Last September 2018, Insomniac Games gave us the greatest Spider-Man game of all time. The company made us feel close to Spider-Man as much as possible with its fun web-swinging action, badass combat styles, well-design characters, familiar villains, and excellent story. Insomniac Games’s first attempt at giving us a game of Spider-Man was awesome and they delivered a legit Spider-Man game.
Now, with its sequel, we’re back to the web-slinging action with some additions and a promise of a new Spider-Man. How does this new game live up to the success of its predecessor?
The story picks up where it left off. Peter is a mentor to Miles, training him to be the next Spider-Man to defend New York City. Just like last time, the game starts with a full-on action sequence that is set on Peter and Miles joining forces to prevent prison transport from going awry. One of the prisoners is Rhino that Peter and Miles eventually bring down together.
Just like with most of the games today, the first action sequence is sort of a tutorial for the game mechanics. Soon after the bout with Rhino, Peter tells Miles that he has a vacation trip planned with Mary Jane and asks him to watch out for New York City on his own and keep it safe while he’s gone.
That’s where your adventure with Miles begins.
Again, same with the last game, the story just doesn’t focus on Miles’s heroic endeavors as Spider-Man but it also focuses on his everyday life and his struggle of balancing his personal life and being a superhero at the same time.
Furthermore, the game introduces us to a faction called Roxxon. This company is a part of the Marvel Universe and has a bad reputation in the comics. Roxxon is an Energy Corporation that has its own army-like security wherein the game has a great influence on Harlem.
Aside from that, the game also introduces us to another new faction called The Underground which consists of a group of thugs who opposes the Roxxon company. Caught in between the two factions’ dispute, Miles needs to stop both from destroying New York City.
Web swinging and combat
Web swinging is still as smooth and a lot of fun as the last game but at the same time feels fresh because of Miles’s swinging animations. It’s good to see that Insomniac Games didn’t just port over the web-swinging dynamics from the last game but instead gave Miles his own unique swinging animations. Compared to Peter’s Spider-man, Miles’s web-swinging looks sloppier even with his aerial acrobatics. This just makes sense since he just started being Spider-Man.
Even animation for Miles’s combat style is different as well. But in addition to that, the game also added new powers and abilities for the new superhero in town, giving you a different experience from Peter’s Spider-Man. They retained the suit mods, though, to give your combat extra boosts depending on your mood.
One of Miles’s new abilities is Venom Strike. This gives you electric punches or electric punch slams to the ground to knock enemies back and shock them. Another power is invisibility, giving stealth combat a new and fun way to knock enemies out. And of course, he still has his gadgets which are also new and different from the last game.
There are a lot of side missions and collectibles you can accomplish which help you upgrade Miles’s abilities and gadgets. Exploring the city of New York feels familiar — all too familiar if you ask me. Some of the collectibles are just replaced with the same activity but with a different name.
Remember Peter’s Backpack collectibles scattered around the city? These now replaced with Miles’s Time Capsules. Another example is Taskmaster’s challenges which are now replaced with Peter’s training challenges. It isn’t a bad thing, though, as the training challenges of Peter is still fun to complete, and finding Miles’s time capsules put more depth into his character.
And of course, just like the last game, there are crimes across New York City as well as gang hideouts. But I would like to note that Insomniac Games made an effort to change the objectives of stopping crimes and gang hideouts so that you’ll have a different experience compared to the last game.
There are new activities as well, like finding tech caches to improve your gadgets. Additionally, looking for your uncle’s hidden recordings of city sound effects in order to create music is also interesting to do. Character progression of the game is still the same — you basically need to level up Spider-Man and get new moves and abilities. You can also still interact with people on the streets by pressing the square button and Miles even dances Salsa.
Also, the collection of Spidey’s suits is back but not as a big of a wardrobe as the last game but you still end up collecting all of them. One thing to take note of, however, is the fact that the suits don’t give you any ultimate moves and only serve as an aesthetic upgrade. This is disappointing because having unique abilities depending on your suit was one of the thrills of finding/unlocking new costumes from the last Spider-Man game.
Graphics and sound design
The overall graphics of the game is relatively the same as its previous title but it’s also worth noting that this is a PS4 copy of the game so I guess we would have to wait for the release of the PS5 title to really see the improvements done in this department.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a beautiful game. The cutscenes and action of the game are the same quality as the last game and seeing the close-up angles of the camera while your executing Miles’s finishing moves are still great and satisfying. The chase cutscenes and Quick Time events are still exhilarating while musical scoring, sound effects, and voice acting are still top quality.
Whenever Miles is swinging from building to building, the music in the background is still great but instead of a familiar heroic scoring, it is replaced with hip-hop beats which are actually better suited to Miles’s character. Every punch, gunshot, and engine sound effects are still spot on. The voice acting of Nadji Jeter as Miles Morales and Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker are still as great as their last performance, as well as all the returning voice actors. I would also like to commend the new voice actors as well as they did a fantastic job of giving life to their new characters in the game.
The general look of each character is still great especially the villains. They still look faithful when compared to the comics, while at the same time updated their look to be modern and realistic. The designs of the new villains (Tinkerer and Prowler) look great as well.
One thing that negatively stood out for me is the new look of Peter Parker. He just looks like a high school kid and it seems unnecessary to change the character design of Peter Parker. It made more sense for Peter to look older because he’s being portrayed as a more mature Spider-Man so it just doesn’t make sense why he looks so young.
If you compare Miles’s character design side by side with Peter’s new look, you’d say they are about the same age. Although aside from that, the character design of everyone else in the game looks great.
There are undoubtedly a lot of similarities between this game and the last that some might even argue and say it’s just the same game with a new story and new look. Although that may be true, there are also a lot of moments in the game that still entertained and wowed me just like the last.
There are little and subtle changes that the developers made that give this new game a fresh feel with its already solid core foundation. Insomniac Games did a good job of making you feel and play as the character of Miles Morales and not just Spider-Man. What I personally liked about the story since the last game is that they made every character relatable to just keep you involved every time the story progresses. Although if you were to ask me and basing it on its price tag, the entire story feels a bit short.
But the fact remains. These two games delivered a story that both surprised and delighted me as a gamer. Insomniac Games is doing a great job creating its own Spider-Man Universe and I’m excited to see what they’ll do next with its already fantastic storyline. If you’re a Spidey fan, there’s no way for you not to check this game out!