The Amazing Spider-Man: review

The Amazing Spider-Man is a movie tie-in game. Expectations successfully lowered? Good. Let’s begin.

Set not long after where the new movie leaves off, Spider-Man has defeated The Lizard and New York is seemingly saved. Gwen Stacy thinks OSCORP is still conducting cross-species experiments though and cunningly manages to sneak Peter Parker into the company by walking in the front door with him. Sure enough, they discover that other cross-species exist in the form of classic comic villains re-imagined like Rhino and Scorpion, and that they are set to be disposed of. However, when Peter gets in close proximity his own cross-species blood drives them wild and causes both an escape and an outbreak of an infectious disease.

So, ignoring the fact that Spider-Man and his girlfriend are technically the villains that cause thousands of people to become infected, there’s still a stereotypical scientist-gone-mad villain to blame for things he technically didn’t do in the form of OSCORP boss Alistair Smythe. What follows is an equally stereotypical heroic adventure with Spider-Man trying to find a cure, stop the mad scientist, and contain the escaped cross-species, in a game that attempts to emulate as many things people like about the Arkham Asylum/City games as possible.

Any time any new Spider-Man game is released it is natural for those familiar with them to compare it to the game which set the high standards for how to do web-slinging right. For those that don’t know, it was Spider-Man 2. It may sound silly, but web-slinging is by far the most important aspect to get right in a game like this (especially when it uses the open world approach to main missions and optional side activities). It’s also a unique mechanic that’s different to super speed or flight or any other movement style you might find in a game, so getting it wrong can really, really hurt.

Unlike Spider-Man 2 (where it mattered where you shot your webs to maximise swinging and speed) you can pretty much just hold a button down in The Amazing Spider-Man, or freeze time and select a location. Like the ancient 70s cartoon, you can also fire off webs into the sky when there’s physically nothing that could possibly be there to touch. You either need to accept that Spider-Man can web-swing off the sky, or imagine that a tiny helicopter follows him everywhere he goes for convenience.

So as we mentioned – the game uses the open world style. Along with main missions you’ll also have a host of side missions to do. These can range from simply beating up thugs to stopping car chases to collecting mental patients to preforming aerial acrobatics for Bruce Campbell’s amusement. There is a reasonable range of things to do, though none are ever challenging and that is a recurring theme throughout the game.

Some boss fights aside, there is no real challenge to be had. The Arkham Asylum/City style of combat means you can counter enemies to death and overpowered upgrades you can buy with experience points also end up removing any advantage the enemies you fight might have. There is even a built in ‘uh-oh’ button where Spider-Man will instantly web sling to the nearest safe point out of sight of guards to happily regenerate health. Given that he can crawl on any surface, the optional ability to stealth takedown enemies can also be horribly manipulated with web-retreating to dispose of a room full of heavily armed guards without ever breaking a sweat. The game is quite fun to play though, and perhaps the lack of any real challenge (regardless of difficulty mode) is just so younger fans can enjoy the ride.

It wouldn’t be a Batman game without suit damage. Wait…

The game is graphically average. Manhattan seems a little lifeless or static despite people going about their business, and indoor locations never go beyond the confines of ‘evil corporation building/warehouse’ or ‘sewer’. The voice work is decent (though no voices from the associated movie are present) and given that we’re having trouble remembering whether or not the game has any music we can safely say that if there was any it was forgettable.

There isn’t much replay value to be had once the story is over and you’ve done as many side missions as you want. There are 500 comic book pages to collect around New York which unlock full issues of real comics to read for the compulsives, but that’s about it.

It’s hard to be overly negative about The Amazing Spider-Man as, by movie game standards, it’s actually pretty good and is clearly aimed at a younger audience. The elements of gameplay taken from more popular franchises will potentially appeal to quite a few other people and fans of the source material will enjoy the game regardless, to be sure. It’s middle of the road – a fairly enjoyable fluffy superhero story of decent length emulating its more successful cousins that’s equally hard to fully recommend or condemn.

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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

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