The Amazing Spider-Man ReviewPlatform: PC
, Xbox 360, PS3
UK Price (as reviewed): £17.99 Incl. VAT
US Price (as reviewed): $49.99 Excl. Tax
The problem with licensed superhero games is simple; we all know how we want them to be and that'd probably be an achievable aim if it weren't for the situation they're mostly developed in. Churned out to hit a release date close to a film and bound by the dictates of what works in another medium, it's no surprise that the best superhero games are the ones not based on movies at all.
Enter The Amazing Spider-Man, which suffers from not just this usual flaw but also the extra stigma of a delayed, unoptimised PC version too. Whatever else gets said for Beenox's latest effort with the franchise, bear in mind that this is very much a game meant to be played with a console controller. That's because the console version came out months ago and, while you'd hope the extra delay would imply improvements for the PC version, there's no evidence that's the case.
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That all being said though, The Amazing Spider-Man (the game) doesn't get off to a bad start. Rather than just retelling the story of The Amazing Spider-Man (the film), it continues it directly and has The Amazing Spider-Man (the hero) dealing with new, but familiar troubles. The same research which led to The Lizard is now on the streets, along with robots designed to mop up the mess and it's up to The Amazing Spider-Man (the hero of the game of the film) to save the city - just as he did in The Amazing Spider-Man (the--)
(Ok, enough with the brackets -- Ed.
Even the basics of the gameplay paint a pretty picture too. After a few linear levels which act as a tutorial, The Amazing Spider-Man widens to an open-world environment. Over time Manhattan fills up with side-missions and camera challenges; complete these and grab collectibles to earn comic books, new costumes, etc. These are ideas seen before in older Spider-Man games, but they're still welcome here.
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There's even stealth too, of a sort. Spider-Man can basically launch down from up high and ensnare enemies instantly provided he's not spotted, much like Batman could in Arkham Asylum. Unlike Batman though, Spider-Man isn't limited to using certain vantage points and can therefore attack from any position - meaning that 'stealth' often boils down to just 'tedious threat deletion'.
What makes it tedious is mainly the addition of two new Spider-Man abilities - Web Retreat and Web Rush. The first one just automatically removes you to the nearest high place, the latter slows time and lets you aim where you want to go. Both have their merits (especially Web Rush, which is handy for navigating the city and attacking) but both mean you're never under any real threat. As soon as you start to bleed - whoomph
- you're up on the wall and nobody can see you.