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The Amazing Spider-Man Review

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Developer: Beenox Publisher: Activision
Release Date: June 26, 2012 Available On: 3DS, NDS, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

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The “Arkham” series of Batman games was a real change of pace, considering that most comic book/video game mash-ups in the past were generally terrible. If you recall, developer Rocksteady even brought home a few “Game of the Year” awards for Arkham Asylum in 2009, edging out “AAA” blockbusters like Uncharted 2 and Modern Warfare 2.

Sadly, other popular comic book heroes haven’t seen the same treatment as DC’s Batman – in fact, many considered Spider-Man 2 the best comic book/video game title before Arkham Asylum came out. So, the question that remains: why can’t a classic icon like Marvel’s Spider-Man ever seem to get the same TLC as the caped crusader?

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For the latest Spidey title, that seemed to be the case: with The Amazing Spider-Man, developer Beenox and publisher Activision have crafted an open-world action game, complete with the exhilerating freedom of swinging through the skies of Manhattan, foiling the plans of Spider-Man villains and fighting crime by engaging in random missions.

The game opens up just after the events of the summer blockbuster, and it plays almost identically to the Arkham series. The similarities are uncanny: from the combat system to the new “Web Rush” mechanic, it is often difficult to shake the feeling that The Amazing Spider-Man feels like a Batman copycat. This may sound pretty bland, but is it really such a bad thing? Well, the answer is a little bit of “yes”, and a little bit of “no”.

For what it’s worth, the concepts seen in the Arkham games actually work quite well in the Spider-Man universe. The “spider sense” is perfect for the counter/dodge mechanics, and the smoothness of the combo system works very well for a nimble fighter such as Spider-Man. Even the stealthy portions seen in the Batman titles make an appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man; these sequences generally focus on the new Web Rush feature, allowing you to zip around the environment and silently dispatch your foes without making a ruckus.

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The result definitely feels like “Spider-Man”, though it is perhaps not as “Amazing” as you may hope. The sandbox-style gameplay is great for swinging around Manhattan, but the linearity of the story missions and the limited level designs are even more noticeable when you are forced to run through the repetitive-looking stages. Who really wants to battle through the sewers of New York in another action game? Who really wants to navigate the city, planting tracking beacons on a bunch of antennas? Issues like these are what ultimately prevent The Amazing Spider-Man from reaching the same level of quality as the Arkham series.

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Additionally, while the visuals in The Amazing Spider-Man certainly look nice, the only details that seem to stand out are Spider-Man’s character model and the Manhattan landscape. The enemy designs are pretty basic, and even with his slick combat moves, the animations for Spider-Man’s fighting moves are somewhat stiff and choppy. You can “level up” and purchase new abilities throughout the game, but it doesn’t take long before the moves start to seem as repetitive as the levels themselves.

On the plus side, The Amazing Spider-Man boasts quite a bit of replay value. The main story won’t take very long to complete (roughly 10 hours, pretty standard for action games), but the open-world environment simply begs you to explore further. There is a staggering amount of comic book pages to find and collect around the city – 700 to be exact – and the process of finding them all reminds me of jumping from rooftop to rooftop, collecting Ability Orbs in Crackdown. Anyone who played Crackdown should remember that this was one of the most mindless yet undeniably entertaining aspects of the game, so it actually works well for Spider-Man.

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In addition to all of these comic book pages (which ultimately unlock classic Spidey comics in the extras menu), there are other collectible items scattered throughout each of the story missions, which can be re-played anytime from Peter Parker’s apartment. In the end, the game might not be as great as Crackdown or the Arkham games, but The Amazing Spider-Man cannot be denied its bulky amount of content.

So, that’s about it: like I said before, the best way to summarize The Amazing Spider-Man is to say, “It isn’t Amazing, but it’s definitely Spider-Man.” If you are a fan of the web-slinging Marvel hero, or you just watched the film of the same name, you might really find a lot to enjoy here. It is good enough that fans could easily wind up calling it the “best Spider-Man game of all time”, but it is also pretty blatant about “borrowing” from the Batman titles. If that doesn’t bother you, check it out – The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the better games based on a film in quite some time.

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 7 out of 10
Written by Cliff Bakehorn Write a User Review