"The Amazing Spider-Man" Game Is So OK, It's Average

06.27.12 5 years ago 4 Comments

I bought “The Amazing Spider-Man”, knowing full well it was a licensed game. But I’m a nerd, and the words “open-world Spider-Man game” have a profound seductive lure.

And, well, it is an open-world Spider-Man game. And it’s a lot of fun, for what it is. It’d just be even more fun if it weren’t essentially “Spider-Man: Arkham Asylum”. Because that’s what this game is, right down to the continuity porn and essentially linear nature. It even has a similar opening where you follow Gwen Stacy deep into the bowels of Oscorp

Credit where credit is due; the game gets you into the costume and breaking teeth with efficiency and your second mission is a boss battle fighting a giant robot that shows the game is capable of epic scale and bringing out that feeling of being a superhero.

Aaaaaand then they dump you in an insane asylum. It’s like they’re deliberately inviting comparisons the game can’t stack up to.

The key difference is that Beenox didn’t really have the time to polish it. The combat is fun and fluid, but it doesn’t quite have the rhythm or sense of threat. When Batman is surrounded by thugs he’s got a problem on his hands and you need to be quick on the attack and dodge buttons. Spider-Man can just jump on the ceiling and worse, you can power up your attacks to be 50% stronger by the second level of the game.

It also puts you on rails for a fair chunk of the time. You might have an open New York to explore, and there are side missions to do, but you’ll largely find yourself triggering the main story quest and fighting through the overly linear levels.

Beenox also made the awful decision to have the camera swing with you when you’re wall-crawling: It means you have to get oriented before figuring out where to go.

It must be said that the love of Spidey is there: this is a game that features the Iguana, for Pete’s sake, and there are moments where you giddily realize you’re stomping the Rhino or the Scorpion. And it does have a different mechanic called “Web Rush”, which is essentially a mix of slow-motion and teleportation that lets you jump to different objects, interact with them, and so on. “Web Rush” is arguably the best thing about the game; it takes the frustration out of epic boss fights, but not the challenge.

Beyond that, though, it’s just very…rote. It’s by no means a bad game; if you like open-world butt-kicking, this is a solid, if a bit bare, example of the genre. But wait for a discount. Not even Stan Lee can make this game worth $60.

image courtesy Activision

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