I reviewed both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Marvel's Spider-Man last year and awarded the same score to each. The question is: which one would I pick as the better game if I had a revolver pointed to my head?
Gunslinger vs. Webslinger
First off, let's take a look at the games' protagonists. Red Dead Redemption 2 stars Arthur Morgan, an outlaw who's torn between retaining his criminal ways and adapting to the new industrialized way of life. Although he's mostly a blank slate in the beginning chapters, his story becomes much more interesting albeit rather melodramatic after that. In short, he's a rather conflicted character who took a long time to grow on me and once he did, I started to appreciate him a lot more. On the other hand, Marvel's Spider-Man stars the titular superhero who's also a surprisingly complex character. His one-liners mostly fell flat for me but the fact that he takes on hordes of dangerous foes single-handedly is definitely admirable. It's safe to say that Red Dead Redemption 2's Arthur Morgan wins this category.
Old West vs. New York
Next, the worlds in these 2 games are very different. For starters, the vast western plains of Red Dead Redemption 2 are sprawling and gorgeous. In contrast, New York City in Marvel's Spider-Man is much more confined although it's definitely densely packed with things to see and do. I much preferred swinging through the city as Spidey than riding horseback as Arthur Morgan which frankly, made me sleepy. However, there's no denying just how amazing Red Dead Redemption 2's world looks and feels. In fact, it comes across as a living, breathing environment whereas the city in Marvel's Spider-Man feels fairly cookie cutter in comparison. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time zipping past skyscrapers and New York traffic, Red Dead Redemption 2 deserves to win in this category, too.
Guns vs. Gadgets
Let's explore the action in both games. Red Dead Redemption 2 includes gunfights and brawls that can be quite exciting. However, they're few and far between. Plus, I felt the actual shooting and melee combat to be mostly generic and uninspired. On the other end of the spectrum, Marvel's Spider-Man features phenomenal action that kept me fully engaged whenever I had to beat up hordes of bad guys. The melee combat perfectly combines with Spidey's handy array of gadgets, special moves, and various suits to craft a thrilling formula that rewards strategy, timing, and quick-thinking. When it comes to action, Marvel's Spider-Man wins by a huge margin.
Dead Eye vs. Spidey Sense
When it comes to open world games, RPG elements and character growth are important aspects. There's nothing more satisfying than growing your character from the basics to become a powerful force with plenty of cool new abilities. Red Dead Redemption 2 opts for a more realistic approach as you can enhance Arthur Morgan's health, stamina, and Dead Eye (his ability to slow down time and aim precisely) as well as purchase and upgrade guns and other cool equipment like a lasso, tonic satchel, and a variety of trinkets that provide boosts. Marvel's Spider-Man actually has XP and levels where you earn skill points that you can use to purchase upgrades and new abilities. Not only that, you can buy and upgrade gadgets with resources that you acquire from completing quests as well as unlock tons of various suits that feature their own powers and mods. Simply because it's more rewarding, Marvel's Spider-Man wins this category, too.
Criminal Activities vs. Heroic Feats
Another aspect that's very important in sandbox games is missions. Red Dead Redemption 2 contains countless tasks that you can seek out and master from hunting wildlife to helping strangers and robbing trains to bonding with your horse. Meanwhile, the story missions involve anything from stealth to fights to the death. Marvel's Spider-Man is much more restricting in this regard as its missions mostly consist of predefined challenges. That being said, I had much more fun traversing New York City while thwarting criminals, photographing famous landmarks, and playing various challenges that may have you control different characters or drones. I was more impressed with the amount of fun I had in Marvel's Spider-Man's missions although Red Dead Redemption 2 provides a lot more to do. It's a close call but I think the missions in Marvel's Spider-Man are slightly better crafted and more satisfying to master.
Western vs. Comic Book
Finally, story is important to a lot of gamers. Red Dead Redemption 2 has a lengthy plot that's full of twists and turns with a huge cast of intriguing characters while Marvel's Spider-Man is what you'd generally expect from a superhero story albeit with a bit more drama. I don't want to discuss the actual stories much so I can avoid potential spoilers but it's pretty clear that Red Dead Redemption 2 has a much more immersive and memorable narrative although it does take a very long time to get to that point due to its slow burn nature.
Red Dead Redemption 2 and Marvel's Spider-Man are very different games yet they're fairly similar in terms of general quality. After reading all my thoughts, the competition seems pretty neck and neck but I have to pick one so the winner is...
Winner Marvel's Spider-Man
Although Red Dead Redemption 2's world is one of the most impressive ones in video game history, I found Marvel's Spider-Man to be a more satisfying experience due to its action-intense gameplay, well-crafted missions, and rewarding growth opportunities. That being said, this was an extremely close call and both games are definitely must-have titles so why not play them both?
That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!