It’s Like the Movie … With 800% More Cross-Breeds
I found myself terribly torn by today’s game. There have been games like the one that I’m reviewing today that were some of the most fun and enjoyable experiences that I can remember in gaming, and others still that reached the level of mediocrity at best. When this game came out, it looked to be a return to form for the series, but I still had my trepidations. I wasn’t prepared to waste $60 for a game like the most recent few, and I just wasn’t interested in taking the risk. I put it on my Gamefly queue instead, and eventually it arrived. Interested to see which type of game it resembled more, I started playing The Amazing Spider-Man, developed by Beenox, published by Activision, and featuring the voices of Sam Riegel, Nolan North, Kari Wahlgren, Steven Blum, Claudia Black, Ali Hillis, Bruce Campbell, Fred Tatasciore, and Stan Lee.
A few months after a mediocre film was made about him, Peter Parker (Sam Riegel) and his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Kari Wahlgren) sneak into restricted areas of Oscorp to find Alistair Smythe (Nolan North) attempting to clean up after Dr. Curt Connors’ (Steven Blum) experimentation with cross-species DNA, making him into a giant Lizard and Peter into a man of spider. Well, the man-spidering of his DNA does not go unnoticed by the other hybrid creatures in the facility, and it causes them to break from their bondage and attack the facility. Gwen gets bitten in the process and she is quarantined along with Smythe and others to quell the infection. Desperate to find a cure for Gwen, Peter frees Dr. Connors and sets him to work creating a cure while he tries to capture the freed cross-breeds before the infection gets out of control.
So what’s the final decision? Was this game a return to the free roaming Spider-Man that I loved, or is it another mediocre addition to the series? The answer is “Yes.” It’s both. The bulk of the game felt pretty average, but there’s no denying that I’m a fan of the free roaming parts, and I’m very thankful they went back to that. The bulk of the story was pretty mundane, much like the movie that spawned it. In fact, the story of the game is very similar to the movie, at least the part that pertains to Dr. Connors. And since that story alone had already been told and it was necessary to prolong the story of the game, it seems that they just took that part and added more creatures. And since they didn’t have that many creatures in the canon that fit the bill, they just turned the other characters with various origin stories into cross-breeds, like Rhino. Another thing it had in common with the movie was that Spider-Man’s trademark quips never really landed. Spider-Man is supposed to have killer one-liners, man! That’s something you just gotta get right. I would say that the occasion when they worked the most was in most of the interactions between Spider-Man and the reporter. Altogether, the story didn’t really offer that much, but I can’t say that it was awful.
There’s not a whole lot to say about the look of the game. It looks really good and I had scant few complaints about it. What complaints I might have is that the faces never looked realistic, but the rest of the stuff in the game looked so good and set the mood so well that it made up for it. Also, I’m beginning to think that there’s a very good chance I’d be able to make it around New York without a GPS because of these free-roaming Spider-Man games and their attention to detail in making New York as accurate as they can. I would be looking for a collectable and see that it was located in Time Square or Central Park or other random places, and I knew where they were without having to look that up, even though I’ve never been to New York. Well, I might not be able to make it around the city unless I was swinging through it on webs, but I might be able to translate that into walking.
The free-roaming stuff was really what sold this game to me the most. I missed that aspect of the Spider-Man games so much. The last three Spider-Man games I remember playing were all really linear, and that just made my penis soft. That doesn’t feel like Spider-Man! It doesn’t feel right to just be Spider-Man just after he showed up at a museum or a linear back alley and making me follow a straight line to the boss at the end. So this game had that much going for it. It also had boss battles, and I appreciated those because they all felt really epic, even though they really weren’t much more than quick time button pressing events. There wasn’t a whole lot to the other fights either. A lot of pressing X to punch faces, and occasionally pressing B to finish someone.
The achievements in this game are not entirely difficult, but they can be fairly time consuming, extremely tedious, and inevitably I gave up with about 800. There are 700 comic books to collect in the city of New York, and finding them is not helped by the fact that every one that Spidey picks up causes him to say something that sounds like a sales pitch for comic books. Things like “Cover price went up, but still worth it.” But these weren’t that bad for me because I enjoyed swinging around the city aimlessly. But there were also magazines to find inside the linear levels, and I didn’t have the patience to go back in for those. I also wasn’t interested enough in the game to try to go back for the second playthrough on Hard. But still, 800 is close enough for a game I rented for 3 days.
I was happy to see that Amazing Spider-Man returned the Spider-Man games to their beloved past of free-roaming games, but this outing still ending up being expectedly mediocre. The story was nothing special, the fights were easy, and they went way overboard with the collectables, but there is a good amount of enjoyment to be gained from swinging around New York as the be-webbed one. I’d say there’s enough in this game that it’s worth a go, but probably not until you can find it for around $20. The Amazing Spider-Man gets “The Vermin” out of “The Rhino.”
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