Saturday , June 15 2024
There's a lot of Spider-Man fun to be had, even if the experience has its flaws.

Xbox 360 Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

If you haven’t seen the Amazing Spider-Man movie yet, you should see it before you play this game. I promise to keep this review as spoiler free as possible; however, The Amazing Spider-Man videogame serves as a sequel of sorts to the film, taking place right where the movie leaves off.

Oscorp Labs has been busy using Dr. Connors’ research to create human and animal hybrids. When the beasts escape from the lab, Spider-Man breaks the former Lizard from his cell, and the two begin working to undo the evil deeds of Oscorp — before all of Manhattan becomes overrun with creatures.

The story here isn’t necessarily great, but having an original story is a nice change from the typical movie tie-in game, which usually just presents some half-assed version of the film’s story. The Amazing Spider-Man is also different from your typical movie tie-in game because, to my surprise, it’s actually pretty good. It may not be the best game you’ll play in the action genre, but it’s certainly fun enough to be worth your precious time.

The Amazing Spider-Man borrows heavily from the Rocksteady Batman games, with a focus on stealth KOs and open world exploration. Much of the gameplay, right down the camera angles, is stolen directly from the Arkham series. Spider-Man spends most of his time hiding in the rafters, getting the drop on enemies one at a time in order to advance to the next area.

Players will earn XP by defeating bad guys, XP which can then be spent to unlock simple upgrades. Don’t expect a deep combo system; everything here is pretty straightforward. You simply attack enemies with a single button and dodge when prompted. There is some variation in combat with boss fights, but even those seem to follow a formula — find the weak spot, then web strike your enemy into submission.

While very simple to play, combat in The Amazing Spider-Man is still solid enough to have its moments of being fun. Zipping around the room with your webs can give the fights a little of the variety they so desperately need. Spider-Man also responds fairly well to the controls, which really helps to cut down on frustration.

When you’re not beating up Oscorp’s hired guns, you’ll find yourself swinging around a virtual Manhattan packed with collectible comics to find, side missions, and a whole lot of enemies. Sure, you can skip all this extra stuff and focus solely on the main story, but you’ll miss out on all the fun that comes from exploring New York City.

Swinging around the city, saving citizens, and taking the role of a superhero is quite awesome. The side missions may lack variety, but I never found myself really becoming sick of playing through them. There’s just something fun about doing what a superhero does best, and the open world setting really lends itself well to this mission style gameplay.

This is Spider-Man in a sandbox; it’s just not the greatest sandbox ever. The free-roam here is a lot of fun, but it lacks the depth of Arkham City or the Grand Theft Auto games. Swinging around the skyscrapers is great, but the city below seems lifeless — there are too few cars, all the pedestrians look the same, and backgrounds seriously lack detail.

This is New York City; It should be booming with life. Many open world titles do an excellent job of making the environment feel real, but The Amazing Spider-Man fails in this area completely. Don’t expect to get lost in your suspension of disbelief with this title, unless you’re very easy to please.

Nothing in The Amazing Spider-Man looks particularly bad, but the game certainly won’t be winning any awards for its graphics either. Strangely enough, the only time the graphics really shine are when Spider-Man is swinging high above the rooftops. Zipping between buildings with Spider-Man floating in the air — it looks awesome. Sadly, most of the other areas in the game lack the variety necessary to be interesting. Even the character models are too simple to really stand out.

What this game lacks in graphics it makes up for with a strong voice cast. None of the actors from the film lend their talents to this game; however, I had to Google that fact to make sure it was true. This is because the voice cast here does a really good job at selling the action. There may not be big Hollywood stars behind the mics, but you certainly wouldn’t know it unless you check. 

Decent dialogue and strong voice acting are all that save the cinematics in Amazing Spider-Man from being a total disaster. Most of the in-game cinematics are done from one angle, with the camera locked in a single shot — and it’s just so boring to watch. Some occasional action scenes change up this format, but they still aren’t cool enough to really be worth mentioning.

Overall Spider-Man’s latest outing on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is a mixed bag. The game is a lot of fun, but presentation issues prevent it from being all that it could be. Compared to your average movie tie-in game, The Amazing Spider-Man is awesome. However, when compared to others in the genre, there are better options out there.

Give this game a rent, or buy it when the price drops. For now you’re better off playing something else. If you’re a big Spider-Man fan, like I am, give this game a try. Swinging through the open world may be all you need to become hooked — it just feels cool to be Spider-Man.

The Amazing Spider-Man is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence. This game can also be found on the PlayStation 3.

About Chad Michael Van Alstin

Chad is an award-winning libertarian opinion columnist. He's done with that now. Having earned himself a B.A. in Mass Communication, Chad now spends most of his time as a wage laborer, killing the pain by consuming as many video games and movies as possible. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadVanAlstin

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