Retrospective Review: Spider-Man 2 (2004)


If you can get past the crunchy graphics, low-res buildings and dated camera controls, Spider-Man 2 holds up to even Insomniac's latest release.

  • 9.5

In the space of 2 short years, we were hit by a holy trinity. Star Wars: Battlefront II, The Simpsons: Hit & Run, and Spider-Man 2. I revisited all of these games recently for that glorious hit of nostalgia and to honestly see if they still held up to today’s pretty high standards (I’m afraid I couldn’t type that last bit with a straight face), and although I certainly had a blast running through the Simpsons again and blasting some super battle droids, I was even more surprised at how incredible Spider-Man 2 felt after 10 or so years.

It might have been the nostalgia speaking or the remains of my brain after playing for 9 hours straight, but the game just FEELS better than anything I’ve played from the current gen. Take the web-slinging, for instance, because of course, it’s a Spider-Man game. Spider-Man 2 is the only Spider-Man game that has got it 100% right. Sorry about that, Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4. You’re good, but you automatically let go of the web when I’m at peak swing, and that really doesn’t butter my croissant.

On the PlayStation 2, you need to be good at the game to get the most out of it, and that is even more poignant when you realise that unless you get good at the game, it just straight up won’t let you progress. I was around 5 years old when I played Spider-Man 2 for the first time and I did not have the dexterity at that age to finish the story. Gosh, I barely had it to finish it at 21, but what I could enjoy was the movement. Treyarch (the developers) absolutely nailed it, so much so that even when you’re moving through the copy-pasted, low-res, blocky, city of Manhattan, it’s just as satisfying, if not more, than doing it as Miles Morales on the PlayStation 5.

They have it all: cool midair flips, variable speed, loopy loops, wall-running, pizza delivery, and it’s been available for the last 15 years, all while countless other Spider-Man games have tried and failed. There, you would just hold down the web-sling button and it would do it all for you, or you could web onto the sky. I don’t know about you mate, but if you fire a web, to then swing on the web, shouldn’t you need that web to attach to something other than the air? All I’m saying is that Spider-Man 2 holds up. Not aesthetically, not in the slightest, but mechanically, it’s the best Spider-Man game to ever come out. If you haven’t played it, dust off your old PlayStation 2, grab yourself a copy and wonder where you’ve been for the past 2 decades. I hope it surprises you as pleasantly as it did me.

I wish I could finish this up without referencing any massive issues with the game, but it appears some stupid child has lost their balloon…

Spider-Man 2 is available, well, probably on eBay. You can hear the nightmarish pizza theme below.


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Professional neckbeard and tall person, Josh (Shwowsh) Le Long is as proud of his game reviews as he is of his last name.

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