So you just got out of seeing The Amazing Spider-Man movie and found yourself pretending to thwip back to your car (don’t be embarrassed, we all did it). It seems a bug (spider?) has bitten you and the only cure is more Spider-Man goodness. However, maybe reading the comics just won’t suffice. Maybe you need something else, something a little more interactive. Well, friend, Activision and developer Beenox have you covered.
Roughly a week ago, Activision and Beenox released The Amazing Spider-Man for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game is essentially a sequel to the film of the same name, allowing you to walk out of the theater and continue the adventures of Peter Parker with a story tied closely to the events of the movie.
Beware: spoiler territory!
There’s a reason why we held off posting this article until after The Amazing Spider-Man hit theaters. While the video game version of Amazing has been out for a little over a week now, I honestly wouldn’t recommend playing it until after you’ve seen the movie. The game basically spoils the entire movie’s plot within the first 20 minutes of turning it on. You’ll know who lives, who dies and where relationships stand in a post-Amazing Spider-Man-movie world almost instantly.
I made the mistake of picking up the game on release day, and I paid the price. Before ever seeing a frame of the film, I knew how things would ultimately play out.
However, if you’re one of the lucky ones that managed to avoid the game and see the movie first and are now looking for a way to continue your Spidey escapades, The Amazing Spider-Man game offers a solid web-shooting outlet.
Just thwip it!
It’s the general consensus that the Spider-Man 2 game from a few years back marks the pinnacle of Spidey video games. That title’s open world let players feel like they were the Ol’ Webhead as they swung between the skyscrapers of New York, busting petty crimes and delivering pizzas for that jerk Mr. Aziz. The web-shooting of Spider-Man 2 was by far the game’s highlight and the reason why so many look back on it with rose-tinted glasses.
The Amazing Spider-Man recreates that feeling. In fact, I would go so far as to say it surpasses it. Developer Beenox is no stranger to Spider-Man games; Amazing marks their third attempt at the character. However, The Amazing Spider-Man is the first Beenox Spidey game with a completely open world. The importance of nailing the feeling of open-world swinging could not be understated. Thankfully, it’s one aspect Beenox gets completely right. The rush you get from swinging as high as you possibly can, releasing your webs and plummeting down towards the streets with your vision blurring around you, only to shoot off a quick web and save yourself from becoming street pizza at the last possible second, is exhilarating. It never really gets old, and it justifies at least giving this game a rental to experience it.
As I mentioned previously, The Amazing Spider-Man game takes place after the feature film, roughly a few weeks to be both precise and frustratingly vague at the same time. I’m going to avoid recounting the game’s setup here because, alas, that would immediately ruin bits of the movie.
Suffice it to say, the story of The Amazing Spider-Man game is enough to motivate you to throw on the red and blue pajamas and get out their to save NYC once again. I’ll admit, it’s not the most cohesive plot you’ll ever find (it doesn’t have the expert structure and pacing of something like Batman: Arkham City, for example), but it serves its purpose.
Spider-sense is tingling…
Speaking of Batman: Arkham City, The Amazing Spider-Man borrows heavily from Arkham’s combat system. It could be argued, in fact, that Beenox straight up ripped off Rocksteady’s work on Batman. However, before I jump to that conclusion, let me just say that borrowing gameplay mechanics is a very common practice in the video gaming industry. And if you’re going to borrow from someone, why not have it be from the best? Therefore, it makes sense Beenox took a page out of Rocksteady’s playbook when it comes to hand-to-hand combat in Amazing Spider-Man.
Just like in Arkham, combat in Amazing is built on a punch/counter system. You pound away on the attack button and occasionally hit the dodge button when your spider-sense starts tingling to counter the incoming enemy’s attack. It’s a system that works, both in the context of the game’s mechanics and in the world of Spider-Man – Spidey having little “sense” icons above his head makes a lot more sense than Batman having them.
The rush of being a web-head.
The last major tent pole of The Amazing Spider-Man experience is the new “Web Rush” mechanic Beenox introduces in this game. At any moment during your adventures you can essentially slow down time to plan your next move. For instance, while swinging around New York, you can trigger Web Rush and map out your route. The game will then take over piloting Spidey, showing the nimble little bugger bouncing off the sides of buildings and swinging around flagpoles on route to his destination. It’s incredibly cool to watch, and very Spider-Man if you ask me.
Web Rush also works in the middle of combat. At any time you can trigger the mechanic to survey the battlefield and plan a course of action to ensure you survive the encounter. See that giant dumpster over there in the corner? Hit Web Rush and select it to watch Spidey zip over to it, hoist it up and slam it down on the group of enemies trying to overtake him. It’s very cinematic and visceral, and feels real good to pull off.
Should you pick it up?
Make no mistake; The Amazing Spider-Man is not a perfect game. Swinging around New York is addictive and the combat is fun, but the game does get repetitive. You’ll be doing the same side quests over and over. For instance, it’s kind of sad that there’s literally only one type of car that ever gets in high-speed chases with johnny law.
With that said, however, The Amazing Spider-Man should be an enjoyable Spidey simulation for fans of the character – which, I assume, pretty much describes most of the readers of this site. The game is by no means a master class in game development, but sometimes all you need is something that will provide some hours of escapism and bring a smile to your face.
The Amazing Spider-Man accomplishes that. Fans of the character and people looking for a way to continue the adventures of Peter Parker coming out of the feature film should give this game a shot.
Just for the love of all that is holy, see the movie first!
Erik Norris is a freelance writer for sites such as ComicVine, IGN and CraveOnline.com. You can stalk him on Twitter @Regular_Erik.