Another Spidey Adventure –
In the latest movie tie-in game, Spidey is back in his new adventure Amazing Spider-Man. With events taking place shortly after the events of the recent film, our webbed hero is tasked with battling evil forces, saving the city from certain doom from escaped lunatics and some of the biggest and baddest from his past, keeping his girlfriend Gwen safe from harm, and even picking up a few comic books and taking photos along the way. And there is a lot of good and bad to say about this one, including hardcore fans and even some gamers that may have some nitpicks about the plot and or game mechanics.
It’s hard not to compare this with Batman: Arkane Asylum, because a lot of the elements and gameplay were practically lifted from that title, with Spider-Man’s unique talents thrown in. In the combat scenes, it will feel more like Bruce Wayne’s alter ego than Peter Parker’s, which has caused the game a degree of criticism. But in all fairness, since combat is the main focus here, having a more fluid and easier fighting system is a blessing really. The engine allows for Spidey to really rough it up with his opponents while still having his own powers to draw from. To offset the Batman feeling though, there is web rush, which allows you to get the drop on your enemies, and if things aren’t going so well, web retreat, which can get you out of trouble. Both of these are extremely helpful additions, especially in tight quarters (a majority of the scenes). I did experience a bit of sluggishness and hesitation at times, which I found a bit frustrating, but nothing too bad. It did make it clear though that even though the combat was based on Batman, this newest outing wasn’t quite as polished as that one was.
One thing I really loved about Amazing Spider-Man, however, is the camera system. It just sits in back of Spidey’s shoulder, and even though it’s still 3rd person, you get the sensation of being the hero much more than ever before. You can practically feel the wind hitting your face as you dive from building to building in the open air. It’s exhilarating, especially on a large TV or monitor, to fly like that and the motion blur and other visual effects just pound it home.
To better facilitate that though, which I and others in the office found odd, was that he could now just anchor his web in mid-air with nothing to stick to. In the past, he’d have to do so to a building or whatever. That would be fine, but then I found that it didn’t work everywhere, which would have certainly been a big help at times. Also fans of Spider-Man 2 will be disappointed to learn that they took out the web shot configuration for height, etc, and automated the process. Easier for new gamers to handle, but experienced players of the series will find this to be a step back in the evolution.
The graphics and sound are quite good in the game, rendered very carefully to bring out the sights and sounds of an urban city, Spider-Man himself, and environmental elements. As is usual in these games, the dialog is kind of dry, but not to the point of annoying. Manhattan is well represented, except for one striking omission. Being that it’s the home of millions of people, you would think there would have been more on the street (aka Driver), but it seems that everyone is in their homes. They must be watching the Olympics. Actually more people rendered would probably require a higher CPU, so it was most likely a design decision to keep the game tight for the consoles. After all, I’m sure most gamers would rather have a proper frame rate than extra flourishes. The other noticeable thing is that while Spidey is incredibly rendered, even carrying damage to his red suit from fighting, the enemy characters are a little less detailed, but not enough to ruin the immersion.
The game itself is advertised as a free roaming action adventure and you certainly get to go just about anywhere you want, but random missions (that you can accept or skip) don’t really come up just where you just happen to be. In other words, you don’t really stumble upon someone getting mugged or whatever. And so just flying (or walking) about aimlessly doesn’t really have much draw to it beyond the comic book finds (which you can read for real in the extras once found) and possible photo-ops available (the hokiest part of the game). If you like playing tourist though, there is plenty to see around town.
What is my verdict? At $50, with no multiplayer mode and little reason to replay the game once the story is revealed, the price is a bit high IMO. Even though the estimated game time is 100 hours, those that are good at gaming will get through that much, much quicker because even at the higherdifficulty levels, some are still too easy. I took about 30 hours actually to get through it and I will say that I enjoyed my time with the game, but that pace made it a bit too short for my taste. Though I admittedly didn’t stop to smell the roses as it were. Bottom line is if you are big Spider-Man fan and want a bit more from the movie, it’s definitely a fun experience, but if budget is a concern, you may want to wait for a sale or bargain bin drop later on.