Release Date: 29/06/12
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The Amazing Spider-man Review
In my personal opinion there has only ever been two good movie tie in games; Toy Story 3 and Spider-Man 2 of the Xbox/PlayStation 2 generation. I have it on good authority that the Ghostbusters game for the Commodore 64 should also be on that list but I’ve not played it. Pre-release the The Amazing Spider-man was looking like it could be worth adding to that list but with so many movie tie-in games, those swishy looking screenshots and movie-esq trailers its hard to tell what the actual game is like, and we’ve all been burned by that before haven’t we?
The Amazing Spider-man kicks off a few months shortly after the film ends; I’ll avoid any major plot spoilers not for the sake of ruining the game, but more for those who haven’t seen the film yet. We start off with an almost Half Life-esque walk-through the newly rebranded OSCORP – here is where you’ll be brought up to speed and informed of everything that’s happened in that post-movie pre-game gap.
Once you get into it the story is actually one of Spider-man’s better points although it’s by no means a game changer. It should keep spidey fans happy with its odd nods to the the wider Marvel universe, although it could enrage others because it raises the whole idea of what is considered canon within this new timeline established by the new film, but you’d have to be a super hardcore comic book fan to even care. My choice was to just take it at face value and not worry too much about any of that… it is after all a spin-off game of a film.
Graphically The Amazing Spider-man is an odd beast; there are times when you’re out swinging through the New York high rises where it looks beautiful. There’s just something about the look of the cityscape combined with the lighting effects that developers Beenox have really nailed – it makes Manhattan feel like the living city it is. Then the flip side of that is as soon as you’re at street level or in one of the game’s interiors Amazing Spider-man suddenly looks exactly like you expect a movie tie-in game to look like. I’m trying to think how best to describe it… it all gets a bit generic and boring looking, especially in the interiors which alternate between being coloured in fifty shades of grey or fifty shades of brown.
…there’s just something about the look of the cityscape combined with the lighting effects that developers Beenox have really nailed.
Combat is pretty straight forward and I did wince a little during my training when it was laid out to me in quick-time event fashion. Thankfully the QTE’s are few and far between, although the combat never requires much in the way of skill; you just pretty much bash X until your “spidey sense” starts tingling at which point you hit Y to perform a dodge. The combat toes the line quite finely between making you feel like a badass for taking on ten guys at once while other times making you want to scream “FIGHT Y U NO END!” at your TV. It’s not that its hard or that its not a challenge, it’s just that you feel like it requires no skill at all and jacking the difficulty up only seems to prolong any encounters. I know I’m not really helping you out here spidey fans, it is good but I wish the combat was something more.
The trouble with having such a massive sandbox to explore is that you need something to play with, and this I’m glad to say is where The Amazing Spider-man deserves bonus points; with over 700 collectables scattered around the city on top of side quests like photo missions, car chases to halt, mini-boss fights to be had, street thugs to stop and timed challenges there is plenty to play with. It’s just a shame when you finish them all during a free roam section and need to progress with the story to unlock more.
Amazing Spider-man is fun, and as much as I’d love to type that “Amazing Spider-man is amazing” line sadly I can’t. It is a good game however; the tutorials do a decent job of easing you into the various mechanics and the visuals at times are nothing short of breathtaking, the voice acting is spot on and Pete/spidey talk with that cocky spider-wit tone we’ve come to know and love while playing the story should keep fans happy. Sadly though for everything right with Spider-man there is something wrong; web swinging through the streets looks cool but it has been dumbed down to a point where its more of a chore, and the “Spider vision” mode that slows down the action allowing you to precision target enemies and points to jump through breaks up the flow of the game far too much. Is it worth picking up? I’d say yes, just don’t get your hopes up expecting the Spider-man 2 game of old.
Plenty of side quests to keep you entertained.
Some good nods to the Marvel Universe.
Web swinging looks cool.
Web swinging doesn’t feel cool.
Combat feels like a grind.
Slow paced at the start.
As I’ve said it’s a good game just not an amazing one. The pacing at the start makes it hard to get into but once it picks up the early hours are easily forgotten. The visuals are very hit and miss and at times it looks like two completely different studios made the game. Note to Xbox players though, I’ve had my save file in the ‘cloud’ and after switching back to my home console the game decided to stop tracking my achievements, which is frustrating as hell but I’ve not let it affect my final score.