First Reaction to Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Released on PS5 Today. October 20th, 2023 marks the day Spider-Man 2 swings onto PlayStation 5 consoles around the globe courtesy of developer, Insomniac. The highly anticipated sequel to 2018’s Spider-Man and 2020’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, is here and we’d love to share our first impressions playing the first hour or so on launch night.
The first thing to notice is the settings menu you’re brought into when you boot up the game. Insomniac and other Sony first-party studios such as Naughty Dog have been putting accessibility at the forefront of their games. There are dozens of options to tailor your experience to your level of ability and access needs when playing, not just difficulty options but ones to reduce the need for rapid inputs or held presses, and more options for those who are colorblind or have hearing impairments.
You can Purchase Spider-Man 2 here.
Personally, I just adjusted the subtitles to be a little easier on the eyes. Another interesting point about accessibility is that it also is integrated into the narrative, as Miles is friends with a girl, Hailey, who’s deaf and he and his friend Genke have learned ASL to communicate with her, and her ASL dialogue is subtitled.
Moving forward into the game, the opening takes us to a dream Harry Osborne is having while in suspended animation, bonding with the Venom symbiote, of his father and Dr.Curt Connors bonding the symbiote to him. We then cut to Miles in class with his friends as Peter comes in for his first-day teaching. Miles notices a sandstorm brewing outside and calls Peter away with him so they can suit up and fight the Sandman, who’s taken a colossal form and is attacking the city.
The pair dive off the school as Swing by EARTHGANG ft Benji blasts, the hip hop track with rock elements complimenting the hype and movement well, enhancing the fun action atmosphere, and the scene immediately transitions into swinging across the city, where the traversal is still fantastic. Swinging, wall-running, and zipping around
all still feel exactly as they did in the previous two games, and it feels fun, exactly like how Spider-Man should move.
The pair reach Sandman across the city and a very impressive action setpiece begins, involving his sandstorm and hurling debris back at him. The heroes get punched inside a building as they parkour around and save the employees, then begin fighting against mobs of Sandmen. Combat feels as good as it did, the moves are pretty snappy and at the start of the game Peter just has his basic moveset, but a new mechanic is a set of four abilities mapped to L1+the face buttons (X, O, square, triangle) that are new finisher moves that can be used once and then on a momentary cooldown.
Peter now has the Iron Spider arms attached to his back and deploys them during these abilities. The segment goes from mob fights to some parkouring, and then back to fighting Sandman. We switch to controlling Miles as Peter helps out, Miles creating openings to use his electric-based attacks to crystallize Sandman after getting him wet.
They continue fighting as Miles gets thrown halfway across the island of Manhattan, quickly webbing a slingshot between skyscrapers to fling him back into the fight in the most impressive stunt of the sequence. They continue fighting some more until Sandman flees across a harbor to a beach on the other side, accumulating more sand to fight with. Peter is flung and falling and deploys the new traversal mechanic of the game, the web gliders.
Spider-Man’s traditional under-arm webbing from early comics brought back in Spider-Man: Homecoming returns here, giving Spider-Man the ability to glide across the harbor and reach the shore to continue fighting Sandman. Miles comes in and after some more combat, they finally defeat him with a spectacular finisher. A little bit later, Sandman is loaded up into a cell and sent to The Raft, a super-criminal prison in Marvel’s New York. Sandman leaves them with a cryptic warning that he’s not the only villain to worry about.
The game cuts to one of our central antagonists, Kraven the Hunter, as he tries to train another hunter but ultimately fails him. He laments his disappointment when one of his fellow hunters suggests going to New York to hunt for new prey, bringing up a digital map with highlights on Black Cat, Wraith, Prowler, and other vigilantes and criminals active in the city.
The game cuts back to Miles and Peter, doing some more fights, puzzles, and roaming as they help clean up Sandman’s destruction in the city. This opens up some tutorials on crafting gadgets, upgrading the skill tree, getting suits, and establishing some of the collectibles the game has to offer.
I wound up selecting from the available starting options for suits the Arachnid Knight’s black and orange color palette for Peter and the pre-order bonus Tokusatsu suit for Miles, the pair together looking like a member of the Batfamily and a Power Ranger respectively.
The suits were one of the most fun parts of the other games and this has more than both, with most suits also having four alternative color palettes, allowing you to mix and match or coordinate how you want your duo to look. This first hour was a fantastic experience and left me eager to play more. Both prior games had some great stories and fun gameplay, and this seems like the evolution of what’s been established.
Venom stories have been hit or miss historically and I’m eager to see how the symbiote is brought into the story and what Insomniac’s take and twist on it will be. The Sandman setpiece was so cool, I’m excited how other boss fights will stack up to it, especially whatever or whoever the final boss will be.
I’m looking forward to exploring New York and the additional boroughs added, finding new collectibles and Easter eggs, hopefully expanding the world in preparation for the next game, Wolverine, and setting up whatever the next Spider-Man game may be, perhaps just Spider-Man 3 or a giving the as yet unseen.
Is Gwen Stacy a spinoff like Miles? Whatever happens, this is going to be a binge game for me and I’m going to go for every collectible and challenge to get the platinum trophy, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts when the credits roll. Spider-Man 2 is now available for PlayStation 5.