"Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can...." The Amazing Spider-Man is the inevitable movie tie-in game, but can it rise above typical movie tie-in "shovel-ware?" My reviewer sense is tingling, that means a review is coming.
The Amazing Spider-Man is set after the events of the movie of the same name. Alistair Smythe has become the new Oscorp lead scientist. While more interested in robotics than the biological cross-species work of former lead scientist, Dr. Curt Connors, Alistair secretly continues Dr. Connors' work. Gwen Stacy, suspicious of Alistair, has Peter Parker come to Oscorp to help her find more information about the cross-species experiments. They encounter Alistair as they snoop around. Gwen convinces him that Peter, as a science student, was very curious about Oscorp scientific endeavors and she was showing him around. Alistair decides to give the two of them a personal tour. As they pass rooms with various cross-species he explains that they are in the process of eliminating Dr. Connors work. He tells them they have found that the cross-species can infect humans. Because Peter (Spider-Man) is a cross-species also, it causes unrest among the cross-species that senses him. The Scorpion breaks out and infects Gwen, Alistair, and many other scientists. Peter becomes Spider-Man and helps get everyone to quarantine while all the cross-species experiments escape. The cross-species monsters start infecting the people of Manhattan effectively creating more of them.
Realizing that only Dr. Connors can come up with a cure Peter breaks him out of the mental hospital he is being held in, and inadvertently allows most of the other inmates to escape. Dr. Connors tells Peter that he was working on cure, but needs his notes and DNA from one of the cross-species, among other things. Peter agrees to help Dr. Connors, along the way he'll capture the escaped mental patients, defeat many of the cross-species, and Oscorp robots.
So begins Spider-Man's long adventure.
Controls and Gameplay
The Amazing Spider-Man is a third person, sandbox adventure game that gives you the island of Manhattan as your playground. Web swinging is a simple one button affair that is so convincing that I became disorientated a few times. Developers, Beenox, also add a mechanic called Web Rush. In effect Web Rush is a form of bullet time. When active Web Rush slows down time and highlights places Spider-Man can jump to quickly. It makes getting around Manhattan and dodging attacks much easier, but it has a time limit before time returns to normal. I found the controls pretty easy to pick up and use.
As you defeat enemies, complete missions and find hidden objects you will gain experience points. These allow you to unlock special attacks and improve Spider-Man's powers. You have the choice of what you unlock or improve, letting you tailor Spider-Man to your style of play. Even so eventually you'll unlock them all.
Graphics and Sound
The realistic graphics look good, but are not great in The Amazing Spider-Man. Occasional hiccups happen. One I found funny was a hat walking down the street; the person below it was missing.
The voice acting is really good. They put together a great cast of veteran voice actors. Two of the highlights are Sam Riegel (as Peter Parker/Spider-Man) and Bruce Campbell (as Xtreme Reporter). Both have some of the best lines in the game.
As a movie tie-in game The Amazing Spider-Man is surprisingly really good and fun. There are elements that feel as if they came straight from other current super-hero games, like the stealth attacks, combo/free-flow battle system and the movement out the open world city. Even so, Beenox took those elements and created one of the best Spider-Man games I have played in a while.
Who knew Manhattan would be so much fun to explore as Spider-Man. While there is an implied sense of urgency of time in some missions, you can take your leisure between missions and explore. To help encourage this Beenox hid 600 comic books in the city for you to find. As you find comics you unlock full digital comics that highlights all of Spider-Man's main villains from the game. Also hidden around Manhattan are Spider-Man symbols that, when you find them, will unlock alternate costumes. Some costumes are time locked until August, which is when Spider-Man's 50th anniversary happens.
I have encountered a couple problems with the game. While web-swinging I ran into an interior corner of a building. Most of the time when this happens the game shakes around the screen deciding whether to switch from web-swinging to wall-crawling or not. This time though the game decided to teleport me from one end of the map to the other. It wasn't a game breaker, more annoying than anything else, but it happened.
Loading times are long. To entertain you during the loading screens they put in a fictional Twitter-like feed from the people of Manhattan. It gets old and boring quick. Every single person has the same generic icon placeholder and their discussions only change when major events happen in-game.
My only other complaint is they use the movie universe for many classic Spider-Man villains. This effectively reduces them to animalistic monsters instead of the humans they are in the comic book universe, but that could be me nit-picking.
I enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man. As a movie tie-in game it stands out as one of the best. It has its faults, but swinging around as Spider-Man saving people never got old. I give The Amazing Spider-Man a 4 out of 5.
The Amazing Spider-Man is rated T for Teen for Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).
The Amazing Spider-Man is available now for the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo DS. For more information see The Amazing Spider-Man web site.