We’re in our second round of the second generation of the Spider-man live action film franchise. Whether or not you enjoyed the first one ( I did ) it arrived somewhat more quietly than its predecessor. This time around though, Spidey is hitting the big screen with rather more press so, what a perfect time for a movie videogame tie in! Hold the groans folks, I think The Amazing Spiderman 2 might just buck that particular trend.
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Genre / Rating: Action Adventure / E 10+
Helmed by Canadian developer Beenox, these folks have hopped into Spidey’s tights before, producing previous Spider-man games Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions, Spider-man: Edge of Time, as well as The Amazing Spider-man. Haunted by the death of Uncle Ben, which… obvious statement really, that’s sorta Spider-man’s ‘thing’ historically, but as this is a reboot it’s totally relevant again! Anyway, haunted by the death of Uncle Ben, and on the trail of his killer (who is still on the loose) the guilt of young Parker (again, a historically accurate thing for him) pushes him forward, strengthening Spidey’s resolve.
Judging by the trailer, rather than playing the villain in this iteration we have Kraven as a sort of mentor. Now, I haven’t read all the comics (Spider-man has had a LOT of adventures) but this is actually a pretty neat, and fairly logical move (bearing in mind we’re talking about a dude who got powers from a radioactive spider) which is a new angle to me. Kraven being the ultimate hunter, who has in the past viewed Spider-man as a test for his skills, instead acts as a teacher (lets just hope its not of the Ra’s al Ghul variety, they sorta got a similar look going). It’s pretty clever actually, and it has my nerdy parts all a tingle, as well as providing a source for all those talents young Peter somehow gets. From a gameplay standpoint it’s an excellent hub/upgrade point (if that’s indeed his function in game).
Undoubtedly one of the things that makes Spiderman so attractive as the subject of a video game is his rogues gallery. Second perhaps only to Batman, this trailer shows off just a handful of the gaggle of evil unleashed on the city, which brings me to the second reason he’s a great game character… how he gets from one place to another to put a stop to all that villainy. Lets face it, while flying is awesome and vehicles are cool, the whole urban Tarzan thing Spidey has going captures our imaginations, and this time around the webslinging has been upgraded. Where in previous games webs just shot off into space and ‘attached’ to points you couldn’t see in mid air. It was an illusion, and with buildings everywhere it worked, the mind sorta filled in the gaps. Now though, each web actually has to connect to legit geometry to function. Controlled by your left and right triggers, this actually seems pretty intuitive, and for the genuine Spiderman nerd, immersive and (I can’t believe I’m going to say this about a fictional concept) more authentic. All in all, it looks really cool, and the navigation seems like the most accurate representation of how any kid who has ever loved Spiderman would have imagined him traversing the landscape. Count me excited to give it a try.
As with previous versions of Spidey games, The Amazing Spiderman 2 is an open world ‘free-roam’ style game. Players can access the map via Parkers ‘phone’ and get a view of all the things that can be done at any given point… anyone whose played a GTA or GTA type game will find this instantly recognizable. Expect crimes and random encounters of various kinds including ‘Hideouts’ ‘Rescue’ and ‘Photo Investigation’ to name a few. There’s another old favorite of the ‘open-world’ club to… a morality system. I’m a little skeptical of these, as they just tend to be a binary choice system, and Spider-man hasn’t ever really been known to do the ‘bad-guy’ thing (with his Venom suit days as the possible exception). That said, from what I can tell its more about how good you are as a hero, and how effective or distracting it is will sort itself out soon enough.
The Amazing Spider-man 2 has definitely benefited from the advancements in Superheroic gaming pushed by the Arkham series, one look and you’ll understand what I mean as a few of these mechanics have been outright lifted. That said, it’s how innovation works in the first place, and I don’t begrudge it one iota. As a result the combat looks wonderfully kinetic, pleasing to the eyes, and as accurate to how Spidey would tackle a buncha baddies as Arkham’s was to Batman.
So, breathe easy true believers, I think the super hero faithful have something to look forward too, even if it is a movie tie in. Not sure? Here’s some gameplay to look at. The Amazing Spiderman 2 is available now for pretty much everything except the Xbox One, which has been delayed indefinitely (for reasons they haven’t yet explained). But fear not Xbox One owners, this bad boy is still available for digital download.