XXL’s Game Corner: The Amazing Spiderman 2 Review: Not So Amazing

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Publisher: Activision

 

Developer: Beenox

Platforms: Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, PC

Release date: Out Now

 

The history of Spiderman on gaming consoles has been a lot of swing and miss. Unlike Batman, no title bearing Spidey’s name has really done right by him save for Spiderman 2 which was released awhile back on the Playstation 2. Most fondly remember that it was the first game which gave the player an open world to swing around and in most circles was regarded as the best representation of the wall crawler. Fast forward to now and Beenox tries to recapture the magic with The Amazing Spiderman 2 but unfortunately falls short of the mark.

The first problem I had with The Amazing Spiderman 2 is it doesn’t look or play like a next generation game. When you compare it visually to open world games like Infamous nothing about it screams next-gen experience. Hell, you could make the argument that Grand Theft Auto 5 released on the less powerful PS3 looks better visually. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is very interesting as a movie tie-in due to the fact that it has very little to do with the film and is sort of an alternate take on the story of the recent film. The game incorporates some elements of the film while also continuing off of the events of the last game by adding a bunch of original material taken from Spider-Man’s extensive history. Of course the one thing that stays consistent is the main theme: in Peter Parker’s shoes you’re responsible for tracking down multiple killers that are terrorizing the streets of Manhattan. A steady parade of characters enters and exits Peter’s life along the way, and the overall tone of the plotline becomes more sinister as it unfolds. Murder and mayhem rule the day in this New York City, and Parker is determined to restore order to the town. The order that villians appear seem to be random at best. Electro, the easily excitable electric villain from the new Spider-Man film, shows up halfway through the game with absolutely no explanation whatsoever. Helter skelter plot aside, gameplay wise The Amazing Spiderman 2 does offer a few things to like.

Lets talk about the revamped web-slinging first. The left and right triggers are mapped to swinging with their respective arms and it works pretty well; the ability to alternate adds a tad more authenticity to Spidey’s wild and fast swinging, as does cutting around a corner by using the inside arm. At times though the camera struggles to orientate Spidey properly and you’ll find yourself constantly smashing into the sides of buildings and get your directions mixed up. Spidey must also make sure his webs have something to attach to — climb too high, and he’ll take a dive. The city views you as either a hero or a villain based on how much crime exists, so you must stop the many evildoers to keep everyone happy. To do so, you complete side missions, such as rescuing people from burning buildings, stopping high-speed chases, and fighting street punks. The only problem with this is the side missions aren’t a lot of fun and get repetitive after a while. You’ll find yourself spending hours doing the same few tasks over and over. The boss fights which could have been the game’s one redeeming quality also fail to deliver the goods considering how easy it is to defeat them. It didn’t take long to figure out what attack pattern you could beat them all with – dodge, use a special power, attack, rinse and repeat. I found it more rewarding to use the decent amount of combos and signature moves that helped add some variety to the battles. Kicks and punches are your standard attacks, but they won’t save you in sticky situations. Dodges, counters, signature moves, web-pulls, weapon disarms, and more are vital techniques that will keep Spider-Man from getting his head beat in while in battle. Spider-Man can also sense when an attack is incoming – a red flash above his head indicates the danger is in melee range; a white light signals a distant strike or projectile. Be ready to evade or counter in these situations. Many enemies will become temporarily dazed after a few blows to the brain from Spidey. These foes can be webbed down quickly, but will return to the fray if left alone. Sneaking up behind (or above… or below) an enemy that doesn’t know you’re there will allow for a stealth takedown, which is often safer than going in webs blazing.

One area The Amazing Spider-Man 2 succeeds in where nearly every other superhero game comes up short is in the way it handles the main character. A core component of superhero fiction, especially Spider-Man, is the dual nature of the character. Usually Peter Parker is an afterthought in video games but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does a nice job of giving some attention to the everyday character. There are sequences where Peter takes off the suit and goes about life as himself. These sequences involve mostly dialogue and picture taking, which while not as frenetic as the game’s action it is a nice change of pace.

The XXL Endgame

Besides the web-slinging around the city which was enjoyable for the most part, developer Beenox wasn’t able to keep the momentum going once you hit the ground. While there’s some entertainment to be had thanks to some fast paced battles, an entertaining story, and tons of collectibles The Amazing Spiderman 2 fails to be a truly amazing next-gen title. —written by DJRhude (@DJRhude)

XXL Rating: M (Average)

The Amazing Spiderman 2 was reviewed for the PS4 via review code provided by Activision