To most people the video game based on Spider-Man 2 in 2004 still stands as one of the best in the series to date. Yet, however great it was, it’s a little hard to figure out why. Sure the swinging was good, after all it was the first time players had been given a fully free-roaming New York to explore. Though perhaps it were those pizza delivery missions that stood out the most? So here we are again, but instead with the rebooted Spider-Man 2 making its way onto consoles. For those hoping that the magic number two might relate to critical acclaim, I’m afraid to say that this game succumbs to the traditional licensing fate. It’s not all bad though, but let’s start with what is.
Loosely based on the newly-released movie, Amazing Spider-Man 2’s events are present, but unfortunately seemed crammed in and out of place. Instead of focusing on Peter’s relationship with Gwen Stacy, your first task includes searching for uncle Ben’s killer in a flashback sequence. It doesn’t take long to accomplish your objective and events lead you onto the likes of the Kingpin, whilst squeezing in a one-time appearance from Electro and focusing more on Kraven ‘The Hunter’.
Having both Electro and the Green Goblin in the game made it seem as though nobody knew what was going on with the story until midway through development. In total there were only a few moments included from the film and even they appeared from nowhere. We don’t get to see Max Dillon’s turn into Electro and only briefly see Harry’s transformation into his green alter ego. If that wasn’t enough, the voice acting is lousy and we end up getting a poor-man’s Joker impression for Green Goblin. Quite simply, everything’s a mess. I respect developers Beenox wanting to tell their own story, but it doesn’t help in this framework.
In a bid to help players expand on the story, Beenox have bizarrely introduced a conversation tree that allows players to choose from up to three different questions. I have no idea why they decided to go down this route as it doesn’t affect the story or dialogue. Add the fact that the story is mediocre at best, it makes it hard to remain interested. It seems like they wanted to place filler into something that doesn’t offer much beyond more dull cutscenes.
Once it boils down to gameplay, the good news is that web swinging’s been refined and it’s a fun as ever. Now the left or right triggers correspond to each of your arms whilst your shooting webs, but why has it taken so long? It definitely makes swinging feel more organic and ultimately saves the game from just being a clunky mess. Aiding your movements around the city, the ability to web-rush returns and continues to help you get from point A to point B with ease. If there were one feature that helped me feel like the web crawler more than actually swinging, web-rush was it.
It was also nice to see combat return and seem stronger than in previous titles, retaining the same system as seen in the recent Batman games. With the ability to block, counter and attack, combat had its moments of fun. I also appreciated the additional benefit of using stealth tactics on my enemies without much hassle, but it didn’t help when the enemy A.I. constantly got stuck in scenery. Unfortunately glitches seemed common place and it certainly didn’t help my progression.
Combat was good for the most part, but it didn’t work seamlessly all the time, particularly once larger groups of enemies were involved. Whereas in the Arkham series when a red alert pops up above an enemy, you’d have time to jump out of the way. Often at times in this game it’d be impossible to avoid such a move, with your foes going out their way to hit you anyway, even if you tried to jump out of the way. It quickly became cumbersome and the fun factor was lost almost instantly, I only hope that they fix the issues in future entries.
Throughout the game it was clear that the focus was handled on the last generation of hardware, therefore giving an explanation as to why the graphics are lacklustre and there’s not much to be desired. Instead of being presented with a bustling New York with large, open draw distances, we have a cloudy and muggy city, that remains dull and uninteresting.
- + Swinging at its best
- Combat is fun at times...
- - Everything else seems a generic mess
- - Why bother fitting Electro into this
- - A bland New York City littered with repetitive missions