The Amazing Spider-Man
“I should be studying, flirting with cheerleaders, and playing WoW. Instead I’m about to get killed in a robot factory” – Spider-Man
Hey there, Spidey fans! It’s time to look at Beenox’s third game in the superhero franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man. Fitting in to the timeline as an epilogue to the recent movie, it manages to add to the story whilst standing alone strongly enough that a trip to the cinema isn’t compulsory. Phew! Moving away from the style we’ve seen in the previous two instalments, this game is a free-roaming, open-world experience coupled with a different feel of gameplay that redefines even the simplest swing.
Big mistake. A lot of us have learned to love such great creations as the “web of challenges”, and by completely stripping away the style we’ve come to love it’s very easy to see the gaping holes in Spider-Man’s new web. Whilst swinging around the levels on a lazy Sunday afternoon used to be a therapeutic endeavour, the simplified “just hold right trigger” system makes you feel frankly, a little obsolete. However, many people have been crying out for a return to the sandbox feel, and on that Beenox definitely delivers.
So what can Spidey get up to in the big wide world?
With sandbox games, comes repetition – it’s a well-known fact and a balancing act that few games in the genre get right. There’s photographing missions, races and the usual stop the crime type events, but the main thing you’ll either scream at or delight at is the sheer number of collectibles up for grabs. In a stroke of genius, the main collectible in the outside world is comic book pages. As you collect them you will unlock genuine comic books, including the first appearance of Spider-Man and some of his foes. This is a complete fan-boy addition that feels like something new and different, and they are definitely worth the read.
There’s also various side missions and collectibles in the missions, with all these being replayable at your leisure.
But I don’t wanna fight them…
One of the major flaws is the two-edged sword of combat. Veteran gamers will find the combat too easy on anything but the hardest difficulty, as the controls have been simplified and the moves set is repetitive even with full unlocks. On the flip side, if you do take damage it will almost certainly result in death as take enemies head on is a dangerous business for all involved.
The Amazing Spider-Man appears to be suffering from some form of jealousy for the Batman franchise. Studio Head Dee Brown has openly stated that loving the rival franchise’s games had affected the direction of the game. On paper, there’s nothing wrong with that, after all, the Batman franchise has given us two of the best games of recent years, but a lack-lustre imitation just doesn’t work. Spider-Man has always been about arcadey combat and a corny joke book, but this instalment strongly pushes stealth takedowns. Whilst this is a nice addition, it’s really the only way to go in a lot of sections, and it can get tiresome very quickly.
Lions and tigers and glitches, oh my!
The bigger the game, the more numerous the little glitches. This is a fact that we all accept in gaming. However, the glitches appear in levels just as liberally as they do in the open world. Falling through a wall into a different section of the level is more than possible, and some key items just didn’t appear until Spider-Man left the area and returned. Whilst none of these are a game breaking experience, they are niggles that suggest the polish on the game is not as it should be.
The story and the voice acting is definitely up to scratch, however. And there’s even DLC that allows you to play as Stan Lee. Whilst the main plotline is interesting enough, there’s just really nothing too exciting in this title. With the movie tie-in it’s easy to wonder how much pressure Beenox were under to deliver on time, as an extra month could have done wonders for this title.
The Bottom Line
There have been a lot of changes in the latest instalment of the Spider-Man franchise, some good, some bad, but the biggest change appears to be that they forgot to inject the fun. Repetitive missions and a feeling that you don’t really have full control gradually wear you down till your main joy is collecting comic books. Whilst it’s great to have a city to swing around, the endless stealthy kills make the game feel like a simplified Batman rip-off. A mediocre game from start to finish, The Amazing Spider-Man has failed to deliver the game we all hoped for. In short, it’s just not that amazing.
Miss; There’s nothing that makes you sit up and pay attention.
Need; To remember who the hero is. Spider-Man is not Batman, he never will be, and that’s a good thing.