Josh Wilding Reviews: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Video Game [Playstation 3]
The Amazing Spider-Man movie has been a hit with the majority of fans, but is Beenox's video game any good and should you rush out to buy it as soon as you've seen the reboot? Well, there's a very clear answer to those questions, so hit the jump for my in-depth review.
Taking place a few months after the events of The Amazing Spider-Man movie, the video game tie-in sees Alistair Smythe now in charge at Oscorp as he continues Curt Connors work with cross-species genetics. Things quickly get out of hand as some of the subjects escape and an infection spreads around the city. Along the way, Spidey faces off against both them and Smythe's army of robots, although the premise as a whole is fairly weak and unoriginal. Classic villains such as the Scorpion, Rhino and, er, Iguana are all just mindless beasts, meaning they have absolutely no personalities or motivations to make them even a little bit interesting. The relationship between Peter and Connors and Peter and Gwen aren't handled anywhere near as well as they were in the film, as the video game keeps them in limbo rather than developing them. Smythe makes for a decent villain, although he's far from an entirely convincing threat. It has its moments, but they're few and far between as a handful of epic and redeeming story beats do little to make up for a very poor follow-up to the events of the film. While Beenox were obviously restricted by what they could and couldn't do, that's no excuse for just how weak the story is.
In terms of the fighting mechanics, The Amazing Spider-Man is basic and very disappointing. Combat comes down to little more than repeatedly tapping the SQUARE button until you finish off the baddie with a tap of CIRCLE for a finishing move (all while occasionally hitting TRIANGLE to avoid an attack). Boss battles are also underwhelming as they require little skill. It again comes down to hitting these same buttons, just slightly differently. The "Web Rush" mechanic is useful during these and other fights for performing some quick attacks, but it quickly becomes tedious and frustrating when swinging around the city. Despite the fact that you're supposed to be able to use it to get around New York creatively, it often can't settle on a target and will send you exactly where you DIDN'T want to go. The web-swinging itself is good, although far from perfect. The camera often feels too close to really give you the feeling that should come with such an experience, while you will often be propelled so high you spend most of your time being flung above the skyscrapers than swinging between them. There's no getting around the fact that it's good fun however, although the decision to base almost every single level in confined indoor spaces is baffling. Far to much of the game also comes down to quick time events.
Graphically, The Amazing Spider-Man looks fantastic for the most part. The more brutal the fights, the more damaged the costume gets as time progresses. It really is quite something to spend a few hours playing through the game with a Spider-Man who is eventually left in a torn and bloody costume. Swinging through the city looks equally as impressive as the character pulls all different sorts of poses and fight sequences also look great (if somewhat repetitive). Smythe's robots and Spider-Slayers all look rather impressive and despite some generic looking levels, there's occasionally a real sense of epic danger as you battle and fight your way through New York. Some character designs are better than others, although it quickly becomes obvious that the game would have benefited from the actors from the film lending their likenesses and movements to the characters as they look very unreal and Spidey's general movements lack the personality given to him by Andrew Garfield in the big screen version.
In terms of the score, it does an admirable job of making the boss battles and general fight sequences feel a lot more alive. This is particularly useful as the city often feels very dull. The Amazing Spider-Man is yet another free roaming Spider-Man game which lacks the same sort of freedom as the likes of Grand Theft Auto and there is literally no damage to your surroundings other than what it predetermined by the script. However, it's the voice cast which proves to be the biggest disappointment in the game. Sam Riegel lacks the personality brought to Peter Parker by voice actors such as Neil Patrick Harris and Christopher Daniel Barnes, and the repetitive (and not in the least bit amusing) lines he continuously spouts do little to help. Both Kari Wahlgren as Gwen Stacy and Steven Blum as Curt Connors are ok, but neither bring much to the characters. The fact is, it's hard to enjoy this voice cast when they're not being voiced by the actors from the film. Like the Tony Stark in SEGA's Iron Man games, these are just very, very poor imitations. Even the usually reliable Nolan North (Nathan Drake, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune) sounds thoroughly bored as Alistair Smythe and his presence only serves as a sad reminder of just how great a Spider-Man game we would get if someone like Naughty Dog were to work on it.
It could and should have been so much better, but ultimately feels no better than Spider-Man 3 (a game released five years ago). There's no denying that it's great fun and an entertaining ten hours, but wait for it to hit the bargain bins before buying.
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