Whenever you have a game coming out that is an adaptation of a movie, you’re more than likely in for a steaming pile of cow dung. It’s painfully obvious that everyone involved are only looking to cash in on the huge movie that is also coming out, and don’t really have the passion or time to put anything really impressive in the game.
So, you really can’t blame me for looking at The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game and thinking, “Well, this will probably suck.” However, while it certainly isn’t anything special, the game does have some bright spots that fans of the Spider-Man series will more than likely eat up.
The game picks up where just about every Spider-Man origins story does; Peter Parker (Spider-Man) lets a criminal go as a means of getting back at a guy that wronged him, and that very criminal ends up murdering his uncle Ben. As a result of this, Peter Parker swears to protect his city from bad guys as a means of making his uncle proud and honoring his honest teachings. Pretty much everyone knows this story by now, but I guess it’s to get newcomers up to speed.
What follows is very different events compared to the new movie. The game has many different villains that are thrown at you almost like an arcade game, and through it all you get some semblance of a narrative. Peter Parker’s best friend Harry Osborn is suffering from a disease that killed his father, and he wants Spider-Man’s blood to study in order to better understanding a potential mutation he is considering. Of course, Harry Osborn is also mixed in with some bad people, mainly Wilson Fisk (The Kingpin) who joins forces with Harry in order to fund a privatized police force called Enhanced Crime Task Force meant to contain the big criminals.
The combat in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is very basic. Essentially, it’s a dumbed-down version of what is found in the Batman: Arkham games, with far less precision and fluidity. It’s also very easy, meaning that even if there are swarms of enemies around you, as long as you don’t do anything stupid you will have nothing to worry about. Some of the fight animations look pretty cool, like when you’re finishing off a foe and Spider-Man unleashes a cool punch-kick combo that ends with the enemy flying across the room. Most enemies in the game can be defeated with the exact same formula of mashing the attack button, but occasionally you’ll come across aerial or armored enemies that require a bit more thought.
The bosses in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 do all have a unique feeling to them, requiring you to employ different tactics than you are used to in regular combat. One such boss fight has you using your spider-senses to pinpoint exactly where the boss is hiding before he attacks you unseen. However, once you reveal the bosses weakness you just mash away at the attack button the boss will be taken down rather quickly. There was also one boss that I found ripped off another boss fight from Batman: Arkham Asylum pretty much exactly, which is not cool!
When it comes to gameplay progression in this game, you are given a pretty-basic leveling system. As you complete missions you are given points to put towards enhancing attacks, web-slinging or spidey-senses. Since the game’s combat is so easy, leveling up your stats just makes the combat more easy and tedious. It’s cool to have the options to improve your character, but when they really aren’t necessary then there isn’t any sense of accomplishment you get for acquiring them.
As with any Spider-Man game worth its salts, web-slinging around the big city is one of the main selling points, and in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that is no different. Swinging from buildings, trees and lamp-posts is an absolute blast, allowing you to cover huge distances in a very short amount of time. It’s always a thrill making your way up some of the tallest buildings in the city and then diving off and seeing the city zip past your eyes. You can also climb and run up the side of walls, making just about any area in the city accessible. The game offers some sidequests that involve collecting comic books, beating up thugs and rescuing civilians, but they all follow the same formula and come up so frequently that you’ll probably end up avoiding them.
As far as video game adaptations of movies go, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 could be a lot worse. Unfortunately, it could also be a lot better. The graphics are merely average, the combat is fun but too simplistic and the narrative is all over the place. If you’re a fan of the Spider-Man brand than you will no doubt find something to enjoy here, but if you’re looking for a third-person superhero game with deep mechanics and lots of polish, you are not going to find them in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Objectionable / Respectable