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The student news site of New Trier High School

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The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

‘Spider-Man 2’ game builds upon previous success to keep players captivated

Gripping story, engaging combat, and versatile traversal system make for a great playing experience
Promotion image for Spider-Man 2 (via Playstation)


Very few sequels ever live up to the brilliance of their predecessors. “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” headlined by LeBron James, was a pitiful excuse for a movie, and effectively ruined the masterpiece that was the original. Reduced-Fat Pringles are a flat-out disgrace when compared to their delicious, crispy, salty, and overall savory forefather, the original Pringle. 

So, when I downloaded Marvel’s new “Spider-Man 2” video game on PlayStation 5, I expected to come across yet another victim of this sequel curse. I expected a lackluster story, shallow characters, copy-and-pasted fight mechanics, and an overall underwhelming experience. Even before I had clicked a single button, I had already resigned myself to the fact that this game was probably going to be bad. 

However, what I found upon playing the game was something drastically different than what I expected. In the dark abyss of sequels, I found “Spider-Man 2” to be a faint glimmer of light that pierced the pervasive gloom, much like Spider-Man is to the city of New York. I entered my experience as a naive little boy who believed that sequels were doomed for inadequacy. I left as a mature young man who understands that good things can indeed happen to good people. 

The most common mistake that sequels make is that they try to change too much. They lose the formula that made them successful and try to reinvent themselves, an exercise that often proves futile. “Spider-Man 2,” on the other hand, does not fall into this trap. It keeps the elements of the previous game that users fell in love with and, instead of tinkering with them, builds upon them. 

I found “Spider-Man 2” to be a faint glimmer of light that pierced the pervasive gloom, much like Spider-Man is to the city of New York

In particular, the traversal system (how players in the game travel) was a highlight of the original, but comes back with new vigor in the sequel. Web-slinging through the streets of New York remains an exhilarating activity, but with the addition of the web wings, a new layer of depth was added to an already incredible experience. Other game developers need to take notes: what works should remain, but meticulously added accessories can elevate the game to previously unimaginable heights.

Additionally, much like the original game, “Spider-Man 2” possesses a captivating storyline, complete with character development that truly grips the player and allows them to forge genuine connections with the avatars. In fact, at multiple points within this game, I felt compelled to reach through my TV screen and put my hand on the back of Peter Parker’s shoulder to console him and reassure him that everything would be alright in the end. His character arc oscillates between instability and intense determination, with each up and down proving to be a difficult journey to navigate. Further, Kraven and Venom serve as formidable antagonists that present an ample challenge that is, at moments, frustrating, but also extremely rewarding once conquered. 

The game also introduced new fight mechanics, which the player can wield upon acquiring the venom and antivenom suit. These additions have palpable effects; I quite literally felt a surge of power and insidiousness course through my body when I first donned these suits, and I used their previously unknown abilities to the fullest extent possible. I utterly dominated enemies with my refined-yet-completely-barbarous attributes, for this symbiote version of Peter Parker would not hold back from completely slaughtering his enemies. 

Alas, despite my immense love for this game, I must still comment on its faults. The most blatantly negative aspect of this game was the character of Miles Morales: his portion of the story felt forced, and it seemed to me that there was no natural flow to his development. A prime example of this can be found as his love interest is being attacked by symbiote-infected civilians. After saving her, Morales immediately asks her out on a date. Any reasonable person understands that this is no time to pursue a relationshipafter all, there is a city to save. But, because the storyboard creators at Insomniac deemed it necessary to force this love story upon its players, he nonetheless did it, much to my chagrin. 

However, despite my grievance with Morales’ character, I was nonetheless dazzled by this game. My father likes to tell me that a true man knows how to admit when he is wrong. So, here I stand, admitting that I was wrong about sequels. There can be good ones. There is hope for the future. And the Spider-Man video game saga will live on forever.

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