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Game Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

12 Jul 2012

Spider-Man 2 is regarded by many fans to be the best ever Spider-Man video game ever made.

Unlike the subsequent Spider-Man games that followed it, the game had the best combat and web slinging mechanics ever replicated in a video game - not to mention it was one of the very few examples that a game based on a movie can be good (along with Goldeneye).

The Amazing Spider-Man video game takes a slightly different approach from the standard movie tie-in. Instead of being directly based on the events that happen in the newly released movie, the game is an epilogue and takes place after the events of the film. With this being said, it’s advisable to actually watch the movie first before playing the game as there are spoilers galore; you'll also get a better understanding of the story and the characters.

Personally, I felt that the game had a more engaging and unpredictable story than the movie itself. This is because the movie played things fairly safe, given that not only had Spiderman's origin story been told many times, but Curt Connors turning into The Lizard had as well.

The game’s storyline involves an outbreak in Oscorp which causes a virus to spread throughout New York City. This virus turns people into animalistic beings known "cross-species”. Only Spider-Man is immune to the virus, and even his girlfriend Gwen Stacy is infected. Although Peter Parker is smart, he’s not smart enough to concoct an antidote for the virus; will he have to trust an old enemy to help him out in his time of need?

It’s worth noting that The Amazing Spider-Man is a sandbox game that takes place in the heart of Manhattan, and unfortunately you can't cross over Brooklyn Bridge to the other side of the city like you could in Spider-Man 2. It seems odd that a PS3 and Xbox 360 game has a smaller playable gameplay map than its old PS2 predecessor.

Web-slinging in The Amazing Spider-Man is an exhilarating experience. There aren’t many superhero-based sandbox video games out there so it’s something unique to this game. Getting across the city is a lot less time consuming compared to driving all the way like you would in a GTA game, although web-slinging is a very basic mechanic, with Spider-Man able to magically attach his webbing to the sky. This is something you could not do in Spider-Man 2 where you actually had to find high enough buildings to cling on to. For me, the web-slinging in Spider-Man 2 was better, although it’s still fun in this game.

One of the things I disliked about the recent Spider-Man video games were their repetitive combat systems. Sure, you could unlock numerous combos for him to use, but you could still easily beat enemies by bashing the same two buttons over and over again. The Amazing Spider-Man adopts a combat system that is suspiciously similar to that of Batman: Arkham City. If you’ve played both games before, you will come to the conclusion that Bruce Wayne must have taught Peter Parker how to fight in a past life.

Much like Batman, Spider-Man can hide in the shadows and go pounce on enemies unexpectedly. There are no gargoyle statues conveniently placed in this game because Spider-Man can easily use his web-shooters to stick to any surface with ease. Overall, the combat in The Amazing Spider-Man is much improved over previous Spider-Man games and it does not feel like a chore to play.

New York City may be the main playground in the game, but the majority of the storyline-based missions are disappointingly set in only two locations. You will be chasing two boss characters lurking in the dirty sewers and most other missions are set inside the heavily guarded labs and facilities of Oscorp Tower. The only different location you get to visit is the bank which is where you will meet the Black Cat. Every other level in the game looks boring and uninspired despite the gameplay being more fun.

Graphically, The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the better looking sandbox games available. Spider-Man himself looks awesome as his suit is very detailed and accurate to the real thing seen in the movie. Some of the other characters such as Gwen Stacy and Curt Connors look just like Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans respectively. The only time does the graphical quality dip is when Spider-Man enters the aforementioned sewer areas.

Some people may be disappointed that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone do not lend their voices to the game. It's no biggie though, as the voice actors that have replaced them do a good job. The trademark Spider-Man humor is retained, which will please hardcore fans like me.

The main story mode is pretty short and can be completed in around 6–7 hours. The longevity of the game lies within the many side-quests you can undertake around the city. One of my favorite side-quests is taking photographs for a news reporter. There are also a ton of comic book pages to collect too. If you manage to collect them all, you can actually digitally read a number of issues from The Amazing Spider-Man comic book series.

The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the best Spider-Man games ever released and shows us that games based on movies aren’t always shoddy. Much like the movie itself, the game exceeded my expectations and I simply cannot wait for the sequel to come out in 2014. Gameplay-wise, Spider-Man 2’s web-slinging mechanics is still superior, but The Amazing Spider-Man is better overall because it has an original storyline and a better combat system.

Graphics: 7.5

Sound: 7.0

Gameplay: 8.5

Lasting Appeal: 8.0

Overall: 8.5