**Contains minor spoilers**
Release Date: April 29, 2014Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4 (Reviewed), Wii U, Xbox One, 3DS, iPadDeveloper: BeenoxPublisher: ActivisionGenre: Action/Adventure
Spidey has been featured in many games, and has made an appearance or has been mentioned in many others in the past decade. We’ve seen many forms of Spider-Man—an early arcade version, a normal run-of-the-mill spidey, a LEGO Spider-Man, and even a LittleBigPlanet Spider-Man—but none of them are as disappointing as Beenox’s latest attempt, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This game takes generic to a whole new level in so many different aspects—the story, gameplay, and most noticeably the graphics are as bland as they come.
The story in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 remains true to the Spider-Man universe—a generic criminal kills Uncle Ben, and Peter Parker is on a mission for vengeance. So, if you’re looking for a new Spider-Man tale, you won’t find it here. Although Peter Parker’s cheesiness is a part of who Spider-Man is, his snarkiness is overbearingly dorky and awkward here. In one aimless quip, Spider-Man says, “What’s worse, having a wedgie, or people seeing me pick my costume out of my butt?” That’s the moment I lost all respect for this game.
Gameplay is reminiscent of Spider-Man games of the past, as you’ll swing from building to building, or in this case from building to an awkward invisible wall to a building. Numerous times while swinging between buildings you’ll be strangely repositioned and set on a proper course, causing the camera to act in strange ways. Combat is a mix of moves from the Batman: Arkham games and high-flying acrobatics. It’s undeniably simple and quickly becomes repetitive.
There is also an upgrade mechanic in the game that is a good idea in theory, but doesn’t quite deliver on the possibilities. For one, the menu looks dated; it would have been better to see a tree-style mechanic masked in a web rather than big blocks. A simple touch like that would make the game feel that much more like a Spider-Man game as opposed to a generic open world misfire. Secondly, the abilities aren’t all that impressive or useful, as you can simply mash a single button in combat and be succesful.
And now, for the elephant in the room—the dreadful graphics. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 takes place in a drab and colorless New York City. Buildings all look a similar grayish brown, there are few civilians wandering the streets, cars look like clunky boxes, and the skyline is a foggy mess. Character models are blocky and lack detail. Somehow, Aunt May looks old and young at the same time. Although, the various Spider-Man costumes that become available all look pretty good, but standout in the generally colorless world.
There are, however, one or two enjoyable moments in the game. One comes from a boss battle with Green Goblin that was well constructed. And, the other comes via a cameo by Stan Lee, himself. At least, I think it’s supposed to be Stan Lee.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffers from lacking originality and its poor-man’s coat of paint. There’s nothing game-breaking really, but it clearly wasn’t made by a team that loves and knows Spider-Man, which is a major offense when the rest of the world does. If you’ve never played a Spider-Man game in your life (which seems highly unlikely), then sure–this game could be fun for you. But, it’s all too familiar to those that have. It’s time for Activision to stop publishing movie tie-ins and allow a studio to generate their own Peter Parker story to bring creativity and originality to the Spider-Man video game world. Otherwise, the Spider-Man franchise will never climb up to the Arkhamlevel of success.