Open world environments are ideal for our favourite web slinger, or you would be forgiven to think so, swinging from building to building fighting crime using your amazing agility and slick fighting moves.
Playing as the beloved Spider-Man is nothing new but minor tweaks and upgrades to his abilities and minute gameplay changes makes controlling Spidey great fun. The Amazing Spider-Man 2, developed by Beenox and published by Activision, kind-of accomplishes this to a degree and it’s by no means a fun game overall but the rough and ragged presentation and frustrations that plague this game make what could have been a classic, ultimately an okay game.
Like the movie it is based on, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 circulates around the multitude of supervillains and the origins of how they come to be in relation to Spider-Man himself. However the difference between the game and the film is that this game has many villains whereas the film only has 3 notable ones. Kingpin, Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter and of course Electro are to name but a few of the bad guys who you will encounter during your time as Spidey as they all have their own personal missions all of which have no good outcome with regards to human life and the survival of New York city and its your job as Spider-Man to throw a spanner in all of the works. The story is muddled and rushed; it feels more like the developers were trying to cram as many baddies in this game as possible as it never feels like your following one particular goal. Kingpin wants control of the city via his personal Task Force, Green Goblin wants Spider-Man’s blood to cure him and will stop at nothing to get it and then there’s the feeble Electro sequence. Now Electro plays a huge part in the movie but in this game, it’s just a single boss battle and that’s it, definitely a wasted opportunity.
The gameplay is identical to the first Amazing Spider-Man game, you use Spider-Man’s web swinging skills to traverse across New York City at your own leisure only this time around, and Spideys web shooters are now in correspondence with each trigger on the controller. R2 or the right trigger uses Spideys right shooter and L2 or left trigger utilises his left shooter, this gives swinging more realism and also allows you to control how fast, slow, high or low you want to swing. The frustrations start here, swinging in line with buildings such as down a long street is incredible fun but when you are required to cross over buildings which you will want to do a lot, it’s far too easy to swing into buildings or find you can’t use your other shooter because there’s no buildings tall enough to swing onto. This ruins timer based missions which in turn causes major frustrations. Missions are identified by icons on Spideys map, the pictured icons indicate crimes in progress which act as side missions that keep your hero gauge up and earn you experience points. The hero gauge shows how the public view Spider-Man, if you ignore crimes in progress missions, they will disappear and you will be viewed as a menace which causes the police and Task Force to target you. This mechanic keeps you busy but it’s ultimately ignorable as the police and Task Force are walkovers but the can get annoying to have on your back so it is best to stay heroic. Crime missions vary from rescuing citizens from burning buildings which requires you to use your Spider Sense, petty crime which is a fight with 3-4 small time crooks, rescuing citizens from being kidnapped and more, a nice variety.
Spider-Man has some impressive fighting skills and finishing manoeuvres which are executable by a straight copy of the combat system found in the Batman Arkham games. The free flowing combat with the same variants of enemies are a straight port but in Amazing Spider-Man 2, it’s not a smooth or as fun to watch. There are some levels such as hideout missions which require you to use stealth. Spideys Spider Sense enables him to see enemies and an upgraded Sense ability allows him to view cones of vision and see through walls. These are tense moments in hideouts as if the enemies’ suspicion levels are raised high enough, its mission failure so clinging to ceilings and staying out of sight is a must and taking enemies out via stealth takedowns is optional and satisfying. Clinging to ceilings though causes easy disorientation.
Even on the powerful new consoles and the best gaming rigs, Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks shoddy and rushed. Up-close, character models look nice and detailed and super sharp and the acting is traditional over the top as Spidey is very animated when talking however further away things look ugly and artefacts and texture popping is rife. The draw distance is terrible and building design is repetitive and textureless. It’s inexcusable to have a game like this on next gen consoles as it definitely hasn’t taken full advantage of the consoles capabilities. Even Spideys webs look like sketched white lines and when an enemy is wrapped up in it, the web looks a million miles from them. I was not impressed with the visuals.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is by no means a fun game but it’s a missed opportunity with its muddled story, awful presentation and shoddy graphics however swinging across New York City certainly is an exhilarating experience as long as you stick to the streets. I score The Amazing Spider-Man 2 3/5
Story – 2/5
Graphics – 2/5
Gameplay – 4/5
Overall – 3/5