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11 beginner tips to know before starting Spider-Man 2 for PS5

Get started on the right web in Spider-Man 2 with our 11 tips and tricks

Peter hangs in the air with his mechanical spider arms in Spider-Man 2 Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Spider-Man 2 isn’t just “more Spider-Man” for you to swing into. Sure, it builds on some of the great things Insomniac Games established in 2018 with the original game and in 2020 with Miles Morales, but there’s so much new here that you’ll be learning a lot regardless of whether you’re a Spider-Veteran or a Spider-Newbie.

In this Spider-Man 2 guide, we’ve outlined 11 beginner’s tips that will help you thrive as you swing (and web wing!) your way through Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.

Pick the best Spider-Man for the job

Miles Morales acquires a sand crystal in Spider-Man 2 Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Miles and Peter have very different abilities in Spider-Man 2 — one of the few things that separates how each plays — and they can affect how you approach enemies.

An early example here is Sandman’s reflections, who you’ll fight at the very start of the game and as part of the Marko’s Memories side activity. Peter can beat on these sand monsters like normal, but Miles’ venom attacks kill them in a single hit. Later in the game, you’ll encounter some enemies that Peter is able to handle better than Miles, but we’ll let you discover that for yourself.

The important thing is to remember that you can swap between each Spider-Man at will, especially for a lot of the side content. So weigh the pros and cons of each before diving into an activity.

Focus on the story as much as you can

Peter Parker gets the Black Suit in Spider-Man 2 Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Spider-Man 2’s story moves, and it’s packed with entertaining missions. But more importantly, playing through the story is how you unlock almost every main power and activity in the game.

We recommend sticking to the story for a while — especially in the early hours — as it’ll help you unlock the ability to pick up collectibles like the Spider-Bots or do side activities like the Cultural Museum. If you focus on side content instead, you’ll only have access to a handful of Peter’s and Miles’ abilities.

On the flip side, because Spider-Man 2 is more difficult than the first game, side content will give you the currency you need to keep pace with the game’s bosses. There’s a balance you’ll need to strike here, but overall, we recommend mainlining the story at the very least until Peter acquires the Black Suit.

Stop random crimes whenever they show up

Stopping crime is kind of your entire job when you’re Spider-Man, but the random crimes that appear in the world are purely optional in Spider-Man 2. These random crimes are extremely lucrative. They offer a ton of XP and Tech Parts, both of which you’ll need to upgrade the best skills for Peter and Miles.

These crimes typically take only a minute or two to complete, and are always well worth your time.

Practice parrying and dodging early

An enemy attacks with a heavy attack in Spider-Man 2 Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Spider-Man 2 is significantly more difficult than either Spider-Man (2018) or Spider-Man: Miles Morales. This is largely due to the addition of the parry mechanic and unblockable “crushing” attacks.

The game will introduce you to parrying very early, but crushing attacks won’t come in until later, shortly after you get the Black Suit. These attacks hit extremely hard, and have oddly similar warning signs.

Learn these signs as early as you can, and practice either parrying or dodging them, as later-game bosses will throw them around extremely frequently. If you’re not cautious, a boss can take either Miles or Peter down in just a few hits, so start practicing on enemies as early as you can.

Save combat-focused story challenges for later

Spider-Man 2 is an action game, but it’s also an RPG, and each Spider-Man you control will grow more powerful as you level up and unlock new skills and gadgets. Some of the activities — like the timed Mysteriums — are clearly designed with a higher-level Spider-Man in mind. But there are no level requirements in the game, so it’s up to you to decide when you tackle side activities.

Some of these missions can be very tight or feel nearly impossible at low levels. However, when you have fully upgraded your suit tech and gadgets, the game is an absolute breeze. If you’re ever struggling with something (including a story boss), consider stepping away, leveling up, and coming back later.

Unlock fast travel for each neighborhood

A look at the map of Greenwich in Spider-Man 2
The Greenwich neighborhood in Spider-Man 2’s Manhattan.
Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

New York is much bigger in Spider-Man 2, thanks to the addition of Brooklyn and Queens. And while there are quite a few ways to get around the world quickly (thanks, Web Wings), you can also use the lightning-fast fast travel to get from one side of New York to the other in literal seconds.

However, you do have to unlock fast travel by completing activities in each neighborhood. We recommend unlocking fast travel in at least one district in each borough (Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens), so you can speed around quickly when you don’t feel like gliding over the East River.

Spend your skill points equally

There are three individual skill trees in Spider-Man 2: one for Miles, one for Peter, and one that’s shared between them. The shared skill tree is obviously where you should start out, as it allows you to unlock some basic abilities that will help you no matter who you’re playing as.

However, each individual Spider-Man tree houses a ton of power for Peter and Miles. It’s absolutely worth investing points to fully unlock all of Miles’ and Peter’s abilities as early as possible, so you’re able to fill all four of their slots.

Spread the love as you go with your skill points, and don’t make the same mistake we did, where we focused entirely too much on the shared tree at first and missed out on some of the best skills for Miles and Peter.

But invest in Peter’s Symbiote powers

A menu showing Peter’s Symbiote Yank: Empowered upgrade in Spider-Man 2 Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

We won’t tell you what happens in Spider-Man 2 regarding the Black Suit, but if you’re worried about investing in Peter’s symbiote powers only to lose them: don’t be.

Spider-Man 2 eventually offers some clever ways to reward you for investing in all of Peter’s skills, even the symbiote ones. No skill points will be wasted by the time you finish the campaign.

Don’t neglect your gadgets

Spider-Man upgrades his gadgets in Spider-Man 2 Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

With cool symbiote and venom powers, and mechanical spider arms to beat people down with, it can be easy to not want to invest in your web gadgets. But some of these items are extremely powerful, especially as you upgrade them.

For example, the Impact Web gadget from 2018 isn’t in the sequel, but the final upgrade for your web shooters causes your normal webs to launch enemies back if you web them up point-blank. The Ricochet Web upgrade is expensive if you’re not doing a lot of side content, but it’s well worth the cost.

Ultimately, these gadgets are meant to be used in tandem with your other Spidey abilities, so make sure you upgrade them whenever you can.

Level up your Focus meter as soon as possible

Suit tech upgrades are critical for improving each Spider-Man. They let you deal more damage with every punch, swing faster, or just take a bigger beating before you go down. But one of the best Suit Tech upgrades you can get in Spider-Man 2 is for your Focus bar.

Focus is a resource you generate mid-combat, and you can use it to either do a finishing move that instantly KOs an enemy, or heal yourself. The second upgrade for your Focus meter actually gives you a second bar of Focus that you can generate, which is extremely useful.

Not only does this second bar let you generate enough focus to heal twice in a row, but it also allows you to deal finishing blows to heavy enemies and even bosses. Just be cautious that you don’t spend all your Focus finishing bosses, as you’ll be completely out of healing options until you generate more.

You can skip puzzles if you’re struggling

A puzzle in Spider-Man 2 where you have to splice genes Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Spider-Man 2 doesn’t have an equivalent of Doctor Octavius’ lab where you can go do prism puzzles, or the circuit minigame that’s basically just the hacking interface from BioShock. Both of those puzzles are gone, replaced with a bonding puzzle and a molecule puzzle.

Each of these puzzle types is pretty simple to deal with, and I only found one that made me scratch my brain for a few seconds. However, if you don’t enjoy puzzles or you find yourself getting stuck, you can open the menu and hit the “Skip Puzzle” button at any time with absolutely no consequences.

There are some activities in the game (like the bee minigame) that you can also skip if you find them difficult or frustrating.

For more Spider-Man 2 guides, here’s where to find all Spider-Bot locations, how to unlock all suits, and a list of all trophies.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.