For those of you who had the chance to go see 'The Amazing Spider-Man' in theaters, this game takes place after the events that happened in the movie. What that means for the majority of you is that if you do not watch the movie, you will be lost for a little while in the game. You won't understand the connection between Spidey and many of the people that he will interact with. Compound that with not filling you in about what happened in the movie, it is quite possible that there will be spoilers in the game. It might throw you off a bit in the beginning but that speed bump only slows down the pacing during the beginning of the game. For the majority of your time there you will be treated with a surprising treat of a movie tie-in not commonly seen with other games based on movies.
Once the first major event happens, you are greeted to the open world Borough of Manhattan. You are limited to just Manhattan during the course of the story and are kept out of other areas like Brooklyn. But there is plenty to do without even having to focus on the story. You can freely swing from building to building collecting random comic pages which are strewn throughout the city. The camera can make you a little woozy because of the speed that he travels and can latch onto any surface, which at times can make you have to pause and forget which side of the building you are on. This also takes some time to master but in no time you will be gliding between buses and alleyways with not problem.
The game will pit you against some familiar characters from the Spiderman universe but not many of the enemies that you would come to expect. Then again, after spending some time with the game, you learn to appreciate what it does offer in terms of enemies and battle. Having taken a note from another brawling super hero game (a.k.a. Batman Arkham City), The Amazing Spiderman does a good job with its battle system. As you encounter groups of enemies, you will be able to link your attacks and dodges in a way that is seamless. From using your web shooters to pull down a heavily armored foe, to ripping a gun turret out of a wall you will find yourself constantly moving around the area in order to keep yourself from harms way. The biggest complaint is that when you find yourself having to web sling out of some of the enclosed areas it can be very disorienting to the player because the scene shifts to an entirely new perspective. Well, you are playing as Spiderman who has heightened senses so they do a very good job of creating that feeling. I just wish I didn't have to get bitten by a radioactive insect to keep up with it.
For the Majority of combat in the game, Spiderman has a stealth takedown maneuver which greatly eases the battles that you come in counter with. One fun tool at your disposal is the Web Rush where with the press of a button, time will slow and you will see active targets highlighted for you to focus your attacks on or use as a plot point. This is a great help for those of you who don't see that big computer module right in front of you with the flashing light that you have to push which will open that locked door for you (don't judge me).
Spiderman doesn't just have his web shooters and Spidey sense to help him out. He also has access to upgrading his super powers by completing various side missions strewn throughout the city. Most of the time you will have to infiltrate a building in which there are a set of bad guys that you will have to subdue in order to clear the area. These aren't necessary to complete the game but it makes the whole process much more doable.
Along with the side quests for upgrading your powers and gaining additional abilities, there are also multiple jobs to do that your friendly neighborhood superhero can do. In your map, icons will pop up whether it is a car theft, robbery, or escaped mental patient that you can choose to take care of. These aren't necessary and at times seem repetitive, but you will gain needed experience that will help you boost your abilities. The one random quest that stood out for me was the random extreme sports promoter that flies through the skies on a blimp. When you latch onto the cabin, you will be able to tackle obstacle courses that he has mapped out for you to trek. This doesn't add much to the story but it is a nice distraction if you find yourself getting complacent with your current mission.
In between missions and quests, there is also the arbitrary design of having to collect comic pages. These pages that are floating around the city have no real presence within the game but for those of you who like to collect items, you are in for a treat. There are roughly 700 of these items in the game so you will be quite busy trying to snag each one out of midair or carefully placed in those hard to reach areas in New York. (If they really wanted to make them hard to get, they should have just put them in apartments that you had to try to rent on a reporters salary). But instead they are somewhat accessible and up until you find about 400 of them is when it starts to get a little difficult. As you collect these pages at certain milestones, you will be rewarded with an image of the original comic covers that made Spiderman so popular.
Loved: The fact that you could swing between buses at the velocity that mirrors the scene in the movies. The battles are continually fun and the addition to the story form the movie is greatly welcomed. I wish that they would have made the movie based on the game in this case. There are some notable missions that really build value into the game but at times they are few and far between.
Hated: The lack of integration of side quests into the story line. When I say that I mean that they tend to be very general, such as "Stop crime" or put person A into Place B, repeat. The amount of repetition in the side quests kept me from enjoying what is otherwise a good story. Mid way through the game I just gave up on doing them all together. The enemies were bland with little character but I had more fun fighting the robots which helped its case (if robots can have character).
Overall, I found this game to be quite good in fact. Going into it I had some high expectations for it and the team at Beenox did a great job with the title. Most games that are based on movies tend to have a very strict timeline for development and in most cases, they have to release the title come hell or high water before the movie comes out. They managed to encapsulate the way that a Spiderman game should play and kept it true to form. For those of you who saw the movie first, you will be in for a treat as the saga continues.
Final Game Guys grade: C+
- by John Speerbrecker for news10.net's Game Guys
(Activision provided a copy of this game for the purpose of review.)