Gameplay: 7 / 10
Graphics: 7 / 10
Replay Value: 8 / 10
Sound and Music: 7 / 10
On paper, Spider-Man seems like the perfect superhero to make a game out of. His powers, abilities and rogues gallery are a perfect fit into the video game world and all signs point to it being a sure hit. Since the 70s, numerous attempts have been made to do this, but in truth, there have been more misses than hits. Now that isn’t to say there haven’t been any good games, there just haven’t been truly great ones. But that all seemed to change when developer Beenox took over the franchise in 2010 and they gave us the surprisingly good Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. It was an original take on the series and all signs pointed to good things for the future of the web-slinger. But it seems that they took off too fast and stumbled with their next iteration: Spider-Man: Edge of Time.
When it was announced that the Spider-Man series would be rebooted, fans dreaded the official announcement of a video-game tie-in and lo and behold, it came – and with it, the news that Beenox would again be at the helm. Combing the horrid history of video-game tie-ins with the previous game, fans the world over raised a collective eyebrow, but were they right or did Beenox find redemption?
Set (oddly) after the events of the film (so sadly, some heavy spoilers are revealed), the game’s story picks up after new scientist and executive at OSCORP: Alistair Smythe continues Dr. Connors’ work into cross-species genetic research, which results in numerous monstrosities being created (namely Vermin, Iguana, Rhino and Scorpion). At the start of the game, thanks to Peter Parker’s presence, these creatures break free from their holdings and are unleashed upon Manhattan and it’s up to Spider-Man to set things right. Things aren’t as simple they seem though because Smythe also unleashes his army of cross-species seeking robots to try and contain the threat, but they quickly become more of a nuisance than anything, which just adds more to Spidey’s already full plate.
Being in 2012, we expect all games to look fantastic, but this isn’t entirely the case in The Amazing Spider-Man. The character models look very generic – this is most noticeable with the enemies – and not as detailed as one would expect. It’s not to say they are outdated, just not that up-to-date. When not running around equally generic sewers and labs the city itself is beautifully rendered and feels alive with citizens doing more than just walking around. Spider-Man though looks fantastic. The suit really looks good and his animations are fluid minus some wall crawling hiccups.
The characters sound good and the voice acting is actually really well delivered. Although none of the original cast of the film feature, we get the likes of Troy Baker, Nolan North, Bruce Campbell and Steven Blum who really do a good job of giving life to their characters. And even though Spidey’s lines get a bit repetitive during free-roam, there is a decent amount of one-liners to even notice. There’s nothing really impressive on the musical side as it is really only heard when there are fights and acts as an audio cue as to when Spider-Man is engaging an enemy. The only real hang-up here is that the sound effects during a fight are “cartoony” and it goes against the feel the game wants to give.
That aside, playing the game is a lot of fun. Players who are familiar with the Arkham Asylum/City games will feel some déjà vu because the gaming mechanics are pretty much the same. Each one of the right face buttons are used for attacking, countering, jumping/evading and another for web attacks which acts as a stun. However, unlike the Arkham series, combat is dumbed down due to a lack of gadgets which results in some button mashing. Web-Slinging is charted to the bottom right shoulder button and by holding it in, you can swing continuously. There is a problem with the webs where they are apparently quite magical and can attach to the air, water and whatever the hell they feel like. Even in combat, problems persist. Webbing is pretty weak even after upgrading them. Webbing enemies only stops them for about a second or two and can lead to some frustrating deaths as a result.
The web-rush is a new mechanics for the series and allows the player to see through Spider-Man’s eyes by holding a button, select a certain spot and upon releasing it, he’ll rush to that spot using some ‘Spidey Parkour.’ It’s a good idea, but not entirely well implemented. Even though it can be a life-saver in combat, it becomes slightly annoying having to search for things and places to interact with.
As mentioned before, there is an upgrade system that allows players to improve the durability of the suit, increase attack/web strength and learn new moves. By defeating enemies and collecting various things, you gain XP which you use to do the above. The system is split into two sections: tech and combat. By defeating mechs, you earn tech pieces which goes towards the web/suit upgrades while enemies defeated gives you XP for the combat department. It’s fairly simple to fully upgrade Spider-Man, but some upgrades that you could’ve used earlier on become available in odd places, but can be used again if you replay a level.
There are many side-missions to do in the city like car chases, petty crimes, police stand-offs, races and infiltrating research labs. But the most exciting of the side-missions are the photography ones where a reporter sends you around New York taking pics of various things. To the true fans, this is big treat because many of these involve references to upcoming villains and gets you excited for the future games. The best of the collectibles are the 700 comic pages scattered through the city which will have you searching for hours on end. Collecting these unlocks (pretty rare) digital 1st issues of the various villains in the game.
In the end, the game has many faults, but it doesn’t really matter. It has a solid story that is very well written compared to other licensed games. Playing it isn’t a pain and is one of the more fun games you can sink your time into. Beenox redeemed themselves with this and the future is once again bright for out friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.