Amongst the various mediums Spider-Man has been brought to life in, whether it is the comics, cartoons or movies, video games have offered the unique experience of being able to inhabit the role of the masked web-slinger.

Insomniac Games’ 2018 Spider-Man, plus the excellent Miles Morales spin-off, did a great job of replicating the fun of swinging around New York City as well as humanising the characters behind the mask.

For the full-blown sequel, Peter Parker and Miles Morales both share the stage as Insomniac looks to recapture the magic but on a much bigger scale.

Visually, it is one of the best looking games on PS5 to date as swinging around the city could not be any smoother in all of its 4k 60fps glory.

In terms of the map, it is nearly two times bigger than the original as the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens are free to explore alongside the iconic Coney Island.

One criticism of the first game was that there was too much padding surrounding the otherwise excellent main story.

While the sequel does have similar issues, the activities you do around the city have much more purpose to them.

The photo ops, as an example, are no longer just taking pictures of famous landmarks, they are about capturing the essence of New York.

Miles Morales and Peter Parker

Whether it is a restaurant everyone is raving about or a mural by a local artist, every time you send a photo to the editor he gives you the context about why it is important to the city.

It adds so much character to the world and follows on from the great job Insomniac did of bringing Harlem to life in Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

Some of the side activities are familiar, as you collect tech parts to upgrade your gear as well as infiltrating gang hideouts, which this time are manned by Kraven the Hunter and his goons.

There are numerous others which help pad out the world, but thankfully, instead of it just being a collectathon, there are rewarding payoffs for each of them.

When it comes to the main story, it picks up where the first game left off, with Peter Parker coming to terms with the loss of his Aunt May and Miles Morales still reeling from the loss of his father.

Yuri Lownethal (Peter Parker) and Nadji Jeter (Miles Morales) do great jobs of embodying the struggles these characters face as they try to balance protecting their community with the stresses of daily life.

Peter is finding it hard to keep a job while juggling his other responsibilities, while Miles is at the stage of his life where he is taking the next step and heading off to university.

Kraven the Hunter

They are not the most pressing issues, truth be told, but it makes them relatable as characters and drives home one of the main themes of the game: protecting your community takes a heavy toll on your personal life.

Sometimes it comes down to a decision between keeping your job or helping those in danger.

Sometimes it comes down to a decision between keeping your job or helping those in danger.

Urban jungle

This time around, Kraven is the big bad as he aims to make New York into an urban jungle. In a unique twist to the villain arc, he is the one hunting down reformed super villains to test their metal.

He is a different type of animal and stands out next to some of the more cartoonish enemies Spider-Man has to face. Like any great villain, you might not agree with what he does, but you certainly understand him.

When it comes to fighting the assortment of villains which call New York City home, Insomniac has reworked the combat system to make it more accessible and, more importantly, more fun.

Instead of having to open up a menu mid-battle to pick what ability or gadget you want, they are mapped to the trigger buttons.

You simply press L1 along with one of the face buttons to unleash your spider abilities and R1 and one of those buttons to utilise your spider gadgets.

It is incredibly satisfying mixing up these abilities on the fly along with the special dual finisher Peter and Miles can execute together.

It all makes for some of the best combat in any Insomniac game to date.

It all makes for some of the best combat in any Insomniac game to date.

Miles Morales

Along with the revamped gameplay, the upgrade system allows you to unlock new abilities for Peter and Miles separately, as well as a shared skill tree which unlocks them for both.

Winging it

Because of this, it often feels like you are drowning in skill points, but the new abilities do feel like they add something to your arsenal.

Another big upgrade from the original game is how you traverse the city. While swinging around the different boroughs was always fun, the addition of web wings makes it so much faster.

You can fly over wind vents around the city to give you a boost or use the wind tunnels, which make you travel as fast as a bullet.

It is exhilarating flying through New York and zipping past all the massive skyscrapers. While you can unlock fast travel for different locations, it feels unnecessary when it is so much fun to glide around the city.

If you fast travel, it is lightning quick thanks to the PS5’s SSD. The same can be said for switching between Peter and Miles, which is seamless.

All you have to do is the swipe left on the Dualsense touchpad to open the Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man (FNSM app) and switch.

While you can choose to tackle the side activities with either Spider-Man, there are certain missions that are specific to both.

This is where the game truly shines and takes a leaf out of Spider-Man: Miles Morales whose side missions added so much depth to the world.

Spider-Man web wings

In one side mission, Peter Parker rekindles an old flame, while in another, Miles helps preserve the rich musical history of Harlem.

This focus on helping your community is the thread that binds these missions together and illustrates how much heart the game has.

While there are times when the game crosses over into having a naively optimistic world-view, it is genuinely heart-warming to see the impact they have on the world around time.

Besides the big set pieces during the main missions, there is also a lot of room for these characters to breathe.

The smaller moments really shine as you see Peter reconnect with his best friend, Harry Osborn who has miraculously recovered from a terminal illness.

Insomniac does a great job of making you care about the characters around these superheroes as much as the Spider-Men themselves.

One of the few criticisms of the main story is its over reliance on villains from the original game. At some points, it makes sense when it is a character confronting their past, while other times it feels they are playing it too safe.

Overall, Spider-Man 2 is an excellent game that improves on its predecessor in a myriad of ways.

Every bit of content feels connected to the world, and along with the fantastic gameplay, it manages to skilfully meld the story of Peter and Miles together.

Not only is it one of the best games of the year, it is easily one of the finest experiences on PS5.


 For the full-blown sequel, Peter Parker and Miles Morales both share the stage as Insomniac looks to recapture the magic but on a much bigger scale.  Read More