|System: Xbox 360, PS3*|
|Release: June 26, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||ESRB|
by Matt Walker
Spider-Man is sort of my Achilles' heel. Next to another superhero fond of blue and red, (I wrote all about him a week ago), Spider-Man has been a favorite of mine for years. The only difference between the red-and-blue-clad heroes is that Spider-Man has had several games of awesomeness while Superman has not.
The Amazing Spider-Man, the most recent Spidey game, has longtime fans contemplating two major facets of this title before even tearing open the shrink wrap—one of these is working against the game while the other is its favor. In the game's favor is the return of the much beloved free-roam; against it is the stigma of being a tie-in game to the soon-to-be-rebooted Spider-Man film franchise.
Beenox did a very smart thing with setting the game after the movie. By doing so, we actually have a double-edged sword. No, the developers weren't tied to just the movie plotline, but how much would they be allowed to reveal about the movie before it even hit theaters? The answer is a dauntingly massive SPOILER ALERT. Seriously, you will know a lot more about the movie after the first ten minutes of this game than you will after carefully examining each and every movie trailer.
This is regrettably where the story is both fascinatingly imaginative and disappointingly bland. In order to keep things close to the vest and in line with the movie, it plays out that Spidey must face down some of his weakest villains in comic history. (While many love the Scorpion and Rhino, how many of you can tell me who Vermin or Iguana are? That's what I thought.) Nevertheless, they are able to tie all of the gene-splicing animal amalgamation of the film into the game without much effort. Hell, there is even Black Cat, who, as any fan knows, is more for the eye-candy than anything else.
Therefore, aside from the spoilers, the storyline is somewhat drab. Mix this with the voice actors and you may find yourself caring about the story less and less, just wanting to get to the action. This is not to say the voice work is awful or anything; it's just that none of the actors from the film reprise their roles (and there's really no excuse for this in today's industry.)
The combat plays heavily on the dreams of how Spider-Man fans have always wanted to control Spidey. Taking a large chapter out of Arkham Asylum's combat structure, The Amazing Spider-Man has an attack/reversal/takedown system, and it makes so much sense here. After all, Spider-Man actually has the squiggly lines pop above his head to warn him about impending attacks, whereas Batman's warnings can only be best described as aroma vapors pouring from under his mask.
Also like Batman, Spidey has stealth attacks this time around. Crawling in the shadows and taking enemies down while hidden is just as much fun with Spider-Man as it is with Batman, if not a little more so. Spidey has the option of auto retreat or "web retreat," which basically lets you get back into hiding with the push of a button. Sure, it feels like cheating, but this doesn't stop it from being fun.