The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Review

Title   The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Developer  Beenox
Publisher  Activision
Platform  PC, 3DS, PS 3, PS 4 (reviewed), Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS, Android
Genre  Action-adventure
Release Date  May 2, 2014

Spider-Man has been a permanent fixture in the gaming world for a long time now. Back in the day he’d take part in scrolling 2D platformers, usually on the 16-bit consoles, but then Neversoft decided to get a bit of extra use out of their Tony Hawk engine and we got the first proper 3D Spidey ‘em up.

From that point on, Spidey has enjoyed numerous similar outings and nearly all of them follow a very strict set of rules and conventions. You’ll be swinging around New York City looking for both story and side missions. The story missions will focus on Spidey crawling around various warehouses and enemy lairs while the side missions will have him rescuing civilians or helping out the police with car chases or shootouts.

You’ll jump around battling foes but your biggest enemy will be the camera and for each mash of the ‘attack’ button, Spidey will perform jabs, crosses, drop kicks, spinning hell kicks and whatever else while the game does away with any illusion that you’re in control.

Aside from the usual combat, any Spidey game will also have far too many web moves. Disarms, tie-ups, webshots, trips, pulls, rappeling, swinging, whatever you can think of will be mapped to various trigger and button combinations and, of course, these can be upgraded but as you’ll only ever use half of them it doesn’t matter too much.

Basic moves can be used on standard goons (hey caaawp, there’s a donut shop over there) while tougher, armoured enemies usually need to be stunned or subdued with web powers. Frequent battles with endless footsoldiers are then usually punctuated with a boss battle. Usually against some prick who hits you with area-of-effect bullshit when you are winning, but can be killed by getting them angry and making them run into walls until they are knocked out.

To cap things off, every Spidey game also needs an over-the-top number of collectables in there to give you a reason to explore that particular incarnation of New York and that, gentle readers, is how every Spider-Man game in the last ten years has gone and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sticks so religiously to the formula it practically gives you stigmata.

It tells a fairly fragmented story of how Peter Parker attempts to track down his uncle’s killer before uncovering a larger crime conspiracy featuring some major players in New York, many of whom have evil alter-egos that you’ll have to face off against at some point during the game’s brief but predictable campaign.

With just fourteen story missions, you can go from ‘post-uncle angst’ to ‘bad guy in webcuffs’ in a day or so even if you do stop the sample the side missions, which present themselves as random acts of violence that you can put an end to in order to win the favour of the New York public. This also has the benefit of stopping an anti-crime task force from constantly attacking you on sight. Unfortunately, these events are timed and missing one makes people think you are a prick. Even worse is that when you beat or fail one of them, a TV-style news report comes up EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Despite complaints from some, I found this particular incarnation of Spidey to control quite well. He fires weblines from both hands (using the triggers) and can only do that if there is a nearby building to stick to. Once you get used to it, you’ll be swinging through downtown New York with relative ease. Navigating around inside buildings is a little more tricky and you’ll inadvertantly be wall-running upside-down on walls while the camera plays practical jokes on you but it’s not that bad. I’ve certainly wrestled the controls on worse Spider-Man games.

On the PlayStation 4, the visuals are clean, detailed and quite impressive. This isn’t the jaw-dropping game you’ll show to friends to convince them to buy a PS4 but it does look nice and pretty and the frame-rate holds up even when you are doing Spiderbatics inbetween skyscrapers. The audio is less impressive, with Peter Parker repeating quips far too often and making you want to punch him in his Spider-cock.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s biggest problem is that it never really impresses and we’ve seen it all before. It’s playable (albeit arguably too easy), looks okay and rips a reasonable yarn but for £50 it’s far too average to recommend, even to die-hard Spidey-fans.

  • Does whatever a Spider(-Man game) can
  • Swinging around New York City is always quite nice
  • Decent visuals
  • Look out! Here comes (ano)the(r) Spider-Man (game)
  • Stan Lee fucking shows up in it as a comic book store owner
  • Standard Spidey story
  • Gaming 101 boss battles
  • Quicktime events
  • Very short campaign with the attempted replay value coming from trying to find all too many collectables

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 takes no risks with the usual formula and ends up being so generic that it really has no point to it. You've done this all before in countless Spidey games and at full price, it has little to no real value. Even Spidey fans who are desperate for something to play on their brand new consoles should use the Spider-sense they were born with and avoid this until it drops in price by an amazing amount. On a website somewhere. Oh fuck off, me.

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  1. Tim Tim says:

    I was cautiously optimistic about this one. Happy memories of web-swinging through New York in the then ground-breaking Spider-Man 2 on the PS2 always come rushing back to me when a new Spidey game lands, and none in the ten years since have managed to top it if you ask me. Maybe next time Spidey. I’ve been saying that for ten years too.

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