While Beenox has had a spotty past with the Spider-Man games, they have always managed to impress me with their handling of their hand held ports. Spider-Man Edge of Time (while it was a bad game) managed to be almost identical in content to its console version and The Amazing Spider-Man on 3DS keeps that tradition going. This version has all of the same missions from the console game and even all of the side quests. It tells the same story and even has the same free flow combat that makes the game interesting. The thing missing is the open world which is understandably stripped out. Instead all of the missions are accessed from a bulletin board in your apartment. There are also a series of side missions which are like challenge rooms where you have to take down enemies stealthily or under a certain amount of time.
The 3DS version also comes with a new mode called Vigilante. While it may just be a throw away extra mode it is a little interesting and can be kind of fun. What it amounts to is you looking at a map of New York City and selecting territories where you are given a list of missions to complete. After you complete all of the missions you take over that territory. While it is actually a time consuming process you are given a special costume for completely reclaiming the whole city. While it is an unnecessary mode it does add a little more to the whole package.
The game follows the same story as the PS3 or 360 version but you just play through the levels in order, returning to your apartment after each one. From your apartment you can also select side missions that are set up as little challenges that are similar to the open world side missions you find in the console version. It really seems that Beenox went to a lot of effort to include everything they could from the full games. The combat is the highlight of the game as you get the free flow combat that is identical from the console game and it manages to feel quick to your command and actually looks nice on the 3DS screen. The web rush mechanic works really well in this version and is extremely useful in combat.
There are some minor touch controls in this game. Your interaction and dodge are on the bottom touch screen as well as your camera. The way you aim your camera is by actually moving the 3DS similar to playing an AR game which feels like it’s a little much. There are also keypads where you have to input numbers using the touch screen where they just flash the number before hand and you just have to type them in. This just seems like they are trying to cram in more touch controls but doesn’t feel like it is interfering with the experience. The biggest problem with the game is the camera issues. This is a consistent problem of games with this nature on the 3DS but while it can be a little annoying trying to keep your camera centered it is still very manageable and feels like they did the best they could without a second joystick.
One problem with this game is the 3D is utterly useless. The action is too fast paced to keep anything in focus for too long so the 3D usually just leaves you dizzy and confused. Over all the graphics look pretty good on this game. They manage to pull off all of the levels and map them out to the same way they are on the console version and they do put some detail into the characters. While they do fit a lot into this game they do still manage to keep the frame rate consistent and it plays smooth the entire time. While it doesn’t leave any lasting impressions visually it does show off the power of the 3DS nicely. The only thing is the Spider-Man model could have used a little more polish. There’s little detail on the character and he looks a little too smooth. Some of the big bosses also suffer from some stiff animations but it seems like small sacrifices to keep the game running smooth.
There are some minor frustrations with this game. Because of the camera control combat can be a little tricky as you can’t quickly scan the area while you are fighting a group so it’s best to just remember where the enemies are around you. Luckily the combat is intuitive enough that this is a fairly easy task. The most trouble I had with the game is with some of the bigger boss battles. There is one in particular where swinging is limited and I didn’t feel like there was enough explanation on what to do and found myself dying over and over just trying to figure it out. This was really the only time I had a major problem with the controls but overall the games combat keeps it interesting and only starts to drag near the end. Luckily it’s not a very long game so it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
With handicapped camera controls but above average combat The Amazing Spider-Man manages to fall somewhere in the middle. While it may be overlooked it will still appeal to younger audiences and any fan of the console version can still find enjoyment with this Spidey on the go experience. It won’t leave any lasting impressions and when you finish it there isn’t much calling you back. It may not take any giant leaps for the platform but it does give a solid performance and really shows that Beenox takes their hand held games seriously. It gives us hope that they can really pull off something great in the future.