I’m already terrified of Spider-Man 2’s Venom suit

(Image credit: Insomniac)

Beyond the comics, it can be tough to remember the true malice of Venom. It’s been a long time since the maligned Spider-Man 3 brought Sam Raimi's take on the symbiote to life, and since then Venom has often been hosted in mainstream culture solely by the long-suffering Eddie Brock. Whether the darkly comic turn offered by Tom Hardy or the brutish outings of games like Marvel’s Midnight Suns, the character is expressed through its enduring host and their insatiable anger. But what I saw at the PlayStation showcase was far more scary – a slow, simmering rage.

From the moment Peter Parker appears in his symbiotically-modified suit, it’s clear he’s relishing a dark new power. As your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Peter does have a tendency to play with his food, stringing up his foes with a quick quip, but where appropriate, he often leaves them alone without too much long-term harm. Here, though, he’s angry from the very outset, tossing Kraven’s goons around with wrathful vigor. It’s a writhing, muscular moveset, robbed of the agility that makes Spider-Man so recognisable.

The anger and frustration within this version of the character extends from foe to friend. Miles Morales doesn’t even meet the symbiote before Peter is noticeably rude, cutting short a conversation to tell his protege to get to work. And when Miles does get to see the new look, Peter is terrifying; something reptilian, even Lovecraftian, lurking in the shadows with the bearing of a creature stalking its prey.

As the Marvel's Spider-Man 2 gameplay reveal runs towards its end, the idea of the hunter is written even larger. Peter leans towards the symbiote’s hunger, eyes pulsing as he warns Miles of his "big teeth". Venom is lurking just behind the mask, and while Peter remains apparently oblivious to his foul mood, it’s clear to Miles - and even the remote-working Ganke - that something is very wrong.

 Boss Bite 

Marvel's Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Insomniac)

A Venom boss fight is inevitable - as one of the quintessential Spidey villains, his role as antagonist has long-since been locked in. But before we get there, we'll have to work through the damage that the suit does to Peter's psyche, and look at what it does to the people around him. And it's likely we'll have to face that boss down multiple times throughout the game - fans are already theorizing a battle between Miles and Peter, and if the nod to Harry Osborne in yesterday's trailer is any indication, that probably won't be the only time we battle the symbiote.

Spider-man 2 has been preparing us for Venom for years, so it’s no surprise that Insomniac is ready to deliver. Yesterday’s showcase stemmed from a relatively early portion of the game, but the symbiote is already a noticeable threat. It’s an oozing, malevolent presence, looming in the game’s shadows. There’s plenty of story to tell - and potentially room for Venom’s awful family to show up too - but I already know that I won’t be playing Spider-Man 2 with the lights off. 

Once Peter takes off his black suit, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 could be pointing to a very different take on Venom.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.