Despite breaking records on release, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 awards were something left unseen at The Game Awards
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has been a game that gamers have anxiously been waiting for 5 years now. The hype was so big that it broke records for being the fastest-selling game in the PlayStation store. Fans quickly assumed the game would win the Game of The Year. Those fans were met with glee when they found out the game had seven nominations. However, as it turned out, the game eventually won none of them.
The game has however reached the hearts of many fans around the world. Sony themselves ranked it their Game of The Year. While others gave it their People Choice Awards.
Here’s what we think went wrong for the game and how the game could have been improved to have won at least one nomination. However, we will not be focusing on each nomination. Instead, we’ll look into aspects of the game that held it back from winning an award. Also, spoilers ahead.
Spider-Man 2’s Story and Run Time:
Considering Baldur’s Gate 3 won this year’s Game of the Year Award, it is no surprise that the biggest issue Spider-Man 2 faces is its run time. Baldur’s Gate boasts an astonishing run time of 52-102 hours. Spider-Man’s main story is only 17 hours long and 27 hours for a 100% completion. The game is as large as its predecessor, Marvel’s Spider-Man. However, that game could pull off being shorter as it focused on one singular Spider-Man. This game, however, does not share the same luxury. This is primarily due to:
The Game has Two Protagonists:
The game focuses on both Peter Parker and Miles Morales’ stories.
Peter Parker’s story focuses on him trying to find a job and then getting reunited with his childhood best friend, Harry Osborn. He also gains the symbiote halfway through the game and it brings along its own set of issues in his personal life.
Miles, on the other hand, was focusing on writing a college essay while still being burdened with the responsibilities of being Spider-Man. He struggles to balance his double life and it is only made worse when his father’s killer Martin Li is set on the loose by Kraven
The Game has Two Main Villains:
Speaking of Kraven, he is one of the two main villains the game features. Venom is the second. While Kraven gets most of the focus in the game, Venom quickly becomes sidelined due to the lack of time to fully draw out his plotline.
Lack of Breathing Room:
At times, the story feels rushed due to the game's short run time. Plot lines seem to resolve out of nowhere without a satisfying conclusion. The story does not let the player stay in a big emotional scene for long and quickly tries to move on. Additionally, random, unexplained power-ups happen to both characters at various times throughout the game.
Miles gains blue electric powers without an explanation. It even seems like the story tries to address it at times but then forgets it mid-way and moves on.
Peter also gets the Anti-Venom suit near the end of the game because Martin Li gives his powers to him. However, it's never explained as to why Li’s powers turned the black symbiote into an anti-symbiote in the first place.
If the game was even four or five hours longer, the story beats could have fit in nicely. That would have given it more of a structure rather than feeling like something was missing. The extended run-time alone could have allowed for the game to win not just Game of the Year but also the Best Narrative and Game Direction Awards.
With every open-world game, side content is a given. The same is true for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. The game has a wide variety of side content ranging from fixing rogue drones to tracking enemy bases. However, they all follow the same formula and have no real implications for the overall story bar one. This results in repetitive gameplay which becomes boring fast. A more engaging catalog of side content would add to the intrigue of the open world. Allowing more incentive to explore the beautiful City of New York.
The game greatly improved upon the previous combat system with the addition of abilities for each Spider-Man. However, the game also removed a fan-favorite part of the first game, the gadgets. In Spider-Man 1, Peter had a diverse arsenal of gadgets that helped him in combat. Even the Miles Morales game had gadgets more suited to Miles. This game however got rid of all those previously loved gadgets and replaced them with four new ones. The new ones fail to come close to the ones that came before, unfortunately. Adding to that, the gadgets were something that made Peter and Miles each feel more unique.
In a similar vein, after Miles’ game was released, it introduced his Venom blast abilities. These added a new layer of depth to the combat. People rightly wondered what would Peter’s equivalent be in this game. The answer was the robotic spider arms Peter installed in his suit. However, the arms appear out of nowhere with no explanation provided as to how Peter developed them. Moreover, these arms were outmatched by Miles’ more diverse range of abilities and fell flat as a result. Peter does not start feeling fun to play until the Symbiote suit is unlocked.
Finally, the game does not allow the player to choose their custom wheel of abilities but are forced to swap one ability for another. For example, Peter can either use a symbiote punch or an anti-symbiote bomb but not both.
The Game Award Results Overall
The game was not bad by any means despite not winning any awards. The game still provides an excellent Spider-Man story but lacks the polish the first game did. Unfortunately, it was up against games that had been released earlier this year. Each boasts its uniqueness rendering a not-so-different sequel, the loser. Hopefully, Insomniac can learn from their hitches in this game and improve in Marvel’s Spider-Man 3.