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Swing into Spectacular: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 Game Review

Since its launch on October 20, 2023, exclusively for PlayStation 5 (PS5), Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has surpassed five million copies sold worldwide in less than two weeks — an extraordinary figure to accompany its nomination for Game of the Year at the esteemed 2023 Game Awards.

That success is entirely warranted. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 establishes an unprecedented standard for gaming brilliance, showcasing a captivating storyline, exhilarating gameplay, and flawless mechanics.

Interested in even more friendly neighborhood Spider-Man content? Don’t miss our looks into the upcoming film adaptations for Kraven the Hunter and Madame Web which are both set to debut in 2024.

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A Hero’s Journey

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 delivers an extraordinary superhero narrative featuring not one but two spider-men: Peter Parker (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal) and Miles Morales (voiced by Nadji Jeter). Both characters take the spotlight in this game, skillfully portrayed by Insomniac, each with their own unique movesets that keep the combat experience refreshing, no matter who you choose.

Peter Parker

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Peter Parker as Symbiote Spider-Man in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 // CREDIT: Insomniac Games

Considering Peter’s central role in the story, his character arc, intertwined with complex relationships and the emergence of a new hero, is not only thrilling but also deeply profound. The return of his childhood friend Harry Osborn (voiced by Graham Phillips), coupled with poignant flashbacks to Peter’s youth, adds layers of depth, revealing his growth and resilience through numerous trials while emphasizing the weight of Harry’s transformation into Venom (voiced by Tony Todd), and Peter’s unwavering determination to save his best friend at any cost. Peter’s encounter with the symbiote reveals his darker side to us, and his struggle against selfish, vigilante tendencies makes it interesting to witness his near surrender to the symbiote before Miles comes to his rescue.

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Mary Jane Watson (MJ) in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 // CREDIT: Insomniac Games

Throughout the game, Peter’s connection with Mary Jane Watson (voiced by Laura Bailey), affectionately known as MJ, soars to new heights, surpassing the boundaries of a simple on-again/off-again romance. A standout moment arises when MJ succumbs to the influence of the Scream symbiote, presenting a conflict that propels Peter and MJ towards a breakthrough in their relationship.

(It’s worth mentioning that MJ’s side missions have seen remarkable improvement since the first game, which were previously a point of contention among players.)

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But the true character evolution occurs within the mentor-mentee dynamic between Peter and Miles seen in previous games, here blossoming into a partnership of equals that empowers and elevates Miles as Spider-Man. This transformative shift builds up to a remarkable climax, as Peter gracefully passes the torch to Miles, solidifying his own heroic journey. It is a moment that resonates deeply, a testament to the profound power of mentorship and empowerment.

Miles Morales

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Miles Morales in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 // CREDIT: Insomniac Games

For all the game’s emphasis on the two Spider-Men, its main plotline gives us slightly more Peter than Miles. Initially, their stories seem evenly divided. But once Kraven is eliminated in the second half, the scales noticeably tip in Peter’s favor. His possession of the symbiote suit and later, his friend Harry turning into  Venom, significantly overshadow Miles’ involvement in the action. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed Miles’ specific quests and, once again, relished utilizing his unique lightning abilities (oddly dubbed Venom Powers in-game, despite no relation to the Venom symbiote). Noteworthy story points Miles includes assisting in the recovery of stolen items from a Harlem museum theft, aiding Black Cat’s escape to Paris, and further expanding his relationship with his Uncle Aaron (voiced by Ike Amadi), formerly known as the Prowler. Witnessing Miles’ personal growth throughout the story, as he shows mercy to villainous Mr. Negative by working alongside him to save Peter — and ultimately assuming the role of New York City’s sole Spider-Man — truly redeems this aspect of the game.

Kraven the Hunter

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Kraven the Hunter in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 // CREDIT: Insomniac Games

Now let’s delve into the villains of the story, beginning with the primary antagonist in the game’s first half — Sergei Kravinoff, better known as Kraven the Hunter (voiced by Jim Pirri). While I found his storyline lacking in emotional depth and true character development compared to other arcs, there were glimpses into his motivations during the Hunter Blinds and Unidentified Targets side missions. These missions shed light on Kraven’s family rivalry and quest to hunt down his disguise-wearing half-brother, the Chameleon. But the main plotline only briefly touched on his battle with cancer and his desire for a glorious death, sidestepping these crucial elements before concluding his narrative midway through the main campaign. Moreover, the raison d’etre for Kraven’s vast horde of minions and goons remained unexplained, leaving us with lots of unanswered questions.

These flaws aside, the final showdown between Kraven and Venom (which, excitingly, allows players to control Venom) undoubtedly provided one of the game’s most thrilling moments. Kraven’s earlier killing of fellow Spider-Man villain Scorpion hinted that he was more than a run-of-the-mill adversary, but his limited interactions with Peter, Miles, and other characters diminished the intimidating presence he initially conveyed. Thus, when Venom eventually brought about his demise I felt a kind of relief that his role in the narrative was over, mingled with a sense of anticipation that the next half of the game would unfold with greater narrative tension and excitement.

Sony will soon be bringing this character to the big screen in the Aaron Taylor-Johnson-starring Kraven the Hunter which is set to debut in theaters on August 30, 2024, following a delay from its original release date of October 6, 2023, due to the recently resolved SAG-AFTRA strike. Hopefully, this additional time will allow the creators to learn from the mistakes of the game’s iteration of the character and deliver a compelling and captivating backstory.

Based on the trailer, some believe that this film will stay truer to the character and avoid the excessive comedic tone that has alienated fans in recent Marvel movies. But having seen this portrayal of Kraven in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, I have lingering concerns about the character’s appeal and ability to draw in audiences. We shall see.

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It’s important to note that the Kraven the Hunter film won’t be a part of Disney’s “Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU),” but will instead exist within the Sony Spider-Man Universe (SSU) alongside recent Spidey-adjacent flicks like Venom, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Morbius.


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Venom in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 // CREDIT: Insomniac Games

In a captivating departure from established Spider-Man lore, Venom emerges as the true primary adversary in the game. Unlike in the comics or Sony’s aforementioned SSU Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage films, where Eddie Brock serves as the familiar host, the mantle is taken up here by an old childhood friend of Peter and MJ, Harry Osborn. This unexpected development arises from Harry’s father’s use of the symbiote to cure his terminal illness despite uncertainty surrounding the symbiote’s true nature. So when Harry embraces the role of Venom, it sets the stage for a riveting climax between former friends. The conflict between Peter and Harry, representing the eternal struggle between good and evil, adds an extra layer of drama to the story,

Heightening the impact of this confrontation is the earlier exchange when Peter was on the brink of death. Harry, in a selfless act, gives Peter the symbiote to save his life. Although it nearly corrupts Peter, Miles steps in to prevent it. Peter eventually frees himself from the symbiote but is determined to destroy it. But Harry intervenes to reclaim it, as he’s once again battling his terminal illness without its healing powers, despite Peter urging him to seek an alternative solution. This narrative shift brings a fresh perspective to the Spider-Man universe, creating a gripping, emotionally charged storyline.

Second Chances and Redemption

Through the personal development of various villains, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 consistently explores themes of second chances and redemption. Characters like Flint Marko/Sandman, Dr. Connors/Lizard, Lonnie Lincoln/Tombstone, Quentin Beck/Mysterio, and Martin Li/Mr. Negative exhibits this recurring motif while the character of Yuri Watanabe, now known as Wraith, offers a contrasting look.

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Peter Parker and Miles Morales as they face off against Sandman in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 // CREDIT: Insomniac Games

Flint Marko aka Sandman

The game opens with an epic confrontation against the colossal Sandman wreaking havoc upon New York City. But upon reverting him to his human form and completing various side missions involving the destruction of his sand crystals scattered throughout the city, we come to discover that his motivations were rooted in protecting his family, particularly his beloved daughter. The tragic circumstances that lead to Sandman’s transformation into a formidable force are ultimately a consequence of Kraven’s relentless pursuit.

Dr. Curt Connors aka The Lizard

These themes also apply to Dr. Connors, who now collaborates with Harry Osborn on his illness treatments. We observe him pursued by Kraven and coerced into transforming into the Lizard during part of their chase. Driven by his desire to aid others, especially Harry, with his research and scientific breakthroughs, Dr. Connors strives to do good in the future despite his terrifying past as the Lizard,

Lonnie Lincoln aka Tombstone

Players will also encounter former criminal, Lonnie Lincoln, aka Tombstone, earlier in the game, where he toils as a pit crew member at a Coney Island go-kart raceway. He subsequently falls into the clutches of Kraven’s hunters but experiences liberation at the hands of Peter and Harry working in unison. It’s intriguing to witness Tombstone, counted among the antagonists in the previous Marvel’s Spider-Man game, aligning with the heroes here and yearning for a life of purpose and fulfillment.

Quentin Beck aka Mysterio

I found Mysterio to be a standout character during my initial playthrough. In his alias as Quentin Beck, he has an intriguing plan to establish Mysteriums, special hallucinogenic arcades offering an extraordinary personalized experience to entertainment visitors. But things take an unexpected turn when Beck’s two assistants misuse his technology to frame him. Fortunately, Miles intervenes and has a heartfelt moment with Beck. In this exchange, Beck acknowledges his resigned belief that Spider-Man will always remain virtuous while evil will always infuse his alter-ego Mysterio’s persona. He thus assures Miles that his days as the costumed villain are behind him and he aims to live a righteous path.

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The Lizard in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 // CREDIT: Insomniac Games

Martin Li aka Mr. Negative

Last, let’s talk about Martin Li or Mr. Negative. In the previous game, he was one of the main villains who tragically caused the death of Miles’ father during a bombing at Norman Osborn’s campaign rally. In this game, however, we witness an extraordinary character metamorphosis for Li. After being hunted down by Kraven and facing off against Miles in a battle for survival, Miles — who harbors deep hatred towards Li for his father’s demise — decides to spare him and break him free of Kraven’s clutches.

Later on, the two unite once again to rescue Peter from the clutches of Venom, delving into a fierce struggle within Peter’s own mind. And here’s the unexpected twist: Li willingly relinquishes his powers as Mr. Negative, bestowing them upon Peter to aid in defeating the Venom within him. This remarkable journey showcases Li’s profound character growth and redemption, as he sincerely regrets the pain and distress he has caused as Mr. Negative. Although he acknowledges that he cannot be forgiven for his past misdeeds, Li aspires to help others once more, much as when he operated the F.E.A.S.T. (Food, Emergency, Aid, Shelter, and Training) homeless shelter alongside Peter’s Aunt May in the first game. This narrative highlights Li’s capacity for change.

Yuri Watanabe aka Wraith

As I suggested earlier, the general theme of redemption in this game is strongly juxtaposed with the character arc of former NYPD Captain Yuri Watanabe, now known as the vigilante Wraith. We’re drawn into her internal struggle as she navigates the limitations of the criminal justice system after the events of the first Spider-Man game’s DLC, The City That Never Sleeps. In that DLC, Yuri was left emotionally scarred from a failed operation against the notorious gang leader Hammerhead.

In this sequel, we delve deeper into Yuri’s transformation as she gradually embraces her antihero persona. Watanabe firmly believes there are instances where the existing justice system falls short, motivating her to confront criminals in a manner outside the law. This is exemplified in her relentless pursuit of Cletus Kasady who’s later set to become Carnage, Venom’s archenemy via symbiote. Yuri’s relentless extralegal pursuit of Kasady illustrates her deteriorating moral values.

The interplay between Yuri’s wavering principles and other antagonists’ turn toward the light further enriches the narrative, captivating us with its profound exploration of justice and redemption.

Engaging side missions 

I found the game’s side missions to be a significant upgrade over the previous two offerings. Each mission had a storyline that held my attention throughout to the satisfying conclusion. They offered a diverse range of activities, like rescuing hostages from his twisted  Mysteriums, dismantling a zealous cult known as “The Flame” led by the aforementioned Cletus Kasady, or simply assisting New Yorkers with their citywide predicaments through Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man quests.

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Miles Morales web-slinging in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 // CREDIT: Insomniac Games

Many of the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man quests provided a refreshing gameplay experience with independent story elements for Peter and Miles to explore while helping out ordinary people. Personally, I found The Monster in Queens, Graffiti Trouble, and Howard to be standout quests, although one could argue that all of them have their merits.

The Monster in Queens

At first glance, The Monster in Queens appears a simple quest, requiring the tracking and elimination of (you guessed it) a monster, with a subtle nod to the esteemed monster-hunting traditions found in The Witcher 3. But the plot takes a delightful turn when you discover the opportunity to reprogram one of Kraven’s weird, troublemaking machines. Revealed as the monster, the machine morphs into a remarkable robotic guide dog for a blind woman. It’s a heartwarming twist that adds depth and charm to the story.

Graffiti Trouble

In this mission, we step into the shoes of Miles’ classmate and crush Hailey as she showcases her artistic talent by concealing graffiti that’s appeared in the neighborhood. It’s a delightful shift in perspective to have Hailey as a playable character, letting us gain valuable insight into her personality, her unique worldview, and her relationships with those around her.


Howard’s quest was undoubtedly one of the most emotionally charged experiences in the game. In this quietly devastating mission, Spider-Man aids John Howard, a compassionate civilian with an affection for pigeons. The mission serves as a poignant callback to the pigeon-hunting quests from the first game, as you share a tender moment with Howard by the riverside. He confides his final wish to relocate his cherished flock. As the mission draws to a close, Howard’s heart is at ease knowing his birds are cared for, and he peacefully passes away. This moving encounter remains etched in players’ memories as perhaps the game’s most poignant and enduring moment.

Connections to the larger Marvel universe 

The game has several evident connections to the rest of the vast Marvel universe. Although Peter and Miles are its only superheroes there are references to numerous other supers who make New York City their home.

After Peter and Harry rescue Tombstone, he mentions his need for a skilled lawyer to prevent him from incurring a parole violation because of his abduction by Kraven. Peter then hints at knowing a remarkable lawyer — giving a figurative nod and a wink to Matt Murdock (Daredevil), whose relationship with Spidey was established on the big screen in the MCU’s recent Spider-Man: No Way Home. Additionally, we see a plaque dedicated to the law offices of Nelson and Murdock adorning a lower Manhattan building.

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Miles Morales above the NYC skyline in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 // CREDIT: Insomniac Games

There’s also the presence of Avengers Tower and a pivotal battle between Kraven’s hunters and Black Cat at Doctor Strange’s sanctum sanctorum. The game also features an exciting Easter egg in the Wakandan Embassy. As Miles, you even have the option to strike the iconic “Wakanda Forever” pose made famous by Chadwick Boseman as the MCU’s Black Panther. You can even get hold of Black Panther and Wolverine suits to wear during your adventure, hinting at Insomniac’s upcoming Wolverine game.

The game’s connections to the MCU also include the Baxter Building — which comic book fans know to be the Fantastic Four’s headquarters — as well as clever other Marvel characters popping up as the names of Coney Island amusement park attractions. And the game pays homage to Stan Lee, Spider-Man’s co-creator, with a statue located in the Upper West Side. These tidbits add some extra fun to the overall gaming experience.

Final thoughts 

The Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 game is an absolute spectacle that surpasses nearly all expectations. With an immersive storyline, thrilling gameplay, and flawless mechanics it sets a new benchmark for gaming excellence. Character development, intertwined narrative arcs, and innovative combat make this superhero adventure a truly unforgettable experience. Whether swinging through the city as Peter Parker or harnessing the lightning abilities of Miles Morales, players are in for an epic journey that showcases the very best of the Marvel universe. Truly, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is a game that should not be missed.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is now available only on PlayStation 5.

Ben Ahrens_Author HeadshotBen Ahrens is a versatile Silicon Valley-based writer, content marketer, photographer, and graphic designer. His passion lies in crafting engaging stories for the entertainment industry and embracing the tech culture of the Bay Area to uncover the next ground-breaking innovations. When not weaving words, you’ll find him curating the perfect playlist for every occasion or exploring the diverse landscapes of Northern California.

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