We take a look at Activision’s movie tie in game The Amazing Spider-Man 2 which is available now across last and current gen systems and PC. With developer Beenox at the helm and this being their latest in a long line of Spider-Man games, how well does it fare, and is it worth jumping in? Take a look at our The Amazing Spider-Man 2 video review for the full picture.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review:
Today we’re taking a look at Activision’s movie tie in video game based on the recently released The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie which has been met with mixed reactions at the box office. The game whilst sharing the same name uses elements from the movie but opts to provide gamers with its own story featuring a variety of familiar characters and plenty of web-slinging action. For the most part, the game is divided into very distinct parts which include 14 levels of the story, free roaming around the city collecting items, solving petty crimes and hand to hand combat. There’s a bit of stealth thrown in for good measure in the form of Russian hideouts that appear on the map of New York, but these moments are far and few between with only five being available in such a large playing field.
The story itself is rather forgettable and has Peter Parker investigate a killer of criminals, the ever-present Oscorp and various arch rivals such as Black Cat, The Green Goblin and Carnage to name but a few. There are a few twists along the way but really set the stage for various boss battles with filler content in between. There’s an option to interrogate select opponents, and ask questions or ignore them, but this doesn’t really add anything to the game or change anything which is a shame. Even a simple good or bad choice system would have been acceptable here but is sadly absent from any interactions with the opposing characters. What players do get is a rather dull menace and hero setting during play which is represented by a meter and determines how the city views the web slinging hero. Players can rescue citizens in trouble, beat up thugs up to no good, disarm bombs and stop criminals in cars or in police stand offs which improve Spider-Man’s status in society. Should these be ignored or any bad deeds are committed such as taking photos of police activity, then Spider-Man’s heroic status is reduced to menace which sets the city’s task force against him at every step of the way. On paper it’s not a bad idea, but in reality is cause for some major frustration as it impedes the free flowing nature of moving across the city. Electro fences block your path every few seconds and if hit cause Spider-man to lose his web abilities resulting in being attacked by human and robotic security forces. So there’s a constant pressure to repeat the same tasks over and over which after a while becomes very dull.
The combat is also a bit lifeless and whilst exciting at first remains too simplistic to have any lasting appeal. It’s a one button affair with evasive moves thrown in and special attacks which can be unleashed once a combo multiplier is fulfilled. There’s a neat cinematic approach here that looks good, but is simply too boring after so many encounters. Spider-Man can upgrade his abilities using points, as well as getting bonuses added to the currently selected spider suit which help out in subtle ways, it’s fun leveling up the suits, and even acquiring more via races and the aforementioned Russian hideouts, but ultimately, don’t really change the core experience much aside from how Spider-Man looks.
Graphically, the game offers an impressive rendition of New York, something developers Beenox will have much experience with now. There’s some neat lighting as the city is bathed in various times of day from dusk, nightfall to daytime but sadly the city itself is completely devoid of any noteworthy life. Sure, there are moving repeated cars and pedestrians, but outside of the opening section where there’s actual interactions, the city simply feels painfully empty of character which is a shame. That said, Spider-Man’s movement through the city with an all new two button swinging motion is very good and represents a decent sense of speed, and looks excellent to boot, but does highlight poor draw distances where vehicles and objects disappear or pop in depending on the proximity to the character. On last gen systems, the game does look good and these minor niggles can be ignored, but for current gen having the same issues is not acceptable as well. Aside from a number of glitches, there are also moments of unstable frame rates, and screen tearing, although for the most part can largely be ignored.
Audio is also rather lacking with very little variation in the music, with the same theme being played over and over whilst navigating the city. The voice acting is pretty standard fare for a game of this nature with exaggerated Russian accents and over the top performances from key characters being the mainstay. Peter Parker sounds normal, although when donning the spider-man suit, repeats a number of cocky phrases which begin to grate after a while.
In terms of longevity, the main story doesn’t last long and can be completed fairly quickly, and nets about 50 per cent of the game completion. The side objectives such as taking photos, checkpoint races around the city and arcade challenges all add up to increase the hours played. Sadly, the city feel quite open but is left with very little to do aside from hunting down collectible items which does take some time but is the most bog standard activity to do in games of this ilk.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an open world action game by numbers it seems which simply feels like a cash in on the movie and given the smallest of budgets. Aside from some neat but limited stealth moments, cinematic but repeated boss battles and a very good representation of spider-Man traversing New York, the game is simply too dull to be worth any sort of praise. There’s really nothing new here over the previous game to warrant being recommended, unless you’re the biggest Spider-Man fan who simply craves for something new to play. This is ultimately an average game that does nothing to inspire and is perhaps only going to appeal to younger gamers and those who have exhausted all other avenues when it comes to superhero video games. The best advice we can give is to wait for an inevitable price drop and pick it up cheap for a weekend’s worth of achievement/trophy hunting.
Score 5.5/10 – Review By Robert Cram.