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The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Worth getting a PlayStation 5 for

One of the best games of the year
“Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” released to critical acclaim, scoring a 90 on Metacritic and being nominated for Game of Year, amongst other awards.
Marvel
“Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” released to critical acclaim, scoring a 90 on Metacritic and being nominated for Game of Year, amongst other awards.

It’s no secret that there is a lot of Marvel-related content that comes out every year. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is still going strong, releasing both movies and TV shows, meanwhile “Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse” came out earlier this year to critical acclaim. As for video games, while “Avengers” was received very poorly when it came out in 2020, Insomniac has released some of the best superhero video games ever, with both “Marvel’s Spider-Man” in 2018, and “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales” (which was released as a side-story to set up Miles Morales) in 2020.

After “Marvel’s Spider-Man” came out, it was clear that a sequel was already being planned out. With Miles Morales acquiring his spider powers at the end of the game, and many more villains being teased. Fans would have to wait until 2021 at a PlayStation showcase to see “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” be revealed for the first time. And finally, it was released for PlayStation 5 on Oct. 20, 2023.

[Spoilers Ahead]

At its core, “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” is more of the same from the first game. The gameplay is virtually identical, with the same web slinging and combat, but this isn’t a bad thing. The open-world web slinging is some of, if not the best open-world movement I’ve experienced in any video game. It feels so seamless traversing New York City, on top of the addition of the web gliders, which lets you fly for a bit without having to shoot webs, and gives you an opportunity for a speed boost. It’s a breath of fresh air and made me never want to fast travel, but rather take my time and get to my destination myself.

I was a big fan of the story as well. Right at the start of the game, Sandman takes over a great portion of the city, instantly showing you a side of New York that was unexplorable in the first “Spider-Man.” After defeating him, you’re given a side quest to find all of the Sandman crystals, showing his backstory and why he’s a villain. I love these optional side quests, and there’s many more like this, where you traverse around New York and learn more about the people that live there, letting you see just a bit of the life of the average New Yorker. Another example of these being the camera side quest, where you take pictures of New Yorkers doing things such as dancing or selling food.

Once Sandman is taken care of, the story’s main villain is revealed, Kraven the Hunter. Kraven wants nothing more than to have a good fight with someone, and he chooses the two Spider-Men, Peter Parker and Miles Morales. However, behind the scenes, a parasite, known as the Symbiote is getting more and more dangerous, but it isn’t explored more until about halfway through the game. One of my favorite aspects of storytelling is something always being teased or something being behind the scenes because it makes me want to learn more about the greater, looming threat that the two Spider-Men must take down. 

There are many new abilities that the Spider-Men get. There’s three new skill trees for both Peter and Miles, as well as a combined skill tree that lets you get new abilities and super moves. These new moves add a lot more depth to the combat that I felt was lacking in the first game. You can only get these new abilities by completing the side quests around NYC, incentivizing you to do them. I loved the progression of constantly having new things to do to distract myself from the story for just a bit. It was a good enough amount of things to do on the side to where I wasn’t overwhelmed, but I knew I didn’t have to do it if I didn’t want to.

Harry Osborne is Peter Parker’s childhood friend who finally learns about his alter-ego during the story. But it’s helpful for everyone as the symbiote takes over Harry, but for a bit, it’s used for good. That is, until the symbiote goes to Peter. Once this happens, Peter goes mad, he thinks it’s helping him become a better Spider-Man, when in reality, it’s making him more dangerous, and more distant from everyone else. I thought this was a pretty weak part of the story, and found it corny if anything, but it doesn’t last long thankfully. Peter gives Kraven a fight with these new powers, but he still isn’t satisfied. With the help of Miles and MJ, Peter’s girlfriend, they get the symbiote off of Peter and in the process, gives him new anti-symbiote abilities. 

At this point, it’s too late as the symbiote has only been getting stronger and it once again infects Harry. He isn’t strong enough to fight it, and he turns into the villain known as Venom. It’s Venom who gives Kraven his long awaited fight, and Venom finishes it off by killing Kraven. This twist shocked me as I thought Kraven was the true villain, but I was wrong. Now, the symbiote is too strong and it takes over the entire city, and many civilians get taken over by the symbiote. With both Spider-Men and MJ, they defeat Venom and save Harry as well as the rest of the city. I thought the final fight with Venom was great, though I didn’t have much of a challenge.

While I played the game on normal mode, I probably should have played a more difficult mode, as I rarely ever died, and every boss fight was very easy once I was able to time perfect dodges against everyone. This doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun, though. This was one of the most fun games I played through this year, and I completed the game 100%. As I said earlier, “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” is truly more of the same from the first game, but that is no problem at all. With some of the most addicting combat, and the best open-world exploration ever, as well as being on the shorter side, which I appreciate. “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” was a great playthrough and is my pick for game of the year.

9/10

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About the Contributor
Jacob Hargens, Staff Reporter
Jacob is a senior at Millard West and is in his third year on the CATalyst staff. One of his favorite things to write involves stories about different students around the school. He also likes writing about recent releases in entertainment as well as big topics around the world. Outside of school, he likes playing games & competing with friends.

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