Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Bad Things About Spider-Man 2


I don’t need to tell you the good things bout Marve’s Spider-Man 2 on the PS5. It’s Nw Year’s Eve 2023, the game’s been out for over two months, and plenty of people have talked about all the good things in it. I mean, the game is like 98% good things! So, after 100%ing it (not Platniuming, I don’t have that kind of free time), here’s where I think it missed.

1: The Triangle Activate Button.

One of the things I like about Insomniac games is that they’re always easy to play. Insomniac is great at interpreting player intent for the most part and doing what you want to do in most situations where you indicate you want to do them. Which is why the activate button behavior os so weird.

Why, oh why does it need you to be a certain distance and pointed a certain way to work? I’m standing near the thing. There’s NOTHING ELSE I could possibly want to doing except opening this box, accessing this panel, placing this sonic charge, whatever. NOTHING. But I gotta be lined up just so before the dot saying “yeah you can press triangle here” turns into a triangle so I can press triangle there. Maddening.

2. The multi-stage boss fights.

I don’t necessarily mind a multi-stage boss fight as such. What I don’t like is first, a multi-stage boss fight where the strategy doesn’t materially change between stages (Spider-Man 2) and also multi-stage boss fights where there’s no indication how many stages there are because each stage has its own health bar for the boss (also Spider-Man 2). The only reason to make these boss fights this long are to make room for all the EMOTIONAL STORY BEATS they want to have during the boss fight, which, OK, but then give me one health bar so I can see how close I’m actually getting to winning, and also make the stages shorter so, when I emerge from a cutscene to learn the boss fight is still going on, I don’t groan at the thought of five more minutes of dodge dodge dodge parry attack special special.

3. It’s too long.

The ending is a slog, again, because they have a set quantity of story beats they want to hit, and it’s too many, and also the story beats are drawn out by long boss fight stages and intermediate goon fights. The finale could have lost 30-60 minutes, easy, and I’d have been happier.

4. A little too much game for the mechanics.

After two full long games of this, there’s only so many things you can accomplish with the game’s standard mechanics. That means you end up with a LOT of situations where swinging, gliding, and punching goons are a METAPHOR for internal struggle or used as a way to solve problems that aren’t really solved naturally by swinging, gliding, and punching goons. The only way I can come to terms, emotionally, with my reviled nemesis and my lust for revenge? Play through a series of goon fights! I get it, but you do it too much and it really starts to become noticeable and distracting.

Still tons of fun and still my absolute favorite open-world game because it’s the most linear open-world game ever made (that may be another post) but a few flaws.

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