Release Date: June 26, 2012
Platform(s): Nintendo Wii, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Third-Person, Open World, Superhero, Action, Adventure
Price: Varies by Platform
Movie tie-in games have a terrible reputation—and with good reason, they are usually shitty. Only a handful of games riding the coattails of blockbuster films are actually worth playing. Spider-Man has a pretty decent history with movie tie-in games, so it was only natural for Activision to plan one for the upcoming reboot. With developer Beenox at the helm—who are no strangers to the wall-crawler, with this being their third Spider-Man game—this endeavor is guaranteed not to follow gaming flops like Activision’s bastard child, X-Men: The Official Game, or Sega’s Iron Man 2. However, The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t need to only stand as a good movie tie-in, but as a good game in general. And it almost succeeds.
The Amazing Spider-Man opens as a sort of sequel or epilogue to the upcoming film of the same name. Peter is visiting Gwen at Oscorp, where she is sneaking around to show him some of the work of the new hotshot scientist, Alistair Smythe. The pair come across twisted human-animal hybrid experiments that are apparently the result of the company continuing Dr. Connors’ research and modifying the serum that turned him into the Lizard. The cross-species creatures react violently to Peter’s presence and break out of their respective containment units. Gwen, among others, is infected by the diseased rat creature Vermin, and Peter—now in Spidey mode—must take her to quarantine. Once Gwen is safely in the medbay, it’s up to Spider-Man to wrangle the escaped experiments and save the city. However, Smythe takes this opportunity to unleash his army of robots to deal with the creatures, and they set their sensors on Peter too.
The story is pretty good, it’s just full of C and D-grade Spidey villains, including Smythe, Scorpion, Vermin, and Iguana(seriously, fucking Iguana?! The he’s F-grade considering he’s basically a rehash of the Lizard.). The only popular villains in the game are Rhino, Black Cat, and a cameo by the Lizard. I guess Electro or Kraven the Hunter—you know, two villains that would be exciting to fight—is too much to ask for. Also, I’m kind of split on the whole “classic villains are now genetic experiments” angle. It works for Rhino and Vermin, but it just feels wrong for Scorpion—maybe it’s because his design is really monstrous and I know he’s destined to one day take over as Venom.
The gameplay in The Amazing Spider-Man is reminiscent of Batman: Arkham City, which is exactly what Spidey needed. It’s an open world game and web-swinging feels really fun, despite miraculously swinging from nothing most of the time(maybe he’s latching onto pigeons?). In combat you rely on your spider-sense to keep you alive, although it won’t matter usually. There are two types of spider-sense alerts: a white one that warns of a dodge-able attack and a red one that warns of a seemingly undodge-able one. However, in my experience even the ones that you’re suppose to be able to dodge ending up hitting you—and no, I wasn’t reacting too slow. The enemies in this game are designed to dish out cheap kills, which is a pet peeve of mine as I feel that’s poor game design. I never died during a boss battle—the actual points in the game that are suppose to test your meddle—but died countless times in battle against a handful of regular baddies. If Spidey is forced to go toe-to-toe with three or more thugs, he is fucked. That’s not how it should to be, Spidey is suppose to be able to hold his own. The boss fights themselves are boring and overly simple. As I said, you’ll find more resistance just navigating a level—which is incredibly annoying. There’s also stealth takedowns in the game, but considering that enemies on the other side of the map with their backs turned toward you can still somehow detect you when you attempt a stealth takedown, they are more of a novelty than actually useful.
The graphics in the game are pretty good, with only a few characters looking bad—Gwen being the worst offender. She looks like a fucking mongoloid. New York City could be a bit dirtier too, it looks too clean; Rockstar seems to be the only developer to get it right. Some of the character designs could of used polishing too—Black Cat straight up look like the Baroness from G.I. Joe and Scorpion looks too gross and disfigured; out of all experiments he looks the least human to me and shouldn’t. Overall though, the look of the game works fairly well and appears to fit within the setting in the film. Spider-Man himself looks phenomenal.
The game has several collectables for you obsessive-compulsives out there, but none of them offer any really exciting incentive to find them other than the costumes. In order to unlock the costumes though, you have to change the time and date on your console to some time after Summer, December being the popular confirmation. Why the fuck do you have to change your console settings to unlock items? And who the hell is going to still be playing this in six months? To be completely honest, I almost quit playing the game during chapter four, which has you chasing Vermin through the sewers. That chapter features some of the most repetitive, mundane gameplay I’ve ever experienced in a game—which sucks, because it’s one of the longest chapters. I just don’t see people playing through this more than once.
While I didn’t “like” this game, I sure as hell didn’t hate it; you could do much worse for a movie tie-in. Unfortunately, it boasts too many faults for me to consider it good, however, I think Beenox is on the right track. If the developers could fix the broken combat and come up with a story featuring more exciting bosses and boss battles—perhaps our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man versus the Sinister Six—I think they’d have a solid hit. Sadly, as it stands The Amazing Spider-Man narrowly misses it’s mark.