- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Beenox
- ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
- Genre: Action
- Pros: Fun gameplay; web rush is awesome; nice presentation; makes you feel more like Spidey than any previous game
- Cons: Too easy; repetitive side missions; hearing the same audio clips over and over again
The Amazing Spider-Man game takes place right after the events of the new "The Amazing Spider-Man" movie, and is a little spoiler-y, so it is probably better to watch the movie first. If you don't care about spoilers, though, jump right in. I won't say too much more about the story, but it is a little disappointing that the core story involves an infection that spreads through NYC so by the end of the game the city is a burning chaotic mess. Just like Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, and Prototype, and Prototype 2. I'm kind of tired of seeing NYC as a burning disease-ridden mess at this point.
The story takes about 8-10 hours to play through and you can tack a few extra hours on gathering up the last of the collectibles spread around the city and finishing up side missions. When you beat the story you get the option to select the time of day in the city and it makes finding the glowing comic book collectibles a lot easier if you do it at night. Side missions include saving people from street crimes, stopping car chases, or picking up infected people and taking them to quarantine zones, which are all pretty easy and get kind of repetitive by the end of the game. You also have to take pictures now and then, but your objectives are usually super easy to find. More interesting are when you have to stop a bank robbery by Black Cat, or break into secret Oscorp labs to find new abilities. Most of the rest of the side missions, though, are pretty boring.
One of the most interesting things the game does is that it simplifies some of Spider-Man's abilities, but in turn that makes you feel more powerful and more like Spider-Man than ever before. The first of these is Web Rush mode. Normal swinging is done by simply holding the right trigger, but by holding the right bumper you stop time and the world is filled with glowing icons that represent web zip targets. This way you can swing freely through the city, see a specific perch or enemy or collectible you want to go to, and then Spidey will automatically zip over to that location. You know how in the movies Spider-Man might bounce off a building, land on a roof in full stride, then jump and swing again and then web zip somewhere all in one fluid motion? That is basically what Web Rush lets you do here. All of those complicated strings of moves that would be impossible with standard controls are simplified and streamlined and it all looks cool as heck. You really feel like a super powered hero that can do anything, and it is really satisfying.
Combat is also simplified for the better here. Basically, you only attack with the X button, dodge or counter with the Y button (thanks to a little spider sense icon over your head when enemies attack) and use web attacks with B button (as well as special finishing moves with the B button in special circumstances). Combat is really simple, but it looks cool because even though you're just hammering the X button 99% of the time, the attacks that Spider-Man is doing are always different. You never see the same series of animations twice in a row. Attacking an enemy, countering an attack, attacking another enemy, and then finishing them all off is all done with simple button commands, but it flows together extremely well and is really fun to watch so it doesn't ever feel all that repetitive.
Interestingly, Spider-Man is actually quite vulnerable here. He can't take that much punishment, especially against enemies with guns, so you have to retreat from combat occasionally to heal up by tapping the left bumper to Web Retreat to a safe perch. The game throws a variety of enemies at you, each with different ways of beating them, so even though the controls are super simplified, you still have to be thoughtful about what you're doing. In indoor areas (which is where most of the story missions take place), being sneaky and taking out enemies quickly and quietly with stealth takedowns (rather like Batman: Arkham Asylum) is a fun twist on the combat and especially useful against a room full of armed thugs. All together it is actually a lot of fun and probably the best combat of any Spider-Man game to date.
Graphics & Sound
The sound is decent with solid music and good sound effects. The voice work is actually pretty good, despite not being the actors from the movie. One thing that will definitely grate on you, however, is that outside of story dialogue the same scant handful of catch phrases from Spidey or whiny pleas from civilians are used over and over and over and over and over again. The side-missions are already repetitive enough without hearing literally the same thing from every person you rescue every single time.