The Amazing Spider-Man Review for Xbox 360

The Amazing Spider-Man Review for Xbox 360

A Spider Without A Web

Spider-Man is sort of my Achilles’ heel. Next to another superhero fond of blue and red, (I wrote all about him a week ago), Spider-Man has been a favorite of mine for years. The only difference between the red-and-blue-clad heroes is that Spider-Man has had several games of awesomeness while Superman has not.

The Amazing Spider-Man, the most recent Spidey game, has longtime fans contemplating two major facets of this title before even tearing open the shrink wrap—one of these is working against the game while the other is its favor. In the game’s favor is the return of the much beloved free-roam; against it is the stigma of being a tie-in game to the soon-to-be-rebooted Spider-Man film franchise.

The Amazing Spider-Man Screenshot

Beenox did a very smart thing with setting the game after the movie. By doing so, we actually have a double-edged sword. No, the developers weren’t tied to just the movie plotline, but how much would they be allowed to reveal about the movie before it even hit theaters? The answer is a dauntingly massive SPOILER ALERT . Seriously, you will know a lot more about the movie after the first ten minutes of this game than you will after carefully examining each and every movie trailer.

This is regrettably where the story is both fascinatingly imaginative and disappointingly bland. In order to keep things close to the vest and in line with the movie, it plays out that Spidey must face down some of his weakest villains in comic history. (While many love the Scorpion and Rhino, how many of you can tell me who Vermin or Iguana are? That’s what I thought.) Nevertheless, they are able to tie all of the gene-splicing animal amalgamation of the film into the game without much effort. Hell, there is even Black Cat, who, as any fan knows, is more for the eye-candy than anything else.

The Amazing Spider-Man Screenshot

Therefore, aside from the spoilers, the storyline is somewhat drab. Mix this with the voice actors and you may find yourself caring about the story less and less, just wanting to get to the action. This is not to say the voice work is awful or anything; it’s just that none of the actors from the film reprise their roles (and there’s really no excuse for this in today’s industry.)

The combat plays heavily on the dreams of how Spider-Man fans have always wanted to control Spidey. Taking a large chapter out of Arkham Asylum’s combat structure, The Amazing Spider-Man has an attack/reversal/takedown system, and it makes so much sense here. After all, Spider-Man actually has the squiggly lines pop above his head to warn him about impending attacks, whereas Batman’s warnings can only be best described as aroma vapors pouring from under his mask.

The Amazing Spider-Man Screenshot

Also like Batman, Spidey has stealth attacks this time around. Crawling in the shadows and taking enemies down while hidden is just as much fun with Spider-Man as it is with Batman, if not a little more so. Spidey has the option of auto retreat or “web retreat,” which basically lets you get back into hiding with the push of a button. Sure, it feels like cheating, but this doesn’t stop it from being fun.

And this is The Amazing Spider-Man’s biggest treat: It’s fun, plain and simple. However, I need to explain that a bit more. Yes, you will have stupid amounts of fun in this game if you are a fan of Spider-Man. Web-slinging through the city with some of the best looking fluid motion I have ever seen in a Spider-Man game, combating the random thug here and there with upgradable spider powers, and collecting the pure fan service littered throughout the city—all of these have one thing in common; they are at their best in the open world of the city. This is not to say that the sewers or insides of random buildings don’t offer their own style of fun; I just personally found more enjoyment while traversing the city than anywhere else. In fact, my oldest son exclaimed, “This is more fun, so I am only going to do this,” when he discovered the game’s collectable comic books. (He doesn’t know that there are around 700 pages of “fun” waiting for him.)

The Amazing Spider-Man Screenshot

To go along with the idea of fun, The Amazing Spider-Man has a new feature, “Web Rush.” I admit that at first I wasn’t impressed by it; it was just a new way to say “web-zipping,” something that has been a staple of Spider-Man games for a while now, right? It was only after a few moments of playing around with it that I truly began understanding and loving this new feature. Instead of randomly thwipping a line out and speeding along, Web Rush allows you to control where Spidey will go in that scenario. For example, swinging through the city, you enter into Web Rush mode and see four different destinations: the side of a building, the top of a building peak, a flag pole, or just open air. In this slow-motion segment, you are able to choose where Spidey will go. Once you do this, you are treated to a little (albeit brief) cinematic of Spidey swinging to reach the chosen destination. After a series of games where the simplest of tasks—sitting against a flag pole like we’ve seen him do in so many iconic images throughout printed history—was unachievable, players are truly left with the feeling of “I am Spider-Man!”

This is the real draw of The Amazing Spider-Man. You are Spider-Man. You may not feel it completely (as you would with, say, a Mirror’s Edge-styled Spider-Man game), but there is no doubt that the heart of the game is once again in the free roam. It is fun to beat up bad guys with that particular Spidey flair, but nothing will ever replace the feeling players get while soaring through the city.

As we await the impending movie reboot with skeptical anticipation, we can at least take comfort in that fact that Spider-Man’s video game reboot has the fans at heart. In short, as redundant as this phrase may seem, The Amazing Spider-Man is amazing!

Beautiful cityscapes and awe-inspiring lighting effects make this truly feel like Spider-Man. 3.4 Control
Controls are a double-edged sword. While the web-slinging is at its best during open areas, indoor areas will make you long to be back in those open spaces. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
There is nothing offensive or memorable about the voice work. 3.5 Play Value
A return to free-roaming Spider-Man gameplay makes this a title real fans shouldn’t miss. 4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Spider-Man’s Triumphant Return to New York – Everybody’s favorite web-head is back in Manhattan with the return of the fan-favorite, free-roaming, web-slinging gameplay.
  • Web Rush: Player Choice Evolved – Players use real-time navigational and combat choices to fight crime and pull off Spidey’s signature acrobatic moves like never before.
  • Find Out What Happens Next – Uncover the rest of Peter Parker’s untold story in the all-new epilogue story to the Columbia Pictures’ 2012 blockbuster theatrical release.
  • Push Spider-Man’s Abilities to the Limit – Battle all-new versions of classic Super Villains as well as original, larger than life enemies – some of the biggest ever seen in a Spider-Man video game – while racing to save Manhattan.

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