Friday, June 29, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man (The Game)

  The Amazing Spider-Man: The Game, is a valiant effort by Beenox to return Spidey to his proper high-flying open world gameplay that made a couple of the previous movie tie-ins so much fun. Most especially Spider-Man 2. And while you may find yourself missing a few of the little things from the other games, there’s hardly a bad thing to be said about this go-round at all. With solid game mechanics, great graphics, and fantastic voice acting, the game lives up to its title and succeeds in being ‘amazing’.

  Like any reboot should do, the movie, from the looks of it, is shaking things up quite a bit. And the game does too. Right away, fans of the other movie tie-ins will miss the tutorials narrated by the sardonic yet hilarious Bruce Campbell. Though one can hardly complain, once you do get your hands on Spidey, and feel out those controls you’ll have a hard time not smiling. Not only does his character model look fantastic, he handles incredibly well, and slips into combat with style and ease.

  It’s a return to top form for Spider-Man. No longer is there a button needed to stick to walls, just walk up to them, press for a second and you’re wall crawling. Easy as pie. Next is web swinging. Sure it may look kinda odd now to not see his webs specifically anchoring to buildings as he swings through New York, cause I mean… that was really cool in the other games, but how many times did it simply impede things? Rather than add functionality, it would trap you in frustratingly awkward spots where buildings met, and leave you flopping like a fish on the side of a skyscraper. Instead, they’ve found a happy medium. You can’t clear web your way high across Central Park, you need to be relatively tree-level. So much for swinging from the clouds!

  Also gone is a distinct sprint button which forcibly encourages web locomotion as the only way to fly. Er… swing. And now , ‘rush’. In place of the personally missed sprint button, we have the nifty ‘web rush’ button. Which when pressed and held, slows time to a near halt, brings things into a first-person view through Spidey’s orange-y lenses and highlights points in your surrounds where you can zip to.  Once you target and select a spot, whether it’s a streetlight down the block, or a vantage point in an Oscorp lab to evade being spotted, you’ll find that it’s a lot more than simply zipping. The computer takes over and flings spidey to his destination with style. The sequence is always different granted that you’re in a more complicated looking web rush. He could run along side of a bus, and then flip off of a building to get to his destination, or you could be treated to a completely different acrobatic feat. You never know. Getting from point A to point B, is sometimes just as mundane as that sounds, but pick a neat destination and you’ll get a stylish treat along the way.

  Next is the combat, which is great. It’s brisk and intense, and it makes you look like a pro by simply button mashing. However, that isn’t as easy as you progress. Villains everywhere get a little tougher, and there are more of them too. Not so easy to whale on one guy, while someone’s behind you trying to shank you. No problem, there’s your trusty spidey sense! Right? Right. Only you usually have about half a second to break whatever combo you were building and dodge the dude trying to come at you from behind. This isn’t a flaw with the game, though a bit of slow motion before a surprise attack from behind couldn’t hurt either, but then again there’s already so much of that in the fighting mechanics anyways.

  You have a handy retreat button as well, that when pressed zips you away to a (usually) safe spot, so you can take a few seconds to regain a bit of health. Now, you can also web rush enemies, which leads to all kinds of devastating attacks you can unleashed. That trick combined with quick and frequent application of the retreat button is useful for picking off foes you don’t wanna get too close to. Or crowds as well!

  There’s a decent story here too, and surprisingly great voice acting. I really mean these guys are awesome! Word to the spoiler sensitive, this game gives away A LOT from the movie. Stuff you probably don’t want spoiled. So, if you’re adamant about having a fresh experience with the movie, then, you should shelf the game and only play it after you’ve seen the film. I have a great feeling it’s going to be a fantastic companion piece. I’m sold on the feel of the movie, and now I’m more than satisfied with his new outfit, and even the orange lenses are growing on me. That being said, The Amazing Spider-Man game… pardon me for saying this, still kind of pales in comparison to Spider-Man 2. In which you could deliver pizza’s, find secret hideouts and all kinds of deeply interactive stuff that TASM is simply missing. It has lots of little comic book tokens hidden throughout the city… about 700 of them. And for every so many found, you unlock a full classic Spider-Man comic book from the main menu. This is super cool, but I still think some more in game secrets, a few nooks and crannies…. All that stuff would’ve made this even better. The upgrade menu is far more practical than in Spider-Man 2, but offers far less to unlock. Bummer. Kind of. Rather than unlocking hundreds of new acrobatic moves, you’ll be expanding on core fighting techniques and webbing tricks. Not much you can complain about since all of those tricks come in EXTREMELY handy, but no doubt there’s room for a little more expansion here. Sequels are always right around the corner! I better see you there Beenox!

  They’ve in no way dropped the ball here even despite a fair helping of shortcomings like, the game is on the brink of repetition more often than I’d like, but they smartly mix it up before it gets overbearing at all, if only slightly at times. Some of it is too easy, other parts take far too many do-overs. But it’s all very very fun and enjoyable to play. Most of these gripes come from indoor missions. Which aren’t GREAT but can provide some interesting puzzle solving and stealth techniques too. Even in mundane missions, the thrill of pulling off one successful stealth takedown after the next is addictively fun. Veterans of the Batman games from Rocksteady would appreciate this. Having said all that, the feeling you get from swinging through New York again is simply amazing. It’s a rush and a very intense and thrilling rush at that. The city and swinging through it alone is enough for me to say this game is a must buy. Despite all the nitpicks, this is truly a return to top form for Spidey and one that I’ll be hanging on to for a very long time to come. Unabashedly fun and filled with solid and engaging gameplay mechanics, easily this is the best AND best looking spidey game for the current generation of gaming consoles if you ask me.

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