A Good, but overall fruitless attempt.
When referring to the massive list of constant comic book tie-in films, the results are less than satisfying. These games usually suffer from following the script of the film too much and lacking the ability to deviate from the source material. Although, once in a blue moon, you do get the odd addition of an enjoyable, if sometimes good title. The Amazing Spider-Man attempts to be one of the recent inclusions into the tie-in genre and truly tries to break away from the dreaded curse. Does it succeed? Let's find out.
Warning: FIlm spoilers ahead.
Taking place after the events of the recent film, the game displays Manhattan after the Lizard's attack on the city and his unsuccessful coup into turning everyone into mutated Lizards similar to himself. The game opens up with Peter and Gwen sneaking in a tour into Restricted areas of Oscorp which unsurprisingly, follows up with unfortunate results.After the people begin to shows signs of infection similar to that of Lizard's attempts, Spider-Man decides to pay Doctor Connors and breaks him out of a mental institution in hopes of developing a cure. From there on, Peter and Connors take refuge in Peter's rented out apartment in Manhattan. It's here that you have the ability to replay missions, talk to Connors, change your costume and jump into the free roam aspect of the game.
The Amazing Spider-Man breaks up the game into two sections: Linear indoor based story quests and Free Roam City side missions. The former is subjected primarily to the campaign with the exception of a few side missions that garner a little more import than your average quest. Each story mission plays a lot like Beenox's previous Spider-Man games in which you are in confined spaces and where stealth takes precedence over the open spaced combat of previous open world Spider-Man games. On the other hand, the Free Roam sections allow you to traverse Manhattan to your heart's delight, engaging in several different activities but we'll refer to this later.
The story missions play similarly to Shattered Dimensions "Noir" universe. You'll be sneaking through tight corridors trying to avoid enemies with fully automatic weapons that have the ability to take you down in but a few hits. The Stealth takedowns aren't a new addition to the series but the animations are nice and it provides a change of pace from the combat. These indoor sections can become frustrating at times due to their repetivity, but the environments vary nicely and the urge to find collectibles keeps you attentive . You'll be spending the majority of your time swinging around the vast map of Manhattan, occasionally taking a break from swinging to encounter one of the various amounts of side missions offered. Oddly enough, these events aren't random and only refresh once a new chapter of the story is activated. While this is odd for an open world game, it keeps the side missions from becoming extremely dull, which sadly, they become by the end of the game. They lack variety and play out exactly the same whether it's a car chase, stopping a mugging, or delivering a sick patient to the hospital.
Now the cream of the crop in Spider-Man games has always been the free-roam. Nothing captures the essence of being Spider-Man better than swinging freely through the city and observing the massive landscape before you. In this outing, Beenox had decided to pull the camera closer and a lot tighter to Spider-Man's body while swinging to give the player the sense of speed and vertigo while flying through the air and incredible speeds. It looks and feels fantastic and remains to be the game's best feature above all us. What might discern certain gamers of the highly acclaimed Spider-Man 2 tie in is the lack of attachment from the webs to objects in the world. Here, they just seem to stick anywhere within reasonable range of a building or tree's. It might be hard to ignore at first but the freedom and fluidity of the new swing system makes it easily forgettable.
Easily one of the most addictive additions into the Amazing Spider-Man this time around is the collectibles. Instead of just providing concept art and potential achievements, each collectible represents a page of a comic book. Collecting them unlocks a classic comic book issue which showcases many first appearances of characters including The Lizard, Gwen Stacy, and Spider-Man himself. It's a fantastic incentive to collect all 500 pages pertaining to the comic books while an additional 200 will grant you an achievement.
Web Rush. The newest foray into Spider-Man's arsenal takes inspiration from Web of Shadows' "web zip" mechanic that allowed you to instantly target an enemy and web towards them for a powerful attack. Web Rush integrates a system that when activated, time comes briefly to a stop and allows you to target almost anywhere to quickly web zip to with proficient accuracy and acrobatics. It can be used both in combat and in free roam or for traversal purposes and is a fantastic looking feature that shows Spider-Man bouncing off buildings and objects fluidly to reach his destination
Combat has never really been in issue in previous installations of Spider-Man games. It's always been a relatively simple formula involving a dodge mechanic in relation to Spider-Sense, a mechanic for webs and your classic punch and kicks. Here, the game takes massive inspiration from both Web of Shadows and the highly successful Batman: Arkham games. An indicator over Spidey's head will flash when he's in danger of being hit and a counter can be issued although this breaks your combo which builds up to critical attacks capable of taking out enemies in a single hit. The combat plays to Spider-Man's strengths pertaining to his agility, speed and acrobatics. He leaps and vaults all over his enemies in spectacular fashion utilizing wrestling takedowns coupled with a very specific web mechanic:
Sadly, none of the original cast from the film reprise their roles in the video game tie-in but this doesn't exactly hinder the game either. With a believable voice cast taking the reins, the dialogue flows without hinderance and even the cheesiest of lines are pulled off convincingly. Each emotion that a character is feeling is produced realistically and nothing felt forced.
Being an open world game, the graphics usually tend to take a hit in favour for size over quality. In this case it remains, for the most part, true with a few exceptions. Manhattan as a whole, is gigantic. Whether you're at the top of Oscorp or the Empire State Building, the draw distance remains visually striking and the city glows at night with beautiful lighting effects during the day. It becomes a little dull when you begin to notice the recycled NPC models and everything has a glossy sort of look to it, but the varied environments keep it from becoming too noticeable. Obviously, Spider-Man's character model stands out the most. His suit screams detail with the colour being the most striking and little touches such as physical suit damage are a welcomed treat.
While adding nothing particularly new nor does it revamp the combat system, The Amazing Spider-Man delivers more quality Spider-Man action in a visually striking Manhattan playground. You'll spend hours simply swinging around the city, collecting all the glowing comic books at an addictive rate and admiring the city. The story fleshes out quite nicely and despite an arguably anti-climatic ending, it's a satisfying romp through the world of the cinematic universe that's it based on.