Published on July 7th, 2012 | by octaneblue1
Review: The Amazing Spider-Man
Developer: Beenox (PS3/360/Wii/PC/3DS), Other Ocean Interactive (DS), Gameloft (Android/iOS)
System(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii, 3DS, DS, Android, iOS
Release Date: June 26, 2012 (PS3/360/Wii/3DS/DS), June 28, 2012 (Android, iOS), August 10, 2012 (PC)
Note: The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC versions are completely different than the others. While the reviewed version is the PS3 one, most of the review can apply to the 360/PC versions as well.
For any films featuring superheroes, a video game tie-in is almost always inevitable. Movie-based video games tend to get a bad reputation, and for good reason too: a majority of them are terrible, quickly developed cash-ins to ride the wave of its respective film’s popularity. So is The Amazing Spider-Man just another uninspiring movie game, or is it really as good as its title says? Read on and find out! Just be aware that the game, as well as this review, has minor spoilers for the film.
Rather than being an adaptation of The Amazing Spider-Man movie, the game’s storyline takes place months after the events of it. Spider-Man defeated The Lizard, and Manhattan is recovering from the damage done. Dr. Connors is now incarcerated, but Oscorp scientist Alistair Smythe continues Connors’ research. When an outbreak occurs, Spider-Man must defeat the cross-species (human/animal hybrids), avoid being hunted down by Smythe’s robots, and work with Dr. Connors to spread an antidote to save Manhattan once again.
In several parts of the game, you’ll be able to free-roam the city of Manhattan; this is similar to the open-world gameplay featured in the renowned 2004 Spider-Man 2 video game. Swinging and climbing around the city as Spider-Man is exhilarating. There are several side-missions that you can partake in the open environment as well. Examples include bringing an infected citizen to a quarantined area, stopping robberies, and taking pictures. The game consists of 12 Chapters (with a 13th, free-roaming one unlocked after completing the game). Each Chapter features specific objectives, such as defeating certain enemies, obtaining information, and so on. Most of the missions will take place in indoor environments. These include Oscorp-owned labs and sewer systems, and it certainly gets dull seeing the same settings over and over. The areas contain several enemies for Spider-Man to fight, and this leads to another gripe: you’ll be seeing and fighting many of the same types of enemies , mostly infected humans, guards, and robots.
Dee Brown of developer Beenox was quoted as saying, “I played both Batman games and liked them […] I think the Rocksteady guys did a good job at providing what was required to make a great Batman game, and we’re doing everything we need to this time to make a great Spider-Man game.” Indeed, the combat system here is inspired by Rocksteady Studios’ Batman: Arkham titles, using a free-flowing combat and counter system. However, the fighting system here is not as fluid or refined as that of the Batman titles, with some fights becoming disorienting and unorganized, mainly in larger groups or in fights with different enemy types. It is great seeing Spider-Man’s abilities put to good use during combat, though; doing acrobatics and webbing up enemies is so much fun. When sneaking around, Spider-Man will have to use stealth take-downs, which if pulled off correctly, you’ll incapacitate enemies in webbing. This will be extremely useful in avoiding confrontations against large groups of foes.
A unique feature in The Amazing Spider-Man is the Web Rush ability. When active, players go into a first-person view, with everything around them slowed down. This enables you to pinpoint exact locations for Spider-Man to swing, attack certain enemies, grab objects in the environments, hit switches, and so on. You will use this throughout several parts in the game, and it is very helpful.
At certain points of the game, you’ll come across boss fights. Many of these involve the cross-species, including Rhino, Scorpion, and Vermin. These fights are usually a nice change of pace from the usual generic enemy combat and sneaking around. But there isn’t much variety in these fights; usually, the enemy will charge at Spider-Man, and you’ll dodge or use the environment when needed, then counter-attack in some way. And that’s the gist of the fights, and you can’t help but want more from them.
Another problem that occurs mainly during climbing sequences and some boss fights is the camera. You get some camera control with the right analog stick, but the camera goes crazy at certain parts. For instance, when climbing buildings at certain angles, the camera would zoom in extremely close to Spider-Man, resulting in a glitched character model. When fighting certain enemies and bosses, you may not see them coming at all because the camera focuses on a particular enemy or group of enemies. This results in free hits on Spider-Man, and it becomes grating at times.
The game features none of the cast of the film. This could be considered a positive, however. For the Spider-Man games based on Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, there were mediocre voice-overs from the cast of the film that decided to voice their respective characters. So for this game, veteran voice actors were used instead, and they did a fantastic job. The game features Sam Riegel as Spider-Man, Kari Wahlgren as Gwen Stacy, Steven Blum as Dr. Connors, and Nolan North as Alistair Smythe, among many others.
The entire campaign will take around 8 hours or so, with more time added if you complete the various side-missions. Beenox did not skimp on the amount of unlockables. As you swing around Manhattan, you’ll come across pages of various Spider-Man comic books. Once you collect certain amounts of pages, you can unlock a fully readable comic book for your viewing, a very neat idea. Also included in the game are several costumes that are unlocked by taking photos of the Spider-Man symbol in Manhattan. The selection includes the Spider-Man costume from the original movie trilogy, the black costume from the Spider-Man 3 film, and the Future Foundation costume, among several others. The game also includes other unlockables such as character bios, concept art, and more.
The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t quite amazing, but it is a good game. Fans will enjoy the continuation of the film’s plot and the voice-over cast for the game. The gameplay is certainly fun at several moments, and while the game is marred by some problems, the experience overall is enjoyable while it lasts. Beenox can definitely improve when it comes time for the inevitable sequel.
+ Great use of Spider-Mans abilities
+ Free-roaming Manhattan
+ Excellent voice acting and intriguing plot
– Reused environments
– Combat needs refinement
– Wonky camera
Score: 3.5 out of 5