The Amazing Spider-Man Review
Beenox Have Broken Out The Big Guns With The Amazing Spider-Man.
Platform : Xbox360 / Playstation 3 / PC / Ds / 3DS / Wii
Developer : Beenox
Publisher : Activision
We all know that movie tie-in games don’t have that much luck at being very good, with the last great one probably being, funnily enough, 2004’s Spider-Man 2 hitting Game Cube, PS2 and Xbox, surprising fans by being a great game with impressive open-world gameplay mechanics and being incredible to web-swing through, so with the Amazing Spider-Man coming out, being developed by Beenox, it was taken with a pinch of salt.
With the Spider-Man games, and Beenox titles themselves being a little bit hit and miss (most recently with Edge of Time, which felt like a step back from the enjoyable Shattered Dimensions), I was ready for disappointment. The trailers looked great, the story decent, but there’s always a chance that the games will end up being pretty bad. Thankfully, this wasn’t one of those times. With Amazing Spider-Man we have a game that, granted, is a little uneven at times, but ultimately it’s a lot of fun.
Kicking off with an advert from Oscorp and set after the events of the upcoming film it seems the company is attempting to reinvent itself, moving away from cross species science, and promoting its newest addition in the form ofAlistaireSmythe (who comic book fans should know as creator of the Spider-Slayers, latterly becoming the Ultimate Spider-Slayer) with nano-bot technology. While on a tour of the Oscorp facilities with Gwen Stacey, Peter Parker unwillingly causes the cross species mutations to riot while in the process of disposal, attracted to his mutated blood. Escaping, killing and infecting everyone in reach, Spider-Man must fight to quell the infection and stop Oscorp and Smythe’s robot army from making matters worse.
Set in the universe of the Amazing Spider-Man film, the game features a whole host of unsavoury characters from the webhead’s rogue’s gallery, altering their backstory to fit in with the plot of the game, and it works very well. Featuring characters such as the Rhino, Scorpion, and Vermin, instead of having generic well-known stories, these characters start off not as humans, but animals injected with human DNA and mutating into these enemies, not looking for financial or evil games, but simply working on animal instinct and needing to be stopped. In a way it works better because you feel they need to be stopped, and in a sense feel a little sorry for the creatures for ever existing.
In a lot of ways, you can see the influence on other media and games to alter the world of Spider-Man, not so much to fit in with the world, but seemingly just thrown in for the sake of it.
For example most prominently can be seen is the influence of Batman: Arkham Asylum. Be it from the first-person opening of the game, to a riot breaking out in an asylum for the criminally insane while breaking out Curt Connors for assistance, to Spidey’s suit getting damaged as you play through levels. Most prominently though is the combat system, based around countering enemy attacks and building combos to unleash greater attacks. Yes the combat is at a faster pace and more routed in aerobatic attacks, the influence is still a strong and noticeable one.
Equally, Smythe’s robots seems to have been ripped straight out of the likes of Mass Effect and Portal, with floating camera’s looking more than a little like the personality cores, and the first boss battle, against a gigantic, aggressive robot enemy has more than a passing resemblance to Reapers, right down to the noise they make when firing lasers at Spidey.
Instead of giving a fully open-world environment, Beenox separates the game into chapters. When traversing Manhattan, while enjoyable to web-swing at your leisure and see the sights, you’ll find it gets a little repetitive over time. After scouring the city for comic books, stopping petty crime and saving infected people for long enough you’ll get a little bored of it, although it serves a good enough purpose to break up the story itself and shows what Spider-Man does outside of defeating the big villains. When playing the chapters you’ll find more confined gameplay, having to stealthily traverse sewers and buildings to complete objectives, and while it’s a vast change from the open-world it works equally well, providing you the option to stealthily (more Batman influence) take out guards and mutants, which is a lot of fun.
Beenox have broken out the big guns with this title, with web-swinging gracefully through the streets of Manhattan being created to perfection, realistically rendered to feel like you're actually travelling at speed, or falling if you feel like it. The actual mechanics of this are done amazingly well, but even better is the new Web Rush mechanic. Being able to temporarily slow down the action and pre-plan your actions, whether it being to grab that hard to catch comic book, or land a perfect long distance attack on an enemy, it has many different uses, and all of these elements come together in some of the most dynamic moments of the game. Flying robots are everywhere, elegantly flying through the air as they try to squash you, you have to use a combination of chase techniques, aerial combat and well-timed attacks to successfully defeat them, and it’s heart-poundingly exciting.
Ultimately, Spider-Man has done it again to become one of the rare characters that can cross that boundary of tie-in games and actually be a damn good title. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few problems with it, combat is far too simple and the game had one particular spoiler for the film that pissed me off, and made me think it should have come out a week AFTER the film, but it was minor and forgivable. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not, no matter what it takes from it, the next Arkham Asylum, but what it is, more than anything, is a decent, enjoyable title that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Writer, gamer, and general all-around awesomeness compressed into human form. Co-founder of Reset Gaming.
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