News of a sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man late last year certainly got my senses tingling. Having enjoyed Beenox’s handling of the web-slinging superhero in 2012, the opportunity to don the costume again and swing through downtown Manhattan was most welcome.
The latest outing sees Peter Parker and his alter ego heading back to the mean streets – this time round coming face to face with the killer of his Uncle Ben, the Russian mob, the shiny-headed and unhealthily rotund Kingpin and all manner of famous foes from the comic books. And, of course, Stan Lee gets his usual cameo. Good times!
Sadly, it’s not a patch on the previous game and there are few real surprises during the six or so hour playtime.
"The transportation-like Web-Rush ability also makes a return and helps to navigate the metropolis quickly and efficiently. Highlighted areas appear on screen and a quick button press shifts you to that area – handy when you’re face to face with a few enemies and need to move about sharpish."
You guide our hero Spidey about the city, swinging from street to street to reach the next objective. The L2 and R2 buttons are used to propel web from your left or right hands, respectively – in effect meaning you can steer yourself nicely and use momentum to go round corners. A bit of practise and your movements will be graceful and silky smooth – although initially, you’ll no doubt be smacking into the sides of buildings like I was. Still, it’s a vast improvement on the previous game – especially given that the web now appears to actually attach itself to a nearby building rather than just sticking to an unseen surface somewhere in the sky. A criticism of Beenox’s last effort was the way the web just hung mysteriously in the air, a particular flaw when you were flying through a park and there was nothing around – it gave a whole new meaning to the power of the cloud!
The transportation-like Web-Rush ability also makes a return and helps to navigate the metropolis quickly and efficiently. Highlighted areas appear on screen and a quick button press shifts you to that area – handy when you’re face to face with a few enemies and need to move about sharpish.
Each level is broken up into short bite-size chunks, often ending in a scuffle with a few bad guys who are easily dispatched even on the toughest difficulty. They say it’s the sincerest form of flattery but Beenox is clearly trying to imitate Rocksteady’s Batman games. Spider-Man’s combat unfortunately falls short and most skirmishes tend to involve some relentless button mashing. Attacks can be interspersed with the occasional dodge move when Spidey’s senses indicate an incoming attack but otherwise there’s little variety.
"Besides the usual hapless goons, occasionally you’ll come face to face with a boss as well – and no doubt you’ll recognise a few of these iconic villains with Kingpin, Green Goblin and Electro among those making an appearance."
If you fancy really shaking things up a bit, spamming the circle button drenches the enemy in sticky strands that temporarily slows them down a little. Then there’s always the Web Pull move that allows you to yank bad guys towards you, ready for a pummelling. String together a few hits, your combo meter climbs and you can pull off a nifty looking signature move.
Besides the usual hapless goons, occasionally you’ll come face to face with a boss as well – and no doubt you’ll recognise a few of these iconic villains with Kingpin, Green Goblin and Electro among those making an appearance.
Besides the main story, there are plenty of photo investigations, combat challenges, races and other side missions to complete, as well as comic book pages, posters, audio logs, figures and costumes to collect. Completing missions rewards you with useful XP to spend on upgrading Spidey’s abilities, making him more powerful, more nimble and ultimately, more of a badass. The gameplay certainly improves when you’re in control of a souped-up Spider-Man and does prove to be pretty good fun.
Morality plays a role too – the game emphasizing the importance of how well Spidey is perceived and certainly adds another element to the gameplay. Good deeds – such as rescuing members of the public or stopping crimes – result in a positive boost to his hero/menace meter and people view you favourably… but fail to complete enough heroic acts and you’ll be fair game to the Task Force cops who roam the streets. These guys boast a lot of firepower and won’t hesitate in taking you on. It pays to play nice.
"Overall, it fails to live up to expectations and soon becomes repetitive. There’s not a lot of replay value and even with those collectibles and the lure of 100% completion, you probably won’t be brushing the cobwebs off the disc to play it again in a few month’s time. Fun while it lasts though."
Numerous – and thankfully, skippable – cutscenes progress the story, and there’s also the introduction of some hugely pointless dialogue sections. These occasional conversations with people you meet require you to choose from a selection of questions but weirdly enough, your choice doesn’t affect the outcome. You can ask all the questions, in any order you like, or none of them at all – there are no repercussions and it has no bearing on anything; it seems the designers merely added this element to offer some kind of interaction. A strange move and again, a blessing that you can skip these sections.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a bit of a letdown in the graphics department too and somehow looks worse than its predecessor. Close up, Spidey himself and his iconic costumes look pretty cool – nicely detailed with vivid colours – but beyond that the visuals certainly aren’t going to win any awards. The backgrounds are drab, the textures aren’t great and overall you could easily mistake this for a PS2 game. With the likes of Deadpool and the previous Amazing Spider-Man game managing to look pretty damn great, you’ve got to wonder why this falls short.
Still, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a decent romp and it has its moments but it’s a shame that even on the toughest difficulty you won’t be playing much longer than a few hours.
Overall, it fails to live up to expectations and soon becomes repetitive. There’s not a lot of replay value and even with those collectibles and the lure of 100% completion, you probably won’t be brushing the cobwebs off the disc to play it again in a few month’s time. Fun while it lasts though.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
Once you get into the groove with Spidey’s webslinging abilities, exploring the city and taking down bad guys is good fun. Plenty of cameos and loads of collectibles will appeal to fans
Graphics are disappointing, with a distinct PS2 feel to them and gameplay quickly gets repetitive. There’s limited replayability and it’s not as good as the previous outing.
Marvel’s man of the moment is back for another decent open world adventure - but is it really “Amazing”?
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