Welcome back for the penultimate segment of Amazing Spider-Games!
This time we will wrap up our look at recent Spider-Man video games. In our first segment, we looked at Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. Part 2 brought us to Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Spider-Man: Edge of Time. And now, the Amazing Spider-Man game series. I recently made my opinions on the films more than known during my look at every comic book movie ever, but I will actually surprise some people with what I think of the first game. The second game"¦ not so much. Look, these games are going to be much like the last two sets: one good one, one not so good one. Y'know, I never isolated that trend before now and it's really weird how common it is. Makes me a little worried about Insomniac's next Spider-Man game.
10. Amazing Spider-Man: The Story
The game takes place a few months after the first film. With the Lizard safely in prison, Oscorp (now headed by Alistair Smythe) uses his work to make a bunch more animal hybrids for"¦ um"¦ I'm not actually sure.
But, because this is both a video game and a Spider-Man story, they all break out immediately and it's up to Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy to stop them. Eventually Smythe's technology starts to gear up into some Spider Slayers and Spider-Man has to break Curt Connors out of prison to figure out how to stop the animal hybrids once and for all.
And of course there's your usual stream of side activities and other such stuff. Peter and Gwen flirt, and at the end of the day, nothing changes really and everything resets for the next movie. There's some fun uses of the Spider Slayers, which are an underutilized part of the mythology as far as video games go.
Like, you have a stable of giant murder robots at your disposal, why not use "˜em?
9. Amazing Spider-Man: The Gameplay
I'm about to say something shocking. I think this game has some of the best gameplay design of any Spider-Man game ever. I KNOW, SHOCKING RIGHT!!!
I don't even believe me.
In this game, the swinging uses both triggers, with each one controlling one of Spider-Man's arms. So to go straight, you alternate triggers and to turn, you focus on one. It takes a while to master but after you do, it feels incredibly good and fluid. Like, I cannot believe how detailed and deep the swinging is in this game and nobody talks about it. Probably because it's wedged in this decent enough movie tie in game.
Also, the Daily Bugle photography sidequest is my favorite thing in the entire game and it's so deeply amazing. You arrive at a scene, photograph the aftermath of some sort of supervillain incident, and then you get a little news story about a Spider-Man villain who isn't in the game. And it's so much fun. It reminds me of the Riddler stuff in Arkham Asylum, a fun sidequest with some nerdy goodness for big Spider-Man fans.
8. Amazing Spider-Man: The Characters
The central concept of focusing around animal human hybrid animals gives us a few normally unseen villains.
Sure we get old standbys like Scorpion, Black Cat, and Rhino, but also some b-listers like Lizard and Smythe. And we get total forgotten ones like Vermin and Iguana. And one new character, Nattie.
Admittedly, this means that some of these characters are very different from their comic book counterparts. Scorpion and Rhino are far more bestial than technology based and all of the villains have their characters reduced to just being snarling animals. So while it's cool to see a pretty comics-accurate Vermin in a video game, every body else is a lot more boring than normal.
Also Lizard has to use the terrible design from the live action movie. Which is disappointing. The supporting cast is pretty good though. Gwen is really fun and a good person for Peter to talk to and communicate with. Also as I mentioned, the Daily Bugle sidequests give us "cameos" from some other Spidey foes.
7. Amazing Spider-Man: The Flaws
Don't think this game is all sunshine and roses though, It's still based on The Amazing Spider-Man.
Which means it's forced to give us the worst onscreen Spider-Man costume in recent history. And it is still very bad. Also the web zip mechanics slow down the flow of moving through the city in a bad way. And with such good web slinging, it's even more disappointing. Another of the huge downsides are the characters.
Like I said, making all the villains animal hybrids turns them into mindless monsters. Which in turn makes them less than real characters and therefore boring antagonists. The only villains with personality are Smythe, who's fine, Black Cat, who is dramatically overused, and Lizard, who looks absolutely terrible.
I cannot overstate how profoundly bad that Lizard design is.
6. Amazing Spider-Man: Final Thoughts
Look, it's better than a movie game has license to be.
It's not incredible nor is it flawless but I've always had a soft spot for weak movie tie in games and this is on the higher end of that spectrum. The motion capture is a little iffy and the new character designs don't really mesh with the ones from the film though. They look like they belong in a Raimi-era Spider-Man game, if we're being honest with each other.
If you see this game in a Gamestop bargain bin, I'd pick it up, but it's no top dollar purchase. Oh and this is a very weird complaint, I know, but Spider-Man is framed very oddly onscreen when he's not swinging. It probably seems minor but it is very off putting the more you deal with it.
So it's a solid Spider-Man game for killing a weekend, but the next one"¦ the next one is very much not that.
5. Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Story
Holy god this one is a straight up mess.
The plot is a burning fire pit of insane and poorly thought out. Spider-Man is hunting down Uncle Ben's killer, but when he finds the man murdered at the hands of a new vigilante serial killer known as the Carnage Killer he embarks on a quest to find this mysterious villain.
But also the Kingpin is setting up a task force to take on Spider-Man. And Electro exists and has a hate-on for Spider-Man. And Harry Osborn wants Spider-Man's blood and Spider-Man won't give it to him so he loses it and becomes the Green Goblin. As you can see, there is a lot going on.
It's like the dev team had one story they wanted to tell and then halfway through Sony was like "oh hey you have to put in the villains from the movie." And then they crammed them in pretty haphazardly. Electro and Goblin come straight out of nowhere.
4. Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Gameplay
Oof, what a downgrade from the first.
The alternating trigger swing mechanic is totally gone and the swinging itself is much more weightless than it was before. New to the game though is a "oh s**t let's bail!" button that just yanks Spider-Man away from the situation at hand and sticks him to a wall out of sight. Which comes in handy with the new stealth sequences. And they're"¦ fine? Probably a little worse than the Spider-Man Noir sections in Shattered Dimensions.
Another new game feature is the branching dialogue paths which are 1000% pointless. The only thing you can control is the order of the dialogue, which has no impact on the future outcomes in the game. It's not even a choice, you have to go through all the options anyway!
It's just pointless, which is a good description of the whole game to be fair.
3. Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Characters
There are a good amount of comic book characters in this but pretty much all of them are done badly or given too little time.
The villain who gets the most screen time is Carnage and oh boy he is certainly different. Instead of being a crazed serial killer, he is now a vigilante who hunts criminals and kills them. They do this so they can set up a whole "two sides of the same coin" thing with Spider-Man. Because everyone knows the villain who most symbolizes the dark reflection of what Spider-Man could have been is (checks notes) Carnage.
Kraven and Kingpin are rushed from beginning to end and Harry Osborn and Electro just appear in order to be bosses towards the end of the game. I remember being legitimately confused when they appeared.
But the first Movie game had to have a shoe-horned in Lizard boss fight, why should this be any different?
2. Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Flaws
This is a bad video game. And one I paid full price for at launch.
I know, I know, but I loved the first game and was excited to see they were putting out another. So I bought it and immediately was disappointed in my purchase. It's just such a steep downgrade from everything about the first game and that's what makes it so disappointing.
It's probably the worst game I've talked about so far. Edge of Time is more boring but more technically competent. If you asked me which I'd rather replay I don't know what I'd say. Would I rather be bored at length or constantly reminded of wasted potential? God I don't know.
Thankfully I can just play Shattered Dimensions and finish the PS4 Spider-Man instead.
1. Amazing Spider-Man 2: Overall Thoughts
There are indeed things about this game to like.
The alternate costumes are fun, and I actually think the final boss fight with Carnage is very fun. It's just preceded by a total s***show of a third act.
As a game I wanted to love it and took a while to realize I didn't. and it was a total disappointment. It's just a frustration how stripped down this is from the first. It's one thing to not expand from the previous game but to actively go back on features the first game made special? The swinging mechanics are simplified to the point of autopilot.
And the great side missions are gone. The photo taking side mission is gone! Are you kidding me?! That was the high point of the first game!
Ah well. Next time, we bring it all home with the newest Spider-Man game which I guess I have to finish first. Better get on that.