Google+

The Amazing Spider-Man review

AT A GLANCE
  • Manhattan is back for the first time in years
  • Web Rush mode is a feature Spidey has needed for years
  • The simple fun of web swinging
  • Tries very little new
  • Boss fights incredibly bland
  • Will spoil the plot of the film

Much like the Spider-Man films needed a transfusion of fresh blood to revitalize the franchise, Activision's Spider-Man games were ready for a renewal. After a couple of stiflingly linear (and thoroughly average) adventures, The Amazing Spider-Man (based off the movie of the same name) should have been Spidey’s triumphant homecoming – the first Spider-Man game in years to feature an open-world version of New York City. Instead, it's a repetitive adventure that’s barely saved from mediocrity by a couple of interesting concepts.

Taking place in the same world as the new film, the game is set a few weeks after the movie ends. (WARNING: See the movie first or else this game will spoil much of the film for you.) Thanks to Oscorp and some accidental help from Spider-Man, there's an outbreak of of animal men and a cross-species virus that's transforming the residents of New York into strange creatures. With the help of Curt Connors, Spidey has to save the city’s denizens, including his girlfriend Gwen Stacy.

Having the game occur after the film is a plus, since we’d rather not repeat Spider-Man’s origin all over again. But since the main problems of the film’s plot have been solved, we’re stuck fighting a loser squad instead of A-listers like the Lizard. That means we're resigned to trading punches with personality-free versions of villains like Scorpion and Rhino or battling even more bland robots. Seriously, has there ever been a more overused enemy in comic book games than the generic robot? At least the writing is helped by Spidey's mildly witty quips along with some clever cameos by Bruce Campbell and others.

The core gameplay of a Spider-Man game is hard to get wrong, especially with a developer like Beenox on the job. Amazing is the team's third Spidey game in as many years – and like Shattered Dimensions and Edge of Time, they stick closely to what Neversoft had pioneered in games like Spider-Man 2 and Ultimate Spider-Man. Spider-Man moves in all the ways we expected, swinging freely through the city, webbing up crooks and henchmen, sticking to walls, and generally doing whatever a spider can. His nimble movements are an amalgam of a dozen different approaches to Spidey – which is fine, just not all that new.

At least the combat changes things up compared with past titles, although it seems to crib from another very famous (non-Spidey) game. The flow of combat, with Spidey chaining punches and combos while dodging and countering with his Spider Sense, borrows very heavily from Batman's Arkham games. When standing in the very heavy shadow of the Bat, Spidey's fighting style can't help appearing the lesser of the two, even with quirky lucha libre moves to make Parker's more unique. It's imprecise compared to Arkham's genius approach to combat – and that complaint goes double for Amazing's stealth tactics, which tries hard to be like Batman and fails, lacking the precision to pull off little more than simply sticking an unsuspecting enemy to the ceiling. There's much Spidey can learn from Batman's stellar titles, but this poorly implemented and half-baked adoption ignores what makes Spidey great while trying to paste on a style that doesn't quite fit.

Unlike the wannabe Batman brawling, the exploration is pure Spider-Man. Swinging between buildings, patrolling the city for crime, and experiencing the Big Apple in ways only Spidey can... it all feels great, especially since the last couple of Spider-games – Shattered Dimensions and Edge of Time – weren't open-world. But the more we experienced this virtual city that never sleeps, the more sterile it became. Missions popped up often, yet they were mainly slight variations on the same handful of experiences, like stopping petty crimes, carrying someone from one part of the city to another, or taking random photographs. Despite it being the most famous city in the world, Amazing's NYC has no character to it, with fancy graphics gussying up a city that would have felt average in 2007. Compared to recent open-world games like Prototype 2 or inFamous 2 (or even Spider-Man: Web of Shadows), this version of the Big Apple is sorely lacking.

Above: Check out this webtastic Spider-Man video

At least one gameplay element differentiates the exploration: the new Web Rush ability. Previously in Spider-Man titles, reaching a specific rooftop or area in the city could become pretty cumbersome, not to mention missing a timed goal by inches or starting a challenge by standing in the wrong spot. Web Rush removes much of that annoyance, as it slows time to a crawl and enters a first-person view, letting the player pick any spot in sight as Spider-Man's next destination. After picking your spot, Spidey web-zips straight to it with a welcome accuracy that's lacking in many open-world games.

Meanwhile, the indoor segments continue to suffer from a problem that's plagued Spider-Man games for years: they're bland and restrictive. Mostly set in dank sewers, empty office buildings, or otherwise broken-down areas, indoor movement is shackled by the restrictive, unimaginative (and ultimately boring) design. Objectives were set around the usual "pull that lever, collect three of these things, fight the boss in a circular room," clichés. This gameplay isn't "wrong" and still plays well enough; it's simply tired and lazy.

What's worse, the boss fights that feel the most rote of all, half of which are set in predictable underground areas or other restrictive settings instead of taking advantage of the open world and adding some much needed interest to the city. Then again, the occasional giant robot fights in the city are equally routine while simultaneously breaking the tenuous footing on reality that the source film attempts to establish. A city-wide viral outbreak we can believe, but Godzilla-sized, nondescript robots burrowing out of the ground and drilling through buildings? It felt like we had somehow started playing a Transformers game.

For the past few years we've been eagerly awaiting a Spider-Man game that offers something unique. Alas, with The Amazing Spider-Man, we get yet another game that's careful to not rock the boat. Nothing is broken or painful to play, and there's still an intrinsic fun to being a video game Spider-Man – but this is too much like what we've played before, only with less going for it than games like Web of Shadows or Ultimate Spider-Man. If you were dying for more action as Peter Parker this will do the trick, but a more fitting name for this game would be "The Acceptable Spider-Man."

More Info

Release date: Nov 2013 - PS Vita
Jun 26 2012 - Wii, PS3
Jun 29 2012 - Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: PS Vita, Wii, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: Activision
Developed by: Beenox
Franchise: Spider-man
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Mild Violence, Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes

Topics

Spider Man

43 comments

  • DoubleLedgeTakedown - June 28, 2012 10:57 a.m.

    Dissapointing.
  • thecakeisalie96 - June 27, 2012 5 p.m.

    A Rhino Fight...... Wouldn't be a spider-man game without it.
  • KnowYourPokemon - June 27, 2012 3:34 p.m.

    Bad points are bland boss fights and not much new in terms of gameplay and gets a 3/5(basically 6/10) rating. Funny how CoD games get 9/10, 10/10s for doing just that.
  • Redeater - June 27, 2012 4:45 p.m.

    Pokemon has been doing that since the first game and it still receives 9's and 10's. :) I think the difference is that those are technically proficient while the Spiderman games have always had mediocre gameplay mechanics.
  • KnowYourPokemon - June 27, 2012 6:07 p.m.

    Yeah but the Pokemon games (at least story wise) have done nothing but improve. Compare say, the story of red/blue to the story of black/white for example, Black/White also showing this improvement by being the first Pokemon gen with full fledged sequels to continue the story. Call of Duty on the other hand never really adds anything to the story(Black Ops 2 has potential, sure, but thats all we can go on at the moment), their multiplayer(the thing people actually play it for) hasn't had anything remotely new added to it in years. Each new Cod game is essentially a $60 map pack that resets your rank to 1 again. Now we can look at Spider-Man. Sure, most spiderman games haven't been the greatest but from what I recall Spiderman 2 was actually a pretty well received title, if this game is essentially an updated version of that gameplay wise than I don't see the problem. I also don't see how "spoiling the movie plot" can be considered a bad point. It's like saying a bad point of the Harry Potter or Game of Thrones books are that they spoil the Movies/TV series for you, especially when you consider this is spiderman, no one should really look at this movie and guess what's going to happen if they know the basics of the characters. So my point still stands, a series as bland and unchanging as the CoD franchise keeps getting 9s/10s for doing nothing refreshing while Spiderman loses marks because it's no better than Spiderman 2.
  • tehtimeisnow - June 27, 2012 2:23 p.m.

    ha ah i new this gane wuold suck it look so stuped its a cartoon charackter and its for little kids
  • narrat0r - June 29, 2012 3:14 p.m.

    You're a bit retarded, aren't you sir?
  • Jessmn2 - June 27, 2012 2:20 p.m.

    I don't care how over the top the robots and bosses are, they're fun. Though....probably would have been smarter for them to release the game...like, maybe a week after the movie came out. But in terms of movie games, it does pretty well for itself.
  • Cyberninja - June 27, 2012 1:45 p.m.

    So for video reviews, GR is going to use the old point system?
  • aberkromby - June 27, 2012 7:41 a.m.

    Is it just me or does spidey attach is web to the sky when swinging through the city (like he did in the really old N64 game)?
  • bebl09 - June 27, 2012 11:31 a.m.

    Yeah, it does look a bit silly. Although apparently you can't swing over Central Park or the ocean so that makes sense at least.
  • aberkromby - June 28, 2012 6:58 a.m.

    I wonder why they went with that system, considering Spiderman 2 on the ps2 had a fantastic web-slinging system and still managed to connect to buildings. But whatever though... I don't plan on buying the game anyways. My spidey 2 disc is still in cood condition, and nothing I see here warrants an upgrade.
  • talleyXIV - June 26, 2012 5:32 p.m.

    Well this sucks donkey dick.
  • GaryTheGuidoHunter - June 26, 2012 5:09 p.m.

    I read this review with the idea "If it's like Spider-Man 2, I'll be happy" and it seems like it is too similiar. Seeing as that's the last Spider-Man game I played, I plan on treating this like a Spider-Man 2 rebirth with a different story.
  • Evanesco - June 26, 2012 4:34 p.m.

    Knew it was going to be terrible. It was just painfully obvious from the gameplay. Beenox needs to give up and find something else to ruin. Jump of the DC / Marvel line and let Rocksteady develop the next spider man game. Then you'd see what he can really do.
  • PleasantPig - June 27, 2012 2:47 a.m.

    Since when is 3/5 a 'terible' score?
  • ParagonT - June 27, 2012 1:54 p.m.

    I guess since the score system was changed, a three may seem great from a standpoint, but doesn't it equal a six? The new score system just seems to exist just to make games seem better. But In my opinion, if you simplify the system, you generalize and confuse people as to what makes it that score. Personally, I like the old scoring system better. People are used to it, people know what the difference between a six and a six-point-eight is, and it gives more room to correctly score it. A game could be on the borderline between a three out of five and a 4 out of five, see what I'm getting at here?
  • Sinosaur - June 27, 2012 2:59 p.m.

    They're using half stars, so the point scale is still more or less out of ten, it's just now a 7 is a 3.5 stars and a 9 is 4.5 stars. I believe the idea with the change was that a game they give a 6 isn't terrible, just not spectacular, and people sort of understand three stars to mean that. Still really weird making the mental adjustment, though, but in your example they'd give it 4.5 stars.
  • ParagonT - June 27, 2012 7:57 p.m.

    Ah, I just stumbled upon a review with the half stars and came back to check on this in my update, not edit button although, my mistake. Still although, it's going by ones. 1,2,3,4,etc...
  • ParagonT - June 27, 2012 7:59 p.m.

    *No edit button although* You see? An edit button would do wonders. Just tell the time of when the post was first made, and time of edit.

Showing 1-20 of 43 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000

OR…

Connect with Facebook

Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.