Well we all know that the Spiderman Movie has a whole new spin on it, so I bet people are wondering whether the game has had a facelift too. Well it has; you still have lots of action and that sandbox style map that allows you to web-swing from building to building through the city, but it has a whole new feel to it thanks to developers Beenox. However at times I thought it was like playing Prototype 2 and other areas looked like they were trying to copy aspects of Batman Arkham Asylum/City. Oh and a word of warning, if you’re thinking of getting the game before watching the movie, don’t, or at least I wouldn’t advise it. That’s because the game follows on from the movie and you will find out major plot points from the film as well as learning which characters live or die so there are massive spoilers.
Anyway I’m going to spoil it a little now my-self by telling you the story of the game so look away now if you’d rather not know. As you guessed you play the web slinging superhero Spiderman in a whole new story written by the acclaimed Seamus Kevin Fahey who wrote the likes of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena and the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, which sees the same virus that turned Curt Connors into the Lizard released into the city of Manhattan when trouble happens at the headquarters of the Oscorp Corporation. It’s your job as the acrobatic protector of New York to try and contain this virus outbreak and help find a cure for it, which means breaking Connors out of his Mental Institution and setting up a lab in your Uncle Stan’s flat. Nevertheless it isn’t as simple as finding a cure as while you try, Oscorp believe the way to rid Manhattan of this menace is to use Massive robots that eliminate the threat by destroying the creatures, and you are included as one of the infected so you’re in essence fighting a war on two fronts. While you play you’ll have several side missions as well such as preventing muggings, stopping car chases and helping out ill citizens needing to get to hospital which are all great fun little escapes from the main story but do get a little repetitive.
Arguably the best thing about the game is the fact you get to use the city as your playground in free-roam, though I should mention the free-roam only comes available on the XBOX 360 and PS3 versions of the game. I really enjoy the web-swinging action in this as the mechanics make it look like an acrobatic master piece as you sling yourself into the air and perform an acrobatic flip before freefalling to repeat the process as you travel around the city in style. However the way you find yourself effortlessly moving around the city and other features such as being able to run up buildings remind me of playing Prototype 2 and it just seems like I’ve done this all before. So the game instead of feeling fresh and original feels like it’s a fraternal twin, made from the same stuff but looks slightly different.
The fraternal twin feeling doesn’t stop there either, in fact it becomes triplets because at times you can tell they’ve gone and copied some of the features from Batman Arkham Asylum and City such as the combat mechanics and the way you reverse an enemy’s attacks, plus the way that certain areas of the game require you to move around stealthily and remain undetected. Now this isn’t too bad because I loved the Batman games and their mechanics were great, but it worked so much better with Batman as it’s meant to be a dark game so stealth is more effective and it really made the game. Spiderman however is a little more relaxed and full of clever humour so it just doesn’t seem to me as effective plus the actions don’t seem to be as sharp as in Batman. The game also copies Batman in the way you have a little mobile device where you keep in contact with friends and can select upgrades to your character. One upgrade that is a complete rip off is the stealth attack where you drop down from a high up place and tap your enemies shoulder before attaching web to them and tying them up from the roof just like Batman does.
I won’t get all negative though; there are some good points to the game. You have the new web rush technique where you can slow down time and plan your movements jumping from pillars to posts, or you can plan attacks where you essentially fire yourself into the enemy and bounce back off them. You’ll also be able to use your web to interact with the environment and lift up bins, gas canisters and other objects to smash into enemies to render them dazed and unconscious so you can tie them up with a bit of web. I also like the unlockable bonuses which you collect by doing side tasks such as collecting comic books that you’ll find on rooftops, air vents and flying in the sky which unlock digital versions of the Amazing Spiderman comics. Taking photographs of enemies and other non-playable characters with your camera that you get off a journalist you meet in the game, will also unlock further content in the form of character bio’s which make for some interesting reading when you get a little bored.
I also like the look of some of the bosses and enemies, they’re a lot bigger and better than some of the previous ones we have seen in Spiderman games and as an added bonus they test if you can multitask as well. I’ll explain what I mean by this using the first boss type enemy, a giant robot, as an example; you have to swing around your enemy while shooting webbing into the robots joints to prevent it from moving and dodge lasers at the same time. The only problem is it’s a whole lot easier than it sounds. Most scenarios consist of a simple pattern of press the button on the screen to dodge, go punch the bad guy a bit, back off and repeat until you win. Even fighting normal bad guys is this easy because when the pressure gets too much while you’re under attack you can quickly flee out of the enemies view by the tap of a button.
Graphics and sound wise the game is decent but again they could improve on them. The city looks pretty awesome as you perch yourself on the tallest buildings in the game to see the open-world around you but some of the graphics in combat situations lack sharpness. The other downside is as you swing around the city your web seems to just shoot into the air and not grab on to anything, even though as you swing through the park the maximum height you can swing to is restricted because you obviously don’t have the high buildings to cling to. The sounds are a bit more impressive; the sound effects of beating up bad guys, shooting your web and other actions are well implemented into the game and I really like some of the smart, funny comments that come out of Spiderman’s mouth but after a while the game starts to repeat phrases but that isn’t too big a problem.
Overall it is a fun game to play. The best thing about the game was probably the storyline and the unlockable features like the digital comics and character bio’s, but the negatives outweighed the positives for me and the copycat act of pinching bits of other games, even if not intended ruined it a little. Still the free-roaming was enjoyable and you can never go wrong with a little bit of web-swinging round the sites of Manhattan. If I was asked would I recommend it, I would honestly say it’s one of those games where everyone will view it differently and therefore you’re best getting a demo or renting the game before deciding if you want to buy it yourself.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.