Poor Spidey has been in a slump in the video game industry. Spider-man 2 The Game unleashed Spidey’s potential full strength. Ever since, his games have been plagued with frustrating repetition, mediocre gameplay, and a lacking story. Shattered Dimensions brought hope that our favorite web-swinger was climbing his way out of the rut he fell into, but The Amazing Spider-man just about kicked him back into it.
The Amazing Spider-man follows the events of the upcoming summer blockbuster. Why they would release it before the movie, I don’t know, but those who are not familiar with Spider-man lore will want to hold off on playing until they see the movie to avoid plot spoilers. All plot spoiling aside, the story isn’t at all worth ruining your movie viewing experience. It’s generic, lacks hardly any excitement, and failed to keep my interest.
My first hour or so playing the game, I had the time of my life. Swinging through the city again brought on some nostalgia, and the first boss fight (with a giant robot) blew my mind. However, the game goes nothing but downhill from there. A few moments stood out, but not enough to keep me at the edge of my seat.
Like most Spider-man games I’ve played, Amazing has a problem with repetition. All boss fights (giant robots being the exception) go down in the same pattern as the last. They lack any real excitement, or anything to really keep you on your toes. They hardly even feel like boss fights, (giant robots, once again, being the exception) and I just felt like I was throwing down with an enemy that was just a little stronger than the rest.
The repetition issue carries over to the game’s numerous side-missions as well. I had a blast swinging around for hours looking for comic book pages scattered across the city, but my enjoyment with side-missions ended there, and it wasn’t even a side-mission! It goes to show that too much repetition and a lack of variety can ruin a game. For instance, I was excited when I learned there were challenges you could take part in, but was thoroughly disappointed when I was thrust into a pointless mini-game that evolved into nothing more than keeping a camera focused on Spider-man as he makes his way to an objective. The races are kind of fun, but like the rest of the game, provide little challenge and are too easily overcome.
It’s not all bad though. There’s a new addition to Spidey’s powers called Web Rush. This nice little mechanic allows you to slow time down to a near halt and survey your options. In combat it gives you an advantage when you’re sorely outmatched, giving you several seconds to make a quick retreat, or grab an object to use against your adversaries. In navigating Manhattan, it grants you the ability to travel through the city quickly when you don’t feel like swinging. It’s very useful when things are going too fast and you need a second to gain your bearings.
The Amazing Spider-man gives you two options in how you take down enemies. Noir style stealth takedowns or beating the snot out of them the old fashioned way. Combat goes down with you executing punches and kicks while dodging and countering when your spider-sense goes off, while building up a combo until it’s high enough to execute powerful takedowns called signature moves. Spidey assaults thugs with a lucha libre style, along with his own quick acrobatic moves. Signature moves are cool looking, and combat is pretty fun once you master it. I must also say, there’s no better sight than to look at where you just beat up some bad guys and see them webbed up on the floor, walls, and ceiling.
The stealth approach has a Spider-man Noir feel to it. While it’s a bit of a challenge at first, after a couple upgrades it becomes too easy. Webbing thugs to the ceiling without being seen is a rush at first, but it quickly gets old when you only need to use the same tactic for each encounter.
This game has plenty of flaws, but it has web-swinging down to a science. Swinging around the city with the greatest of ease is an absolute blast. You swing at dizzying speeds, run up walls, zip along rooftops, and all in a very stylistic manner.
Graphics wise, The Amazing Spider-man gets by. Spider-man himself looks fantastic, and his animations are great. The environment lacks a large amount of detail, but you won’t really notice since you’ll be swinging at high speeds most of the time. Other character models and cutscenes leave much to be desired, but the giant Spider Slayers have superb design.
The soundtrack features nothing memorable, while the voice-acting is hit and miss. Spider-man (voiced by Sam Riegel) is well voiced while other characters like Felicia Hardy are laughably bad.
While it was exhilarating to return to the free-roaming experience, The Amazing Spider-man comes very short of greatness. It’s too weighed down by its lack of variety, overbearing repetition, and generic story. Only the diehard fans of the web head will be able to look past its flaws and fully enjoy it. For everyone else, it’s just another mediocre Spider-man game.
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