The lights are on
Spider senses are tingling alright...
The Amazing Spider-Man movie may have been an honest try at a reboot, and a decent one at that- even though it only released yesterday, but the game version is anything but that. Put into the now questionable hands of Beenox, the people who did such a great job with Shattered Dimensions' linear story, and a terrible job with Edge of Time's- The amazing Spider-Man falls flat on its face, as it almost fails with every single gimmick.
Of the two major points instilled into the creation of the game itself, it only marginally succeeds with one- open world movement and freedom. While, theoretically, you are free to go anywhere you want at any time, even the other gimmick of zipping around by highlighting objects brings back the linear progression, as only certain objects can be used- thus diminishing your freedom considerably.
For you moviegoers, do not be disappointed when you see the in-game character models, as while some are (for the most part) true to the movie characters, others- such as Lizard, are wildly different. This is of course to be expected, as the game developer has the rights to do what they wish with their characters, but can be a little disappointing nonetheless. Of course, if it were an exact copy of the movie, then there wouldn't be much time for intense exploration or anything else I guess...
I must admit, I do believe that I made a good decision in waiting until I'd seen the movie to review the game itself. This has allowed me to compare those two side by side, as well as to see what each has accomplished- but, for the side of the game, Spidey hasn't done very much. Seeing as Spider-Man 3 was an amazing flop, and it was Spider-Man's third adventure at the time, within that series- it is no surprise that the third in Beenox's Spider-Man titles also flops horrendously. With the promise of Shattered Dimensions and the fact that it was the best game since Spider-Man 2's open world, The Amazing Spider-Man is not only a terrible failure in and of itself, but a downward trend continued for everyone's neighborhood favorite.
As Ben Reeves so helpfully observed from his official magazine review of The Amazing Spider-Man, it was indeed a gigantic mistake to make the game a direct sequel of sorts to a movie that released over a week later, but that was Activision's choice way to go. It seems that, as with many other franchises it now possesses the rights to or has created, Activision continues its one way trip to destroying every series they can get their hands on, by repeatedly driving new installments into the ground as soon as they possibly can. And they call that game creation too, it's kind of pitiful.
As with the movie, it is amazing indeed that our spandex-clad hero has his comic brethern's smart and quirky attitude and mouth, although the voice acting and dialogue can't quite do any justice to it. The open world formula also doesn't do the series any justice, as all NPCs lack any life whatsoever, just as moving objects in the world. In all honesty, even Spider-Man 3 did a better job of those elements, and incorporated a rich and versatile system of exploration and life into the game easily. At least they did that right.
Another accessory stemming straight from the lack of gumption to explore the city in depth would be the fact that you will probably never play this game over twice unless you either lose a save file or you are a hardcore, diehard Spidey fan.
One of the actually decent features of the game is it's fast paced web and fist combat, which- although incredibly simple and truthfully just as bland as everything else, makes up for it by truly making you feel like a hero after a long bout of thug-stomping. Of course, seeing that this feature might actually be decent, they ruined it by adding repetitive button mashing sequences for quick time events, just to kill the mood.
I do admit, returning to the zipping capabilities- in this game, entitled 'Web Rush', while it is a very neat mechanic mostly reminescint of Spider-Man 2's Web Zip ability, it doesn't directly change the rating I'd give the game at all. It is cool to easily string together movements through the environment, and certainly makes locomotion a great deal faster, but that's about where its usefulness ends.
While the game can be a blast in short playthroughs and a few minutes each day, trying to tackle it in long runthroughs makes for an incredibly mediocre time, as you will most likely not enjoy the endless hordes of selfsame enemies and blank animations at all. also, the basic structures of each system- combat, locomotive, etc. make it very repetitive and annoying as well. One of the only other good things about the game is the stealth mechanics that remind me of the ones available to Spider-Man Noir in Shattered Dimensions. These make even the hardest parts of the game incredibly easy, as well as fun to web bash enemies silently and to hang them from almost all available surfaces.
For a game with so much promise, ultimately The Amazing Spider-Man is almost as far from amazing as you could possibly get. Good try Bennox, and as of now- even with 1 win and two losses, I still think you have a chance at turning the series around. Try something more along the lines of Shattered Dimensions again, but try to leave the open world formula behind. Especially now that we put it into the ground with nails to seal the coffin lid shut...
Concept: Another attempt at trying to successfully return Spider-Man to some of his more entertaining open world moments utterly fails for the most part, with a few blips of amazing innovation on the radar here and there.
Graphics: While New York is nothing much to gawk at, it is far from terribly designed- and the characters, especially Spidey, move around quite nicely- if they are a little robotic at times. Animations are about the only thing on par throughout the main duration of the game, and stringed together quite nicely.
Sound: No talent from the film comes to the game, which is quite a disappointment as it shows glaringly throughout the entirety of it. Also, the sounds are completely generic, which is to be expected- after all, it is a bustling city.
Playability: The lack of challenge may be annoying for some and great for others, but since the game is a breeze and your movements are Spidey-fast, everything seems to go by in a blur for the most part throughout the game.
Entertainment: The only truly entertaining part is exploring the city, and even that is painful sometimes in this iteration of the series.
Replay: Very Low