Spider-Man 2's spectacle looks amazing, but I want to see more of its GTA 5-style character switching

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

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 closed out Sony's jam-packed PlayStation Showcase with aplomb. In 12 or so minutes of combined cinematic and in-game footage, it looks bigger and bolder than its forerunner in ways we could probably dissect from now all the way to its tentative "Fall 2023" release date. I'm still reeling from how cool the symbiote suit looks in motion, and I cannot wait to explore its living and breathing world beyond the boundaries of Manhattan this time around, into other areas of NYC, such as Queens. 

But beneath its glamorous, high-octane facade, one feature I'm now desperate to see more of is its "near instant" switching between its playable characters in Peter Parker and Miles Morales.

Switch it up

Marvel's Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Insomniac)

Kraven in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 hangs out of deadly chopper.

(Image credit: Insomniac/PlayStation)

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 trailer introduces Kraven, shows off Symbiote suit

After bashing a bunch of bad guys in a suburban backyard near the beginning of yesterday's gameplay footage, Peter Parker realizes the forces for good are required across the city. "I'm not going to make it in time," he says matter-of-factly, before a prompt lines the foot of the screen. [Press square to] Switch to Miles, it reads, and, just like that, the action is thrown to Peter's mate on the other side of town. Given the switch occurs in the midst of a cutscene, the move feels scripted in this instance, but there's a tiny bit more divulged on the PlayStation Blog:

"... Speaking of which, this sequel features not one but two playable Spider-Heroes, as Miles Morales returns in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and is a key player in our story. In this demo, Miles is in Harlem hot on Lizard’s tail. Speed is of the essence in many ways than one. First, get a glimpse at the near-instant switching between both our playable Spider-Men." 

Even as it's worded there, it remains to be seen what said 'near-instant' switching really means. If it's prompted, like in the above scenario, yeah that's pretty cool enough. But if we're able to do so on the fly, and at will whenever we like, then I think that could be a massive deal.

Being able to switch between Franklin, Michael and Trevor in GTA 5's story mode has long been a great way to push circumstantial, heat-of-the-moment, inadvertent chaos within missions, and so the thought of being able to do so while hurtling through the air at speed sounds amazing. Getting the drop on dozens of unsuspecting foes while dotting back and forth between Miles and Peter sounds perfect for stealth aficionados; while working through Taskmaster's trans-city time-trials with an extra hand could prove invaluable. 

Lizard attacks Miles Morales in Marvel's Spider-Man 2.

(Image credit: Insomniac /PlayStation)

"You’ll seamlessly switch between both Spider-Men across a variety of story moments in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2."

On a more superficial level, I love the idea of being able to switch up my style, look and personality – and exploration and combat – with a touch of a button, without accessing menus and tinkering with aesthetic features such as abilities and costume choices. The suggestion of co-op in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 was shot down by Insomniac earlier this week, much to the dismay of some players, but the ability to switch characters relatively seamlessly in and out of action, I imagine, would bridge that disappointment for many. 

Later, the PlayStation Blog post says this: "You’ll seamlessly switch between both Spider-Men across a variety of story moments in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. We want players to bask in iconic team-ups elevated by our signature set piece moments, and experience the story from the perspective of each Spider-Man." 

Which might point closer to story-tied switching, but it's still left (I presume intentionally) ambiguous at this point nevertheless. One of the most disappointing things about Spidey 2's PlayStation Showcase outing was the absence of a concrete release date. It's still on-course to land at some point in "Fall 2023", and Insomniac later followed up to say the Spider-Man 2 release date reveal is coming "soon". We'll likely hear more on character switching before then, but even if we don't, it appears we've not long to wait before testing it out ourselves. 

Even with a few big hitters missing, the PlayStation showcase was nearly perfect

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.