by Brian Robbins
If you knew anything about me, you would probably note that I’m a massive Spider-Man fan. I have various posters around my room, multiple ticket stubs from the Marvel movies and heck, I’m even drinking out of a Spider-Man cup right now. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to play Beenox’s latest Spider-Man game, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for the Xbox One. Usually, I’m apprehensive about playing a movie tie-in game, but he’s my favorite hero. Even if it’s an average game I should be able to look past its faults, right? After playing the fairly short campaign, I have to say this Xbox One iteration of the web-slinger should have been squashed.
When you first stumble into the game world, the opening sequence is a recap of Uncle Ben’s death from the first film. Of course, it may be hard to recognize who the characters are just because of how different they look to the source material. Here, Peter Parker looks more like Charlie Day from Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, especially with the jacket they’ve got him wearing. The opening scene is total filler and doesn’t add anything to the overall story.
Speaking of the story, it’s a complete mess. I understand that it’s a movie tie-in, and the developers might not get the full script from the accompanying film, but at the end of the day the plot here is just too hard to follow. The movie itself is already busy, but when the game adds their own villains from the comics into the movie, the main antagonists from the film get put on the back-burner.
My main beef with the primary storyline followed by the game, is that it completely omits Gwen Stacy from the entire experience. Gwen is Peter Parker’s greatest ally, and in the Amazing Spider-Man 2 film she plays a massive role. I don’t understand why we needed Uncle Ben, who isn’t even in the movie, more than we needed Gwen Stacy. Just a bit of a head scratcher there, but one of the many problems with the convoluted story.
Once you get use to the scrambled plot, you’ll take notice how funny the dialogue is. This isn’t a good thing unfortunately. What I mean is that the dialogue could have been written by a four year old. My favorite exchange is when Peter Parker first meets the dangerous hunter Kraven in his swank New York apartment. Kraven explains how he wrestled a grown tiger and how much it angers him to see the endangered animals hunted and killed. All the while, directly behind Kraven there is a tiger pelt adorning his couch.
Thankfully, the gameplay itself isn’t as hopeless. Spider-Man moves with incredible agility and web-slinging is now mapped to both the left and right triggers. There are minor issues such as the need to be pin-point accurate while traveling, but the game’s ‘Web Rush’ mode helps with that. The city feels more alive than in the previous Spidey games but it’s still ultimately a poor man’s GTA. Honestly, the most fun I had with the game wasn’t the combat, it was simply just swinging from one side of the city to another.
When the fisticuffs finally start happening, you’ll notice just how clunky the entire combat system actually is. With Amazing Spider-Man 2, Beenox tries to copy the outstanding melee combat of Rocksteady’s Batman titles. What you’ll get here is sloppy, broken, glitch-filled anarchy. I was fighting the camera harder than I fought any of the bad guys. Even with the clunky viewpoints and the floaty combat, the game was never challenging. Throughout the short six hour campaign, I managed to die only once and that’s because the batteries in my controller died.
When you’re not busy fighting random gang members on the street, you’ll have some of the web-slinger’s most famous adversaries to contend with. During the boss fights, you’ll rarely have anything to worry about with their mechanics. It boils down to mostly dodge the incoming assault, then mash on the attack button until you win. Granted, like Arkham City, once you defeat a boss you’ll unlock new equipment for your hero. Ionic webbing and seismic blasts to be exact, both skills are just ways to defeat the cannon fodder later in the game and both are incredibly lame.
If the story and the combat wasn’t enough to make you turn off your console, the atrocious visuals within the game might. While playing through the game on the Xbox One, I felt that this game was more on par with a Playstation 2 launch title. Mouths move out of sync, clothes have less pixels than Pong and the environment looks something out of Rampage on the Nintendo 64. Visuals usually won’t make a game great, but when the other aspects of this title are so bad, the muddled graphics pile onto the rest of the problems and the result is a game that is, in a word, garbage. The first Amazing Spider-Man game that came out in 2012 looks better than this game running on Xbox One!
As I previously stated before, this game is a movie tie-in and we can’t expect GOTY material from it, but with an asking price of 60 dollars, I can’t find any reason to justify the price. The only positive thing I could say about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that the game does include a bunch of unlockable costumes for Spider-Man and there is quite the diverse selection. With developer Beenox only making one actual serviceable Spider-Man game, it may be time for someone else to take the helm. Stay away from this Xbox One title.