GSY Review PS5

October has been very busy for the team of two we now are, even more so as davton hasn't had any Internet connection for more than two weeks. Still, we do our best to give you as much coverage as possible and we could not skip the upcoming release of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. This time, though it was again very tight, we found enough time to record an English version of our video review so you can enjoy the high quality footage and understand what we say about the game.

If you can't afford to watch our video, we have decided to share the script we prepared so you can read it at work without raising you boss's attention. Hopefully, this will make up for the absence of a proper written review. Please, don't hesitate to give us feedback so we know if that's something you enjoy or not.

INTRODUCTION

Hello everyone, it's Driftwood on Gamersyde and today, I have twenty minutes to tell you about the big Sony exclusive which will be available later this week, Marvel's Spider-Man 2. There is little doubt this new episode is going to be a big hit, but the question is just whether it has a chance of attracting those who weren't particularly expecting a sequel. To be honest, that was my case, and not that I wanna nip the interest of this video in the bud, but I fell for it again, big time!

STORY

The story of this Spider-Man 2 follows directly on that of the first part and that of Miles Morales, but don't worry, if you think you have forgotten some of the key moments of the two previous episodes, a little recap is available before you start this new adventure. You must know by now, but on Gamersyde, we're not really the type to spoil the content of games, and although I finished the main story in around twenty hours, I'm not going to tell you much about it.

When the game starts, Peter Parker is about to give teaching a go in Miles' high school, but as usual, a new disaster falls on New York and requires the intervention of the two Spider-Men. The introduction of the game goes all out in terms of staging since we must face a gigantic version of Sandman in the streets of New York City, and it almost feels like a God of War game. From the start, Insomniac shows off their skills by putting the PS5 SSD to the test when, for example, Miles finds himself thrown more than 500 meters away from the battlefield without the game's display flinching for a second. This introduction sets up the basics of the gameplay mechanics and ends with the arrest of the infamous criminal, with the city saved but still in a pretty bad state. A first misadventure which in fact forebodes the following ones, since a particularly formidable hunter will soon settle in the Big Apple, in search of preys that are good enough to offer him a good challenge.

Spider-Man 2 also adds Harry Osborne, Peter's best friend, to the cast, and you will discover him both through playable flashbacks, but also via other game sequences or cutscenes. Mary Jane obviously returns, so are Ganke, Hailey and Miles' mother, and of course, what would a Spider-Man game be without Norman Osborne and a good share of iconic villains. The little twist in this sequel is that the two heroes will instead try to save these infamous villains to rescue them from Kraven, which will sometimes lead to interesting developments. Generally speaking, the characters are well written, they are endearing, and it is not difficult to feel involved in the events that unfold. The adventure is carried out at a brisk pace, even if there are always a whole bunch of extra activities available for those who like to take their time. Also expect some quite moving passages.

I'm not going to dwell too much on the subject, but if you have seen some of the official videos, or if you at least followed the PlayStation Showcase back in May, the symbiote makes its entry into the story and it will obviously have consequences on Peter's behavior. It's really well done, because the changes are quite gradual, but there comes a point when you start thinking a bit like in TLOU2 halfway through, that it simply doesn’t feel right to keep playing as Peter while you’d rather be Miles and stick with him. In this regard, Insomniac has done a great job, because of course, if Peter's behavior can definitely be disturbing, the increased power that the symbiote gives him makes him quite enjoyable to control. Oh, and before I forget, yes it is possible to switch from Peter to Miles almost instantly. To do this, you must use the app on their phone and request the change. Apart from the first time you go from Miles to Peter in real time, which proves once again that the speed of the SSD makes a huge difference, the passage from one hero to the other passes through a very short black loading screen. There is no real strategic element in the switching mechanic apart from the desire to take part in some of the side activities which are only meant for one or the other, but we are really free to do it whenever we want and that’s a good thing.

GAMEPLAY

If you have already played the first game back in 2018 or Miles Morales a bit more recently, you will not be particularly surprised by what this sequel offers. However, one would have to be very unfair to claim that we expected a revolution from this new game. Insomniac therefore unsurprisingly built on the foundations of the two previous games, whether in terms of traversal, combat or stealth, adding just a few new features to the existing formula. To begin with, as we are now in control of two heroes, we get three skill trees, one for Peter, one for Miles and another that is common to both characters. Unless perhaps you intend to take care of all the side content in your first playthrough, it is impossible to unlock everything, especially since these traversal and attack skills are not the only upgrades you'll have access to. The suit itself can be improved and the different gadgets too, which must first be built to be unlocked, using very specific resources, before being able to upgrade them.

Even if there is still a plethora of suits to collect, upgrading the suit's stats fortunately does not depend on each of them individually. Also, there is no longer any specific special powers linked to each of them. Basically, what this means is that, by improving the components of the outfits, it is in fact the statistics of the two characters that you upgrade: you can increase their life meter, their attack power, their concentration bars and their traversal speed and abilities. The good news is that it is not necessary to do this for Peter and Miles separately since this specific upgrading system is common to both characters.

By progressing in the main quest, you also unlock abilities that require combining the L1 button with Circle, Square, Cross or Triangle to use them. Once you have several of them, it is even possible to choose those of which you want to equip. These abilities have to recharge after being used so they all have a cooldown time, and of course, once the symbiote outfit is unlocked, you get to discover brand new ones. Normally, Peter uses the mechanical spider legs he hides in his back where Miles uses electricity.

As for the rest of the combat system, it's pretty much the same as before, mechanically at least, the main difference coming from the higher number of foes you must face and the possibility to block or counter their attacks, some of which cannot be dodged at all if you're too close to them. I don't know if I've lost touch with this genre of game, but I found the Extraordinary difficulty level, the one the game proposes by default, quite difficult at times. We're promised a balanced combat experience, and it's not that it's a blatant lie, but what that actually means is that you can still easily bite the dust if you don't play well enough. There are four difficulty settings available at the start, the Extraordinary one is the third on the list, and a fifth one is unlocked when you complete the game.

I also wanted to mention something some people may not enjoy that much, which concerns the fights against the bosses. For several years, we have been accustomed to having to beat each of them twice in a row, since From Software very clearly started the trend of bosses who have two distinct life bars. At Insomniac's though, they must have said to themselves that it was not enough, that three health bars was not either. As a result, these fights often extend over at least four phases of varying length depending on your skills. This adds to the epic dimension of these duels, especially since these different phases do not necessarily take place in the same place, but some will certainly complain that it's just an easy way to add longevity to the game. Let me reassure you though, as it's a triple-A game, with each new phase comes a checkpoint. Moreover, the hero always recovers all of his life bar in the process. That said, you will still have to play well as bosses can be very challenging .

This is also the case of basic enemies, which I often found a little too resistant compared to Peter and Miles. To me, it just takes too long to beat human enemies. The difficulty also comes from the diversity of adversaries that we have to face, some of them requiring special tactics to defeat them. There are also the unforgiving mechanical dogs which prevent us from using our special abilities as long as they're around.

Stealth is still a viable option in certain situations and the game includes everything that was already present in the previous two games in the franchise. You can distract the guards' attention by shooting an object with your web shooter, hang your opponents on the wall or hang them from a beam, as long as you pay close attention to possible witnesses around you. Though the AI doesn't seem especially smarter than before, I was spotted on several occasions, even when I thought I had kept a low profile, so it's a good thing in my book. On the other hand, the few passages of the genre where we get to play Mary-Jane are still as uninteresting as in the first game. I won't show any footage of those sequences here so as not to reveal too much in terms of new environments, but as Mary-Jane is carrying a very effective taser gun, needless to say that progression is greatly facilitated . Clearly, these sequences are mainly there to advance the story, and although we are given some pseudo-freedom to move around, it still remains very scripted and well guided.

As I said earlier, Spider-Man 2 also features many additional side activities that you can choose to leave aside if you want. As for collectibles, there are Spider-Bots that are scattered throughout the city, and high-tech crates. Finding them allows you to collect resources to improve your outfit or your gadgets, or even to make new suits. This is again the main justification for all these activities, to give you a chance to win resources or tokens which can be used to unlock a whole bunch of things. And this is once again a bit restrictive, because when you need hero tokens for example, you have to focus on the few activities that allow you to earn them, and that's when things obviously become much more redundant.

Miles' uncle has also left behind equipment caches which are indicated on the map, but which also require you to use Miles' scanner to find the right spot, then participate to a mini-game where you must maintain the two adaptive triggers in two distinct areas, before being able to use the web throwers to pull open a door or a gate once you have found the right angle to do so. There are also mini-quests which will put you on the trail of a cult, Sandman's memories to be found in well-guarded crystals, or more scripted missions which are linked to Miles specifically, related to either his studies or his neighborhood. I'm not going to list everything here, but as it is often the case, there is plenty to eat and drink, since certain activities can really end up being very repetitive when you do them one after the other. Everything that concerns the real side missions is more fun generally, because the narrative lining they come with, however light it may be, is always welcome. You'll meet New Yorkers who have a little personal story to tell, but you can also be asked to play a flashback sequence in which you play as teenage Peter Parker riding his bike in Manhattan for example.

For my part, I rather enjoyed the photos that Robbie Robertson asks us to take in New York City, because they take us to various scenes that are all unique. It's just a shame that the pictures which then appears in the dedicated menu are not ours but the ones that the developers had prepared beforehand. It's really a small detail so it's no big deal, especially since a real photo mode is available with all the necessary options to make beautiful wallpapers. Check out the few screenshots that I was allowed to share on the site to see what can be done.

On the other hand, Mysterio's challenges, which are just combat arenas with medals to win and various constraints to deal with, I admit that I have only done a few of them. However, the main mission that unlocks them is pretty cool as it gives the opportunity to do something that is quite new in a Spider-Man game. You can also count on enemy camps to clear, which then allows you to find their HQ in each district, and of course, the inevitable random crimes are back too. It's all very classic, too much even to a certain extent, but I don't really see how the developers could have brought something new to the table unfortunately. That’s kind of the limit of the superhero genre if you want my opinion…

Insomniac Games also included sequences in which you control a Spider-bot in areas that are inaccessible to Spider-Man. These are linear passages without real difficulty, they are never very long, but they bring a little variety by mixing simple interactions with the environment, some platforming and some stealth. There are also new puzzles which quite advantageously replace those of the first game, which were too systematic and above all too long for their own good in my humble opinion. Here, not only are they quite limited in number in the course of the main story, but they also have the good taste of not dragging on. Now, for all those that we have completed and those that are obligatory at least, they're clearly not challenging enough.

Before moving on to the segment dedicated to the visuals, a word about traversal, since it is still one of the most exhilarating aspects of the series after all. While there are no major changes to the swinging mechanics, Spider-Man 2 incorporates the ability to hover in the air to make navigation even smoother and faster. Knowing that the city is now twice as large as in Spider-Man and Miles Morales, Insomniac also added sorts of air corridors which are symbolized from afar by white lines representing air currents and, once we get in there, are marked by big green circles which give the game a very arcadey feeling. Some people may find those a little too visible, too video gamey if you will, and I imagine that there was probably a way to come up with something a little more discreet, but personally it didn't bother me at all. One thing I should say, there are so many accessibility settings that I may have missed the one that turns off those big green circles, but then again, I really liked that big nod to the old arcade games from the 80s and 90s. That aside, there's no denying that it’s super satisfying to play in terms of sensations. The advantage of these marked corridors is that they allow you to gain speed and ensure you can stay in the air without falling to the ground. There are sometimes a few obstacles to avoid, and there is even one of the side activities which uses more or less the same gimmick, since you have to stay in the path of mechanical birds for a given time while avoiding buildings or the projectiles they throw at you. It almost feels like an Iron Man game, and there's no denying it, crossing the entire map this way, making good use of the air corridors, the air vents that project the character vertically to regain height, then go back to free flight in the air, I mean it never gets old! Last but not least, even if it is in no way essential, projecting yourself into the air with your webs like a slingshot is just the best, especially when you do it from the top of a skyscraper.

VISUALS

I've mentioned it before, but with the speed at which the characters move in Spider-Man 2, it is really impressive to see the level of detail displayed on the screen and the very little pop-in that can be spotted. The animation doesn't flinch, even when moving at breakneck speed, and even the 30 fps mode, which is the only one I've shown so far in this video, is pleasant. There are a few micro-stutters in cutscenes when there’s a camera change, but apart from that, nothing really. By the way, keep in mind that the day one patch which was not available yet when I recorded this video, might fix those issues. This is actually a minor technical flaw that I did not notice when playing with VRR in the 40 Hertz mode, which is a real treat in terms of fluidity, even if it is necessarily less so than when playing at 60fps. The Fidelity mode pushes the resolution and ray tracing effects to the max and it looks awesome. That's why I decided to play in this mode from the beginning of the adventure to the end for my first playthrough. If you've ever played Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart or the 2 Spider-Man games on PS5, you know what I mean. This sequel also borrows its streaming technology from Ratchet & Clank, and the game offers one or two sequences which really serve as a nod to Rift Apart, but I won't say more. The little extra thing compared to the PS5 versions of the previous games that the studio developed on PS5 is the possibility to unlock the framerate and let the game go above 40 fps when it can. I could certainly feel the difference a little in this case, but not in the same way as on a non-VRR display when the framerate fluctuates. Personally, even though I found that the game remained perfectly playable like this, I returned to the stable VRR mode quite quickly. Note also that you can absolutely opt for an unlimited framerate in the Performance mode.

Contrary to what was found in their previous games, there is no Performance RT mode in Spider-Man 2 because the default Performance mode includes Ray Tracing effects. Since I chose not to show the 60 fps mode earlier, I'll let you enjoy it from now on until the end of the video. The ray tracing effects are obviously a bit less detailed than in the Fidelity mode, but the added smoothness is clearly a plus. You will probably see that the image quality is less sharp, softer as we say, but honestly, the resolution remains very good. Insomniac also indicates that crowd and traffic density is lower in Performance mode, which is not surprising considering such settings can be pretty heavy on the CPU. Whatever graphics modes you choose, the game looks gorgeous, and even if the first episode already was a looker when it was released in 2018, I don’t believe New York was not as detailed as it is now in the sequel. The new districts are all faithfully reproduced, they all have their own particular style, and I’ve rarely seen such a lively modern city in a recent video game. Spider-Man 2 is also packed with special effects of all kinds, the way the cutscenes and scripted sequences are staged is of high quality, and once again, Insomniac Games have managed to make the PlayStation 5 shine. The American studio has definitely become an essential part of the PlayStation first party studios, and it is not a coincidence if they are the only ones to have managed to release so many different titles this generation. I'll leave you with some additional footage recorded in Performance mode and I'll see you back in a few moments for the verdict.

VERDICT


Even without managing to really be surprising in terms of content and mechanics, Spider-Man 2 has managed to take me by surprise by drawing me into its story and atmosphere from start to finish. As I said at the start of the video, I wasn't particularly expecting this sequel, although I had no doubt it would be excellent, but I thought that the two previous episodes were more than enough for me. And... I was wrong because in the end I didn't shy away from the pleasure I took playing the game. The question I ask myself now, however, is whether a third episode would really be relevant, whether it would not risk being one too many. I don't know what the studio's plans will be after Wolverine, which I'm actually eagerly waiting for, but the end of Spider-Man 2 clearly leaves the door open to a new story. Unless Insomniac decides to go for a more condensed game like Miles Morales was, or a big DLC possibly, who knows. Time will tell, but in the meantime, if you're a fan of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's hero, or if you simply love big budgeted triple-A games, there's no real reason to hesitate. If you’re neither, well I don't think you were especially waiting for my opinion to change your mind.


That's it, I'm going to stop there and thank you once again for your loyalty and support. Don't forget to leave us a comment on the website or even a thumbs up on the channel if you think that the work we’ve provided deserves a little recognition. It was Driftwood for Gamersyde, and until next time, take good care and see you soon!

Youtube version of the video review

10 Gamersyde images

  • We reviewed Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - 10 Gamersyde images
  • We reviewed Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - 10 Gamersyde images
  • We reviewed Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - 10 Gamersyde images
  • We reviewed Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - 10 Gamersyde images
  • We reviewed Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - 10 Gamersyde images
  • We reviewed Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - 10 Gamersyde images
  • We reviewed Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - 10 Gamersyde images
  • We reviewed Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - 10 Gamersyde images
  • We reviewed Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - 10 Gamersyde images
  • We reviewed Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - 10 Gamersyde images
catfish
catfish
Commented on 2023-10-16 16:40:27
Excellent review and footage, thanks! Very much looking forward to this game!
In reply to
unknownuser0001
unknownuser0001
Commented on 2023-10-16 22:03:55
This should be the standard in this generation but sadly just a handful of games are like this. And it was soothing to hear Driftwoods voice again :D
In reply to
Driftwood - Dictateur en chef
Driftwood
Commented on 2023-10-16 23:30:17 In reply to unknownuser0001
Glad I could make your day a tad more soothing then. ;p
In reply to
g4m3er
g4m3er
Commented on 2023-10-17 18:48:33
Thanks for the comprehensive review.
In reply to
About the game
Platform
PS5
Published by
Sony Computer En...
Developed by
Insomniac Games
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