Web wings? A bazillion suits? Two Spider-Mans? In this economy? Yes, Spider-Man 2 is markedly different than its predecessors, 2018’s Spider-Man and 2020’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. There are new abilities, new mechanics, and nearly twice as much New York to explore than before.
As you prepare to don the tights of both Miles Morales and Peter in Spider-Man 2, the biggest thing you should know is that it’s not exactly like the previous games in the series. Below, we’ve cobbled together what’s new in Spider-Man 2.
There’s more than one Spider-Man
Peter Parker and Miles Morales share the spotlight in Spider-Man 2. Each has a slightly different playstyle (although they share gadgets and some skills), with unique abilities and looks.
Story missions separate each Spider-Man, with each mission requiring you to swap to one or the other. Some of the game’s more cinematic campaign missions will even swap you between them mid-mission.
As for the open world, you can swap at (almost) anytime while adventuring around, with near-instant load times. Many side missions and activities are locked to a specific Spider-Man, but there are a handful of side quests that you can play with either character.
The best part about multiple Spider-Mans is that the one you aren’t actively controlling still exists out in the open world. And while we’ve never seen Miles swinging around while we’ve been playing as Peter, we swung down to stop a crime in-progress only to find that Miles was already there, kickin’ ass.
Abilities are more prominent
The suit-specific Spider-Man super attack from the 2018 game has been replaced with a system more akin to Miles’ venom powers from the 2020 game. Each Spider-Man has a wheel of four abilities, which you activate by pressing down L1 and then hitting one of the face buttons.
Once activated, these abilities go on cooldown and you’ll need to wait a short duration until you can use it again. While each Spider-Man can only have four equipped powers to choose from, they’ll earn at least eight (two per slot) over the course of the campaign, with Peter wielding both his mechanic spider-arms and the symbiote suit and Miles still using his venom powers.
There are fewer gadgets, but they’re more impactful
Insomniac Games injected some Ratchet & Clank DNA into Spider-Man on PS4 by giving Peter a ton of fun Spidey gadgets to play with. Almost all of these are gone in Spider-Man 2. Instead, Peter and Miles both wield their traditional web-shooters and four special gadgets.
These gadgets work similarly to the abilities, but are on a charge system instead of just a cooldown. By tapping R1, you’ll use the traditional web-shooter, but holding R1 and then hitting a face button will give you a special gadget, like the rad ricochet webs. This system sounds more limiting, but it actually works quite a bit better, as you don’t accidentally launch a spider-bot out when you’re just trying to web someone to a wall.
Suits are purely cosmetic
In Spider-Man 2018, suits came with special powers, like the extremely powerful Web Blossom ability from the Classic Suit (repaired). And while you could decouple a power from its specific suit, you still had to unlock the Iron Spider suit to use the Iron Spider ability, just as an example.
In Spider-Man 2, buying suits is completely cosmetic. There are no powers or any kind of abilities tied to them, so you can unlock them (or not unlock them) at your leisure. Our list of all suits in Spider-Man 2 can show you how to unlock each suit.
Stealth is drastically improved
The protracted stealth sections, where you played as Miles or Mary-Jane, caught flack as being finicky and tedious in Spider-Man. Now Miles is fully powered up, so that’s not a problem anymore, but Mary-Jane is still a playable character, and thankfully much more capable.
MJ’s stealth sections are no longer instant-fail, and she starts with the stun gun she ended the first game with. In her handful of missions, she feels about as capable as any non-superhero can in each given situation, and her missions are actually enjoyable changes of pace, rather than an exercise in tedium.
Spider-Man 2 is more difficult than Spider-Man PS4
The original Spider-Man is a blast, but it’s also a game where you can button-mash your way through normal difficulty with absolutely no penalties. Spider-Man 2 does not take the same approach.
In Spider-Man 2, enemies have heavy attacks that you cannot dodge — if you try, they’ll track you or delay their hit until you are vulnerable. To deal with them, you’ll need to use the new parry mechanic, which requires you to tap L1 at the right moment to counter or block an enemy. (Don’t worry if you aren’t a fan of games that have parries, Spider-Man 2’s timing window is generous.) Eventually, the game also mixes in crushing attacks, which instead must be dodged. If you fail, you usually end up taking massive damage from a grapple attack.
Bosses use both types of moves, so you’ll need to stay on your toes and be ready to defend yourself. Even if you upgrade your health, bosses can kill you in just a handful of hits.
Manhattan isn’t the only borough
Manhattan was the only playable space in Spider-Man and Miles Morales, but Spider-Man 2 adds two new boroughs: Queens and Brooklyn. Across the East River, both Miles and Peter can explore completely new areas, which includes some more residential neighborhoods, like Astoria.
This means you’ll be crossing the river a lot, but, thankfully, there are multiple bridges to swing alongside or under.
Moving around New York is even faster
With a bigger city must come faster travel, and Spider-Man 2 delivers. The Web Wings are easily the most impactful addition, and while they only allow you to glide for a few seconds at a time before you lose height, it’s more than enough to cross the East River or Central Park if you set yourself up well.
Spider-Man 2 also features wind tunnels around the open world, which will essentially carry you to another location at incredible speeds. Several of the bridges even have these tunnels above or below them, allowing you to basically auto-pilot your way to Queens or Brooklyn and back.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning here that fast travel is extremely quick in Spider-Man 2. Once you complete enough activities in each district you’ll unlock the ability to fast travel there, and it’s nearly instant. There are no loading screens, and you’ll instead simply zoom out from where you are and zoom back in on where you want to be. It’s one of the most impressive things we’ve seen on the PS5 to date — second only to Insomniac’s previous game, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.