Spider-Man has had numerous outings on consoles. Edge of Time, Shattered Dimensions and Web of Shadows are just a few of the titles that have involved the Marvel comic book star. The superhero returns to the big screen this summer in The Amazing Spider-Man. To coincide with the blockbuster film release, the video game of the same name has swung onto consoles.
Published by Activison and developed by Beenox, The Amazing Spider-Man takes place after the events of the film, though those who haven’t seen the film will be still be able to follow the on-goings.
Set in Manhattan, using Dr. Curt Connors’ research, new Oscorp executive, Alistair Smythe, plans to create more cross-species experiments. However, the experiments escape, causing havoc in Manhattan. In order to combat the experiments, Smythe develops a large group of robots, though they cause more harm to the city than good. It’s up to Spider-Man (a cross-species himself) to save the city. The main storyline is very well written and acts as a great follow-up to the film.
Spider-Man’s adventure has him coming up against some familiar faces, such as Lizard, Felicia, Iguana, Rhino and Scorpion, as well as a newly-made enemy called Nattie – a piranha-like boss character. The boss fights are very enjoyable to play and provide some of the highlights of the game.
As well as the main storyline, The Amazing Spider-Man also provides side missions. News reporter, Whitney Chang offers Spider-Man a camera which he can take photographs with. Throughout each of the game’s main levels, there are a number of photos to capture, requiring players to keep an eye out. In addition, Whitney asks for Spider-Man’s help regarding suspicious activities in the city.
Other side missions include defeating thugs, stopping cars from getting away, collecting mental patients and dropping them off at police stations, collecting ill patients and dropping them off at quarantine zones and XTreme Challenges, which include keeping Spider-Man in the frame of the camera and collecting flares in a race against time. The side missions provide some variety from the main storyline and will also keep players occupied throughout the game.
In addition to side missions, there are collectibles scattered throughout. During the game’s missions, there are hidden Tech Pieces, Oscorp Manuals, audio evidence and magazines to be gathered. Furthermore, 700 comics are scattered throughout Manhattan for Spider-Man to collect. While collectibles in games can often be quite tedious, this isn’t the case in The Amazing Spider-Man, as players will also unlock XP rewards.
Players are rewarded XP for completing missions, gathering collectibles and overcoming enemies. Earning XP permits players to level up, which allows them to upgrade. The character upgrades include increased attack damage, combat boosts and new attacks.
Furthermore, The Amazing Spider-Man also provides tech upgrades, including improved web-strength, web reach, suit combat resistance and more. The upgrades are a welcome addition to the game and are well implemented as they provide Spider-Man with improved abilities, which will come in useful when players encounter tougher enemies.
As for combat, Spider-Man has the basic attack with X, web shoot with B and dodge with Y commands, though can also perform more complex attacks and moves as you upgrade. Moreover, Spider-Man can also perform stealth takedowns if he’s placed above or behind an enemy, something that works really well. Another particularly nice feature of the combat is ‘web retreat’, which allows Spider-Man to retreat to the nearest wall or building, allowing him to regain his health and plot another attack.
It wouldn’t be a Spider-Man game if players couldn’t swing around Manhattan and The Amazing Spider-Man is no different. Swinging around the city feels a lot smoother than before though, quite disappointingly, the webs appear to attach to the clouds, rather than near-by buildings and objects.
As well as web-swinging, Spider-Man can also ‘web rush’ - something else that has been well implemented. This allows for players to quickly get to a specific spot at the press of a button, and is an essential feature during fast-paced sections of the game.
Like the film, The Amazing Spider-Man manages to incorporate humour into its script. Spider-Man quite often comes out with a few lines that will have players laughing out loud. Additionally, during the loading screens, comical comments and reactions of Manhattan’s residents are displayed under the heading. “NY City Thoughts” – a Twitter-like feature.
Despite all its good points, The Amazing Spider-Man does contain a number of flaws. The game features some lengthy loading times. While installing the game to the Xbox 360’s hard drive shortens the loading times, it’s still not ideal.
Another fault in the game is the occasional camera problem, often when Spider-Man is climbing on the ceiling. It often takes a short while or so to readjust the camera to the action, something that can prove to be fairly annoying.
Nevertheless, the main problem with the game is its easiness. Players won’t encounter many problems as they progress through the main storyline, even on the harder difficulties. Furthermore, the side missions aren’t particularly difficult either, often requiring some simple button-mashing.
Graphically, The Amazing Spider-Man contains some fantastic looking characters, though this is let down by some repetitive visuals, mainly evident on Manhattan’s buildings. As for the audio, it’s a shame the movie actors didn’t lend their voice to the game, though the stand-ins do an excellent job.
Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the best Spider-Man titles to date. The well-written storyline and some brilliantly executed features make this game very enjoyable to play, though its repetitive nature and the lack of a real challenge lets the title down. This is definitely a game to consider during the summer game drought.