Beenox has been in control of the Spider-Man video game series for a few years now and they haven’t had much luck with the franchise. The last game they developed was Edge of Time which did not review well and was one of the most boring Spider-Man games I have ever played. I would say the last great Spider-Man game was the 2008 Web of Shadows. It was also the last open world Spider-Man experience until now. Amazing Spider-Man returns to the open world format that the franchise deserves but still has Beenox behind the wheel of development. Did they really prove their worth this time around or did they just pump out another mediocre Spider-Man game? While I must say that with this movie licensed game, Beenox has stepped it up a notch and maybe brought us one of the best Spider-Man games so far.
The game starts after the events of the film and if you plan on playing the game, there are minor spoilers to the film and one I will have to reveal here but if you know anything about the Spidey comics then it’s not that big of a deal. You ready? The Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors is still alive and being held in a mental institution. So now that Connors is out of Oscorp Alistair Smythe has taken over his position and is refocusing from cross species genetic modification into robotics and nanomachine research in hopes of saving the company’s public image after the events of the film. Naturally while disposing of Curt’s research specimens there is an accident and they break loose causing a city wide contamination that’s up to Peter Parker as Spider-Man to stop.
You get all the superhero story tropes that you would expect in this game such as the hero being framed as the bad guy and his girlfriend in danger of being killed but one thing that makes The Amazing Spider-Man stand out is its quality of how it tells that story. There are great voice actors and the writing suits the characters well enough but overall Beenox has just managed to put together all of the elements you would want in a Spider-Man game into one great package. One thing that can be said about Spider-Man is that it will draw in comparisons to Batman Arkham Asylum and that is a just comparison. The combat is extremely similar without the full screen leaping that was in Batman but while it may be very similar it still manages to feel unique. Also most of the missions take place in doors and the open world almost serves as a hub (although you will do missions in the city as well.) The return to open world and the refreshed combat are great additions to this game but the new web rush feature really adds to a lot of different elements of Spider-Man and really make combat and travel really fun.
So what is one thing that makes a Spider-Man game complete? Web swinging of course and this game has some of the most dynamic and fluid web swinging that has ever been in the franchise. You swing with the R2 button and you are given the option to hold it down and just let the game swing or you can use full control by using it sparingly and adding in your jump. However there are actually two modes of swinging in this game. Since a lot of the missions take place indoors or underground there is a less free control swing in these types of environments. When you hold the swing button Spider-Man will do a level swing that will keep you at the same distance from the ground but you can use another button to rise higher if need be. This may sound frustrating but it actually works really well because it is mostly used for quicker travel as you will most likely be using the web rush more often during missions to get around.One thing that bugged me but I came to love later on is I felt the camera was too close but when you start getting into the swinging it adds to the cinematic look and really makes the animations stand out and look amazing.
As I mentioned before the combat is similar to what we have seen in games like Batman Arkham City but it feels a lot like how Spider-Man would fight. There is a one button attack and a one button dodge with another button thrown in for special finishing attacks. You often fight crowds of people and you can switch between enemies on the fly just by pressing in their direction. The web ability also plays into combat allowing you to pull yourself towards enemies or grab them to give them a good throw.
One unique thing about the combat in Spider-Man is that there is a stealth element to the game as well and the harder difficulties actually try to force you to play the game with a more stealthy approach. It keeps the combat fresh and adds more appeal encouraging you to play the game with a different approach. Spider-Man can sneak across the ceilings and drop down on enemies using the web rush and wrap up the bad guys quietly so no one will notice you but if anyone sees you then you better be ready to defend yourself.
So the game has a great open world that actually has a lot to do and will either be a completionist’s greatest quest or worst nightmare. First of all this game has a hell of a lot of collectibles. There are 700 comic pages scattered around the city that unlock readable comics and every missions has many different pictures to take or items to collect. There are also random crimes around the city that you can engage in and special races and challenges. My favorite activity was the car chase scenes because after you finish them Spidey just ropes the car to the side of a building and it’s so satisfying to watch. The open world has many activities to keep you busy but also acts as sort of a hub that leads you to all of your different missions.
So now the big new feature is the web rush. Web rush can be used by either holding down R1 to slow down the world and select your destination or by just tapping it for quick travel. Web rush can be used any time but the slow down acts on a timer that will cause you to fall if you take too long. This features works really nice when traversing the New York landscape and adds a cinematic flair to web swinging. For instance if you use web rush when low to the street Spidey may run on the side of buildings, on top of buses, or jump off light poles before stopping at his destination. It looks extremely flashy and is just a lot of fun to use.
The Amazing Spider-Man brings you back to open world New York for the first time since 2008 and it’s a pretty amazing world to swing around. The world is bright and colorful and extremely well designed. There’s plenty of life in the city and while the civilian models may not be the best quality, Spider-Man looks phenomenal. The character models for some of the other characters look a little cheaper but there was clearly a lot of attention spent on the Spider-Man model. The game moves at a steady frame rate and even when you are in giant epic battles the game still manages to hold onto a stylish and cinematic look and never lose its momentum. One thing that I really enjoyed was that if you take a lot of damage your suit becomes more and more damaged almost to the point to where it looks like it is just barely being held together and I thought this was a nice touch. The Amazing Spider-Man feels like it has the best production quality out of any other game of the series and while it may have some graphical downsides in some areas the game still manages to look great and really show off the powers of Spider-Man in the best ways.
One thing about Spider-Man games is that I can always just spend hours swinging around the city and The Amazing Spider-Man is no different. On top of all of the collectibles (which I couldn’t stop going after) the game makes swinging feel and look cinematic and is just great to watch. Another thing that the game has going for it is its epic boss battles. Alistair Smythe specializes in robots that are basically designed to kill Spider-Man and some of these machines are literally the size of buildings. You will find yourself in quite a few boss battles that have you swinging around giant robots or speed swinging through city streets with flying robots close on your tail and these are pretty much the coolest moments ever in a Spider-Man game.
The set up of the game is actually a formula that works. While Spider-Man thrives swinging around in a giant city the indoor scenes still manage to be a lot of fun and that is helped greatly by the fluid and acrobatic combat. Fighting enemies feels extremely satisfying and the great animation quality really shows off the wrestling and acrobatic inspired fighting style of Spider-Man and does a good job of putting you in his shoes as he bashes in criminals faces and wraps them up in his web. With great combat, witty dialogue, and more collectibles than you can get your hands on, there is plenty of things bringing you back to this game. This game really does its best to do everything right like including multiple secret costumes (some from the previous movies), the ability to replay levels which can be selected from your apartment, and even more options become available after you complete the game. While the story may be a little on the short side the game makes up for it by being a well written follow up to the film and comes to a surprisingly epic conclusion.
The Amazing Spider-Man may not only go down as one of the best Spider-Man games but one of the better movie licensed games out there because it doesn’t feel like a movie game. Beenox did a great job of taking a movie based gaming and fleshing it out into its own thing. We get to see many characters from the Spider-Man mythos brought out in their own unique ways. The Amazing Spider-Man has some flaws and may not be perfect but it is a lot of fun and a must play for Spider-Man fans. If you are interested in trophies this game is also a pretty easy platinum if you feel like putting in the time. Beenox has really redeemed themselves with this Spider-Man title and I look forward to seeing what they can do with this series in the future.