‘Spider-Man 2’ Doesn’t Swing to New Heights, But It Doesn’t Have To


The stealth in Spider-Man 2 is more inventive than it was in the first game. You can now create a web tightrope from one wall to the other, allowing you to get the drop on your opponents. This is a lifesaver in the massive gang hideouts, where the guards are walking their patrol routes far away from where you’re perched. You have a choice on how to clear a given area, and are not locked into a predetermined routine.

When compared to Spider-Man 1, the combat in Spider-Man 2 is better by how it introduces a new parrying system—you no longer dodge everything. Instead, there are some heavy attacks, with a wide, sweeping range, that must be parried, which will stun the opponent and leave him open to a follow-up attack. This mix of strategies enhances the game’s boss fights, which feel more strategic and thoughtful rather than simply hitting the dodge button whenever your Spidey Sense tingles.

Additions are nice. But unfortunately, several of the old gadgets, which I loved in the prior games, are no longer there. An unfortunate side effect of eliminating the weapons wheel—of streamlining everything and mapping every gadget to its own button—is that it sacrifices variety. There’s no Web Bombs or Trip Mines or Impact Webs or Holo-Drones. I love the new stuff the developers put in. But I wish they were in addition to what was already there, rather than replacements.