The Amazing Spider-Man

Last year Beenox released The Amazing Spider-Man on consoles and PC as a movie tie in game, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and felt like it was one of the better Spider-Man games this generation. It was cinematic, had a decent sequel-like story to the movie, and offered some of the best combat in a Spider-Man game that felt like it was mirroring the Batman games. Since that release, I’ve been anxious to see what was next in store for Spider-Man, and while the predictable Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie game was announced, we got our next installment in the form of a Vita port of the first Amazing Spider-Man game. When I heard that this game was coming to Vita I was legitimately excited. I thought the console game was great and would love to play that anywhere. I knew there would have to be some cutbacks due to the downsizing of the game, that’s just the nature to handheld ports, but while it comes off very impressive that all of the console content is present on the Vita version, the cost of getting it to work was great.

The story to Amazing Spider-Man serves a sort of sequel to the movie. The events of the Lizard have already happened and Oscorp has looked to Alistair Smythe and his new robotics research. An accident at the Oscorp lab causes the cross species in containment to escape the lab and start infecting the populous. This leads to Spider-Man breaking Doctor Connors out of jail to help him create a cure while Smythe decides to use his robots to clean the city his way and prove his worth to Oscorp. There are some stand out moments within the story but overall it really only exists to service the gameplay. The open world is present but the graphic detail is a lot grungier looking than the version this port is derived from. The main story is actually told in sectioned off levels that you access from the New York map, but there are things to do in the open world as well.

What is the main difference between this version and the console? Does the Vita port hold up? It is with a big sigh that I must say the Vita version is kind of a mess. The graphics are understandably compromised which is exactly what I expected. I’m willing to take some toned down graphics in favor of content and gameplay. The content is there, every little thing that is in the console version of the game is present. Even minor things like Spider-Man’s costume taking battle damage has been transferred to the handheld version. The gameplay is what really kills it. The frame rate is TERRIBLE! It was something I feared from the start but the second you enter the open world it becomes apparent that it should have just been cut from the game. Swinging around is a slow and buggy experience that is never consistent. Sometimes it will look smooth and then all of a sudden you will be able to count the single frames on screen. When you go into the sectioned off mission stages it becomes a lot more manageable but even then it’s still noticeably bad. I don’t want to say the frame rate makes the game unplayable, because you can still enjoy this version of the game to an extent, but you’ll be playing through it while shaking your head and this might lead to a pretty sore neck.

The 3DS version of this game cut out the open world and just had you playing through the levels and while I was playing this game, as bummed as it is to say it, I was wondering if they should have just done the same thing here. The combat is the thing that made Spider-Man so much fun to play and while that is still here, combos are easily broken because it’s so easy to lose your rhythm because of the frame rate hitching up on you. While I felt like the console version’s combat was pretty well defined and worked with good timing, here I just found myself button mashing a lot more and missing a lot of counter attacks.

Amazing Spider-Man on Vita, while impressive in scope, is more disappointing than broken. The game is still playable, the content is there but it just lacks the effort and love of its predecessor. The visuals are understandably toned down but still look pretty good at certain parts. The frame rate is the real killer here but if you can muscle your way through that then there is still a great Spider-Man game hidden in there, one that I played tens of hours of on a PlayStation 3. If you’ve played the game before and just want another taste of it that you can carry around you can probably look past the playing difficulties but if you’re new to this game then I would say just play the console of PC version and ignore the Vita port. Let’s just hope if they bring the second movie tie in game over that it gets more love than this.