There’s quite a bit of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 that can be summed up as “more of the same.” Granted, that’s a good thing–both the original game and the Miles Morales-focused follow-up feature fantastic reimaginings of their respective Spider-Men, exhilarating web-swinging, and superb combat mechanics. Who wouldn’t just want more of that? And sure, more of what came before does mean that Spider-Man 2 retreads less successful ground, like the first game’s buzz-killing science puzzles. However, the good far outweighs the bad, and a few new gameplay mechanics freshen up aspects of both traversal and combat. Altogether, it’s a great game and one well worth seeing all the way through from its bombastic beginning to its emotional end.
Like the first two games, the true star of Spider-Man 2 is its story. It finally gives us the chance to jump between playing as either Peter or Miles as the two work together to protect New York City from Kraven, a fierce warrior looking to transform the city into his hunting ground. Their personal lives don’t fare any less stressful–Peter and Miles are both stuck, struggling to figure out what’s next for them. Peter desperately yearns to find a steady job and Miles can’t quite find his place in the world while still contending with the trauma of losing both his dad and a close friend within the same year.
The crux of Spider-Man 2 is the cold isolation of loneliness and how Peter, Miles, and all those around them handle it. Both Spider-Men feel adrift at the start of the game, each lost and desperately seeking some form of respite and companionship in hopes of filling that void, but Peter can’t quite convince Mary Jane to move in with him, and Miles can only watch from afar as his friends get into college and pursue their dreams while he busies himself with Spider-Man responsibilities. It’s an effective draw to pull you into caring about both protagonists as the game flips between them and curates a throughline that connects all of Spider-Man 2’s characters–both heroic and villainous–through an assortment of main story and side missions.
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