Free roaming returns to Spider-Man in the latest installment of this superhero simulation: a licensed title set months after the movie of the same name. It’s supposed to keep people tied over until another is inevitably made, but does it do a good job of making you feel like Spider-Man or is it a not-so-friendly neighbor? Man, that was lame.
When I first got my hands on the game, I felt disappointed. I was distraught that running around felt incredibly weird. He moves really fast and the turns are unrealistic. Especially when you’re inside a building area and keep moving over tables when you are just trying to get from point A to point B. Fortunately, I kept playing to see that while the odd feeling is there, you can get used to it. Besides, the time spent outside in Manhattan makes up for it.
The web slinging in Spider-Man games has always been my top moment in gaming. It’s something else when you swing around an open space and it’s actually mastered in a game. I can say that The Amazing Spider-Man features the best web swinging of any Spider-Man game. This is even in spite of how ridiculous it is that you can still swing through Central Park. They really wanted the player to feel vertigo and it’s definitely there. I found myself constantly moving from left to right myself as I played because I got so into it. The immersion is there and, especially in a superhero game, it’s a good thing that it is.
When it comes to the combat, I can easily compare it to the Batman: Arkham series. In fact, there’s a lot in this that can be compared to that. You mix attacks plus dodges to defeat basic foes with small variations when it comes to others. For example, you’ll have to web shoot some before attacking and others require you to jump over them first. Web rushing makes it all faster as you can instantly bring yourself closer to an enemy and commence attacking. You have power ups available as you level up, but this is seemingly unnecessary. There’s only one notable upgrade that adds something different and it’s actually for side missions. Sure, there are different moves, but you’ll be defeating enemies before being able to execute them.
Does the combat sound familiar? Well, there’s something else that will too, the stealth portions. Spider-Man will sometimes be taking on too many enemies to handle at once (though the difficulty is fairly easy throughout) and will need to pick them off one by one from the shado… I mean, ceiling. Players will spend a lot of time on the ceiling as it’s the most convenient placement for them to get to any enemy. It was really hard for me to manage any stealth maneuvers completely undetected. Even when I felt sure there was nobody looking. When this happens, the simple solution is to simply web rush away. It was easy, it required little strategy, and it felt very un-Spidey-like.
The bosses were the second best part of the game. Though even they required little effort and were at times simple QTE’s. It was a nice change of pace to the same five enemies that the rest of the game throws at you.
Free roaming is, of course, a blast, but it doesn’t just consist of swinging around. The side missions and collectibles are back. There are car chases, muggings, infected civilians to transport, photography requests, speed challenges, and a host of notable Spider-Man comic villains to defeat. There are 500 comic book pages scattered about Manhattan that unlock actual Spider-Man comics in the extras section of the game. Unfortunately, there are no retrieve the balloon quests this time around. The side quests can get pretty repetitive as there’s really no differences each time you do them. At the very least, the quests are different from each other, though there’s hardly inclination to do them. You’ll get experience for completing them, but the game is already so easy that you don’t need it.
[+Web swinging around Manhattan is the best] [+Boss battles are well thought up] [-Spider-Man movement takes getting used to indoors] [-Stealth parts offer no challenge] [-Combat is repetitive]
Manhattan is beautiful. When you look down upon it from a skyscraper and the over the shoulder camera shows off the texture of the Spidey suit, you’ll be entranced in every weaving. The vertigo effect was thought up so well that as you swing through the spaces in architecture, you really feel like you’re Spider-Man. The buildings zoom past in a blur as your speed elevates. As the game progresses and you take damage, your suit does too. It helps create a connection to Spider-Man and all that he’s gone through with you. It’s a nice touch.
The story picks up months after the movie and, as someone who saw it, I appreciate it. It may not satisfy the biggest comic book geek, but it helped give me more as I await a sequel. The dialogue is believable (except for the ridiculous lines you’ll hear over and over again for the side missions and the random civilians), though the characters are not explored well. The original actors from the movie didn’t voice the game characters, but the sound-alikes at work here manage to do a great job. You’ll still get the gist if you haven’t seen the movie, so spoilerphobes beware. The story really sets the game up to make you feel like Manhattan’s last hope.
[+Story is engaging] [+Voice acting is good] [+Graphics are beautiful] [-Characters are not fleshed out]
I don’t recommend buying this game at full price, but then again, I don’t recommend buying most games at full price. Besides the main story, you’ll find a load of side missions, collectibles, and sights to see. The comic book pages especially are a treat as they unlock actual Spider-Man comics in the extras section. It’ll all get old once you get everything, though, which happens to occur quickly as the main story is not very long and most of the collectibles/side missions can be completed along the way. I’d definitely recommend a rental or a reduced price copy.
[+Plenty of side quests and collectibles to keep you busy] [-Short story]
If you’re a fan of Spider-Man games, this is the best one yet. It does a good job at what it should be: A Spider-Man simulator. You’ll feel like you’re actually swinging through Manhattan, even if there are a lot of moments of repetitiveness. It’s incredibly fun provided you don’t mind the quick playthrough.
[+Web swinging around Manhattan is the best] [+Boss battles are well thought up] [+Story is engaging] [+Voice acting is good] [+Graphics are beautiful] [+Plenty of side quests and collectibles to keep you busy] [-Short story] [-Characters are not fleshed out] [-Spider-Man movement takes getting used to indoors] [-Stealth parts offer no challenge] [-Combat is repetitive]