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The Amazing Spider-Man Review

The Amazing Spider-ManUndoubtedly, the development of a superhero game must be a daunting task. The mere act of simultaneously conveying an awe-inspiring skillset alongside an indispensable sense of fragility represents just one dilemma which can stymie a studio. For Québec-based Beenox, the release of The Amazing Spider-Men for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 demonstrates that the studio has vigilantly studied efforts to bring powerful comic protagonists to life. At times, the title can be fantastically cinematic and thoroughly absorbing, as players confront both mutant monstrosities and resolute robots. Yet, Spider-Man’s intermittent control issue has the potential to disengage players from the game’s engaging story and inspired set-pieces. To paraphrase both Voltaire and Uncle Ben Parker, with great power comes the responsibility of great controls.

Few would argue with the developer’s decision to return the franchise to its open-world roots. For the first time since 2007’s lackluster Spider-Man 3, players are able to traverse a facsimile of the Big Apple’s busiest borough. While the game’s does take a number of creative geographic liberties, Manhattan is sufficiently stuffed, teaming with not only playtime pushing side missions, but also 700 comic book pages to collect. Unlike previous adaptations of Spidey’s al fresco swinging, players don’t have to worry about the hero’s weblines keeping him aloft. Instead, strands are adjoined to unseen structures, as if Peter Parker was circumnavigating his way through a giant biosphere. Without the apprehension of falling right out of the sky when a suitable surface can’t be found, Spider-Men does lose a bit of its nervous tension. Fortunately, gamers can still wait until the last moment to shoot out a life-saving line, skimming over the streets in dramatic fashion with the game’s camera in close pursuit.

The Amazing Spider-ManSpidey’s new signature mechanic is the Web Rush, a move which rapidly ziplines the protagonist to a designated location. Initiated by holding down the right shoulder button, the game shifts into a slow-motion, first-person perspective as possible destinations are marked by a translucent, glowing Spider-Man icon. Amidst the game’s outdoor environments, Web Rush permits the procurement of a nearby collectable. During interior segments, the move allows the web head to access air ducts or retreat to strategic perches.

From these elevated posts, Spider-Man is able to get the drop on an oblivious foe, recalling Batman: Arkham Asylum’s surreptitious ambushes. Once descended on a group on enemies, The Amazing Spider-Man echoes the Dark Knight’s pugilistic confrontations, with well-timed button taps instigating wildly fluid combos or satisfying reversals. Along with Spidey’s Web Sense to warn of imminent attacks and the requirement to thwart reinforced opponents, the game fisticuffs may be too familiar to players who have completed Arkham Asylum, Arkham City and Captain America: Super Soldier. While the game’s boss sequences are typically involving, with the web slinger exploiting a raised rival’s weaknesses, they are not free of control impediment. The game’s first showdown, which tasks players with gumming up the leg joints of a giant spider-mech, had me Web Rushing right past the glowing vulnerable bits and directly into danger. Likewise, wall crawling can be disorienting especially when players are skulking across ceilings.

The Amazing Spider-ManWhile the game’s camera does a good job at framing Spider-Man as he’s swinging through the city, the tight indoor perspective can be detrimental. Occasionally, players will find themselves surrounded by clusters of off-screen antagonists, each hoping to take a potshot and the red and blue wonder. Visually, the game varies from serviceable to remarkable, with the irregular jaggy environment offset by battles with gargantuan foes. Mirroring the aesthetic of the associated film, Spider-Man’s movements are extravagantly animated and graceful, although prone to repetition through the title’s eight hour playtime. Although The Amazing Spider-Man was unable to wrangle any voice talent from the movie, it matters little; Parker’s quips are consistently amusing and like the rest of the cast, competently delivered.

Beyond the aforementioned difficulty with an early boss, The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t exceedingly challenging when played on the (default) medium difficulty setting. Saving hapless citizens and beating up baddies does pay out experience which is used to upgrade Spidey’s abilities, but it’s barely necessary. What’s more, many of the improvements feel imperceptible, negating an incentive to complete the game’s numerous side missions and “Xteme Challenges” that feature entertaining commentary by Bruce Campbell. Still, for those seeking a virtuous value, Beenox’s Manhattan is brimming with supplemental content.

The Amazing Spider-ManDespite having a number of key mechanics lifted right out of the Akham franchise and a few control issues, The Amazing Spider-Man habitually articulates what it’s like to be an agile, sinewy superhero. Elevated by a velocity and narrative cadence which trumps the efforts of franchise forerunners, the title is infinitely more enjoyable that the combination of Green Lantern, Thor and Iron Man’s interactive adaptations. Beenox’s latest Spider-Man may not be amazing, but it’s still one of the better comic-inspired titles in the last few years.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

32 comments

  1. A little late (Didn’t the game come out exactly one week ago) but a good review otherwise.

  2. “To paraphrase both Voltaire and Uncle Ben Parker, with great power comes the responsibility of great controls.”

    No. No, you didn’t. Wait Voltaire said this first? I thought it was Stan Lee.

    Runs to Google it.

    • Ok, guys. You got me. It was Voltaire, it seems.

      See Mom, video games won’t rot my mind. They even teach me things.

  3. Right now with the PS+ sale, I’m up to my eyes in great new games. I want to play this, but I really don’t the time unless I quit my job.

    There’s Move support or is that a mistake?

  4. Princess Sakura

    Today is the 4th of July, which means I might be at a game store with a little extra money. Spider-senses tingling meaning I might take this home with me.

  5. I bought this last week. It’s good, but yeah not A-MAZ-ING

    Game is set after the movie. So if you care about the film at all, play it after you’ve gone to the theater.

    Long, kind of boring first person bit opens the game. It’s 15 minutes long and if you know anything about spider-lore, it’s slow. Also it’s unskippable.

    I didn’t have too many control issues, but know that the game does get wonky and crashed on the PS3 during the upgrade screens. Graphics don’t look anything like the screenshots. They’ve wwwaayyy lower-res.

    • Maybe it’s just a PS3 thing. Most games are either the same or lower res on the PS3. Also, there’s less anti-aliasing, so things can looks a bit worse.

    • Yep, the consensus is that it’s pretty good and above average. although every Metacritic score is from 7.0-8.2.

  6. I just realized I haven’t bought a Spider-man game this generation. Ones with Spidey in it (MvC) but not his own game.

  7. After Radical getting shut down by Activision, Beenox must be really hoping this big. Skylanders big!

  8. I like the whole story of the half breed animals and humans and how they recognize Spiderman is one of them.

  9. There’s no PC version?

    • There’s a version for nearly every system, phone, toaster, and alarm clock. Even the Wii got a Amazing Spider-Man game!

  10. Thanks, Des. Good review. So I’ve heard the main game can be completed in 6 hours. How long did it take you?

  11. Good review. Another winner, Deagle.

    I’m thinking about seeing the movie this weekend.

  12. I wish a purchase came with movie bucks. Still, sounds better than the last 2 spider-man games.

  13. I rented this and think it’s pretty good. The bosses look nothing like the comic (maybe like they do in the film) and there’s way too many QTEs. Sometimes the game feels like GoW in that respect. Regular combat is pretty button mashy.

    It is very cool to fly through the city. I didn’t even notice you web didn’t attack to anything.

  14. If I want a game that plays just like Arkham City, I’ll play Arkham City. Its got more polish and is cheaper these days anyway.

  15. Spider-Man 2 was one of my favorite games ever. I played that one to death and back. I hope is half as good as that, just with much better graphics.

    • I loved Spiderman 2, too, especially how the mouths wouldn’t move when people were talking. XD

      I’ll have to remember this when it drops. I could easily get into another free-roaming Spidey game.

      • I look forward to hearing you talk about the game is 2017, Blue. Hehe.

        Sorry, couldn’t resist!

        • Are you kidding!? The year 2017!? I’m going to be too busy saving Japan, and therefore the Earth, from giant ants, spiders, robots, flying saucers, and alien mother ships. I won’t have time for video games. XD

          • Don’t let the bees get you past you, as you collect all the weapons.

          • HAHA. Nice one! While you’re at it please save the world from overpriced, unneeded DLC.

          • @TTBoy: I’ve got my fly-swatter ready for any bees. ;D

            @Dr. Stryder: I’ll use my alien war hero popularity to influence game companies to make complete games from the get-go. *Points to the horizon while the wind blows my hair*

          • Objection!

  16. Thanks for the review. Sounds better than most licensed games.

  17. Not a bad review and a pretty good site. Are you hiring writers, by chance?

  18. Samo Well Hung

    I just say the movie today. I really hope this is one of the rare occasions where the game is better.

  19. So mad right now. I have exactly 699 comic book pages and can’t find the last one.

  20. Starting playing Spider-Man 2 for PSX again. Man, this game feels OLD. 3D games from the PS1 era almost aren’t playable anymore.