Review: Amazing Spider-Man 2

The curse of the Spider-Man games continues. Beenox, despite doing a couple of good things with the Spider-Man franchise in the past, have yet again delivered a subpar Spider-Man game, another in a long line of disappointments. Given Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a game that runs concurrent with the movie of the same title, it’s not unexpected that the game isn’t mind blowing, but is rather just another mediocre movie-tie in, all too commonly released these days as a quick cash-in.

It comes as no surprise that the game begins with your uncle getting shot and you trying to track down the killer. Even though every human being ever born already knows this, for some reason, you are forced through it again. Once the tears (of boredom) are wiped away, you get to take Spider-Man for a swing around the city, learning an assortment of techniques for web-swinging.

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Left and right webs are shot from the respective wrists and it is actually quite fun once you get the hang of it. If there aren’t buildings on the left, then no web will get spun and likewise for the right. To shoot a web there theoretically must be a building or object to attach to, but it honestly didn’t feel that way in certain areas of the game. The city is a huge playground to swing through and it can take you a bit of time to get from one end to the other and it looks fantastic no matter if it is midday afternoon or in the dead of night.

Not long after you track down the man who killed your uncle, you learn of another killer who’s on the loose hunting down other criminals. From here on in, it’s up to you to try and track down the killer’s identity- but with the name “Carnage Killer” it doesn’t take a Curt Conners to figure it out. Along with the Carnage Killer on the loose, Wilson Fisk has teamed up with Harry Osborne to create a task force that hunts down hybrid human-animals — which, of course, is what Spider-Man is.

Introducing the Heroic meter that defines whether you are a menace or a hero to the people of Manhattan. This meter is nothing more than a gigantic pain in the ass. When it is in the red — the menace territory — there are stations all over the city that attack you on sight, drones that come after you to relentlessly pelt your with gunshots, giant force fields that make you lose your web ability for a few seconds… and the worst of the bunch, a large hunter robot which requires you to engage in a little mini-game with it order to take down.

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To keep your meter out of the menace territory — in the blue, heroic territory — you’ll need to perform the side quests appearing on the map from time to time. These range from simple tasks such as carrying someone to the hospital, saving people from a car-jacking, finding a bomb and transporting it to the river, to other more difficult assignments like having to take down groups of armed enemies, or saving civilians in a burning building.

If you don’t perform these when they appear, then you will be penalized. However, the only reward for doing the side quests is that you don’t have to deal with the hassle of being attacked every two seconds. It’s a horrible system and one that you need to constantly keep on top of.

When you are in missions, they are instanced and you will be taken away from the city to complete them. The city itself only serves as a hub to get from one mission to the next, or to return home where you can change costumes. With 8 bosses in total in the game, there are some fights that are well done, and some that seem like a desperate afterthought – as though the developers forgot to include a boss from the movie, so they just shoe-horned them in any way they could.

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There’s an upgrade system that’s effectively useless — all it does is give you extra abilities that you won’t even use like a slingshot web, or a clothesline web. The abilities you do need are available automatically, such as the seismic web that stuns enemies, and the ionic web to corrode metal armor.

The combat in the game is – like the web-swinging — very well animated, and seeing Spidey flip, dodge, web two guys, and then bonk their heads together is oddly satisfying…but too simple. Much like a less intricate version of the combat found in the Arkham series, all you need to do is kick and punch; when an enemy is coming in for a hit, you hit dodge and time slows as you automatically react.

There’s not much that can be said about Amazing Spider-Man 2 to convince anyone to go out and spend money on it. The city swinging is great fun …but to enjoy it, you need to perform tedious side missions to keep your meter in the blue or else you’ll run into barriers everywhere and that’s not fun no matter how you look at it. Even after you have completed the game, you still need to continually keep on top of the side missions to free roam. The game is also – at least here in Canada – $15 more expensive on the current-gen consoles than it is on previous-gen. The 360 and PS3 are priced at $54.99, while the XBO and PS4 are $69.99 – and if that’s not a sign that things are messed up with this game, it should be.

score5Title: Amazing Spider-Man 2
Developer: Beenox
Rating: T
Release Date: April 29th, 2014
Platforms Available: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Platformed Reviewed: Xbox 360