With a rushed game comes great mediocrity
First and foremost, I just wanted to inform the reader of the hope I had for this game. The first Amazing Spider-Man game was okay at best. I figured by the time the second movie/game came around--the game could only get better. Maybe even be just as good as the Spider-Man 2 movie video game back in 2004. Well, somehow, this game was even worse than the one before it and it ruined the optimistic hopes I had for it.
From bad animation to horrible voice acting – this game is not worth anyone’s time or money. The writing is the most egregious failure of this game. I didn’t expect a movie/game tie-in to be great but, man, this was bad. The only positive thing I can say about this game is the web-swinging is better and fun. Nowhere near as good as it was in the original Spider-Man 2 movie game, but better than the first Amazing Spider-Man game.
Not too much can be said about this as the game ties along with the movie, which also isn’t that great. Spider-Man goes around New York City fights crime and bad guys. You fight Electro and the Green Goblin just like the Spider-Man does in the movie but the game adds a rather unique take on movie game tie-ins.
The game attempts to create its own overarching plot that coincides along the movies. Characters and villains that aren’t apart of the movies have a part in the game’s universe. Which is interesting to say the least. Characters like Carnage and Black Cat get some time with Spider-Man in this game. An interesting approach because this allows fan favorite characters to have a part in the game even though they aren’t slated to be in any future film.
Another weird thing with the game is all the characters that are featured in the movie, look similar to the way they appear in the movie. All non-movie characters are based almost directly off the way they appear in the 90s animated Spider-Man series. Good or bad, depending on how you want to look at it.
The graphics are nothing to shout about. Slightly more of a busy city than the previous instalment but it is very bland. I imagine the next gen version of the game looks and runs slightly better but I can’t imagine it being that much different.
Oh boy, on to this part. The story is garbage and the writing made me want to throw my controller at the screen. While I find the overarching plot being setup interesting – this game’s flow is horrid.
You start the game in a flashback to where Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben is killed. I found this absolutely unnecessary and boring. It was made even worse by the bad voice acting and terrible, terrible writing. Then, after that, you get an opening credits sequence where Peter Parker catches the player up-to-speed on the story thus far. The sequence was groan worth and cheesier than a plate of nachos. The line I hated the most was, “My Uncle Ben helped me be the man I was to become—Spider-Man.” That line made me groan so hard and shake my head in disappointment even harder. I knew the long ride I was in for after that.
The game is chock-full of nauseating cut-scenes that I wished so badly to quit, but I knew I had to watch them all for this review. Woe is me. The animation is just awkward during the scenes. Spider-Man just won’t stay still – moving around like he’s a cartoon. Except this is a movie game. He shouldn't be cartoonish. He goes from being very serious to joking but there is no clear distinction. You can’t tell if he’s intentionally serious or trying to be funny. Not sure whether to blame the voice actor or the writer. My money is on the latter.
Back to the horrible story. After you see Parker’s Uncle die – it opens up on Spider-Man two years later looking for the guy who shot his uncle. It’s like it just happened. It was as if Spider-Man forgot to seek the guy out after dealing with The Lizard during the first game/movie. That was just awkward.
You spend most of the game working with Kraven the Hunter, who takes Spider-Man in as his protégé. Having Kraven being a part of the mix was interesting to say the least but the nice sentiment is quickly wasted.
After your time with Kraven, you immediately face the Electro threat. You see Max Dillon prior to his transformation during a mission and then you never see him again. Once he appears as Electro, Spider-Man quickly dispatches him. Kills him. Then just shrugs it off, saying something along the lines of, “Oh. He was a victim of his own affliction.” The same thing happens in the movie but still. Spider-Man killed somebody. Normally he defeats them for the police to arrest them. I know he’s not Batman and doesn’t have a code against killing, but still. Make an effort at some remorse.
The ending is very uninspired and adds nothing more than a slight twist to gauge interest in the next cheap movie tie-in. You know the rich Spider-Man universe where each of his foes have a different and unique story of how they become what they become? Yeah, the game uses none of that. In fact, all the foes come from Oscorp. Directly, like Spider-Man and Electro, or indirectly, like every other villain he fights in the game. For example—Spider-Man got bit by a radioactive spider at Oscorp, while Black Cat stole her technology from Oscorp. All these super heroes come of some secret Oscorp experimental division. After playing other Marvel games and seeing the movie, I believe this is where the story is going. Having the Sinister Six being created to destroy Spider-Man, rather than the individual villains put aside their differences to become the Sinister Six.
The game plays similar to the first Amazing Spider-Man game. You swing around the city fighting crime in side missions or doing the main story missions. You swing around like Spider-Man should because your webs finally stick to buildings. It feels a lot better. The combat is similar to the Arkham games but dully repetitive.
As far as the game’s story based missions go: they vary for better or worse—mostly worse. Some missions have cool settings and ways to achieve the objective but the poor combat and terrible AI make the game go from too easy to boring. Some missions are set up by Spider-Man telling himself what he should do and explaining why it’s important. I know it’s a game, but come on. A lot of the explanations felt like something out of the 70s Scooby Doo. For most of the missions, I felt like one of my eyebrows was constantly raised in disbelief of what I was playing.
There is a morality meter which I thought was interesting at first. It fluctuates on how often you perform the random side missions that come up. The better public image you have—the less the city’s defenses will attempt to harm you. However, there are several parts during the game where it forces you to get a positive morality meter before letting you continue. Really ruins the momentum because after certain missions—your morality meter gets reset. So you can go from a full positive meter to almost fully negative just because the game decides you should do more work.
The side missions vary from kind of fun to the worst thing you can play. Generic “stop the mugging” crimes are always available to do. These are as simple as swinging down, beating up the bad guys, and then being forced to watch an annoying little news segment that tells you what exactly you just did. You stop a bomb from detonating by throwing it in the river—the game gives you a news report telling you exactly what you just did. Just in case you forgot what you just did seconds before. It’s supposed to make you feel like what you did makes a difference but I already knew preventing a bomb from going off made a difference. These news segments gave second thoughts about doing random crime missions because I didn’t want to subject myself to the mostly unskippable news segments I knew I would have to watch. The game made me apathetic to crime because it was too inconvenient to listen to my accomplishments.
There was one car chase mission that was particularly awful. It was one of the first ones you do. You don’t even stop the car. You climb on it, break a window, try to get the hostage out while dodging bullets, and once the hostage is out—Spider-Man webs up the car off screen and all is well. This first car chase I did, ended exactly where it began. I am serious. The car crashes in the exact alleyway where you start the car chase. Yeah.
Combat works similarly to the Batman Arkham games but is nowhere near as deep or responsive. Your Spider Sense goes off when you need to dodge and then you mash the punch button. Not deep at all. There are some stealth segments but these only showcase how heinous the AI is. I took down one enemy about five feet away from his friend who was looking the other way. The AI must not have ears because I did this type of thing more than a few times.
If you choose to subject yourself to playing this game beyond its maybe 6-7 hour campaign—there are a lot of things to do after completing the campaign. Doing random crimes stopping, saving people in fires, races, collecting comic pages, even playing a battle simulator.
The combat arena offers some additional practice to get better at the lame combat system. I played a few of the combat situations they have for you but all they serve to do is highlight the poor combat system it has, but, should you push through it all—you’ll get rewarded with concept art for the game.
Collecting the many comic pages scattered about the city gets you fully readable comics with writing that is much better than this game.
The best side missions the game has is doing gang hideout missions. Not only are these decent stealth missions, but you get rewarded with new suits. The new suits actually give you different abilities. One suit may help your reputation meter fill faster while another suit may help you heal faster.
Wearing these suits and earning XP in them levels the suits up as well as Spider-Man. So those suit benefits will only get better the more you wear the suit. So with proper time invested or wasted as I would put it—you can 100 percent the suits to maximize the benefits. However, if your reputation is negative—you get negative abilities. So it’s best to keep Spider-Man from being seen as a menace.
While the web-swinging is a step forward from The Amazing Spider-Man game before it—it’s still a huge step back from the other great Spider-Man games. It is nowhere near the excellence that was Spider-Man 2 back in 2004. For me, that is the Spider-Man game.
Bland combat, weak upgrade system, horrendous writing, awkward animation, and clunky storytelling make this game a prime example that not every movie needs a game. If you really love Spider-Man and are willing to overlook all the things that make this a horrible game—then you may actually enjoy it. I hope you do. I love Spider-Man but if you want a good Spider-Man game—consider picking up the 10 year old Spider-Man 2 movie game, Shattered Dimensions, or even Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
This review was based on my experience I had playing on Playstation 3. Luckily my wallet dodged a huge bullet because I decided to rent this game via Redbox. I cannot fathom the disappointment I would have felt if I had chosen to buy this game. Let me know if you even care about the well-being of my wallet or how much you may have liked or loathed this game in the comments section.