The Amazing Spider-Man – E3 Preview
It’s been a while since I’ve played a Spider-Man game. I think Spider-Man 3 may have been the last - Peter Parker battling the evil emo gene that was taking over his body and causing him to strut the streets of Manhattan like a nut-case, so I was excited to hear about the movie franchise reboot and the tie-in-ish game The Amazing Spider-Man. Ed and I were given a small presentation on the game, which is due for release on the 26th of June and is, at the minute, very polished and certainly visually impressive. Brant Nicolas, executive producer at Beenox, talked us through the presentation and explained how everything in the game has had an incredible amount of attention paid to it, so that it tied well into the movie reboot with Spider-Man’s costume being accurate down to the lining on the sole of his shoes.
Brant explained that story and narration has been a main area of feedback in the previous titles and Activision/Beenox were keen to ensure that this was picked up on in the game. Beenox has worked very closely with Sony and Marvel to produce a new and unique Spider-Man setting, moving away from the classic storyline of the comic books to enemies and stories that are drawn from a more biological basis. For example - Rhino, one of the main villains in the game, has moved away from his comic book origin (see The Amazing Spider-Man #41). Rhino, in The Amazing Spider-Man, is a regular man who has been spliced with Rhino DNA, causing him to grow larger and form a hardened hide. In fact, many of the villains have now been through this DNA-splicing process and have escaped from Oscorp.
Visually, the game is looking very sharp, and at the start of the presentation we were shown Spidey in all of his HD glory; I was blown away, thinking it was a CGI cut scene. Manhattan also looks incredible, although perhaps slightly less detailed than previous versions of the game. The city is a living, breathing place and will change over time as the story progresses, becoming slowly darker as some of the storyline elements play out. Through the Oscorp mobile phone, or basically your map screen from any other Spiderman game, the player can set waypoints to around fifty-eight types of side quest or collection mission. This then creates a visible pillar of light that the player can use to navigate to the mission.
From the presentation, the combat looked pretty slick. Brant explained that Spider-Man had moved towards a faster Lucho Libre fighting style. This looked great on screen, and is very similar to the stuff in previous Spider-Man games and possibly even the recent Batman games. What really made the combat stand out, however, was the return of the Spider-Man smack talk.
The city itself had to be redesigned due to a new feature called ‘web rush’, which allows the user to quickly zip around with the push of a button. Web rush is also context-sensitive and can be used to start missions, and collect items. To be honest, this seems like a bit of a boring feature, but when I saw the demo with Spider-Man flipping, webbing and diving across the city on what appeared to be the push of a single button, I was impressed.
Further into the demo, we got our first look at the spider slayers. At some point in the story, Oscorp decide that they would like Spider-Man back and dispatch drones to track him down. If these drones see you, scan you and you don’t kill them quickly enough, they call in spider slayers - larger drones that will try to capture you, and all of this happens dynamically, with the drones becoming progressively more difficult as the game goes on.
Brant also mentioned some of the DLC that will be available at release. ‘Rhino’s Rampage’ will allow the player to take on the role of Rhino and cause a ruckus in New York, scoring points based on how much damage they can do (bonus points for smashing yellow cabs). Another interesting DLC was based around playing as Stan Lee. Due to using manufactured web shooters rather than genetic modification, Beenox thought it would be cool to let the player actually travel around the world as Stan Lee, with full voice over. All of that topped with the fact that, in web rush mode, Spider-Man’s goggled mask is replaced with Stan’s iconic glasses.
All in all, The Amazing Spider-Man is looking very positive. It captures most of the gameplay that made both Spider-Man 2 and 3 so popular, and mixes this with some of the other interesting features from games in Shattered Dimensions. This could prove to be the quintessential Spider-Man game and I, for one, am really looking forward to playing it. Ed damn near passed out with excitement.
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