Insomniac's imminent superhero blockbuster, Spider-Man, has looked increasingly promising since its announcement all the way back at E3 2016. We've yet to try the game out for ourselves, but based on what the media has been saying after playing a demo at this year's LA show, it's sounding like this is going to be absolutely top drawer stuff. It could potentially become Spidey's best game yet.
But to do that, it'll have to dethrone the game widely accepted as the web slinger's greatest gaming adventure: Spider-Man 2, released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2. At the time, this game had a surprising amount of innovative features, such as a big, seamless open world, random emergent events, and exceedingly well-realised locomotion. All this from a licensed game based on the film of the same name. Games based on existing properties were never very good, especially going back a decade or so, but Treyarch's impressive action title would prove not only that movie tie-ins could be great, but that a Spider-Man game could be too.
The question is, has Spider-Man 2's famous web swinging, combat, and overall structure stood the test of time? We've been playing it again, partly because we're excited about the new Spidey game, and partly because we're genuinely curious to see if it's as good as we remember. After spending a good few hours swinging around Manhattan, beating up petty criminals, and retrieving balloons for wailing children, we're pleasantly surprised to say that it remains a fun Spider-Man sandbox.
Just getting around in Spider-Man 2 can still be a pure joy. The web swinging is what most people remember about this game, and it was a revolutionary take on Spidey's iconic mode of transport, because webs no longer inexplicably clung to thin air. By attaching to buildings and putting the emphasis squarely on player skill, the mechanic was an instant hit, and some say it's yet to be bettered. During our recent time with the game, we had fun aimlessly swooping through the city. It's a little clunky and inflexible by today's standards, killing your momentum if you catch a building at an awkward angle, but it's still pretty playable.
It's impressive that the web swinging generally holds up, but frankly, the rest of the game has aged less gracefully. The combat was never great, but it feels very rigid. The story is all over the place thanks to an expanded roster of villains embellishing the movie's plot, and appalling voice acting across the board doesn't help matters. As for the open world activities, they work well enough, but quickly become repetitive.
As we look ahead to Spider-Man on PS4, it's hard not to be optimistic. If the 14-year-old web slinging is still entertaining, we imagine that a modern take will make traversing the Big Apple a constant thrill. As for everything else, because Insomniac isn't shackled to a movie's story and has been given creative freedom, we don't see how the narrative, combat, and side content will be anything less than a huge improvement. Of course, there's still a little time left before we find out for sure. Spider-Man 2's traversal is still pretty good, but with everything else seriously showing its age, a new favourite could be swinging onto the scene.
Do you have fond memories of Spider-Man 2? Which Spidey game is your personal favourite, and do you think Insomniac's upcoming game will replace it? Deliver a pizza in the comments below.
Spider-Man PS4 does have major potential, but i think it’s overall critical reception will rely on its side quest and content design.
They’ve mentioned tonnes of collectibles, citizen helping/saving quests and Crime stopping quests, but it could fall into that ‘open world trap’ of feeling repetitive and tedious.
I’m 100% day 1, but Im interested in how they’ve handled that stuff. The combat, web-slinging and writing so far are on point!
@STLamy That's my only real concern as well. I can't wait for Spider-Man and pretty much everything I've seen of the game looks brilliant, but can it keep players interested with decent side content once the story's wrapped up? Fingers crossed
Personally I hope that there is a LOT to do in the open world - even if its a bit of a collectathon or even somewhat 'repetitive' like rescuing Citizens/stopping crime - its all optional and can make it feel more full/dynamic if implemented well.
I have more concerns over the 'game-play'. Some looked good, like the free-flowing combat and generally just swinging around but some looked kind of 'Meh' to me. The Shocker battle in the bank for example, just swing around until you get the 'scripted' move indicator to slam something into Shocker, repeat a few times... There were other points in the demo too - like having to dodge left/right as you try to go along a tube like tunnel with Shocker sending bolts out which reminded me so much of old-school games - OK this was only a 'small' section where as those games were built on that 1 aspect.
I do think this will be a good game - an 8/10 - but I really can't see it being a GotY contender. It could well be the best Spider-Man game too but there is something that seems to be 'missing' so far to be the 'best' super-hero game or 'best' game of the year...
Spider-Man 2 was great at the time. It's interesting to hear how positive you are about it almost 15 years later to be honest; I didn't think it would have held up at all.
@get2sammyb Most of the game is really showing its age, but there is still some fun to be had with the web slinging. As I said, the fact that the system is still entertaining after so many years should mean a modern version will be awesome fun.
@LaNooch1978 I hope so!
Great piece. One thing this site lacks (and it more than makes up for it in other aspects) is retro features so this is a nice surprise.
I played the hell out of this game when it came out. A GTA-like where you play as Spider-Man? Absolutely made for 15 year old me.
There's no doubt in my mind that Insomniac's upcoming game will dethrone this one though. Not long to wait now!
I remember playing Spider-Man 2 non-stop when it released. It was so good. Especially the swing mechanics.
@roe definitely this will be the best spiderman game.word up son
i am not sure if Spider-Man hold up over Spider-Man 2, i think Spider-Man gonna be great game : Metacritics scores is at least 88 on Spider-Man
I see scores around 80 or above
There's one thing that will always make Spiderman 2 the best Spiderman game, the fact that it has Bruce Campbell in it 😂.
Also another fact future CoD developer Treyarch made the home console versions of Spiderman 2.
This sounds like what I expected. It was a great game would still be fun to swing value in. I have no doubt that the new Spider-Man will dethrone it though. It’s going to be much easier to play and the travail will be much more flexible and free-from now. It’s just insane it’s taken this long. Why they forgot everyone’s favorite thing about the Spider-Man games, the web swinging from SM2, I I’ll never understand, I mean really, no one stood up at the meetings and said let’s do the most popular thing about any Spider-Man game ever made in our new Spider-Man games. There were so many too.
I’m so glad this game is made.
All I want in the 2018 Spider-Man is non-repetitive side activities. I don't know if I've ever played a Spider-Man game where the side stuff wasn't repetitive and generic.
@darkswabber Finally someone said it <3.
"Oh no, Doctor Connors' class.
I got so caught up in what I was doing I forgot all about it.
He's gonna kill me."
Spider-Man 2 was a lot of fun back in the day. There was so much to do in it, with characters asking for help, various challenges, and lots to explore. Plus it had a good number of villains.
It won't be easy for the new game to beat Spider-Man 2. However, if the game is done right and has a lot of interesting optional things to do, then it has a chance at being the best Spider-Man game.
Spiderman 2 was an okay game - with the traversal it became fantastic. If that isnt replicated for the ps4 version, it cant possibly ever be as good.
@ToddlerNaruto if spiderman ps4 won’t get atleast 1 pizza time easter egg...
But knowing insomniac, it’s going to have multiple.
The web slinging is still great, but yeah... The level design, missions, and combat are pretty poor. Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction holds up much better.
I believe the new game will be even better and also will be a GOTY contender.
I replayed this about 4-5 years ago and thought it was still pretty fun. One of the few games I have replayed multiple times. I just love flinging my goo all over the place.
I love Spider-Man 2. Not only is it just a great game, but it also has some of the best wise-cracking moments for the character.
"Hey, Shocker. You look different somehow. Have you been reupholstered?"
Never played Spider Man 2, played the game based on the 1st movie. That game was pretty fun. Been years since I played that though.
@Rudy_Manchego I love to do that same thing in my spare time
@JoeBlogs It's possible to move Spidey with a degree of precision with enough practice, but I agree that the controls aren't what they used to be. I remember the side mission you're talking about - I used to avoid taking missions near the water in case it was a boat rescue!
@JoeBlogs I'm not really sure about that, to be honest. I think the picture quality can vary depending on what type of cable you're using, though.
@JoeBlogs @Quintumply There can be several factors, the cable (being analogue and not Digital), the TV and how it handles analogue and how good its upscaling is and there is the tech differences between a CRT and LCD/OLED that will be different too as well.
Also the fact that you are now looking at it from the perspective of seeing games that look absolutely amazing and going back to PS2 era where polygon counts were so low, textures were 'poor', draw distances were weak, lighting wasn't great etc let alone just the resolution drop.
I don't know what TV you have, whether you have to use a analogue to digital converter, whether its got great upscaling and/or image processor etc but the 'best' way to view PS2 games is on a CRT TV as the PS2 was built to send images to that tech. Modern TV's are different as well as having much greater resolution and predominantly built for digital too. There are quite a few things in the 'chain' that can affect the image quality from a PS2 to the final image on a modern TV.
@JoeBlogs I know its likely to be heavy, bulky etc but a CRT will give the 'best' image because the PS2 was designed for that tech and you won't have issues of upscaling or being out of sync with the screens refresh rate etc. Also I bet the screen is smaller too which also helps...
@LaNooch1978 I mean sure, at least it dissolves after a few hours...
@dark_knightmare2 It's a healthy hobby.
Spiderman 2 was always lauded because of it's web swinging but everything else was just average. Plus Tobey Maguire phoning it in as usual. Never liked him in the role anyway so thank god for Tom Holland and Spiderman Homecoming cos it actually did the character justice.
@JoeBlogs That is if you want to play it on a CRT of course. If you are going to be playing on a PS2 (and any other 'retro' console), then it would make sense but its a lot of effort if all you want to do is play the odd game for an hour or so.
If you have access to a good CRTV, that's definitely the best option unless it's showing any signs of aging.
If you have to play PS2 on an HDTV. it also depends on where you live. In the US, the best set-up is a good set of official Sony component cables. Plugged into an HDTV, it should look fine and will even give you access to 480p for the games that supported it. For me, the component cables really made most games look absolutely fantastic on my HDTV, but it really does vary from TV to TV. Otherwise, you probably want to go with an RGB connection. Buying a PS3 is also an option, but I don't know how good it upscales PS2 games.
You can find more information here: http://retrorgb.com/playstation.html
CRTV is still the best and simplest method though, if you still have access to one.
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