was a good way to revisit 2018’s Spider-man without having to replay the exact same game. Some would argue that you’re doing just that with Miles Morales, but I think that’s a bit too refutative. It had the same open world weaknesses, but it also had the same strengths with it spectacular set pieces and compelling story. It’s a strong PlayStation 5 launch game and if you didn’t play it yet, it’s also a very strong PlayStation Plus Extra title; it’s a good time no matter when you end up playing it.

Verdict:
I liked it

Ratings Guide

Game of the Year 2018 Day 3 of 3

  1. God of War
  2. Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
  3. Marvel’s Spider-man
  4. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
  5. Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee
  6. Yakuza 6
  7. Forza Horizon 4
  8. Dragon Ball FighterZ
  9. Monster Hunter World
  10. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

How many franchises can pull these kinds of drastic changes between games? God of War’s formula was working. It was getting stale but it was working. Sony and Santa Monica Studio didn’t have to shake things up but they did, it worked, and I loved it. 

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission sold me on PlayStation VR. It was a fantastic fusion of 3D platforming and virtual reality gimmicks. By the end of it, I felt it validated my purchase of the PlayStation VR. 

Marvel’s Spider-man is easily the best Spider-man and rivals some of the best superhero games of all time. It’s also my favorite adaptation of Spider-man and that includes the movies. 

I didn’t buy a Call of Duty title since Call of Duty: Black Ops III. I initially skipped the two Call of Duty games that featured single player campaigns. I eventually picked up Infinite Warfare on sale for it’s campaign but I realized that I was just here for the multiplayer component. And it’s worth it. 

The Kanto region has never looked as good as it did in Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee. It’s the ideal blend of old and new. 

Yakuza 6 did right by Kiryu Kazuma. Coming from the heights of Yakuza 0 was never going to be easy but this grizzled yakuza still managed to entertain despite the age.  

Forza Horizon 4 was my first foray into the Forza spin-off and I had a great time. I didn’t see it until the end but I still enjoyed what I played. I’m not the biggest fan of open world racers but Forza Horizon 4 won me over. 

Dragon Ball FighterZ was a childhood dream come true. I just wished I dreamt of solid single player and online modes as well.  

Monster Hunter World showed there’s a lot to like about this long running franchise. Capcom built a solid foundation for the future and I look forward to the sequel that allows me to play co-op without jumping through cumbersome hoops. 

There’s a lot of love of video game history in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I have yet to sink my teeth into it but what I tasted was enough to keep me wanting. 

Marvel’s Spider-man Review

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Insomniac Games’ Spider-man may be my favorite piece of Spider-man content in recent memory. I enjoyed it more than the movies and any other game featuring the web crawler. That’s how good the main story thread was. That’s how good it felt to swing, fight, and be the amazing Spider-man in this game.  

Spider-man was my superhero of choice while growing up. I watched a lot of the Spider-man: Animated Series. I genuinely enjoyed the game of the same name, Spider-man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, and the Dreamcast release of Spider-man by Neversoft. Since then I mostly stayed away from Spider-man games; I barely touched that much lauded Spider-man 2 with its awesome swing mechanics. In fact, the most Spidey action I experienced since the Dreamcast days came by way of the Marvel vs Capcom games.  

This game may not be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but Marvel’s influence and touch was all over it. Spider-man was extremely polished from top to bottom with audio and presentation cues inspired by Marvel’s movies – a notable cameo from those movies even makes it in. Spider-man’s various suits were incredibly detailed and well rendered. I found myself admiring them until the very end of the game.  

By virtue of advancing tech and talent, Spider-man seamlessly transitioned from one acrobatic move to another without missing a gameplay beat. I cannot stress how good Spider-man feels to control. Thanks to the smooth framerate delivery, responsive controls, and stellar motion blur, I forgot that it’s a 30 FPS game.  

Insomniac Games’ created a relatively frictionless experience with Spider-man. The main story thread propelled me forward with ebbs and flows of drama and action. I found their depictions of iconic Spidey characters such as Peter, Mary Jane, and Aunt May to be top notch. Doctor Octavius and Norman Osborn filled their roles well giving them modern updates that gave them depth. In fact, I felt a lot of the Spider-man staples were superbly re-imagined in this game. I have no idea how much of that was lifted from the comics but I felt Insomniac Games made all pieces fit.  

I was glad to see them enter Peter Parker’s life as a young adult trying to navigate life on his own. His origin story is known to everyone by now so there’s no need to revisit it. By the end of the story, Peter grew a bit as a person and learned to trust and respect Mary Jane as a partner and person. I loved how they handled Doctor Octavius and Peter’s relationship. Peter had an admiration, respect, and sympathy for the struggling scientist. It’s a relationship that I’ve never seen depicted before but one that paid off handsomely.  

Analogs to Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham games’ combat were apparent, but I would argue that style of combat suits Spider-man better. I never understood why Batman was dashing between enemies so much whereas it makes perfect sense for the agile Spider-man to do so. Spidey had speed, agility, and web shooters to keep him afloat in combat.  

I chose a slightly higher difficulty which packed more punch in behind firearms and melee attacks, but the true challenge in the game came down to numbers. Not even one-on-one boss battles with Spidey’s foes like the Scorpion, Electro, or Shocker were as tough as being outnumbered. The only way to take me down was to just send a torrent of enemies from all sides, at different ranges, with an array of weapons and weaknesses to exploit. Overwhelming me was the only way to take me down. Fortunately, those who are not keen on the combat can thin out enemies with stealth takedowns akin to those that the Dark Knight employed in his adventures. 

Breaking up the action were stealth and exploration segments involving Peter, Mary Jane or Miles Morales. I enjoyed seeing where Peter worked and life on ground level. Some the stealth segments with Mary Jane were stretching it but I was able to work my way through them with relative ease.  

It’s tough to make a city matter when means of travel encourages me to ignore huge swathes of it. I didn’t even realize I could read newspaper headlines until halfway through. There was almost never a reason to set foot on the ground unless I was addressing a crime.  

Filling New York City with meaningful content is tough. Even with giant open world games like Grand Theft Auto, it’s tough use that space effectively. Insomniac Games’ facsimile of Manhattan was convincing enough for a foreigner like myself. Central Park and the Avengers tower were my reference points as I slowly familiarized myself with the city. But like I said, it’s tough to care where I was when all the side activities didn’t reflect the districts I picked them up in or were drowned out by the noise of all the busy work. They really should have focused on quality over quantity here.  

I didn’t see how the developer of Resistance, Ratchet & Clank, and Sunset Overdrive were going to Marvel’s Spider-man justice. I thought Sucker Punch would have been the natural fit considering their pedigree but I gave Insomniac Games the benefit of the doubt and they rewarded my optimism and created the definitive Spider-man experience. There was so much love and care given to every aspect of the web slinger’s life. Not all of it landed

Verdict: 
I loved it

Ratings Guide