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Santaluces High School

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Santaluces High School

The Tribe

The Most Spectacular Spider-Men? (Spider-Man 2 Gameplay Review)

Cole Montag
Peter Parker overlooking the East River from Manhattan. This photo was taken by the in-game Photo Mode provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment and Insomniac Games.

It’s been almost a month since Insomniac Games released their second major installment in the Marvel’s Spider-Man series, Spider-Man 2. Critics and fans alike have loved this game, as shown by Sony’s announcement that the game had broken the record for the most sales in a single day, totaling over 2.5 million copies! The game has received countless 9/10 reviews, even some major critics calling it a 10/10 game. This will be my gameplay review as a major Spider-Man geek and gamer, going in-depth into my thoughts on Insomniac’s work.

First of all, it’s given that this game, especially on one of the most powerful consoles, looks gorgeous. Spider-Man 2 has many options for how you’d like to play it, but they can be summarized into fidelity and performance modes. Fidelity means you can choose to have the best graphics intended by the developers, while performance mode has the PS5 focus on making the game run as smoothly as possible. There are sub-options for the more precise tech-geeks if they’d like to further specify what they’d like, whether it relates to the game’s FPS (frames per second) or its hertz (refresh rate; how many times the screen will refresh what’s happening). One breakthrough they made was having every mode include Ray Tracing, a lighting technique that makes the lighting more realistic, and generally prettier. Paired with great cinematography in the cutscenes and action, it felt like a real Spider-Man movie at times.

Spider-Man 2 also avoids a problem faced by tons of sequels by adding more than a fresh coat of paint and a new story. First of all, traversing New York has never been better! The web-swinging got faster, making it much more satisfying to zip through the boroughs, not to mention the new Web-Wings. They act like a sort of glider, allowing movement without the need for nearby structures, perfect for traveling the East River! You can also go through wind tunnels to pick up speed, which are used throughout both main and side missions. If you want to make the swinging even more realistic, Insomniac has you there too! You can both enable fall damage and turn down the default “Swing Assist” for an experience that emulates what a real Spider-Man would swing like.

As well, the combat is nothing short of amazing!¬†Originally made for Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2008, Insomniac Games changed enough to fit our webbed warriors’ abilities and speed, and I am glad to tell you it’s greater than ever! They’ve added a lot more basic moves to use for both Spider-Men while adding tons of new abilities for Peter and Miles. These include Peter’s Iron Arms and eventually his brutal Symbiote Suit, along with Miles’ new Venom moves in a shiny teal tint. You can swap between any of the abilities whenever, so if you prefer a classic Miles move or want to use Peter’s Iron Arms more, you always have the option.

However, the one shortcoming of Spider-Man 2’s gameplay is the content, or lack thereof. It has a similar completion time to the first game, but it feels like there was less to do. Like the first game, there are puzzles you can complete, villain bases to conquer, and side missions to emphasize the “Friendly Neighborhood” in “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man”, but they’re often shorter or just less fun than their counterparts. For example, Kingpin and Demon bases had multiple waves in the first game to beat per base, with difficult bonus challenges every time to get more rewards. With Kraven’s though, they don’t have as many enemies, and only last a few minutes each. Also, puzzles are way simpler, there aren’t fun challenges like Taskmaster and Screwball had, and even the crimes aren’t as involved. For everything they’ve added to the combat experience, players don’t get to use that like Spider-Man PS4.

Even with its flaws, Spider-Man 2 is one of my new favorite video games, and I am beyond excited for future updates and downloadable content that Insomniac Games will bring us! On a separate note, the nominees for the 10th annual Game Awards, hosted by Geoff Keighley, have been announced. Spider-Man 2 ended up nominated for Game of the Year, along with 5 other categories. Yuri Lowenthal, the voice actor of Peter Parker in the games, also got nominated for the best performance out of a voice actor.¬† If you want to watch the awards, it will be live on platforms like Twitch and YouTube on 12/7 at 7:30 PM EST. You can also vote for who you’d like to win on the Game Awards website until 9 PM EST, 10/6.

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About the Contributor
Cole Montag
Cole Montag, Web Design Editor
Hello there, friendly neighborhood pixel artist Cole Montag reporting to you! This year is a lot of firsts for me, especially for the school and the Tribe but I'm glad to be here nonetheless. Most of the time, you'll see me making art, gaming, and helping run the Chiefs ESports team (probably dealing with homework too, but I don't care for that). I'll usually write on pop culture and media so stay tuned for movie or game reviews. I've got nothing left to say, so if you want to see more from me, check out my articles or my pixel art on Instagram!

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