- Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is the upcoming sequel to Insomniac Games’ critically acclaimed take on the character that surpassed previous iterations.
- Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, the most criminally underrated game featuring Spider-Man presented a fascinating world and truly brilliant gameplay mechanics.
- Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2 features the Black Suit and Venom, which is a good opportunity to utilize Web of Shadows’ masterful portrayal of these factors.
Before Insomniac’s involvement, Spider-Man games walked a line of “good, but not great“. There were sleeper hits among them though, like the comic-style Ultimate Spider-Man, the original multiversal experience of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, and the horror-esque symbiote fest of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. Still, the character couldn’t shake off the mediocre entries when it came to video games.
After Insomniac Games took the mantle and developed the magnificent Marvel’s Spider-Man, the character’s popularity among gamers soared to new heights. Now we know what Insomniac is capable of, and thus the hype is at an all-time high as Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 approaches release. And since the game’s bringing back the Black Suit, it could do great by taking inspiration from the highly underappreciated Web of Shadows.
Insomniac Crafted An Unmatched Spider-Man Adventure
First, PS1’s Spider-Man started a golden legacy. And when Insomniac picked up the character, we saw the steady development and refinement over time bear fruit as it all culminates in Marvel’s Spider-Man. Insomniac carefully crafted an epic adventure. Taking cues from both prior Spider-Man games, as well as other superhero games like the Arkham series, Insomniac’s take presented a high degree of polish, and they promise even better for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
With the most refined and satisfying web-swinging ever seen in video games that you’ll spend hours enjoying, the game brings a highly memorable story with beloved and well-written characters. Alongside comes a great combat system that is much more complex than it seems at first. Dodge enemies with Spidey’s lightning reflexes, throw around and juggle enemies with his mobility and utilize the brand-new gadgets Insomniac put in.
The next game; Spider-Man: Miles Morales was equally charming if not superior. Miles’s growth is quite apparent as he gets used to the new life and ends up fully embracing it. With the unique Bio-electricity powers at his disposal, the combat although follows the same scheme, seems a breath of fresh air and a unique experience. Couple that with the highly addicting web-swinging and a short but impactful story, and you have the perfect Spider-Man game that showcases how Insomniac surpassed all previous iterations.
However, it’s not like the past games have no charming points. When it comes to Spider-Man games, there is a little something for every taste. For fans of the movies, there are movie adaptations that closely cover their events in an open-world setting. Subsequently, there are standalone adventures with a great deal of variety, like the comic-inspired, cel-shaded Ultimate Spider-Man that packs a lot of punch with its creative art style and gameplay.
In addition, we have Spider-Man Friend or Foe; a Beat ’em up game with unorthodox enemies-turned-temporary allies set in a brilliant co-op journey. Last but not least, cross-dimensional and multiversal games for fans of a Spidey team up; Edge of Time and Shattered Dimensions. The prior features the Amazing and 2099 variants, whereas the latter brings four different Spider-Men in a Spiderverse-like experience. Excellent adventures as they are, Insomniac’s take is still a notch above all.
Web Of Shadows Remains The Most Underrated Gem
Being a long-time fan of the character, especially in video games, I’ve made sure not to miss any prominent title, and even among them, Web of Shadows holds a special place for me. It’s no doubt Insomniac’s version is brilliantly done and I eagerly look forward to Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, but Web of Shadows even surpasses it for me in certain fields, and I believe it deserves more recognition among the fanbase.
The overall presentation of the game packs a solid punch. As soon as you begin, you’re greeted with a cutscene depicting a splendid post-apocalyptic style Manhattan and SHIELD agents fighting against what seems to be a horde of symbiotes, and Spider-Man makes his entrance. This serves as a tutorial, and after being captured by an unknown entity, time turns back to explain how it all happened.
I freakin’ love how the intro to Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, one of the most somber openings to any of the other Spidey games out there & one of my personal favorite Spidey games of all time, has essentially become top-tier meme material. I guess the more exposure, the better. 😂 pic.twitter.com/TVhBCvZ7hq
— Evan Filarca (@EvanFilarca) February 15, 2020
The introduction does a great job to hook you in. Afterward, you are given a well-designed open world with impressive web-swinging to navigate. Soon, you obtain the iconic Black Suit after confronting Venom, and this is where the true fun begins. The game gives you the ability to freely switch between the two suits; the classic red suit boasts incredible speed and reflexes, while the black suit is for overwhelming power.
The combat is the true highlight of the game. You have a myriad of different combos for both suits, that are incredibly satisfying to activate. It had the best implementation of the Web Strike ability. The enemies could counter your attack if you didn’t take measures, and once it connects, it can be channeled into epic follow-up combos. The game’s Web Strike could be an effective addition to Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
Alongside came the detailed aerial and wall combat, all of which have an unbelievably versatile moveset. With two suits, you not only had two completely different playstyles, but also an ingenious morality system. For every major situation of the story, you were presented with a choice, either retaining your will or succumbing to the symbiote’s influence, which affected the ending and the company you keep.
Your allies could be heroes like Wolverine, Luke Cage, and Moon Knight, or villains like Rhino, Vulture, and Black Cat, based on your current alignment. In addition, the game has a highly memorable story that story builds towards that post-apocalyptic beginning, as Venom slowly turns the peaceful city into a complete Symbiote nest, and that gradual development is a sight to behold.
I might be a little biased when discussing this game, considering it’s my personal favorite. But I still admit it had some fairly noticeable flaws. The first is the visuals which are quite poor even by the standard of the era. In addition, the gameplay elements feel clunky at times which can ruin the combo execution too. However, nothing is without flaws and I believe Web of Shadows is enormous when it comes to merits.
Web Of Shadows’ Black Suit Potrayal Could Fit Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Perfectly
No one doubts Insomniac‘s mastery, as the games’ insane demand forced Sony to deliver PC ports, and indeed Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is in good hands. But, seeing that the game places a strong focus on the Black Suit and Venom, I can’t help but draw a comparison to Web of Shadows and hope that game’s ingenious mechanics appear in Insomniac’s magnificent creation to some extent.
We see the black suit in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 possessing vastly different moves, and so the change could become the foundation to introduce charming abilities like Web of Shadows’ AOE tendril swipes, ground pounds, crushing web strikes, and highly refined aerial and wall combat. The latter is a critical piece missing from Insomniac’s direction and it’s the perfect opportunity to bring it in.
Another important thing is to switch between the two different suits and their abilities. We’re not sure what direction the story will take in the end, but if they provide a valid reason for suppressing the symbiote’s influence and then later introduce the ability to quickly swap suits on the fly like Web of Shadows does, it would be a great mechanic. It also opens up the possibility of mixing combos to bring a lot more variety.
That’s not all there is to learn. From the trailer, it is apparent the symbiote alters Peter’s personality to a great extent. His characterization and voice acting are brilliantly depicting this gradual change to a more violent and rageful nature. Thus, Web of Shadows’ morality system could be a great addition to the game. Suppressing your hateful urges and forgiving enemies can set you on the path of righteousness while submitting to them is reflected in the consequences.
Web of Shadows presented a world that gradually developed with perfection, alongside the excellent characterization of Venom that slowly turned the bustling town into a symbiote-infested wasteland. I’m sure Insomniac’s world-building is nothing to scoff at, but taking inspiration from Venom’s portrayal and development can be a good addition to this game.
Insomniac did an epic job with the past two Spider-Man games, and the hype for the next entry has gone through the roof because of that. We have two enormous projects from the studio to look forward to; Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Marvel’s Wolverine. Both of these entries have magnificent predecessors that the developer can take hints from, and create peerless masterpieces.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 arrives exclusively for PS5 on October 20, 2023.
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