The Amazing Spider-Man
It’s summer block buster time again in the film industry which means it’s also the time we see the video games that coincide with said block busters hitting the shelves. While Marvel missed out on a proper Avengers title, Beenox and Activision made sure that they didn’t miss out on a new Spider-Man title. The pair have already churned out the last couple of rather decent titles for the franchise so why not one for the film. Let’s see how their faired in a genre that is usually know for making slop that just milks the films for more money.
A few months after the events of the film, Oscorp has moved in a new direction from biological solutions to mechanical to solve the issues of man. Alistaire Smythe is named the new lead for the company as well as tasked with rounding up and destroying all of the cross-species experiments that Dr. Connors (The Lizard) may have created. This includes Spidey as well. An accident occurs and the cross-species creatures escape and begin to infect the city. Spidey now has to set things right, save Gwen Stacy, wrangle the cross-species (Rhino, Scorpion, etc.) and defend himself against the robotic creations designed to terminate him. Can the spider do it?
Since the game continues the story from the film, if you haven’t seen it you start out a little bit lost. There is a slight recap, but obviously the developers were trying not to spoil the movie all that much. This was nice except for the spoilers that did slip into the game kind of spoil some emotional scenes in the film. I won’t mention them here, but I was shocked that they did such a great job of trying not to spoil anything we couldn’t gather from the trailers and they let lose a big one in the game’s story. So not only was their no real point of reference for the game that came out a week before the film, some of the film’s story was a bit ruined on accident or on purpose.
One of the big features talked about at E3 this year was the new Web Rush feature added to the game. It allows players kind of choreograph Spider-Man’s movements so they can simulate some theatrical movements that normally players can’t due in game. In general, they did a great job on this and it would be amazing but the targeting for it is extremely lose unless you constantly use the “Spidey Sense” mode to slow things down for precise targeting. The animations are great as well as the movement, but when trying to move faster than point to point there seems to be more luck involved that you will hit the next target or not.
Lastly and this shouldn’t be a huge surprise, but like many other film based titles, the character models were very blah as well as generic. Essentially if it wasn’t a cross-species or a robot it seemed like the artists needed to just use cookie cutters with different clothes. It also felt this way for some of the bigger named NPCs, like Gwen and Smythe. Yes they looked a bit different to stand out from generic pedestrian, but not by much. I am sure if they would have had bit more time on this the art team could have made everyone look a bit more rich and detailed, but that is not the case here.
Now while I harped on it up above, the story for The Amazing Spider-Man is pretty damn good. It continues on so well from the film that I wouldn’t be surprised that the events in the game were used in the next installment of the film franchise. In fact if you watch the film and then play the game right away you’ll most likely be asking why they didn’t make the film another hour or two longer to fit in this content. It is a bit cheesy at sometimes, but it fits the overall feel of Spider-Man so well. It was extremely hard to put the game down once I dove in.
Moving away from the story, I’d have to say the next big thing that Beenox hit pretty well on the head was the new combat style. Effectively it is a modified version of the Batman: AA/AC free-flow style. Obviously it has been modified a bit to truly fit the difference between the two different heroes and for Spider-Man it works perfectly. This was a combat style that I grew to love already and Beenox pulled it off just as well as Rocksteady did. This was almost enough to make me forget about the generic NPC models I was tossing around and beating up. Game play does trump visuals in this case though.
Lastly, the environments of the game totally place you right in the middle of Manhattan with the Marvel universe mixed in. This is most likely that the guys at Beenox had access to all the CG models from the film to help keep continuity as well as all the other models of the island. I played the game before I saw the film, but when I saw the film I had the complete feeling of déjà vu when it came to shots of the fictional locations as well as real locations. It’s not 100% the same as the real world, but with the fictional it is completely spot on and added an extra level of enjoyment.
Usually I don’t recommend people get a game based on a film but when it comes to The Amazing Spider-Man I completely do as long as you enjoyed the film or the previous titles Beenox has done. More so though if you enjoyed the film. It is like getting a very extended cut of the film right away and it adds a whole lot to the entire experience. Even if you take that away it is still a rather well balanced and fun title. My only real gripe I couldn’t get around would be the mentioned character models, but like I said that is most likely attributed to trying to hit the film’s launch window.
I also recommend it as a definite rent in the case you don’t have the fully disposable income to drop on the game. Like I said it adds quite a bit, but the replay on it will fade just like DVD extras after a while. But it is completely worth the time.
The Amazing Spider-Man was developed by Beenox and published by Activision on June 26th 2012 for the PS3, XBox 360, Wii, 3DS and PC. A PS3 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.