The Amazing Spider-Man
June 26, 2012
Just 10 years after Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man
released and changed the landscape of the superhero movie forever, the franchise has been rebooted with a new cast and new director. Having seen the movie at a midnight screening last night, I can happily say that I thought it was incredible.
The last video game movie tie-in for Spider-Man was the disastrous Spider-Man 3
. A bad movie deserves an equally bad tie-in game, I suppose. Such games have a trivial and disappointing history, but The Amazing Spider-Man
bucks the trend with a very fun and successful entry.
Taking place just weeks after the events of the movie, The Amazing Spider-Man
’s plot revolves around Oscorp and its shady dealings. Due to the placement of the game's events, it's a good idea to see the movie first if you want to avoid spoilers, as there's mention of the fate of a movie character within the game itself. Following the formula of the film, the game features cross-species hybrids much like the Lizard. Other abominations make an appearance such as Rhino, Iguana, Scorpion and more.
Alistaire Smythe, a genius of robotics, has become the face of hope for Oscorp in the wake of the movie’s events, and his robots and nanobots become something of a problem for the wallcrawler. When something goes horribly wrong at Oscorp Tower, it’s once again up to Spidey to save the day.
This is probably the best-looking Spider-Man game to date. The open world of Manhattan looks great at any time of day, something of a cross between ‘realism’ and comic book style. Spider-Man’s suit looks awesome and reacts to the damage he takes, ripping and tearing the longer he goes without returning to his apartment for fresh duds. Spidey glides through the skies of the city with precision and grace and looks cool-as-hell doing it. While Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans didn’t lend their voice talents to the game, their likenesses as Gwen Stacey and Dr. Curt Connors respectively are pretty spot on.
Performance issues are few and far between. I experienced no screen-tearing or framerate lag on the PS3 version, and in the entirely open world of Manhattan, this is incredibly impressive. Some of the game’s indoor environments(sewers, warehouses, Oscorp Tower) get repetitive after a while, but nothing in the game looks outright bad. The fact that you don't necessarily need a surface for web to stick to to web-swing may bother some(specifically, Central Park comes to mind) may bother some, but I didn't find it to be an issue.
Sadly, there is no Andrew Garfield in the game either, but the voice actors who take the place of the film stars do a fairly exceptional job. Spider-Man sounds like Spider-Man and he doesn’t try too hard to sound like Garfield, which in my opinion is a good thing. His quips and “WOOHOOOOOO” screams as he swings through the city are fitting of the wallcrawler and helps you to forget the absence of the franchise’s stars. He repeats himself a lot, however.
Nolan North does fantastic work as Alistaire Smythe, showing off his range as an actor and not just “the guy who sounds like Nathan Drake.” The soundtrack is decent with nothing standing out as either very good or very bad, as most of the time you’re accompanied with a majestic-sounding score as you fly through the skies.
The most important thing about this game is that it makes you feel like you’re Spider-Man. That’s the key to any superhero game, movie tie-in or not. It’s what makes Rocksteady’s Batman
games so special and it’s what makes The Amazing Spider-Man
successful. Web-swinging through the open world of Manhattan is what Spider-Man is all about, and this game hits the nail on the head.
Using R2 to auto-swing or R1 to use the game’s Web Rush mechanic, navigating the city is simultaneously extremely fun and a breeze to pull off. Combining the two is the coolest way to go. Holding down R1 will activate Spider Sense and slow down time to show a bunch of yellow outlines of Spidey to show where you can go. Releasing the button sends Spidey web-zipping, flipping, wall-running and flying to his destination. Quickly tapping R1 has the same effect, but there’s a certain feeling of satisfaction you get when pulling off a bunch of awesome moves in succession. Spidey will run along the top of buses, propel himself off of flag poles and more, making you feel like you’re playing through an extended CG scene from a movie.
The combat works much in the same way that it does in Batman: Arkham City
. One button(square) is designated for striking opponents and another(triangle) is used to dodge incoming attacks when a Spider Sense prompt appears above Spidey’s head. Get enough of a combo going to finish an enemy off with a cool-looking signature move. The circle button is used to shoot web at opponents to either slow them down, immobilize them or just toss them around. The combat isn’t exactly groundbreaking or varied but it can be satisfying. Experience points help unlock and upgrade a few extra moves here and there, but most of what you'll use throughout the game are there at the beginning.
Indoor missions require stealth, and crawling on the ceilings above guards will allow you to perform stealth takedowns, hanging down from the ceiling on a string of web to roll the enemy into a web cocoon and tie them up without alerting others. There’s a decent amount of variety in the enemies, as well, from a wide array of highly-trained security guards, random street thugs, infected/enraged citizens, robots and more.
The single most disappointing thing about the game is the repetitiveness of the side missions, an issue that has plagued open world games since their inception. There’s a good amount of different types of missions, but they all function in the same fashion. Car chases involve you webbing the getaway vehicle’s windshield and tying them up in a giant web, police stand-offs require you to Web Rush to battle armed foes, photography missions need you to(duh) take pictures, et cetera.
Repetitiveness is also an issue when it comes to boss fights. Most of them require you to Web Rush them, attack a few times, dodge when they begin to attack you, use the Web Retreat(L1) function to flee from harm’s way, and rinse and repeat until given button prompts. The boss fights consist of battling cross-species like Rhino and Scorpion, and giant robots sent out by Smythe. While they’re not terrible, they’re just simply not that great. To be honest, though, I’m nitpicking. As a whole, the game plays very well.
The length of this game is what you make of it. I played it on the hardest difficulty and beat the main storyline in 12 hours, but with quite a few side missions left to go. Those missions plus over 500 comic book pages scattered throughout the city keep me coming back for more. The more comic book pages you collect, the more actual Spider-Man comics you’re able to digitally access through the game’s main menu. There's also a bunch of alternate costumes scattered around NYC, being added to the game weekly. Replay value is moderate, leaning towards moderately low. If you're a Spider-Fan, this is definitely worth full retail price.
Unlike the movie, The Amazing Spider-Man
game isn’t amazing, but it is still pretty great. In the long line of movie tie-in games, I think that this one will go down as one of the best. That might not sound like I’m saying much, but even as a standalone superhero game, it would be very successful. Spider-Fans should be pleased with this installment, and I hope to see more entries like this from Beenox in the future.