Taking place soon after the events of the latest movie, Peter Parker is taking a little “unofficial” tour of OsCorp with Gwen Stacy as his guide. Along the way, they uncover that Dr. Smythe, colleague of Dr. Conners (the Lizard), is disposing of some genetic mutation experiments. As the “tour” progresses, a very foreseeable event takes place in which Gwen becomes infected and is slowly mutating. The virus has also now escaped OsCorp facilities and the genetic mutant infection is now spreading across the island of Manhatten. Smythe is confident that he can cure the population using his robots and nanobots to destroy the virus. However, his methods prove to be quite deadly and it’s quickly understood that you’re now in a race against time and against Smythe’s robots to find a cure.
Gameplay and Controls
The game is broken down into chapters, 12 in all, each of which has a specific mission you’ll need to complete in order to advance the story. The missions will have you swinging across the city, underground in the sewers, high up in OsCorp towers and sometimes on the streets of Manhattan. Along the way, you’ll face off against Smythe’s robots, programmed to detect and destroy mutations (like yourself), mutated citizens, some of which spew poisonous projectile vomit (fun!), mini-bosses, and the most epic boss fights I’ve ever seen in a Spider-Man game. We’re talking about gigantic robot battles that span several city blocks or an entire park. For example, a giant robotic snake/worm that burrows through the streets and towers well above the roofs of several buildings! Seriously, those boss fights were awesome! The other enemies you face off against are terribly generic and really are nothing more than a nuisance, especially considering that you can pick them off one by one with a stealth takedown, retreat, and then repeat the process. This is the case with both the mutated citizens and the armed OsCorp guards. To be fair, I did have the difficulty turned down low, so battles were fairly easy and death was extremely rare. Only when I was completely careless of my surroundings in a battle against multiple enemies did I ever die.
In any Spider-Man game, I’m always eager to try out the swinging mechanic to see how it works, how it feels. Thankfully, Beenox got it very right, especially with the inclusion of their all new Web Rush mode, more on that in a moment. Swinging through the city is fluid and smooth (except in the case of the occasional drop in frame rate) , and easy to execute. Controlling Spider-Man in the air and on the ground is easy and comfortable. By holding down the ZR button down, Spider-Man will begin web swinging pretty much wherever he is, even in the middle of the air with no buildings in site (nice!) When you are on the ground or swinging onto a building, you can hold ZR and use the left analog stick to quickly run up or across a building. Now, let’s get back to the excellent Web Rush mechanic I spoke of earlier. Beenox created a system of travel in which you can view the city through the eyes of Spider-Man, almost like using “Spidey-sense”, and you can see the shape of the eyes of his costume on the screen (think Metroid Prime vision) and several hot spots will appear. These hot spots will be indicated by a glowing gold Spider-Man icon. All you have to do is hold down the R button to enter Web Rush mode and then you use the L analog stick to choose your hot spot, release R and you will zip over to your destination on a predetermined path. So you might perform this action and see Spider-Man swing to a flagpole, run across the side of a building and then flip onto the a light post that you wanted to navigate to. It is almost as though you are watching a cut scene, but in reality you can actually interrupt the travel by pressing ZR to swing off the path, or by pressing and holding R to again enter Web Rush mode. Either way, you can start on this automatic path to a place and then switch it up on the fly. The freedom given to you here is a great addition and is executed flawlessly. Now don’t think that just because you can web rush your way across Manhattan, that you don’t need a map, because you will. Thankfully Gwen gives you the OsPhone early on, which you will utilize often via your gamepad. The OsPhone displays a map of the city, targeting your location as well as other areas of interest. Plus, you can accept new challenges, manage your upgrades and experience, check emails, listen to voice-mails and more.
Several reviews I have read highlight the fact that the battle system in The Amazing Spider-Man borrows heavily from Batman: Arkham City, which for the most part is true. I for one, don’t mind this imitation at all. I have no desire to compare it to Batman, but since we’re on the subject, the battle system is not as deep. Sure, there are upgrades you can earn along the way through the XP you gain during battle, but it all seems a bit underwhelming. This isn’t to say it’s a bad thing, but not one that I was very invested in. I just liked crawling on the ceiling and executing stealth take-downs, I hardly ever took advantage of my upgrades to take down a group of enemies.
I’m sure you’ll be happy to know, as was I, that you can play the entire game on your Gamepad with just a touch of an on-screen icon. The game looks and runs great on the gamepad, although I’d much rather be swinging through the city on my 37-inch tv instead of the gamepad. For all you Wii U owners who pick this game up, you’ll also be treated to the free DLC bundle pack which includes: the Stan Lee Adventure Pack, the Lizard Rampage Pack, the Rhino Challenge, and the Oscorp Search and Destroy Pack. If you weren’t already decided on purchasing the game, the free DLC is a good incentive to purchase this game for the Wii U.
Visuals and Sound
The graphics in The Amazing Spider-Man look quite decent, with some definite high points and some really obvious low points, yet it is out in the city where the visuals really prove themselves. Let’s go ahead and go through the few negative aspects of the visuals. First, the character models look decent, but dang does Gwen need to lay off the eyeliner, mascara, or whatever the heck it is. Honestly, the character models looked a bit stiff to me in their animations. Indoor environments seem a bit too bland, repetitive at times, although this is not always the case. The biggest complaint one could lobby against the visuals are the instances of screen-tearing, especially in cut scenes. While I noticed these things, I never cared because I was having too much fun swinging around the city like a fiend! Now, let’s move onto the positive aspects of the graphics. Spidermans’ outfit is very detailed and looks great in HD. The outdoor boss fights are massive, sometimes taking up several city blocks and the bosses themselves, all robots, look incredible. Now, I mentioned before that the visuals really shine when you’re swinging through the city or using the the Web Rush mechanic to zip from place to place. The design and detail of the buildings is impressive and the view of the buildings and the landscape rushing by as you web rush from place to place looks fantastic. Really, the whole automatic route of the Web Rush mechanic is executed flawlessly and looks amazing in action. As for the music and sound effects, they are all good, just nothing really noteworthy. The voice acting however, was really quite good, and while there was some repetition, it never became too much for me. The digital comics that you can unlock look good as well and it’s enjoyable to scroll/read through comics from within the game.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
Beenox has done an amazing job of capturing the excitement and fun of being Spiderman. The story is not always that intriguing and occasionally the framerate dips while swinging around the city, but everything else is great. The open-world structure, upgrades, combat, collectibles, included DLC and HD graphics make for an exciting adventure, packed with content. The Amazing Spiderman: Ultimate Edition is tons of fun and it’s a helluva ride!
+Open World Web Swinging!
+Larger than life bosses
+Re-imagined classic bosses +HD Graphics
-Repetitive combat and mission structure
-Stale indoor environments
-Difficulty in touch being registered correctly on the OsPhone touchscreen (gamepad)