As gamers and superhero lovers, I am sure we have all wanted a Spider-Man game that actually made you feel like you were experiencing things (or at least as best as our imaginations could conjure) the way Spidey would. A game that gives you a real sense of that with great power comes great responsibility.
Many have tried and many have fallen very short. Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions looks to get a lot closer than the previous games. So with that said, we sat down to this new version titled The Amazing Spider-Man on PS3.
An epilogue to the movie with the same name, the Amazing Spider-Man isn’t the sharpest game in the graphics department or the most interesting in the boss fight category. BUT it is super fun to play and the introduction of a free-roam Manhattan is fantastic, with the fundamental appeals of web-slinging and free roaming all intact. The rush of falling to the street before whipping yourself back up to skyscraper level is actually quite thrilling with the beautiful motion blur while swinging adding to the overall effect.
In a glittering Manhattan that transitions from golden-hour sunsets to moonlit nights to terracotta sunrises, the decision to move the camera closer to the spandex-clad hero makes simply moving through the game world a cinematic joy.
The story is decent, following on from the plot of the new movie (with a pretty major spoiler for those who have yet to see it) and pitting Spidey against rogue Oscorp scientist Alistair Smythe and various mutated enemies caused by the cross-species research of Curt “The Lizard” Connors. This leads to new versions of classic Spidey foes such as Rhino and Scorpion, but reduces them to roaring monsters in the process. It ties everything together neatly but loses a lot of the goofy Silver Age charm of these characters.
In fact, the story and game world often seem to be at odds with each other. Twitter feed commentary on the loading screens describes New Yorkers panicking as a mutating virus grips the city, while statistics update you on the number of infected rising into the millions, but once you’re actually out on the streets everyone is walking and driving around like normal. This disconnect between the fiction and the setting almost leaves it feeling like two different games.
Web Rush, the most eye-catching new addition to the game. Web Rush sorts out the issues previous titles had with web swinging: accuracy. In previous games, the actual swinging part worked fine, but landing left the camera spinning. Web Rush allows you to slow time down to a crawl. Now you can look around and hone in on whatever you want – get some perch action, scope out a collectible item, mission objective or approaching enemy.
Center it in your viewpoint; release the button and Spidey catapults in the right direction. It’s a cool idea, one that makes navigation – both in the open world and the more enclosed story mission areas – a walk in the park. This is the part of the game where you can use the PS Move controller and it actually feels quite satisfying to accurately pick out a building point and send Spider-Man to it with ease. Some of you are going to have a fat whinge here because it does actually make the game quite easy.
While Web Rush is attached to R1, L1 covers its opposite – Web Retreat. Tap this to automatically send Spidey zipping away to the nearest safe spot, super important when the tide of combat turns against you. Between them, these two features fix up many of the issues that previous games suffered from, but at the same time could leave players feeling unchallenged.
Standard Spider-Man fare is being able to dominate enemies. Here you can go all webs blazing or take the stealthy approach via the shadows and take bad guys out one at a time. Shattered Dimensions handled stealth and combat “well” and The Amazing Spider-Man handles these just as well. If you have played any of the latest Batman games you will notice some similarities between the two. Combat follows the Caped Crusader’s attack/counter/special trifecta, but lacks some of it’s pacing and depth. Where Batman’s hand-to-hand fighting relied on careful timing, Spidey can get away with much more button-mashing. It’s a solid enough foundation and fairly easy to master the basics. Spider-Man is not a copycat by any stretch of the imagination; it’s just borrowed a great technique and applied it to the Spider-Man world.
The one problem with most open-world games is the monotony of doing missions that seem the same over and over again. Sadly, The Amazing Spider-Man suffers the same issues. You may be rescuing civilians, going through a timed event or fighting a boss, and although they may look different, they just feel the same. There are a couple more in-depth side missions, such as a bank robbery involving Black Cat. But it’s often more satisfying simply to swing around the city, seeking out 700 scattered comic book pages and beating up snipers, than it is to concentrate on clearing up the identikit incident icons that pop up after each story chapter.