THE STORY ·
MAIN CHARACTERS ·
Below is a review for the PS3 edition of The Amazing Spider-Man, provided to Marvel Animation Age
by Activision Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Entertainment.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PS3 REVIEW
Out of the gate, The Amazing Spider-Man has a lot going for it. Not only does it bring back the open-world free swing that Spidey game fans havenít seen since in a few years, but we also get a new story that, in all seriousness, isnít half-bad. The story would make for a solid movie or a great comic story-line. Plus, with solid graphics, voice performances, and some interesting boss battles, the game is enjoyable across the board. But, it does suffer from a few flaws that bring it down from great to just good.
After a bit of a slow start - the game starts off with a genuinely interesting Oscorp promo video followed by about ten minutes of exposition and setting up the gameís story Ė the game roars to life. Spidey is thrown into the mix of a monster breakout as a fair amount of mutant experiments escape from Oscorp, meaning our Webhead has to deal with those genetic freaks and the tracker robots Alistair Smythe (the new science head at Oscorp) has sent out the find them. A pretty basic plot, yeah, but admittedly fun. Along the way, Spidey has to turn to Dr. Conners (aka The Lizard) and a few other notable guest stars in order to complete his work.
And trudging through the game, you honestly wonít come across anything remotely original. The story is pretty predictable and standard, with Spidey having to fight hordes of robots and asylum inmates before getting to each boss battle. That is basically how the game breaks down, level after level once things get rolling. Actually Ė that is a bit of a lie. There are some genuinely great moments, but they happen to be sandwiched between some dull parts. So yes, it does get repetitive, though the same olí fisticuffs are broken up from time to time thanks to the odd side-mission that needs to get done to further the plot along.
Honestly, I can forgive a lot of the repetitiveness and flat-out stealing this game partakes in because of the beautiful open-world moments. The webslinging, at times, is really breathtaking. Nab on to a helicopter and you get this tremendous view of the city...if you happen not to hit a glitch which causes Spidey to jump around the corner of the screen. Itís really impressive, actually, the scope. While not as detailed as I think it couldíve been, itís still remarkably well done and a pleasure to swing in. Some of the dynamics donít exactly work Ė especially when you happen to websling while not apparently connected to anything Ė but itís still easy to get lost in. Webslinging is so easy to do, so itís easy to just completely zone out and aimlessly swing about.
The web-rush feature, which allows Spidey to slow down time, find a perfect perch and then zip to it, is a neat little addition to the game. It does feel a bit familiar, similar to what was used in previous Spider-Man games, but it actually does come in handy from time to time. The web-rush mechanic does come in handy quite a bit during the robot battles, the first being a good tussle to help you figure out the pros to the system. It helps you save time and even kick a little bad-guy ass, so itís definitely worth using whenever you can. It may drop the difficulty some, but it will come in handy with some of the light strategy work required.
And while those features really stand-out, I found the rest of the fighting mechanics werenít anything really special. The fighting mechanics are a blatantly lifted from the Batman: Arkham Asylum game series, though less polished. It comes down more to button mashing then anything, and even then that seems like too much. Thereís no real strategy required, save for the odd retreat to rebuild some lost life. Outside of that, just swing away until the room is clear. It doesnít get any more complicated than that. A plus is the additional of using environment objects, like soda pop machines or dumpsters. Webbing one and smashing it on the ground will usually stun the bad guys, making it easier to web up and take a few out.
But youíll be doing those same actions a lot. The game really piles on wave after wave of bad guy, often to the point where it gets frustrating and tedious.
Another thing that caught my eye, during the assorted fights, is the recycling of animation from previous Spider-Man games. The developer of The Amazing Spider-Man, Beenox, handled the last two Spidey-centric game titles - Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Spider-Man: Edge of Time - and a lot of the fighting and webbing animation is nearly identical. What Spidey perform a takedown in this game. Looks mighty similar to Spider-Man Noirís takedown from Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Spideyís movements (his running cycling, how the character moves, etc.), and it seems so similar to Beenoxís previous Spidey efforts. Itís not a strike against the game at all, but it does get a little distracting, and seems like a missed opportunity for the develop to really put a unique spin on this game to make it really stand out.
As what seems to be a bit of fad as of late, the game does also employ a few Ďquick-time eventí sequences. Not too overbearing, but they can be confusing at times, with the objective not exactly clear.
The visuals here are pretty fantastic across the board, save for a couple glaring mistakes. Spider-Man swinging through the city is...amazing. Especially as dusk. Or at night. Or during the day. Anytime, really! It always looks amazing, and the superb use of shading and lighting is pretty jaw-dropping sometimes. It is fairly obvious the development team spent the majority of their time perfecting the open-world moments for Spidey. As I said earlier, you can just get lost in these moments and the obvious hard work that went into making these moments really special. Spidey looks just a good, too. Spider-Manís increasingly tattered costume is a nice extra touch.
There are a few clunkers, though. Gwen doesnít look all that good, and neither does Dr. Conners. In fact, most of the human characters look very stiff, and are usually saddled with almost non-existent facial expressions. Early in the game, Spidey and Conners talk to Gwen Stacy through a computer and...just watch the Stacy model. It is possibly some of the worst character animation Iíve seen in a long, long, long time. Like...pre-Reboot bad.
The dialogue and story is good for the most part. Nothing too remarkable, but not terrible, either. Itís a nice mix of groaners from Spidey, lame quips, posturing, and fake science babble. Every once and awhile dialogue will get drowned out when more than one character speaks, or some on-screen actions will essentially mute whoeverís talking, but the dialogue is rarely crucial enough that it warrants any worry.
This title is also Playstation Move equipped, but the peripheral add-on was not used when playing this game.
Despite what seems to be an overwhelming amount of complaints, this is actually a fun game. Itís not a great game, or one that will be remembered years down the line, but a good one to pick up Ė especially now with the price dropping to roughly $20 Ė 30. With the The Amazing Spider-Man feature film now also available on home video, watching the movie and following up with this game would make for a solid one-two punch. Itís a good game, but one that could have been better. A little more development, a bigger budget, some more in-depth features, and this could have been something to rival the amazing Batman: Arkham Asylum games but, instead, we get a fun movie tie-in game thatís worth at least a Rental and has debatable replayability. The game may not be amazing, but itís probably the best Spidey video game in years. Falling short of greatness, it does deserve a little bit of love from the fanbase, and its current $30 price tag should make it an easy purchase.
Copy of video game provided by Activision. Review published January 2013.