As a huge Marvel fan I always look forward to a brand new release to their gaming catalogue. Whilst nothing quite comes close to the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series, for the most part I find their games entertaining to play and generally I enjoy my time throughout the experience. Amazing Spider-Man 2 however, without trying to sound over dramatic, genuinely offends me as a long time Marvel fan. Poor swinging and traversal mechanics are paired up with incredibly dull Peter Parker segments, extremely lacklustre and repetitive combat and annoying bugs and glitches.
The entire experience for me felt like a huge step backwards compared to Beenox’s first attempt at an Amazing Spider-Man game, and even more so from their most successful Spider-Man game to date; Shattered Dimensions. The biggest issue for me in terms of core mechanics is the way they now handle web-swinging. Each hand is now mapped to the two triggers (left hand to LT and right hand to RT) and you swing as you would expect this to work. It’s fine in theory but for the most part the game sends you in directions you don’t want to go in, which ends up with you face planting a building or running down a wall and not heading in the direction you are trying to.
This is matched with the realistic nature of the web which now attaches to buildings rather than the clouds. If there’s nothing suitable to web to you’ll get an audio indicator of this and Spidey will just continue to fall. Again, it sounds great but this is also part of the issue with the movement. Webbing to a building too close almost kills the momentum due to the short length of web or sends you tearing around a corner you didn’t want to go around. This is a shame because I seem to remember the original Spider-Man 2 handled swinging in the same way and had none of these issues.
The game sees the return of the web rush mode which in the previous title allowed you to slow down time, pick a specific hot spot on the map and Spidey would traverse the environment automatically to get to your selected spot. It’s handled the same in ASM2 but with some improvements. You can web rush anywhere you want, which greatly helps moving around the city as you can use this method of transport and not using the poor swing mechanics. I found myself using this feature a lot more than manually swinging through the city.
When not swinging through the city, the majority of your time will be spent in combat. The only way I can describe the combat is a poor man’s Arkham. Sadly the game doesn’t feature the crisp, fluid, free-flowing combat that the Arkham series is known for. The key elements are there but they are all used poorly and more often than not it turns into a button bashing session, rather than relying on precise timing and tactics as the Batman games do. There are stealth mechanics in the game but, again, these are executed poorly and are unsatisfying even when the player is able to perform them properly.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 is also heavily riddled with bugs, glitches and poor AI. This can range from Spidey glitching into the wall whilst running along it, to bosses getting stuck in objects which generally requires you to restart. The thug AI is shocking as well in one of the earliest rooms; before fighting the Shocker you need to take a group of Russian and street thugs down. If you’re spotted by an enemy and web rush a few yards back the AI seemingly loses you and you are free to pick them off with web rush or ranged web attacks.
The model of Spider-Man is incredible though and the detail they have gone to in all the extra costumes you can unlock is right on the money. Everybody likes costumes right!? Sadly the character model of Spider-Man is where the impressive graphics end. The rest of the game looks like a PS2 game; textures are poor, character models fall between average and down right hideous and at no point do you feel like you are in a populated city. You’ll be lucky to have 10 pedestrians walking by if you go down to street level.
One of the draws of this game from the build up was the wide array of villains that were going to be featured in the game. The game includes early appearances from Shocker, Black Cat and Kraven the Hunter (despite not being in his typical villain role to begin with).We meet Electro sporting his Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie look and finally a much-anticipated appearance from Carnage. You’d think this choice and variety of villains would perhaps improve the game in some way? Wrong.
The story is one of the biggest pieces of disjointed drivel I have ever played through. Sometimes it wants to reference the first movie, then it wants to be it’s own thing, then use character designs and pieces from the second movie (which it is in no way really related too). I can see why they are at least trying to relate this game to current move universe, but when Aunt May looks strikingly similar to Sally Field, Max Dillon kind of (but not really) looks like Jamie Foxx and Peter Parker looks nothing like Andrew Garfield you have to think why bother? The voice acting is average on the whole, but down right terrible for Peter. He sounds like a middle-aged man rather than a young college student and because of this, the typical Spider-Man with sounds forced, unnatural and overall; dire.
From the moment I started the game it just felt like they were butchering the Spider-Man universe in a warped way. They attempted to pack in as many characters as possible and make everything cool for the die-hard fans and then dumb it down for the guys who probably have no interest in the fiction what so ever. They even have you save Stan Lee from a burning building in the second mission and his cameo doesn’t end there. He now runs the comic book store and they actually gave him a back story where he was friends with Uncle Ben! It all feels incredibly unnecessary and honestly, started me off with a somewhat negative opinion on the game.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the perfect example of what a video game, based on a movie or not, shouldn’t be. With the big deal around the recent delay/cancellation of the boxed Xbox One version I can’t help but think that perhaps this game should just have been delayed indefinitely. The promise is there and perhaps if Beenox had more time it could have been great. Sadly the game showcases poor combat, an incoherent plot, terrible character models, textures and voice acting. The array of villains, had the story been handled better, could have been a huge redeeming factor for the game. However, the way in which they are mindlessly thrown at you throughout the game feels like overkill.
- Detailed selection of costumes
- Huge roster of villains even if not utilised correctly
- Unappealing combat
- Terrible models & mechanics
- Butchers the Spider-Man universe