I had relatively high hopes for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, hoping for it to find its feet amongst open-world adventure games; but was left with a game that appears to have been spun together solely to release at the same time as the film. Many corners have been cut and an overall shoddy release is all that’s left to grace our consoles.
Given that the version I was playing was on the Xbox One, I was shocked at how substandard the graphics are, with Spider-Man looking cheap and unfinished – whilst characters like Wilson Fisk look downright awful. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is definitely not a showcase of next-gen graphics, if anything it looks like something from the beginning of the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 era – despite what the screenshots might suggest.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 feels like a poor imitation of the Batman: Arkham franchise – not a bad game to try to mirror but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. You play as a superhero in a large open-world completing missions and side-quests whilst upgrading your character to become as kick-ass as possible. However, where Batman was backed up by amazing combat and a great storyline, Spider-Man has neither of these. Instead developers Beenox seem to have focused solely upon making web-slinging as realistic and fun as possible.
Webs actually have to attach to buildings now and both of your hands are mapped to the left and right triggers, which makes for great fun when flying around Manhattan almost touching the signature yellow cabs that line the streets. Web-slinging actually made me feel like I was Spider-Man as I slickly navigated between buildings and towards the inevitably dull missions that take up around eight hours of game time spread out over 14 sections. The missions have next to no interesting narrative and are plagued with Peter Parker sections where you have to wander around taking pictures and engage in pointless small-talk with other characters.
Once you eventually get into a combat situation, you will be wishing to be back swinging through the city as combat gets incredibly boring and repetitive after just a dozen or so fights. There are only thee types of enemy, all of which are incredibly easy to defeat and almost all of the AI are idiotic, with them running into walls or bins making them easy prey for Spidey.
Spider-Man himself doesn’t have much in his locker in the way of attacks, apart from the normal attack there is a web shot and a counter-attack that makes combat so very easy that it is over within minutes. Some sections of the game have attempted stealth, just like in the Arkham games, but this sputters and fails quickly as the stealthy approach rarely works and will almost always end up with Spider-Man having to engage the enemy face-on to get to the next area.
Whilst in the open-world, there are randomly generated side-missions that can be completed in order to keep the Police Force from trying to take Spider-Man down. After a while however, it becomes far too tedious to complete this extremely repetitive tasks and I found that it isn’t worth completing them later on in the game as the benefit of carrying out the missions becomes less and less as time goes on.
Beenox have attempted to squeeze in as many super-villains as possible into The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and with little success. Barely any of the villains have been fleshed out and all of them are simple to defeat, even after having to defeat around 20-30 minions before reaching the big game. What really disappointed me about the boss-battles was that when there was some form of meaningful dialogue, Spidey would contract a case of verbal diarrhoea and just blurt out any form of insult that should only be used sparingly upon henchmen. This was especially grating when battling Electro, possibly the only villain with a strong tale of anguish and interest, as his monologue was broken by Spider-Man throwing a pointless insult towards him.
The game as whole, for some strange reason, is actually mildly enjoyable. Even after pointing out all the flaws and playing through some awful missions, I still had a good time playing The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This is almost definitely because of the web-slinging, the variety of awesome costumes that you pick up along the play through and the short but sweet arcade challenge mode.
However, make no mistake, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not a game that I would actively encourage people to buy, with its dull combat and poor story it isn’t worth the premium price tag. There are some great features to the game though, like web-slinging through New York, that make it fun to play at times and at some points. With a mercifully short story-line and woeful side-missions, there isn’t much here to make you want to stick around.