Review: The Amazing Spider-Man the Game Overcomes the Movie Tie-in Curse
Just yesterday we posted our first impressions of Beenox’s The Amazing Spider-Man game, and after spending nearly all of Sunday working through it I’m now ready to lay down our official review. I can confidently say that The Amazing Spider-Man the Game (TASM for short) is as close as it gets to having a Spider-Man video game in the same vein as Rocksteady’s top-notch Batman Arkham Asylum/City series. Beenox didn’t shy away from taking their cues for a great superhero game from Batman’s current developers, and that is a good thing. It’s not quite as polished as Arkham City, but considering that TASM is a movie based game its accomplishments are beyond impressive. Spider-Man fans I can tell you in good faith that the web slinger is back and better than ever in video game form, so please continue on down to read all about his successful return to quality gaming.
The Amazing Spider-Man the Game
EB 8.5 out of 10 Buddhas
- Return to open world Spidey
- Gameplay induces feelings of super heroism
- Tons of unlockable content
The Not so Awesome
- Touchy camera at times
- Loading screens
- Suspect voice acting
Return to open world Spidey
The Amazing Spider-Man sees the return of the web slinger to an open world setting for the first time in a few years, and that’s a great thing. Beenox’s previous two Spider-Man games shied away from the open world setting in favor of a more linear structure, which kind of left a bad taste in the mouths of fans. Luckily they decided to give Spider-Man a proper Manhattan playground in TASM, because he excels in an open world setting as is evident in this new movie based game.
Spider-Man is meant to be in an open world
TASM game world is set on the island of Manhattan, which gives the web crawler a massive playground to flex his unique skill set in, and it is a blast. I hate to make too many comparisons to Arkham City, but that’s exactly what this new Spider-Man game feels like. Both games feature a sprawling open world city featuring third person superhero gameplay that does a fantastic job of making gamers feel as if they have super powers themselves. I can’t think of a better setting for a game starring an individual who can use the powers of a spider to get around. The thrill of swinging through the city on my way to each mission is something that every Spider-Man fan needs to experience.
I know Spidey had an open world game before TASM, but this new one is both next-gen and solid, so if you have never played a Spider-Man game before you should start with this one. It features the familiar setup of most modern open world games with a variety of side and main missions to conquer. Main missions are rooted in the game’s story, which is to help save the city and namely Gwen Stacey from an outbreak of cross breeds who escape from Oscorp during the prologue. In addition to the overarching story the player can also tackle a plethora of side missions, which range from aiding in police car chases to investigating underground laboratories for new upgrades.
The main missions offer a little more variety than the side missions, which can get a little repetitive, but luckily these excursions are usually over in the matter of minutes, so it’s not like you have to grind through these things over and over like some other open world (GTA) games. I actually found myself looking forward to unlocking more side missions, because even though they get a little repetitive, they’re still quick and fun enough that they’re well worth pursuing for some extra XP (XP can be used to buff Spider-Man’s power and skills).
Car chases help to gain Spidey some more XP
Spider-Man needs to be in an open world setting, and TASM provides this fan service. I can’t even begin to tell you how exhilarating it is to web sling your way around town en route to the many main and side missions that this game provides. Beenox has definitely redeemed themselves by implementing this genre into The Amazing Spider-Man, and comic book lovers should be thankful for their fan service.
Gameplay induces feelings of super heroism
Just like some of the more recent super power infused games like Prototype 2, and inFamous 2, The Amazing Spider-Man does a fantastic job of making you feel like a superhero yourself. Within the game’s first few missions it’s plain to see that Beenox wanted nothing more than to impart the feelings of being Spider-Man to the gamer. The simple to use controls instantly transfer this feeling to the gamer, and with a click press of the RT (Xbox 360 controls) button you can begin to execute Spidey’s infamous web slinging maneuver to get around town quicker than you can say “The Daily Bugle”. It is something awesome to experience, and any Spider-Man fan will have a permanent smile on their face while doing so.
In addition to the RT button’s web slinging functionality there are also other move sets that impart the feeling of being super to the gamer. One of these is the new “Web Rush Mode” that Beenox created for this game. To enter web rush mode all you have to do is hold down the RB button, which will cause you to enter into a first person bullet time view that allows you to precisely pick your next target. Once you let go of RB Spidey instantly slings himself to your desired location. This comes in handy while fighting the game’s enemies, swinging through town, and snagging one of the seven hundred comic book page collectibles scattered throughout Manhattan. I absolutely love this web rush mode mechanic, because it makes the feeling of being Spider-Man that much more clear to the gamer.
Web rush mode + web slinging = Awesome fun
Sure Spider-Man’s transportation abilities are both solid and fun in TASM, but for this game to truly impart the feelings of super heroism to the gamer it also needs to feature solid fighting mechanics, which I can say it does. If you’ll allow me I’d like to re-introduce the Batman Arkham Asylum/City comparison again while discussing the fighting abilities of Spidey in TASM. For the most part Spider-Man’s ground game is identical to how Batman fights in Rocksteady’s recent Dark Knight titles. All you need to do is hit the X, Y, or B buttons to dispose of your foes with the grace of a spandex wearing, spider DNA infused teen.
Just like Batman Spidey bounces from foe to foe without the need of complex inputs on the part of the gamer. Similar to the traversal mechanics in this game, the fight sequences also strongly reinforce the notion of being super to the gamer, which is all we can ask for from a game that is centered in a long tradition of superhero excellence.
Fighting is both fast and furious with a hint of grace
Some gamers may be turned off by video games that don’t force them to restart checkpoints thousands of times before the credits roll, but I’m one who appreciates a more forgiving experience. Maybe it’s my old age, but when a game literally kicks my a*s up and down the block these days I almost experience what has to be a stroke. I love challenging myself, and did play TASM on its hardest setting, so it’s not like I’m a p*ssy a*s gamer. I just don’t like feeling as if a game’s only method of challenging me is by being cheap. This is definitely not the case in The Amazing Spider-Man.
Even on the “Super Hero” setting this game isn’t overly taxing on the heart. As long as you can master the acrobatic combat of Spider-Man you shouldn’t have a problem making your way to the game’s conclusion. I appreciate that this difficulty setting will challenge you if you play like an a*shole, but I’m even more grateful that it doesn’t penalize you with cheap deaths. I wish more games followed this mantra on their hardest difficulty settings, because it really does make for a much more enjoyable experience. Some gamers my balk at a game that is more forgiving than most, but I applaud The Amazing Spider-Man’s forgiving attitude.
Tons of unlockable content
Completionsists may disagree with me on this one (700+ collectibles to pick up), but I can’t help to bring up the fact that TASM contains a boatload of unlockable content. It seems that almost everything you do in this game leads to a new piece of content being unlocked under the “Extras” menu on the game’s main screen. You can unlock character bios, concept art, and even full Spider-Man comic books. The latter is the most impressive form of unlockable content in this game especially if you’ve been a long time Marvel comics fan.
You’ll find all sorts of collectable while web slinging around town
Unfortunately you have to collect 700 individual comic book pages to unlock every Spider-Man comic, but it’s well worth the work once you get to see these classics in HD on a big screen TV. If you like video games that reward you for going off the beaten path and taking the extra step then you’ll definitely appreciate all of the unlockable content in The Amazing Spider-Man.
The Not so Awesome
Touchy camera at times
The controls of The Amazing Spider-Man are quite simple, and very similar to other open world superhero games like Prototype 2, but when you first get introduced to them things may not feel just right. I found there to be a slight learning curve with the controls of TASM, and I believe this is due to the fact that the game’s camera sometimes gets a little sketchy. I haven’t been able to determine if it’s a camera problem, or the fact that Spidey is just so damn quick, but more often than not I found myself fighting the camera to keep up with the quick movements of Spider-Man.
This is especially clear during some of the moments where precision is key, such as during heated boss battles, or while snagging comic book pages as you web sling through the skyscraper filled city. The twitchy camera issue can be alleviated with an overuse of the game’s web rush mode mechanic, but I’d rather not have to go into slow motion every time I want to precisely land on a specific target. It just felt like Spider-Man was too quick for the game’s camera at times, which lead to some frustration while trying to bring some of the game’s larger bosses to their knees. TASM doesn’t have the worst camera I’ve ever experienced, but it just didn’t feel as polished and tight as another superhero franchise that I’ve compared this game to more than once during this review.
At times like this the game’s camera may get a little wonky on you
The Amazing Spider-Man has the most odd loading screens that I’ve ever come across in a video game. Not to mention that they stick around longer than most gamers can stand. For some reason Beenox decided to include a fake Twitter-like feed in the game’s loading screens, and it just doesn’t make any sense. I get that they were trying to incorporate today’s reliance on social networking into this game to make it more relevant to younger gamers, but the fake Twitter feed just makes the already too long loading screens that much more annoying.
When I say “too long” while describing TASM’s loading screens I’m talking about upwards of 30 second waits at times. To me that is an unacceptable time for any loading screen. This is even more troubling when you factor in that I installed the game to my hard drive. I just can’t stand long loading times in my games, and TASM has its fair share of them. This frustration is compounded when you have to read fake status updates that absolutely add no value to the game’s experience.
Suspect voice acting
The Amazing Spider-Man is a movie tie-in game that unfortunately doesn’t have the acting talent from the live action film. The voice acting isn’t awful, but I found Spider-Man himself to be the most annoying. That’s a slight problem considering he’s the game’s star player and has the most speaking parts. His voice just sounded annoying to me, and for some reason it didn’t sound Spidey-like. I know Peter Parker is a teenager and should sound a little nasally, but for some reason the actor’s voice really grated on me.
Spidey’s voice may grate on you at times
For the most part the other actors aren’t nearly as suspect as the one voicing Spider-Man, but in the end it would’ve been nice for the studio if the actual movie’s actors lent their talents to the game as well. It would have kept the continuity between the movie and the game more clear, and it probably wouldn’t have annoyed me nearly as much as the actual cast did. Oh well, considering all of the other movie tie-in game hurdles that this game overcame I can look past it’s less than perfect voice acting.
The Final Verdict
The Amazing Spider-Man the Game has managed to do something that nearly every other movie tie-in game has not, which is its ability to not suck a fat one. This is reason enough alone to check this game out. The fact that Beenox could adopt a high profile movie license for a video game is an impressive feat. It’s open world setting is the perfect playground for a Spider-Man game, and this fact shows in TASM. Beenox has crafted a superhero experience that will make any gamer playing it feel like the web slinger himself. I hate going back to this well, but TASM is as close as it gets to having a Spider-Man game mimicking Rocksteady’s fantastic Batman games.
Outside of a touchy camera, and some obnoxious loading screens, this game is a joy to play. The whole camera thing works itself out the longer you play the game, so it’s not like it’s a deal breaker. The loading screens are long, but for the most part they’re spread out enough to not be to obtrusive. When I factor in all of the pros and cons of TASM I can’t help but give it an EB 8.5 out of 10 Buddhas. It’s the best movie based game I’ve ever played, and it should do great things for Spider-Man games to come just like Arkham Asylum did for Batman. I can without hesitation recommend this game as a buy for any gamers looking to pick it up on 6/26. It’ll be well worth your time, but just be aware that it takes place after the movie’s plot so there are a few spoilers contained within it.
Spider-Man fans I think you have the game you’ve been waiting for in TASM, so enjoy your time with it just like I did. You’ve been wishing you picked this game up early based on the EB’s hot Best Buy tip…
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