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How Insomniac Updated New York City In Spider-Man 2

by Blake Hester on Oct 20, 2023 at 03:00 PM

Sony's PlayStation's Insmoniac's Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is officially out, and apparently, it's pretty good. Read our review if you want to know about all of that.  

Notably, Spider-Man 2 takes place on the same open-world map as the first game and its quasi-sequel, Miles Morales. That being New York City. Similar to how Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios handles its primary Kamurocho open world in the Like a Dragon (formerly Yakuza) series, Insomniac opted for an iteration over reinvention approach for its New York City – with some big changes. Those changes are the additions of the Queens and Brooklyn boroughs on top of the existing Manhattan map and the switch from PlayStation 4 to exclusively PlayStation 5 (Spider-Man 1 and Miles Morales are also on PS5, but cross-platform). It's on a much larger map that looks much better. 

To show off some of these changes, I took time photographing the worlds of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 from atop the Empire State Building, highlighting key changes. This article doesn't go too in-depth to avoid spoilers, but nonetheless, consider this your spoiler warning.

Note: in all cases, the first image is from Spider-Man 2, captured on a PlayStation 5, and the second is from Spider-Man 1, captured on a base PlayStation 4.

Lower Manhattan


First up, we have Lower Manhattan. Most immediately – as you'll see in all of these images – the graphical fidelity and draw distances have been significantly increased. I find it most striking when looking at all the boats added to the surrounding waters and the game's stand-in for One World Trade Center (the tall skyscraper to the right of each image). 

Interestingly, if you look at the back left of the image from Spider-Man 2, you'll notice Governors Island added to the game. You can also see Liberty Island, which houses the Statue of Liberty, and what I believe is supposed to be Ellis Island moved a bit. You cannot go to any of these areas. Brooklyn and its surrounding areas have also moved a bit, but more on that later.

Hell's Kitchen


Here, we see Hell's Kitchen and New Jersey across the Hudson River. There's nothing too notable aside from the graphical fidelity. 



Same with our views of the upper parts of Manhattan into Harlem. Moving on.



Here's where things start getting interesting. In Spider-Man 2, we have Brooklyn as a fully explorable area. Personally, I find it pretty bland, but I also find most of the world of the Spider-Man games pretty bland – better seen from far above than up close and personal. That's a bit different with Queens, but we'll get there.

One thing to point out is that Spider-Man 2 is missing the famous Chrysler Building featured in the first game. We did an entire feature about why the building was removed back when Miles Morales came out. You should read it. Nevertheless, it's still not back, which is a bummer. I love the Chrysler Building; it's my favorite building. I wish it were here. So it goes. 

Fisk Tower


One thing I noticed while exploring this area was the building right across from what was once the Chrysler Building had finished construction. In Spider-Man 1, it was being built by Fisk Construction, and now it's a full-blown Fisk Tower. The finished building actually first appeared in Miles Morales, but I didn't notice until now, and I bet most of you didn't either. We all get to learn something here. You're welcome.



On top of being my home, Queens is one of the coolest areas in Spider-Man 2. Compared to the rest of the map (save for certain parts of Spanish Harlem), it has the most personality and distinctive flavor. It feels like somewhere people might live – like me! I recommend viewing this area of the game from a street level. It feels unlike most of the rest of the game.

One thing I did notice, though, was that compared to Brooklyn in the first game, the Queens in Spider-Man 1 looked like an actual place – you just couldn't go there. Now you can. And you should.

Oh, also, the Raft changed its sign.

George Washington Bridge


Lastly, I want to point out the George Washington Bridge. In Spider-Man 1, it's a fully-functioning bridge. Then, in Mile Morales, it's destroyed. In Spider-Man 2, it's still being rebuilt! Unbelievable. Mayor Adams should invest more money into proper public infrastructure rather than flooding the subway with cops.

There you have it! There are probably dozens more changes throughout the city. Have fun finding them yourself.

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Marvel's Spider-Man 2cover

Marvel's Spider-Man 2

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