Playstation Studios and Insomniac Games’ newest release perfectly follows in the ethos of J. Jonah Jameson’s famous quote in Amazing Spider-Man #4: “I want pictures of Spider-Man!”
Spider-Man Photo Simulator 2 truly raises the bar in the simulator genre by not only greatly expanding the virtual photography tools at a player’s disposal, but also delivering an engaging follow-up to the previous entry’s renowned narrative.
I cannot emphasize enough just how much this game has enraptured me with the near infinite ability to stage, light and compose incredibly dynamic and atmospheric screenshots. I found myself spending hours tweaking the virtual lens and setting up light sources to perfectly capture the high action of both Peter Parker and Miles Morales’ web swinging acrobatics and superpowered combat.
In 2018, it was a surprise to gamers such as myself when a secondary base of players simply ignored the photography mechanics of the first game, and instead used the combat and traversal staging mechanics as a form of gameplay in itself. These players, although missing out on what was clearly the main function of the game, considered this new series to be the best Spider-Man video game since the 2002 Spider-Man 2 movie tie-in for the Gamecube and Playstation 2, a game which notably included zero photography simulator elements.
Regardless of if gamers are playing the game correctly or not, Insomniac builds off of the existing foundations and narrative threads of both the first game and the Miles Morales-centered spin-off title. Although much of the character models, locations and animations are imported directly from these two predecessors, Insomniac has added more than enough new content to make up for it.
The map has expanded beyond just including its fictionalized version of Manhattan to also the neighboring Queens and Brooklyn. In order to more effectively navigate such a massive expanse, as well as to cross the East River, our titular Spider-Men have been given use of some new tools and techniques. Web-Wings, a squirrel suit-like material, allows for medium distance gliding; the Web Slingshot maneuver generates instant velocity to help cover large distances quickly.
On a narrative front, the sequel brings iconic characters as Venom, Sandman, Harry Osborne, and Kraven the Hunter into its storyline. With these new additions to Insomniac’s continuity, we also get the chance to play as Peter Parker while bonded with the Venom Symbiote, donning his organic black suit and unlocking brutal new powers. Much of the story centers on Peter’s ongoing corruption as a result of his escalating use of the symbiote, and it’s up to those closest to him, Mary Jane Watson and his protege, Miles Morales, to appeal to Peter’s truest self.
Ultimately, however you choose to play, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 would be a great addition to the library of any Playstation five owner, and I look forward to seeing where Insomniac takes any future installments of this series.
For a deeper dive into the specifics of my thoughts on the game’s storyline as well as more screenshots, you can find the full spoilers version of this article on our website.