Having played the other Spider-Man releases from Insomniac, I was excited to revisit the story of the co-heroes of New York, and was pleasantly surprised by how well the game balanced the two main characters. Peter has more involvement in the core story, but Miles isn’t neglected, his relationships with fellow students Hailey and Ganke provide a nice emotional grounding which pairs well with the otherwise fast-paced game.
That said, this pacing is what makes these titles so electrifying, and Spider-Man 2 does not slow down one bit. The usual web-swinging is bolstered by new traversal tools such as the ‘web-wings,’ a wingsuit mechanic that allows you to surf city drafts over entire neighbourhoods in seconds, and the feeling of swinging through city blocks alongside the other Spider-Man is joyous to an inexplicable degree. These games have always been great at making you feel, well the best way to describe it, fast. You fly over skyscrapers, you boost out of a dive by swinging yourself 360 degrees alongside a building before flinging yourself over huge stretches of water in a single jump, you are fluid with your movements in a way that can only be replicated in parkour games. This is all available to some degree in previous releases in the franchise but Spider-Man 2 refines it into its best iteration yet.
The same cannot necessarily be said for the combat, which remains much the same apart from some changes that I think take a step backwards from previous games. The gadgets at your fingertips don’t feel like the tools of Spider-Man quite so much. I found Spider-Man 2018 refreshing in its multiple approaches to combat, whereas the sequel seems to try and shepherd you gently into utilising the new web lines mechanic and hitting enemies exclusively in the air. I can count on my hands how many times I used the ‘upshot’ gadget, and wish with all my heart for my precious web bombs instead. The boss fights provide interesting conversation between the Spider-Men and their adversaries, and whilst some are more tedious than others, generally they provide a nice challenge and variety in their approaches.
Generally tight dialogue and a solid story are furnished with gorgeous graphics and a multitude of activities throughout the city to provide players with a strong core experience, and the side missions provided through the FNSM app in game pack an emotional punch that indicates such a passion from their developers, you can see the love in this game.
Spider-Man 2 is the best Spider-Man game yet from Insomniac, even if the difference is slightly more marginal than some would have hoped.