With a new Amazing Spider-Man movie we get a new Amazing Spider-Man game. Now this automatically sounds like a terrible idea because movie tie in games NEVER work but there is always an exception to the rule. While I can’t really call this a great game it does what games are supposed to do above all else and that’s being fun to play.
The Amazing Spider-Man picks up where the movie leaves off so if you plan on seeing the movie I would do that first before diving into the game. When the game starts you are treated to a spoilerific lengthy cut scene preparing you for the adventure ahead. Bad Things happen and it’s up to Spider-Man to fix it. The Story ends up being good but eventually forgettable.
For those that have played the Batman Arkham series you will automatically begin to compare as Beenox does their best Rocksteady impersonation. Once you don your Spider Threads you take on bad guys in hand to hand and stealth combat. Once again shades of Batman permeate this game. With the X button being attack, Y being dodge and B being web ball and web throw by tapping and holding respectively. The main attraction to the combat and gameplay as a whole is the Web Rush mechanic. This allows you to essentially slow down time and plan your next attack. Locking on to an opponent lets you zip at them like a sling shot and bounce from person to person with relative ease. It also ties into the swinging mechanics but I will get into that later. While the combat can be fun it ends up being nothing more than button mashing. Where Arkham City had a flow and rhythm to the combat, Spider-Man flips and twirls around so much the animations themselves kinda break any flow you may have during a fight. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the stealth mechanic. As long as you’re on a wall or a ceiling you can sneak around and hit the bad guys with a cinematic stealth take down which seems a bit cruel as you leave them hanging on a ceiling for an undetermined amount of time. I just assume they all die of starvation. Rounding out all of your combat options is the web retreat which gets you out of sticky situations. Hitting this button zips you out of the fight and onto a wall to take a breather when you take damage.
Once you get out onto the island of Manhattan. You get to swing around the city to your hearts’ content. This is where the game really makes you feel like Spider-man. Holding the RT button lets you swing through alleyways over trees, buildings, cars, people whatever, all with acrobatic grace and beauty. You’re such a badass that you’re webbing doesn’t even need to stick to anything for you to get around. The web rush mechanic differs when it comes to navigating the city. Hitting the button while swinging brings up a bunch of phantom images of you and choosing one and letting go sends you into an acrobatic animation to that spot. It just adds a little more flare to the already solid swinging mechanics. The city they’ve created as your playground is no slouch either. While the game will not win any awards for its graphical prowess it’s the best looking game in the franchise that has ever been released. The reflections on the buildings look especially good if not overdone and the draw distance is Amazing (no pun intended). You can stand on one end of the city and actually see all the way to the other side of the city if you’re standing on top of a building. That’s impressive if you ask me. Now, it wouldn’t be a Spider-Man game without having to save people and stop crime you know, super hero stuff and there is plenty of it to do here.
Once you get your handy smart phone that never breaks (even during combat) it keeps you up to date with the many side missions around the city. They include stopping muggings, bank robberies, car chases, taking pictures for a reporter, and finding mental patience and sending them back to the asylum. These are just some of what you’ll find. Repeating all of these over and over will become tedious but you aren’t required to any of it if you don’t want to. While doing all of this, you’ll come across comic book pages strewn about the city. Those bastards are EVERYWHERE!!!! There are 700 pages in all. Collecting these pages not only gives you experience points to upgrade Spidey, they also unlock digital versions of classic Spiderman-Man comics including the very first issue. It sounds insane but there is something oddly cathartic swinging around the city hearing that distinct noise and collecting those sparkling pages. As a matter of fact the entire setup brings out the completionist in you and it drives you to find everything and finish all side quests. Damn my slight OCD!!
The actual story is broken up into 12 chapters and most take place indoors. The levels themselves are huge. They are almost too big as the sense of scale seems a bit off. They also include collectibles scattered around the play area (thanks Beenox). Finding these collectibles allows to gather precious XP to level up your combat and tech trees. During these missions, you’ll fight regular thugs, armed guards, robots and infected humans. Dispatching these foes also awards XP. You’ll traverse everything from a mental hospital to high security office buildings and unusually large sewer systems that look like office buildings…. Most levels end in fairly epic cinematic boss battles. It’s all standard fare but they throw some curve balls at you that tend to keep things fresh till the end game.
All in all while the game doesn’t bring anything new to the table and cribs from a markedly better game, the 10 – 15 hour adventure ends up being a blast to play. It’s as close to being Spider-Man as you’ll ever get.
image via EntertainmentBudda.com