I thought Spider-Man 2 couldn't match the first game – it took less than 10 seconds to change my mind

Marvel's Spider-Man 2
(Image credit: Sony)

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 was certain to poke its head above the parapet during the latest PlayStation Showcase, and when it did, it didn't disappoint. In over 12 minutes of mixed gameplay and cinematic footage, we saw two of the supervillains Peter Parker and Miles Morales will lock horns with in their latest combined adventure – Kraven the Hunter and The Lizard – and we got a glimpse of some of the new moves they'll bust out to break skulls, sail through the skies, and skirt across bodies of gorgeously-rendered water while dodging bullets, missiles, and various other deadly projectiles. 

I've played through the first of Insomniac's Marvel's Spider-Man games on PS4 twice since its 2018 launch, and both times I've been totally bowled over by one particular section: its Rykers Island prison break level. Towards the end of 2021, in fact, I wrote about how Rykers Island was my absolute favorite part of Spider-Man, and asked: can Spider-Man 2 match its spectacle? Not that the original game is boring before this point, but it's at this juncture that the game blows wide open, giving us a series of blockbuster set-pieces and narrative forks that, for my money, rival anything we've seen from Spidey's larger-than-life Hollywood adaptations and its comic book source material previously. 

After less than 10 seconds of Marvel's Spider-Man 2 in motion, however, and I'm already certain Insomniac has succeeded in going bigger and bolder than ever before.


Marvel's Spider-Man 2 PS5 gameplay screenshot

(Image credit: SIE)

Going into the PlayStation Showcase, we already knew that Kraven The Hunter will be Sony's first R-rated Marvel movie when it lands later this year, which, combined with what we also know about the character's comic book origins, paints a pretty vivid picture. This guy's a bastard, basically. He's dark, meticulous and moody, even by Marvel bad guy standards, and that's how Insomniac and PlayStation chose to kick off their Marvel's Spider-Man 2 gameplay footage. 

And then, bang. We were thrown forward six months, out of the jungle and into the sun-kissed city, snaking through the peaks of the New York City skyline from the viewpoint of a military-grade drone. There was mention of Queens, an area well out of bounds in OG PS4 Spider-Man, and then we were down among the football fields and the leafy streets of a suburban neighborhood. "The beast could be anywhere," said a soldier-type carrying an assault rifle as he and his cronies piled out of an armored truck. Peter Parker, dressed as Spider-Man but augmented with the black symbiote suit, burst from a cellar entrance, landed in the backyard, and then started raining pain on his uninvited guests.

This involved the main man using the Spider-Man Symbiote suit's myriad abilities to great effect – from hurling himself in the air with Doc Oc-esque tentacle propulsion, to using the same bio-engineered appendages to slam enemies into the ground, grab multiple foes at once, and generally offer mammoth power boosts as he picked off his prey one-by-one. From when Parker first smashed through the basement door, to his seamless transition into combat and unleashing the symbiote suit, I counted eight, maybe nine, seconds. Three years of doubt and uncertainty since Miles' DLC was washed away in less than 10 seconds.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 PS5 gameplay screenshot

(Image credit: SIE)

One of the things I adored most about the Rykers Island level in the first Marvel's Spider-Man was the simple fact it took us to an area otherwise inaccessible to the player beforehand. This game's open-world is stunning and sprawling, but because of this, the urge to see more is hard to shake. Rykers offered a glimpse of the world beyond the sandbox boundaries, and the carnage driven by a literal prison break was as chaotic as you'd expect.  

The above standoff in some poor sod's backyard was hardly the same in spectacle terms, but it did share similar tenets. In a breakneck blur, we were shown what the new symbiote suit is capable of in the heat of action; we got a glimpse at how fluid combat is, this time built natively for the PS5's technical capabilities; and, of course, we learned that Peter and Miles are no longer confined to the busy borough of Manhattan. And while I get that all of this is engineered to excite would-be players like myself, it definitely worked. 

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 topped our PlayStation Showcase predictions list ahead of the show. With a tentative, but reiterated, launch date of "Fall 2023", it was a dead-cert to show itself over the course, but, given how little we've seen of it since its official reveal almost two years ago, it needed to impress. It did exactly that, and it did so very quickly. And now the march towards the end of the year feels longer than ever before. 

Here's everything announced at the PlayStation Showcase 2023

Joe Donnelly
Features Editor, GamesRadar+

Joe is a Features Editor at GamesRadar+. With over seven years of experience working in specialist print and online journalism, Joe has written for a number of gaming, sport and entertainment publications including PC Gamer, Edge, Play and FourFourTwo. He is well-versed in all things Grand Theft Auto and spends much of his spare time swapping real-world Glasgow for GTA Online’s Los Santos. Joe is also a mental health advocate and has written a book about video games, mental health and their complex intersections. He is a regular expert contributor on both subjects for BBC radio. Many moons ago, he was a fully-qualified plumber which basically makes him Super Mario.