With great power...
The Amazing Spider-Man 2, developed by Beenox and published by Activision, is the second instalment in a franchise that hopes to build upon its open world play with an expanded story and advanced combat mechanics. The game takes place in Manhattan, tasking players with tracking down Uncle Ben's killer while battling a massive lineup of villains, both old and new. Similar to web-swinging through endless rows of tall buildings, the game features both ups and downs.
Swing into action
It doesn't take long to get into the swing of things with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The game's first two missions get players caught up on the story while also familiarising them with the brand new gameplay mechanics. A definite upgrade from the first instalment, web-swinging saw massive changes. Players can no longer attach their webs to thin-air, instead requiring buildings or other objects to stick to. While increased precision can often lead to complicated moves, we found that within a couple of minutes we were able to effortlessly guide Spidey between tall buildings and around corners.
In fact, web swinging is one of the most rewarding aspects of the game, especially as you glide through downtown Manhattan, narrowly missing buildings and vehicles while searching for the next object to latch onto. In those moments, the game looks visually breathtaking. While not as impressive as recent first party titles like inFAMOUS: Second Son or Killzone: Shadow Fall, it is on par with other multi platform games.
A tangled web
Where The Amazing Spider-Man 2 starts to lose traction is with the repetitive combat. While the controls and combinations seem smooth and rewarding, enemies feel like practice dummies rather than realistic threats, so large crowds of enemies shouldn't be difficult to overcome Ambitious players may find entertainment in trying to perfect their craft, but at no point did we feel like the game required us to do so.
Thankfully, the combat redeemed itself with the boss fights that require players to sit up and pay attention. Featuring familiar foes such as the Kingpin and Green Goblin, longtime fans will find this aspect of the game especially rewarding. As they should, the boss fights kicked off with some easy challenges and worked their way up in difficulty, never becoming so challenging they lost their fun factor.
A story not worth hearing
Sadly, the story in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fell short of our expectations. Most if not all of the characters lack development, a result of trying to cram too many villains into a short game. Even though the boss fights are a big plus, we felt the story could have benefited from more depth, rather than non-stop action. While we are aware that video games are rarely able to keep up with the plots of movies, comparisons are inevitable.
In terms of voice acting, Stan Lee not only took on a more prominent role than his usual cameos, he is the star performer among a cast that does not feature crossovers from the film, again resulting in a feeling that you could coast through the experience without becoming emotionally attached. This is highlighted by the illusion of seemingly interactive conversations, at first leading you to believe your choices matter, before you quickly realise there are no consequences to the decisions you make.
The itsy bitsy spider
On the positive side, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does a few things right. In terms of gameplay, the side missions are fairly simple and offer a brief distraction from the main plot. Whether you pull a stranded citizen from a burning building or save a hostage from would-be carjackers, each successful good deed gets Spidey positive press, helping further his Heroic reputation. Not only that, the change of pace prevents gamers from going through the motions.
The in-game menus, along with Aunt May's house are both simple and well executed. From the game's pause screen, players are able to upgrade their abilities, view a map of Manhattan or set waypoints to their preferred objectives. Once you return home, Peter's room offers him the ability to change into one of Spidey's different suits, each offering its own unique benefit. It's also a place where players can easily replay one of their completed missions, giving them an opportunity to gather up the last of the missing collectibles, or even relive an exhilarating boss fight.
Whether or not The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a good game comes down to its target audience. If you disliked the previous Spider-Man films or games, this title wonât satisfy you. On the other hand, fans of the franchise will have no trouble finding value. Veterans of the series will find great entertainment in the web-swinging upgrades and rewarding boss fights.
Although The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fails to realise its full potential, falling victim to repetition, there's fun to be had for those willing to look past its faults.
GAME's Verdict: 7/10
- Exhilarating and well executed web-swinging
- Challenging and rewarding boss fights
- In-game menus and options are clean and simple
- Repetitive combat allows players to coast through
- Voice acting failed to live up to expectations
- Interactive cut scenes lack depth