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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Connor’s Capes: ‘Marvel’s Spider Man 2’ falls short of greatness

Connor Youngberg

Insomniac Games gave the Spider-Man fandom an absolute gem with 2018’s “Marvel’s Spider-Man.” Finally, a Spider-Man story with an adult Peter Parker and comic accurate characters. It’s made even better with its innovative gameplay and heartfelt story.

Then, it followed it up with the fun and festive “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales,” which debuted with the long awaited PlayStation 5 in 2020. The game perfectly built off of the first installment, while making Morales the main focus and expanding on his character.

Fast forward to Oct. 20, the company finally releases “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2,” one of the most anticipated video games in recent memory. While it utilizes the PS5’s next- gen technology to its full capabilities and is still a great game, it falls just short of living up to the hype.

The main story revolves around Parker’s relationship with Harry Osborn, Parker’s best friend and son of this universe’s New York City Mayor Norman Osborn. Harry was lightly introduced through various side missions in the first game, in which Harry was said to be “in Europe” during the events of the game.

However, the game’s post- credits scene reveals that Harry was actually sick with an unknown illness and has actually been in containment with the iconic venom symbiote. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a nearly identical plot to “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which saw Dane DeHaan’s Harry in search of a cure for his random, unknown illness.

Now, while I personally enjoy “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” I can also acknowledge that it is not great. In fact, it’s quite bad. So opting to go with an extremely similar storyline for “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” and just swapping out the Green Goblin character for Venom was certainly a choice.

Venom is an interesting villain for the second installment. Despite being arguably Spider-Man’s most popular villain, it has failed to resonate on many adaptations. Until now, that is.

Insomniac Games doesn’t hold back on the aggressiveness of the Venom symbiote, which is shown in the gameplay, cutscenes and the voice acting from legendary horror actor  Tony Todd. When the symbiote inevitably bonds to Parker, voice actor Yuri Lowenthal does a fantastic job twisting his loveable Spidey charm into a darker, angrier tone.

While the storyline surrounding Venom is a little questionable at times, it also has moments where it’s easily the best part of the game. In one mission, you get to actually play as Venom, which makes for some awesome gameplay and an experience that’s much different from controlling Parker and the other Spider-Man in this game, Morales.

There’s a scene where Venom and the other main villain, Kraven the Hunter, go head-to-head and it’s undoubtedly one of the coolest moments in any Marvel video game. Kraven is also an extremely badass villain. His entire purpose throughout the game is to find someone of equal status, in terms of strength. Kraven is dying, but he vows to only die in combat, to an equal.

Is he the most compelling character? No. Is it one of the hardest character archetypes? Absolutely.

Despite having two main villains, both get really awesome missions, which is something Spider-Man media has lacked in past iterations. In-fact, this is the first major Kraven adaptation outside of cartoons, just beating out Sony’s “Kraven the Hunter” film, which releases next year.

One character who doesn’t get much time to shine is Morales. Despite being established as an equal to Parker’s Spider-Man, this is still very much Parker’s story. Morales gets a small arc with “Marvel’s Spider-Man” villain Mister Negative, but the scene really didn’t get the amount of time it deserved.

While the game’s ending makes sure we can expect a lot more Morales moving forward, it’s still a little disappointing that we didn’t get more of him in this game. However, the way the creators incorporated a two-Spider-Man game is really cool. Players can effortlessly switch between the two when swinging around the city by the press of a button, followed by a flawless in-game transition.

While Insomniac Games did a great job at making sure Parker and Morales can co-exist as Spider-Men, they nerfed Morales and buffed Parker so they didn’t have to create two different combat systems.

It’s widely understood that Morales is more powerful than Parker. He can do everything Parker’s Spider-Man can do, but can turn invisible and has venom abilities, electricity powers unrelated to the character of Venom. If that sounds confusing, it’s because it is.

Parker usually relies on gadgets and tech to keep up with Morales’ skillset, but both Spider-Men have the same amount of gadgets. While they’re both Spider-Man, they’re also very different in terms of style, and I don’t think the game fully captured that.

With all of that being said, I still think the game is fantastic. I truly don’t believe Insomniac Games is capable of making a bad Spider-Man game. However, the bar was set extremely high and I’m not sure “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” was able to swing above it.

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Connor Youngberg, Associate Multimedia Editor

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