Marvel’s Spider-Man 2: analysis of the spectacular gameplay shown at the PlayStation Showcase
It was September 2021 when Sony launched the first Marvel‘s Spider-Man 2 teaser: since then the game has practically disappeared from the radar, and all fans of the franchise have been patiently waiting for further news of the Insomniac title, which heralded the possibility of playing as both Peter Parker and Miles Morales … plus two new characters. One was a voice-over villian who, by accent, tone, and intent, could only be Kraven the hunter; the other, however, closed the teaser and was the beloved “lethal protector”, Venom.
Last night, to conclude a highly launched PlayStation Showcase full of quality games but a little subdued in terms of exclusives, what we’ve all been waiting for arrives: a new trailer for the third game in the two Spider-Man saga. And it’s much more than we expected: twelve and a half minutes that mix cutscenes and lots of gameplay.
In Kraven’s sights
It all opens with a hunting scene in the jungle, but it doesn’t let us foresee what we’re talking about: a bit like the announcement trailer for the remake of Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater, the reveal takes us by surprise (and in same setting!) even if, as soon as the incautious hunter mentions Sergei’s name, anyone who knows Spidey’s lore immediately understands who we’re talking about… Kraven the Hunter finally makes his appearance, and it’s just as we wanted him: bad , ruthless, in a modern version of his classic costume, complete with fur. In search of new stimuli and one (or more) prey worthy of his attention and efforts, Kraven heads to New York, along with his fierce team of poachers.
The video continues, but there is a break: in fact, everything will be presented on the PlayStation YouTube channel in two separate videos, because the time jump will also take place at the game level, and the gameplay sequence is clearly taken from a more advance of the title, with our heroes already aware of the threat of Kraven and Peter already in possession of (or, rather, possessed by) the symbiote which gives him new powers. In the 2021 teaser he wore the Iron Spider variant costume, so there must be a nice piece of story in the game that tells the advent of the symbiote… as well as, later on, surely the alien will detach from Peter to become the one we saw in the teaser, which looks just like the one from the comics … and in theory its host should be Eddie Brock. We’ll see. It hasn’t yet been revealed where the symbiote comes from, but the costume it forms with Peter is an exact replica of the original one from the comics when he first appeared in the Secret Wars .
Kraven’s militia storm the home of Dr. Connors, now transformed into the Lizard and on the run. The two Spider-Mans want to prevent the Lizard from being captured, and an unbridled Spidey comes out of the dungeons and routs the paramilitaries, with a truly remarkable arsenal of new moves, full of counters and multiple holds that hurt just to look at! It is immediately clear that the new costume galvanizes Peter and releases his inhibitions and is a leitmotif for the entire following ten minutes, with Miles having a hard time recognizing him, given his abrupt and decidedly ironic manner.
The gameplay does not seem to have undergone radical changes, but rather several new possibilities of offense and defense, dramatically amplified and which will bring the variety of fights to rather high levels, giving the possibility of a diversified approach depending on the situation, how much and more than Before. The explorable map has also been expanded: among the new areas there is now the East River, but Peter realizes that he needs someone closer to the current position of the Lizard, and entrusts Miles to keep up with him. We thus have the opportunity to see how the exchange between the two Spideys works: simply a change of scene and character in which the game puts one or the other character in charge, depending on the situation.
We do not yet know if, during city explorations, it will be possible to vary the controlled character at will or we will be anchored to the narrative needs of the plot: however, we hope there will be the possibility of doing it “on the go”, just as it would be fantastic to be able to play in tandem with a friend at least in side missions. From the title Insomniac we expect nothing less than what we saw in Gotham Knights, in short, because it would be somewhat limiting.
The most spectacular “more of the same” ever?
The exploration of the city, launched towards the goal, is made up of jumps, chases, vaults among the most classic, but at the same time spectacular: also in this case it seems that we have limited ourselves to implementing without distorting: after all, it is difficult to think of a specific character movement system better than this. Once at the fish market (Connors’ last known position, who took the opportunity to have a “snack”) we can take a very close look at the Stealth possibilities offered by Miles’ character: extendable cobweb cables will offer grips and ropes for sneak but also to surprise unsuspecting enemies… it is also possible to perform multi-trap attacks, pulling webs, kinetic energy blasts, invisibility, all chainable to unleash panic among enemies or resolve situations with style without alarming opponents. According to what has been revealed, the two Spideys will have a spider skill tree in common but also their own, so you can really indulge yourself in making them ductile and ready for any eventuality.
After rendering the first seekers harmless, Miles delves into the complex, on the trail of the Lizard, together with his friend Ganke Lee’s drone, and we can only be impressed by the level of detail of the settings and the dynamic lighting of the highest level. Once Peter and Miles are reunited, the most spectacular sequence of the video starts: a long chase on the East River in which the two must neutralize the hunters before they get to the Lizard, who is wreaking havoc in his path. Everything is brought to the maximum cinematic quality possible, with adrenaline-pumping changes of front, ad hoc shots and full-on action: the show is guaranteed and, objectively, the live action feature films on the character tie their shoes to what was seen in the game; in contrast, however, in these so excited sequences there doesn’t seem to be much room for personal initiative and variations to the proposed solutions. A long sequence of quick time events, in practice, on the verge of a laser game, given the continuous alternation between cutscenes and seamless gameplay.
Mind you, it’s all technically wonderful and looks really fun to play, but it’s a game system stuck a decade ago, and from an exclusive triple A coming out in the third year of the “new” console we also ask for new solutions structural, creative flashes, something that shows the brain as well as the muscles. The hope is that the freedom to experiment with different solutions is more accentuated in the sections that do not only include scripted action, but we will only be able to find out this autumn, when the game will be released: for now there are no specifics on the effective date, but they have been promised soon , together with all the info on pre-orders and available versions, with relative, inevitable bonuses.