The latest web-slinging adventure from game developer Beenox delivers the most freedom we've ever seen in a Spider-Man game.
Now available for all major consoles, The Amazing Spider-Man takes place in an open-ended Manhattan, allowing you — as Spider-Man — to swing wherever you like. In fact, you'll want to explore the huge city: There are collectible comic pages littered on skyscraper rooftops and other parts of the metropolis.
While not a perfect pick, The Amazing Spider-Man delivers a lot of high-flying fun — especially for fans of Marvel's most famous superhero.
The Amazing Spider-Man is a single-player action game that serves as an epilogue to the new feature film of the same name. The story takes place directly after the events of the movie, where Oscorp Industries has created an army of robots to destroy the menacing biological threats left over by Dr. Connors' experiments. Except one day, these robots go on a rampage and begin attacking innocent civilians. The game, which also involves Peter Parker's high-school crush Gwen Stacy, was penned by Hollywood writer Seamus Kevin Fahey, of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena and Battlestar Galactica fame.
While accomplishing missions that take Spidey above and below Manhattan, you'll engage in combat sequences with various enemies. Some require you to stealthily sneak up and perform an attack, while others call for more brute force mixed with flashy acrobatics. The game's new "web rush" mechanic is fun to master. The agile Spider-Man can pull off a wide number of dodge and somersault moves against a number of enemies at the same time — with impressive speed and fluidity. You can also use your web to grab nearby objects such as air conditioners and vending machines to toss at foes, or simply wrap up enemies in a thick web and hang them upside down.
Combat is fairly easy, though, save perhaps for some memorable boss battles later on in the campaign. And the subterranean levels look and play on the bland side, as do the other indoor sequences.
Overall, however, there's a lot to like about this game: the controls are tight and responsive, the writing is smart and funny, and it really feels great to swing and fight through city streets and parks.
It would be remiss not to mention Beenox was likely inspired by another superhero video game, Batman: Arkham City, as this Spider-Man adventure has a large and interactive open world to explore; the game encourages more stealth, such as swooping down from above to surprise baddies; and it's also more free-flowing in its third-person combat. While not overly unique, the formula works for The Amazing Spider-Man as you don't feel like you're being kept on a tight leash.
In short, the solid B-grade game is likely to satiate new and longtime fans of the fictional crime fighter.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Platform: Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii
Web site: theamazingspidermangame.com
Score: 3.5 stars (out of 4)