The Amazing Spider-man review
The Amazing Spider-man may be the most inappropriately named game of all time
Either the video game media has gone soft, or my opinion of The Amazing Spider-man is the most contrary I’ve had about a game, ever.
In my view, Spider-man is a bland, uninspired, repetitive arcade adventure game that simply fails to entertain on any level that will resonate with anyone above the age of 13. Yet somehow it’s managed to earn a Metacritic aggregate of 70/100, with the likes of G4 TV, GameTrailers, Gamespot, and Destructoid all somehow agreeing, or at least convincing themselves and each other that it’s a pretty good game.
I obviously disagree with them. Let me tell you why.
The Amazing Spider-Man game takes place a few weeks on from the end of the movie, which is a pretty great way to make sure that anyone who buys the game goes out and watches the movie first. In fairness, it’s also a pretty cool way to extend the overarching storyline, and I was just glad I didn’t have to play through the theatrical experience after having already watched it.
In terms of gameplay, The Amazing Spider-man pretty much sticks to the path well trodden by previous Spider-man games. It’s worth pointing out here that The Amazing Spider-man is the third Spider-man from Beenox in as many years, and it shows.
Swinging between buildings is fairly seamless and fluid, and Spidey is an expert at scaling walls, web-squirting baddies, and doing all that other stuff that only a Spider-man can. My biggest problem is that the various movement and combat systems are so smooth and easy to get right, that they lose their appeal early on.
If there was at least some challenge to perfecting the art of web-slinging and building traversal, this game could have held my interest. But after five minutes, it’s a virtual walk in the park, and what could have been a compelling and interesting core system becomes tedious and repetitive.
The combat at least mixes things up a little in relation to previous Spider-man games. However, it’s easy to spot that Beenox was inspired by the recent Batman franchise developed by Rocksteady Games. The manner in which Spidey chains punches and combos together while dodging and using his Spider Sense is severely reminiscent of Rocksteady’s far more complete Batman: Arkham City.
What’s worse, is that on top of blatantly borrowing free-flow combat from the Dark Knight, the execution is embarrassingly inferior to its inspiration. That goes for The Amazing Spider-man’s stealth system too, which again borrows from the Arkham games, and again falls short of them in execution.
Where The Amazing Spider-man does make a semi-successful deviation from its predecessors, is by going open-world. A sandbox approach feels natural for the franchise, and exploring the city is occasionally quite enjoyable. Sadly, after an hour or two of doing so, everything starts feeling more than just a little sterile and bland. The game is set in New York city, but it doesn’t even begin to capture the hustle and bustle of the real Big Apple, and we’re left with a dry, soulless collection of buildings.
The Amazing Spider-man also introduces the Web Rush ability, which essentially allows you to slow time to a virtual standstill, and select a spot to aim your next web-sling. This makes it possible to be more precise with your movements, which I suppose is a good thing.
While navigating outdoor locations is smooth and easy to the point of tedium, indoor segments are something completely different. Mostly limited to uninspired offices, typically dark and dank sewers, and broken down buildings, these portions of the game feel restrictive and severely unimaginative. The gameplay structure is similarly sterile, with the usual “pull that lever” or “find these 4 items” type objectives being the order of the day.
Then there are the boss fights which are predictable to the point of being humorous. They’re not broken by any means, but they just re-emphasize the feeling that The Amazing Spider-man is a game that was made for the sake of making.
Mechanically, there is nothing really wrong with The Amazing Spider-man. The graphics are decent, physics systems solid (mostly), and the basic game design builds on trusted and proven formulas in the action-adventure genre. If that’s good enough for you, then have at it.
Perhaps I’m being too harsh in this review. After all, nobody really expects anything great from comic book/movie tie-ins. I guess there is an audience that would enjoy The Amazing Spider-man, but I’m not a part of it, and to be honest, if you’re reading MyGaming, then you’re probably not either.