If the recently successful Arkham series of Batman games were to somehow have a love-child with the wildly popular open-world franchise of Spider-Man titles, you’d have a pretty good picture of what Amazing Spider-Man is all about. Rocksteady’s signature combat system built on the simple foundation of attacks interspersed by evasion, has not just been lovingly paid homage to, it’s been outright ripped whole-cloth from Batman’s gadget drawer. And while Beenox’s execution of this system isn’t quite as smooth and effortless as what you’ll see on the streets of Arkham City, it’s close enough to make little difference.
You’ll also notice right away that Spider-Man is now sporting a much closer, over-the-shoulder camera view similar to Batman. This, along with a dozen more examples, including frequent ventilation shaft crawls, a heavy reliance on detailed interior levels, stealth take-downs from the shadows, and an experience-point driven system of upgrades for both Spider-Man and his gadgets, all point to an incredibly heavy influence from the Arkham series.
Fortunately, all this heavy-handed borrowing from the best of the genre has really paid off, because Amazing Spider-Man, despite being counted among the doomed lot of movie tie-ins, actually manages to pull off a genuinely fun and captivating game that can likely be ranked as one of Spider-Man’s best adventures.
|It's a big playground, but with little variety|
Unlike previous open-world Spider-Man titles, the vast majority of story-based missions will actually take place in large, beautifully detailed interior levels. Similar to Arkham Asylum before it, you’ll be guiding your hero through a maze of corridors, overcoming rooms full of enemies with acrobatic flair, solving the occasional puzzle, and capping the experience off with large boss battles of one form or another.
In-between all this, you’ll be given the chance to roam at your leisure through the open-world of Manhatten, where you’re given the chance to try your hand at a small selection of repeating activities. These range from the extremely simple, like picking up a sick person and transporting them to the nearest hospital, to the more complex, such as figuring out how to take down an entire gang of armed thugs who are keeping the police at bay. And while much of this content is well-designed on the surface, there’s precious little variety and you’ll find yourself becoming bored with the repetitive nature of it all very quickly.
Amazing Spider-Man is a fairly short game. I played through the entire story campaign, and managed to complete all of the side-content as well, and I was still finished by the 15 hour mark. Players who have less patience than I, and choose to simply bypass much of the rinse-and-repeat side missions, can probably breeze through in less than 10. So while I definitely had a fun time with this game, if Beenox gets the greenlight for a sequel, they really need to step up the amount of content they include.
|Fights play out with cinematic flair|
Amazing Spider-Man is by no means a perfect game. It has its pock marks and imperfections, right alongside its innovations and epic battles. Interior environments are beautifully designed, and Spider-Man’s acrobatic animations are superb. But when you see most NPCs up close, the lack of detail and stiffness of movement is embarrassing. Combat can be an absolute joy... except when it’s not. And on those rare occasions when the cinematic martial-mayhem doesn’t quite jive, you’ll find yourself fighting frustration. But all in all, the pros far outweigh the cons for me, and I genuinely found myself gaping wide-mouthed at some of the incredible boss battles that Beenox tossed my way.
So check this one out, gang. It’s kind of short, but it’s definitely sweet.
This game receives a score of:
8 out of 10