Available now on PS5, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is already a smash hit, selling 2.5 million copies in just 24 hours. It’s the fastest-selling first-party PlayStation title and earned multiple accolades, with some considering a Game of the Year contender. Regardless of which side you fall on, there’s no denying that Insomniac Games’ sequel has a lot going for it, from incredible combat to a strong story with some unforgettable moments.
However, perhaps the best part of the entire experience is Venom. The Symbiote has been teased and revealed in multiple ways, dating back to Marvel’s Spider-Man in 2018. It’s finally here and offers some of the best moments in the sequel and the possibility of a spin-off starring the villain.
From the outset, Venom doesn’t exist at all. Instead, the Symbiote is an “exosuit” that helps Harry, shown to be incapacitated by terminal disease in earlier titles, to recover. After learning Peter’s identity as Spider-Man, he begins helping him out in a not-so-subtle reference to Agent Venom. It’s not long before the symbiote is transferred to Peter to save him from a mortal wound. Peter gains the Symbiote suit and tussles further with Kraven, a Hunter who arrives in Manhattan with his posse to hunt super-powered entities.
Eventually, he learns that the Symbiote is an alien life form which is alive. After Peter nearly kills Kraven, Miles is forced to fight him and ultimately push him to remove the Symbiote. Throughout Peter’s possession by it and during the fight with Miles, we see how the Symbiote preys on a person’s weakness. Peter, still reeling from the death of Aunt May and trying to protect those he cares about, is an easy target, and the codependency corrupts his mind. Of course, because he possesses a strong will, he knows the Symbiote is bad news and ultimately rebels against the Symbiote with Miles’ help.
When Harry becomes possessed by the Symbiote, the fight to free him is much tougher, but we’ll get to that. Playing as Peter with the Symbiote showcased how it could reinforce his capabilities, creating a fighting style that maintained the tenets of Spider-Man’s but with much more brutality and force. Perhaps Peter’s desire to not kill ultimately resulted in his version of the Symbiote not going all out in terms of power.
That’s not the case with Harry. Being away from the Symbiote caused his disease to return, weakening his body and mind. Disdain towards Norman Osborn, sadness over his mother’s death, and the slow pursuit for a cure made it that much easier for the Symbiote to fully take control of Harry (especially with how he refers to him and the Symbiote as “We” and “Us” while Peter called it “the suit”). Of course, it also absorbed knowledge of Spider-Man’s strengths and techniques, thus becoming that much more powerful when Venom emerges.
Lacking Peter’s empathy and completely desperate, Harry unleashes the full power of the Symbiote, which players get to control first-hand. Long story short, it’s awesome. You don’t just rampage through the halls of Oscorp but also unleash devastation on all the security guards attempting to stop you. It almost feels like The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction from Radical Entertainment.
Venom’s move set emphasizes raw, brute strength while being incredibly fast and intelligent, using its mass to redirect projectiles towards enemies. Of course, he’s also brutal, breaking the backs of security guards and tossing them aside like it’s nothing. It all comes to a head against Kraven’s hunters and the man himself, whose head gets bitten off after losing to Venom.
After Harry visits his mother’s grave, the Symbiote uses those memories to manipulate him further. The result? Furthering his goal to “Heal the world,” which means spreading the Symbiote through the city and eventually the world. The tendrils of the parasite spread quickly, turning regular people into Symbiote hosts, with Venom personally transforming Mary Jane into Scream.
Fortunately, Peter saves her and, due to some of the Symbiote remaining in his blood, manages to create the Anti-Venom suit to fight back. Venom’s influence spreads further, thanks to obtaining the meteorite that first introduced the Symbiote to the world. Eventually, a showdown ensues as Peter and Miles battle Venom while Mary Jane helps to destroy the meteorite with a particle accelerator.
Throughout the battle, Venom transforms further, gaining wings. Otherwise, it uses Harry’s memories and emotions against Peter during battle, not unlike how the latter tried the same against Miles to gain the upper hand. While Peter and Miles deliver some heavy blows, Harry fights back against the Symbiote long enough to create an opening for it to be destroyed.
Following the meteorite’s destruction, the infestation through the city ceases, and people return to normal. The last of the Symbiote is seemingly burning away from Harry, who is subsequently revived by Miles before going into a coma. In the aftermath, Peter takes a break from being Spider-Man, expressing regret over his actions while possessed by the Symbiote, and Miles protects the city.
Insomniac Games has commented on a potential spin-off featuring Venom, with senior narrative director Jon Paquette saying the team will wait and see how the fans react. “We’re gonna listen to the fans, and we’re gonna ask ourselves, ‘Okay, what do the fans really want?’ We’ll kind of talk about stuff after we’ve all had time to sleep and take vacations.”
Given how much effort went into making Venom playable and the response thus far, a spin-off makes sense. How would it work, since the Symbiote is seemingly destroyed in-game? There are several possible stories, from it surviving in Harry’s body much like it did with Peter after it was seemingly gone, or a trace amount getting past the meteorite’s destruction and possessing, say, Eddie Brock.
If a spin-off does happen, it’s not entirely likely that we’ll have the same rampaging through buildings and sheer destruction that Venom displayed in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. While the combat could transfer over, the current gameplay loop of the Spider-Man series favors mobility and web-swinging. Insomniac could work around that by designing scenarios exclusively for Venom, which would mark a much bigger departure from the sequel than Miles Morales was from the first game. Again, time will tell.
Still, if the developer goes all in on showcasing Venom’s sheer power, it could tie into the upcoming Wolverine title. Venom and Wolverine have had their run-ins in the past, and what better match for the Symbiote’s brutality than one of the most vicious anti-heroes in the Marvel universe? It’s a win-win for everyone (and with how Cletus Kassidy appears in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, he could also appear as a potential villain).
Overall, the in-game arc of Venom and the Symbiote is perhaps one of the best adaptations from the source material we’ve ever seen. What a potential Symbiote outbreak would look like, Venom’s transformations, Agent Venom, and just capturing the feel of being Venom – the list goes on, and we can’t wait to see how he’s used in the future.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.