It’s that time of the year when Hollywood studios release big-budget blockbusters, often accompanied by video-game tie-ins to cash in on the success of the franchise. In the case of comic book heroes, there is already a massive and very faithful following just waiting for the next release, whether in print, on the silver screen or in this case, the PC or gaming console. The Amazing Spider-Man, one of the blockbusters this summer, has a video game adaptation that manages to hold its own as a slinging action for Spider-Man fans.
Set a short time after the events of the movie, the game starts off with Peter Parker taking a tour of OsCorp Industries with leading lady Gwen Stacy. Things go awry, however, as OsCorp’s experimental cross-bred species break free and rampage New York City; and it’s up to Spider-Man once again to save the day. The game’s plot does spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it already, which would turn many players off, and the liberties the original plot takes would further aggravate hardcore comic book fans. Still, the various cameos from characters within the Spider-Man universe helps balance things out. The game makes some headway, for the most part, in telling a coherent story on its own.
Taking cues from its predecessors, The Amazing Spider-Man takes you through an open-world New York City which you can explore at your own pace. Spider-Man swings across the giant metropolis, fighting cross-species monsters, robots and the occasional super villain. The setup is great and hearkens back to the wondrous days of Spider-Man 2, the most beloved of all the games in the franchise. The city does feel alive and bustling with activity, allowing you to enjoy every minute swinging your way across its many locals stopping crime on various missions. You can also enjoy some bonus features, such as collecting comic book pages, facing off muggers and criminals, and taking pictures with your camera.
However, most of the main story missions require Spider-Man to move indoors, which is where the game begins to lose its footing. It’s clear from the past few Spider-Man games that the famed superhero doesn’t do a great job in closed-off and restrictive environments, and the over-the-shoulder camera angle makes most of the game seem a little claustrophobic. These issues make indoor areas feel all the more irritating, as you’ll find yourself wanting to quickly finish the mission at hand so you can go out and enjoy the open world.
Speaking of combat, Spider-Man’s action has also been slightly changed. For starters, you’ll be delivering attacks and combos to your opponents while using your Spider-Sense to dodge and counter incoming attacks. The setup is fairly similar to the recent Batman games, but the execution feels watered down in comparison, even when Spider-Man’s agility is factored in. The alternative to fighting bad guys head-on is using the new stealth system to quickly zip to your enemies, knock them out, and zip right back out of sight, which also has the same half-backed mechanics similar to Batman’s excursions in the Arkham games.
A completely original feature is the Web Rush ability, whereby time slows down and you enter into a first-person view to decide which next surface Spider-Man snaps to with extreme accuracy. It’s a welcome new addition and one that truly sets the game apart from its contemporaries. The game has a leveling system where you can purchase new abilities to add to your arsenal of moves, though the challenge only shows during some of boss battles. This is where it really pushes you to be agile and dexterous, and makes for standout points in the game.
Sights and sounds
While it’s not pushing any boundaries, the visuals and audio do hold up for the most part. New York City looks good when you’re high on top of a building, but most of the surroundings seem unpolished and the enemies are very generic and stereotypical. As mentioned before, the camera angles are hard to stomach since it’s a little too close to comfort. The voice-acting, however, does an admirable job of keeping players invested. Even though none of the original actors voice their video-game counterparts, the last manages to infuse personality and likability to their on-screen avatars, which makes things much better as a whole.
The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t really a game that tries something drastically new to grab your attention. It plays it safe and throws in all the good stuff you loved about previous Spider-Man games with a few touch-ups. The result is an above average yet really fun game that fans of the famed superhero would be delighted to take a shot at. Spider-Man may not be in full form for this particular outing, but he definitely gets the job done.