Earlier this week we had the opportunity to play over 3 hours of the upcoming Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on PlayStation 5 in the city of Los Angeles, California, and get a first look at the upcoming title from Insomniac Games.
It has been nine years since the development team began working on the franchise, as Bryan Intihar, Senior Creative Director at Insomniac Games, pointed out. This odyssey has taken us through Peter Parker’s adventure against the Sinister 6 and later with Miles Morales as the friendly neighbor that Harlem needed. Now, with the second installment, this open world grows in both the size of the city and the ability to control the two heroes.
The story was already a little further along in the session we attended. We faced Kraven the Hunter, and Peter Parker already had the abilities of the symbiote suit. In this confrontation, our character ends up running away with a serum that will help Dr. Curt Connors, who has turned into the Lizard, to return to his normal form. In this mission, both Mary Jane and Harry Osborn try to help the wall-crawler, but a series of events complicate the task. Without getting into spoilers, we will focus on the major gameplay changes that the game introduced.
One of the moves we liked the most is that you can now glide by pressing the triangle button when flying through the air with his classic web wings, both as Morales and Parker. This allows the player to travel long distances at a higher speed. It is important to note that as a result, the chase sequences have become faster, as they have now integrated challenges with this movement, where it has become a key factor in avoiding attacks while gliding.
It is important to mention that the number of moves has been doubled since there are the character’s own moves, plus all those that can be performed either with the symbiote in the case of Parker, or with the integrated gadgets in the case of both. This is where the triggers will play a fundamental role, since the combination of them and the buttons will give us certain moves, without forgetting the special ones that we can activate by pressing other combinations.
The main change we noticed in the controls is that they are now more overwhelming and complex. Blocking, movement combinations, combos, and evasion will be key. Some of the fights with some of the medium and large enemies gave us the feeling of being in a Souls-like video game. If that is a problem, we can always change the difficulty if that is the case.
As for the puzzles, they are now contextually related to the story itself. For example, when we manipulate the formula to counteract Connors’ transformation, we have to play with a kind of genomic sequence of the antidote without destroying key nodes. In the case of the cinematic action sequences, they did the same thing with excellent use of DualSense and haptics.
Another addition that we liked was the visual interface for finding alternate missions, which you can find through the spider-sense and with a sort of mini-mission selector on the screen, you can see right away where there are areas to take pictures, make distress calls, etc.
Graphics pushed to the limit
We played this demo in quality mode and noticed practically non-existent loading times, taking full advantage of the PS5′s SSD speed. We also noticed the presence of dynamic ray tracing. For example, when we were outdoors, reflections were noticeable at low resolutions, but when we were indoors, they looked more detailed.
On the other hand, we have also seen changes in the Skill Improvement menu of both that help us better identify the movements that we can modify. Similarly, you can work with gadgets, although these have a more continuous visual section. Something that is well achieved within this menu is that you can evolve both characters, the symbiote’s powers, and even the movements that they share.
A more vibrant city
New York City is definitely the most impressive part of what we saw. Although we already saw a lot of progress in Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, they have now taken it to a level that really makes the city an immersive experience. In fact, in a chat we had with Jacinda Chew, the game’s art director, we got more details on the techniques they used to make this possible.
Now all we have to do is wait until October 20th to don the costumes of the two arachnids and navigate the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens on our PlayStation 5.