Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 was revealed at the PlayStation Showcase yesterday as just one of two titles developer Insomniac is currently working on. It seems that Insomniac really lives up to its name, but that’s the bottom line. It seems that the main antagonist of the game is the fearsome symbiote Venom. The giant creature is the opposite of Spider-Man in every way. He’s tall, big, jumps high instead of shooting, and… oh yeah, he cannibals.
That’s why I wanted Insomniac to put me in the driver’s seat behind that monstrous force of nature.
A rare opportunity
I will say the gaming journalist is extremely generic and commend Insomniac for the work it has done on the Spider-Man games so far, because they really make the player feel like a webslinger. The style and fluidity of Spider-Man’s movements, his gadgets and combat mechanics as well as the developer’s flawless web surfing implementation all show it. Now imagine for a moment, if you will, what it would be like if Insomniac lent Venom that trick to Venom, an incredibly powerful and monstrous character.
Venom has been playable in previous games, with my favorite iteration of the symbiote back in 2005. Ultimate Spider-Man on PlayStation 2. This game has a select number of developers behind it, including Beenox, Treyarch, and Vicarious Visions, and they’ve combined to create one of the most compelling versions of the game. Venom in a game. While he Ultimate Spider-ManAs the villain, he can also be unlocked as a playable character, adding a whole new way to explore and interact with the New York City version of the game. Venom can jump to the top of buildings, steer cars, and have a combo that ends in bending a target until their back snaps in half with an amazing crack. My 10 year old self loved it.
In terms of its incredibly honest treatment of Spider-Man, if Insomniac allowed the player to take control of Venom, the results could be out of this world. Instead of Spider-Man’s speed, we can play around with Venom’s power. It will give Spider-Man 2 variety that the first game desperately needed. Sure, it’s fun to play as Spider-Man, but ultimately you have to wonder what it’s like to play the game as one of the game’s other super-strong characters. Rhino goes through the game knocking the giant containers aside as if they were nothing, and Shocker is able to fly freely while firing sparks. These villains aren’t just menacing, they’re cool as hell, and I wanted to play them. Venom gives Insomniac an opportunity to do just that and do it right.
Really, though, Venom is a playable character that will just bring in something else that has been missing from games for quite some time. We’re all so used to playing the anthropomorphic hero, the basic good guy. To be frank, I’m sick and tired of it. The playable characters in the game don’t always have to be good people, and they don’t always look like us at all. Instead, I remember when the game allowed players to control monstrous characters, characters so far from ourselves that we could actually embody them. Want to throw a car from a skyscraper? You’ll do it because it’s fun and you’re a monster who doesn’t care that someone will have to walk to work from now on. The Prototype games were the last to actually do this, but games have had a glaring lack of playable disgust in recent years.
Spiderman Venom 2 has the potential to change all of that. Sure, he looks like he’s being introduced as the game’s villain, so chances are we won’t be able to play him throughout the game. But remember, it’s a game. Not necessarily continuity or any kind of “realism”. I would simply be happy if I could go into the extras menu and play as Venom after rolling the game’s credits.