Spider-Man 2 PS2 Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

The first Spider-Man film license based off the first film was pretty good; hell we’d even go as far to say that it was the best game we had played up until that point featuring our favourite webslinger. It was far from perfect though, suffering from a few key faults: namely an over reliance on puzzles, which felt incongruous considering the subject matter of the game and the fact that Spidey’s swinging abilities weren’t exactly used to their full potential, since his web seemingly latched to the sky rather than buildings and such. With the release of a sequel to the film a coinciding game of such a gargantuan movie is nearly inevitable. Does Spider-Man 2 right all the wrongs of its predecessor?

Well to begin with, Spidey’s web no longer magically sticks to the sky but instead must actually be attached to physical objects. Initially, this is bloody hard to get used to, but sticking with it (ha ha) will have you frantically swinging around New York as if you were well err…Spider-Man in mere minutes. This new webbing method is fantastic and much time will likely be wasted just intensely swinging around and taking in the sights of the massive city.

And massive it is too, Spidey can wander around down at street level and climb as high as the highest buildings, basically you can go just about anywhere you wish, which makes for the most convincing Spider-Man game yet. Random crimes (think True Crime) are always littered round the city to give you the sense that you are donning the tights of a full time -rather than- part-time superhero, which is the case with most games. There’s oodles of stuff hidden around the city too, giving you extra incentive (as if you needed any, swinging around is fantastic fun) to explore the entire city. It’s like Grand Theft Auto with Spider-Man.

Being Spider-Man and all, there’s plenty of bad guys for you to beat up. The combat system is fantastic and has a great range of moves for you to play with. Admittedly most fights can be won by just bashing the square button, but it would be such a waste not making use of some of Spidey’s cooler moves such as his stylish counters, aerial attacks and his fantastic-often brutal-web based attacks.

Pressing R1 will enter Spidey reflexes mode, which is Spider-Man 2’s take on the overused bullet time effect, first seen in Max Payne and then just about every game from then on. Unsurprisingly, while in this mode, you are significantly faster than your enemies and for that very reason; this should be saved for moments of struggle, as its use is extremely limited.

Doing heroic deeds such as completing missions and discovering hidden items will award you hero points, with which you can purchase new combat moves and swing upgrades with. There’s absolutely loads to buy, with new ones becoming available every new chapter, making sure there’s nearly always a fresh move for you to excitedly try out throughout the game.

Visually the game isn’t stunning by any means and indeed if first impressions were anything to go by, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the game is just another one of those shoddy film licences that developers put out regardless of the quality to make a few quid off the back of the film. But that simply isn’t the case with Spider-Man 2: initial impressions that consist of a flyover of the city may suggest that the game suffers from appalling popup, but thankfully any disappointments are put to rest once the game begins proper. Bizarrely, popup is practically non-existent and ironically the game actually has one of the better draw distances of its ilk. Spidey’s animation as he swings and leaps through the city is marvellous and the framerate is remarkably smooth considering the massive scale of the city.

Spider-Man 2 is without doubt the best game ever of the red and blue arachnid man, quite possibly even the all round best superhero game ever. Giving you a full city to explore and protect makes it feel like the most apposite superhero game and the new swinging mechanics are almost breathtaking to both witness and to control, it’s just a shame that the main storyline doesn’t last a bit longer and more variety in the side missions wouldn’t have gone amiss either. Another problem, albeit a minor one is that there’s a disappointing lack of atmosphere in the otherwise impressive city, which could have helped in further immersing you in the game. But problems aside, this is a true marvel (ha ha) of superhero games that any Spidey fan should pick up instantly.

8/10

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