Since Sony realized that their rights to Spider-Man also extended to exclusive first-party content, they’ve been focused on delivering hit after hit on the console, even if the movies are hit-and-miss. Spider-Man (2018) was nothing short of amazing, pun intended. It won Game of the Year and was heralded as the greatest comic video game of all time, which is saying something considering the titles we’ve seen over the years. This was followed up by a PS5 exclusive sequel titled Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Not quite as long or in-depth, it was nevertheless an improvement upon the original and showcased the potential of what a next-gen full release could be.
Now that release is nearly here and yesterday’s PlayStation Showcase was the first time fans got an extensive look at not just how the game will work but also were able to glean a host of other information about the title that addressed some of the long-standing rumors about the game as a result. In a 15-minute playthrough, Spider-Man 2 was fully unveiled, showcasing Kraven the Hunter as the game’s seeming antagonist with the Venom symbiote doing what it does best after forming a bond with Peter Parker. We also saw Parker’s mentality change over the course of the playthrough, revealing how the Symbiote would affect Peter in the game just as in the comics.
We got a first-hand look at just how seamlessly the game was able to bounce back and forth between Miles and Peter without disrupting the flow of the narrative or adding in any loading time. It was the fully realized version of the game’s ability to move between indoor and outdoor environments without ever needing to pause for more loading or using making techniques. It just worked. Maybe even more impressive was the added element of water combat and the ability to swing from cranes over water, thus bringing water into the game as an area of play which it typically was not in the first title.
The playthrough also demonstrated the new power-ups the different characters could use and earn, including symbiote-based powers that truly looked next level when in use. Parker was able to grab multiple enemies at once, as the Symbiote allowed Peter to truly operate with eight limbs. The suit itself looked absolutely remarkable with the lighting effects and ray-tracing in action. The game looked so good that I refuse to dignify the small subset of “fans” who believe the game looks exactly like the PS4 version. If you’re unable to see the difference, you’re either being obtuse or confrontational and I want no part of either.
It’s fine to criticize a game’s graphics and question if true improvements were made. I think anyone who has ever played any Madden or NBA 2K titles will know that not all improvements are equal and gaming companies have increasingly found more and more ways to claim improvements have been made when it’s really minor technical updates, a roster update, and a half-assed version of a new mode. That’s just not the case with this game. The power and capability of the PS5 are on full display from the moment the game footage begins. But don’t believe me or them, here’s the footage for you to see for yourself. My buddy Lono of Reforge Gaming did a side-by-side comparison of Spidey swinging by water. Look at the lighting, look at reflections, and ray tracing. Look at how much better the overall environment looks.
Folks saying #SpiderMan2 looks just like the PS4 version… pic.twitter.com/D7rbOubktW
— Reforge Gaming (@ReforgeGaming) May 25, 2023
In just about every way, Spider-Man 2 is an improvement on the original. At least from what we’ve been able to see of it. There’s always the possibility that they took perfectly good controls and messed them up, but we haven’t been given any review ability nor does it seem likely that Sony would do so when this sort of thing is their bread and butter. We know the story will pick up after the events of our other two games, and we can probably expect to see the extensive crossover of characters and villains. We saw just a hint of that with the baddies showing on the map and the inclusion of Ganke in the footage. In fact, Ganke seems to have a bigger role than just a dude in a chair, it seems to come with gadgets now.
It was also confirmed there will not be any co-op within the game. This is meant to be a single-player adventure campaign and while things like the success of It Takes Two and other similar two-player titles, plus the inclusion of Miles Morales as a second main character hinted towards it potentially being a coop experience, that will not be the case. I’m a bit relieved as this isn’t something Sony has really done before with these games and I would have hated for one of the titles was anticipating the most to take an unnecessary risk just to try it out. The game worked as it was, let’s just keep what’s working.
While we didn’t get a release date for Spider-Man 2, or many games for that matter, that will likely come later when they feature the title in its own State of Play or minor showcase. The title isn’t just one of the most anticipated titles in video gaming for 2023, Spider-Man is generally a money-maker no matter which form of him you put out. There’s a reason Spider-Man is Marvel’s most popular and bankable star.
I’m just glad Sony realized he’s their bankable star and are acting on it in huge way.
Kane Webb is an entertainment journalist for @BSO and @TheMarvelReport. He also writes about the USC Trojans for @AthlonSports and has been featured on @FanSided, @Scout, @Rivals, the Bakersfield Californian, Wisconsin State Journal, and much more. You can follow him on Twitter: @FightOnTwist