This year our cinema screens will be showing the reboot of our friendly neighbourhood hero in The Amazing Spider- Man, and to accompany this Beenox is developing a video game, set after the film, to give fans an extra dose of webby goodness. I was fortunate enough to go and have a sneak peek at the game before its release later in the year and here’s what I saw.
Good news for all you Spidey fans is, he’s finally coming back to Manhattan and the city is looking better than ever! We are introduced to Spidey as he stands on top of one of the many skyscrapers in the city and some major changes are already apparent. Firstly, a much tighter camera angle has been chosen to bring you closer to the action and once he starts web slinging around the city, it feels like you are actually watching an orchestrated cut scene but once Web Rush is activated you realise you’re not.
Web Rush is a new feature that Beenox has developed that acts as an extension of Spider-Man’s spider sense. As we are, unfortunately, not blessed with mutant powers, the next best thing is an ability that slows down time and allows us to make choices both in combat and while traversing the city. We’ll come back to combat a little later but in terms of moving around the city you can take any route you like but by using Web Rush, which points out places Spider-Man can sling from, you can find the quickest route or the one filled with lots of backflips or spins - the choice is yours. The great thing is once you’ve found these routes through Web Rush and taken them a number of times you will begin to learn them and not need to use Web Rush as often. This is how Beenox wanted players to try and adapt and take on some makeshift mutant powers of their own.
Spread out across the city are a variety of side missions and other content which is used to gain trust with the citizens, who will comment on how awesome Spidey is every time he swings by, and also unlock additional powers. One side mission which was demonstrated at the preview event was a chase between a cop car and some hooligans. You can either leave them to it or jump onto the criminal’s car bonnet and force them to stop. If you choose to help, a quick time event will begin and you must input the actions correctly to spread your web on the windscreen and cause the car to crash and land in one of your webs for the cops to deal with. This was just a taste of the missions that are available and seemed like it could be a refreshing break from the main story.
The next part of the demo showcased one of the many ‘dungeons’ found in Manhattan. Upon entering the building, Spider-Man is greeted by three rooms filled with guards ready to beat him to a pulp. This is where the player now has the choice of how they want to tackle the enemies – the stealthy approach or just running in and throwing some punches. Activating Web Rush here gives Spider-Man some valuable choices both in navigation and ways he can take out his enemies. Yellow markers represent places Spider-Man can travel to without being detected and red markers show objects or opportunities to take out enemies in a stealthy manner. Using Web Rushed here, and using it to avoid the mayhem of slinging around the city, it was easy to see the UI changes that have been added to the game. Beenox wanted to clean up the screen and by taking away a lot of the UI that wasn’t exactly needed they can give players full use of the screen on what matters – the action!
Stealth kills are comprised of such things as simply launching onto an enemy from above or pulling crates down to crush enemies and can allow you to move around a room without ever being detected. The real fun, however, is when Spider-Man decides it’s time for a bit of the rough and tumble! Using his wrestling inspired fighting moves Spider-Man is able to pull off combos that allow him to control a large number of opponents at once. His range of different attacks also keeps combat fresh and the finishers look like a lot of fun to pull off. If you want an idea of what the combat is like it's very similar to the Batman: Arkham games that have been praised for their freeflowing battles. The final room in this building was home to Rhino, who looked to be inspired by classic Marvel, as half man half beast, as opposed to some of the armour plated versions of him. I won’t spoil the boss battle but Web Rush is used again here and shows that it will be an integral part of the game.
The Amazing Spider-Man is scheduled for release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on the 26th June.