Release Date: 9/25/2012
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The Good: Fantastic visuals, solid and satisfying combat, great stealth mechanics, exploring Manhattan is a lot of fun, entertaining story, a lot of fun upgrades
The Bad: Level layout repeats often, easy boss fights, combat is a bit too simple, regenerating health makes the game tough
I’m not sure what it is with the Spider-Man series, but the movie based versions are always the best. This is usually opposite with video games, but it doesn’t deny this strange truth with Spider-Man. The best Spidey game, in my opinion, was Spider-Man 2 based off the Sam Raimi movie. The huge open world was unheard in a game like this back then, and the graphics, at the time, were astounding. It felt high budget, and despite copying the movie, was really amazing. TASM follows suit as well with some tricks up its sleeve.
This game is actually a sequel to the recent movie and is highly entertaining. You play as Spidey and are trying to take down the cross species that Oscorp created. The bad guy here is Alistaire Smythe who runs this place, and this is how the movie ties in. Spidey needs Doctor Connors to create a cure, but he’s locked up in an asylum after the events in the movie. The story is entertaining, but none of the actors from the movie take a part here which is probably good. The characters resemble the movie characters, but look a little different. This is how you do a movie based game right.
The game is more cinematic that previous entries just by the way the camera is angled. The combat is pretty satisfying with using just one attack button, but the animations are so fluid and entertaining that you won’t care. Spider-Man doesn’t have a health bar, but regenerating health. When you take too many hits (he can only take a few) you have to use the retreat feature which has Spidey flying off into a corner away from enemies to heal. Use Web Strike to immediately go right back into the fight which is awesome. Once enemies are stunned you can use special moves, and all these moves are upgraded by finding tech pieces throughout the game. One of my favorite things is the stealth mechanic which is done right for the first time in a Spider-Man game. Crawling on the ceiling shows a purple web radius under you and when guards are on it Spidey will drop down, wrap them up and hang them from the ceiling. The health system makes you use this feature because you can’t dodge enemies with guns. Your Spidey sense will turn red and this means the attack isn’t dodgeable. Use a quick web retreat and try the stealth again. Very satisfying and well done.
Of course this wouldn’t be a complete Spidey experience without a huge open Manhattan to explore with side quests. Like Spider-Man 2 there are many missions like saving citizens from crimes, various timed side quests, collecting comic pages, police chases, and various others. They are a lot of fun at first, but grow repetitive towards the end. Swinging around as Spidey is just so much fun and the well done animations help this a lot.
The only big issue is that the layout of levels repeat often. Disable this lock, take down these turrets, beat up these enemies, turn this valve. It’s all very mundane, and even the boss fights are really easy with little challenge. Thanks to all the other elements being very solid you can look past this enough to get through the game. At least the graphics are fantastic especially on PC. Beenox took the time to give PC users higher resolution textures and better looking everything. This is rare in a movie based game to see such attention to detail. There are some game breaking bugs and glitches that were never addressed on PC and that is a real shame.
Overall, TASM is a solid Spider-Man game and probably one of the best yet. This is how you do movie based games right. The story is entertaining, the combat is solid and fun, and exploring Manhattan is a lot of fun. The graphics are amazing, but I can’t help but feel annoyed by the repetitive level layout and easy boss fights. This is well worth a purchase, and even if you don’t like the movie you will enjoy this.
The Good: New and interesting story, lots of side missions, swinging around the city is a lot of fun, tons of collectibles, boss fights look awesome, web rush works very well, amazing soundtrack
The Bad: Levels are bland, side and story missions get tedious quickly, boss fights are monotonous and take way too long, stealth is lackluster, AI sucks, cliff-hanger ending
The Amazing Spider-Man deserves credit simply for being a movie game that goes far beyond the boundaries of a typical movie game. In fact, in many ways it completely obliterates those boundaries. That’s not to say the game is without it’s flaws, because it certainly isn’t, but it’s nice to see a movie game with this much effort put into it.
However, being an excellent movie game doesn’t really say much. As a game itself. The Amazing Spider-Man is pretty average, or at least the story missions are. Swinging around Manhattan is a ton of fun and the numerous collectibles will keep you coming back for more, but the levels are extremely linear. The story of the game itself actually takes place after the movie, which is a nice change (if you haven’t seen the movie yet be warned: there are spoilers in this game). While the voice actors aren’t the ones from the movie, they do an acceptable job at emulating the real stars. The plot isn’t excellent, but it is still pretty darn good and some new characters like Whitney Chang are very interesting. Unfortunately, the game ends in a cliff-hanger, which is just annoying. At first I felt like the soundtrack was generic but eventually it grew on me and by the end I had come to enjoy it a lot.
Going back to the levels, they mostly follow the same pattern of beat up everyone in the room, find a vent to leave the room, and repeat in a new room. Even Spider-Man notices the monotony of this, often pointing out that he has to yet again go through a vent. Speaking of this, the game’s writing can get quite funny, with a few references to Stan Lee and Batman thrown in throughout the plot. Anyways, despite levels being very linear, it’s very easy to get lost in them thanks to the fact that almost all the rooms look the same. I can’t tell you how many minutes I wasted walking in circles over and over again until I could find an exit. But hey, at least you don’t have to play through the same barren-looking locations multiple times, right? Oh wait… you do. I can’t tell you how many times you have to go to the sewers or Oscorp facilities. It’s ridiculous and makes the already boring level designs seem even worse.
During the levels you will primarily need to be hiding against the walls, stealthily taking out guards. Unfortunately, the stealth doesn’t work quite like the game thinks it does. Unlike the Batman series of video games (which this game heavily borrows from), stealth doesn’t take much planning and isn’t very rewarding. The enemy AI is always either too smart or too stupid, and you’ll notice some odd animation hiccups when Spider-Man glides down from a ceiling to web a person up. Hand-to-hand combat on the other hand is much better, and while repetitive and kind of bland, it still can be a lot of fun. Too bad the game constantly discourages it, with notifications like “Spider-Man needs to stay in the shadows or else he’ll get killed”.
A thing this game did very well was making playing as Spider-Man feel right. His movement is a little floaty, as it should be, and web rush (where you slow down time and choose where Spider-Man should swing to next) feels very natural and doesn’t interrupt the gameplay unlike what I expected. Swinging around the city never gets old and wall-running/climbing is a ton of fun. Climbing upside down on the roofs of rooms was probably the only part of the stealth mechanics I absolutely loved.
There is no denying how much content there is in this game. Even ignoring the collectibles scattered throughout the city, there are tons of side quests to participate in. Quantity doesn’t mean quality however, and this applies to some of the side missions. Although the car chase, photography, secret laboratory, and blimp challenge missions are fun, the petty crime and numerous escort-esque missions (which are about 90% of the side missions) are boring and you won’t find much drive to complete them.
The final major component to this game is the boss fights. There are way too many of them to count, and honestly most of them stand out as bland and failing to feel fun. They constantly make you do the same things over and over again (which isn’t helped by the fact that numerous bosses are rehashed throughout the game) and feel far too predictable. The only boss fights I liked (and even then, these ones eventually got boring) were the city-wide ones which could have you swinging from one side of the city to another to escape from a robot which is meanwhile tearing through the skyscrapers of Manhattan to get to you.
The Ultimate Edition/Wii U Difference
The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition for the Wii U is nearly identical to the original game, which is quite a shame considering that they were released basically eight months apart. This port of the game looks downright ugly compared to the current-gen console versions. Now, I’m not typically one to complain about graphics too much but the screen tearing is just horrendous and you know something is wrong when the screen tears even when scrolling through the comics you unlock throughout the game. Including, the Wii U version should look better, not worse than the 360 and PS3 versions. All of the DLC is included in this version of the game. It’s pretty hit or miss, with the Stan Lee DLC which lets you swing through Manhattan as Stan Lee and includes one additional 2-minute long challenge being somewhat entertaining for five or so minutes. The Lizard Rampage and Rhino Challenge Pack DLC are both quite fun, adding whole new gameplay elements to the mix, however they are still nothing more than quick minigames. The two other DLC’s are not noteworthy in any way as they are just rip-offs of Snake and Asteroids, which can both be played in a browser or on a phone for free.
The gamepad isn’t used creatively here either. It displays a map (which is helpful) in the open world sequences but during levels it is just a blank screen. Also, the touch screen controls which are used to navigate the map and pick upgrades are horrible and I often had to hold down on the screen for a few seconds before it would recognize my taps. Sometimes this got so bothersome that I just switched to the Pro Controller. Off-TV mode is always a plus however.
All in all, the Wii U port of this game is technically the best version content wise, as it includes all the DLC, but if you own the game on a separate console or just can’t handle bad graphics, then there is no need to dish out money for this version of this game.