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The Exciting Sequel: “Spider-Man 2” 

"A thrilling step towards the explosive conclusion that Insomniac has been building towards since the first game." By David Reardon

This past fall, the highly anticipated video game sequel “Spider-Man 2” was released for PlayStation 5. Following the events in both “Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man: Miles Morales,” players navigate New York as both the iconic webslinger and his young protégé, who has become an icon in his own right. A new villain has arrived in New York seeking a worthy opponent for his last hunt, and Peter Parker’s old friend has returned from a mysterious absence sporting an incredible black suit. What follows is an emotional journey that pushes both Peter and Miles to the edge, where they must learn to rely on each other. 

“Spider-Man 2” is a similar gameplay experience to its predecessors. The biggest change is the symbiote. It gives Peter some wild new abilities, which are almost enough to distinguish this game. Miles’ bioelectricity powers, though they do get upgraded, don’t feel very new. What makes this game different enough to be a sequel are the web wings, which allow the player to fly through the large map. Many say that the swinging and traversal are the best parts of these games, and the web wings only further prove this to be true. All told, the traversal and combat create a satisfying if somewhat monotonous gameplay loop infrequently broken up by simple puzzles. But the gameplay is not what these games are really about. 

The game’s developers are telling a story about two heroes trying to move on from painful pasts, but various events manifest and amplify their traumas. For Peter, it’s the symbiote, which feeds off his negative emotions. For Miles, it’s coming face to face with his father’s killer and deciding how to handle that as a hero. Unfortunately, both stories falter. Miles’ emotional beats are impactful, but the lack of stakes and importance to the overall story makes this game feel much more Peter-centric than it should. With Peter, they sadly play it safe. There are a lot of interesting, challenging directions a story can go with a protagonist who breaks bad, but not enough time is spent with the symbiote to explore them. 

Overall, this is a satisfactory entry, and a thrilling step towards the explosive conclusion that Insomniac has been building towards since the first game.

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