It’s been quite a while since I’ve played a movie tie-in video game. I planned on letting my streak continue until Gamefly told me they shipped The Amazing Spider-Man 2. When I received the game earlier this week, I thought about not even playing it. But I know only reviewing games I think I will like wouldn’t allow you, as the reader, to gain a well-rounded feel for my general opinion on games. You need to know my opinion on what games I think are bad (as well as good) to know if you can actually come to me for a valid opinion on whether you might like a game or not. So, I played Activision and Beenox’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a game so atrocious that I couldn’t even get mad, just depressed.
So here’s the thing… The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is horrible, but it has no reason to be horrible. It’s a rushed movie tie-in game that has nothing to do with the Sony Pictures film. TASM2, the video game, follows the comics more than the movie. As a matter of fact, the only thing I saw repeated from the movie was Spider-Man telling Max Dillon that he’s his eyes and ears. Even though this is “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” you still have to witness Uncle Ben’s murder again for some reason, which acted out horribly. You run through the somehow sparsely populated streets of New York City where every car that you run in front of stops on a dime so as not hit you. You finally find Uncle Ben and hear his last words. I haven’t seen gameplay and acting in a game since maybe 2011 with Duke Nukem Forever and even that game didn’t feel as stiff as this. Fast forward a little and Peter Parker is back to being Spider-Man and a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle, even though he only takes pictures with a camera phone in the game.
If you’re still waiting for me to explain an actual plot, it isn’t going to happen. The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s non-coherent plot line is just a bunch of comic book story arcs thrown together with no explanation.
When you’re not stuck on a load screen that takes longer to pass than most PS2 titles back in the day, you’ll find yourself swinging into the sides of buildings around Manhattan because their hasn’t been a camera so bad since Sonic Adventure. The web swinging mechanics themselves are great, for the most part. You’ll use the triggers to swing through the city. Even though we were told that your web must stick to a surface to swing (and Peter makes sure to tell you every time you’re not aiming correctly), you actually don’t. I swung all the way through Ravencroft with my webs sticking to nothing but air. Not to mention Spider-Man never just swings when he shoots his web. He has to do some random Cirque du Soleil set of flips before shooting the next web, making me feel like I couldn't go as fast as possible. The combat system is just you spamming one of three buttons. Attack, dodge (when the red icon pops up above your head) or use your web to temporarily hold an enemy or take their weapons away. Once you get your combo high enough you can press the web button to get a finisher off on an enemy, a la Rocksteady’s Arkham games.
As far as missions go, there’s not much difference in them. Doesn’t matter if you’re fighting Kingpin, The Hunter, Carnage, or Electro, you’ll either be chasing them throughout the city to an undisclosed location, beating up their underlings, or in a terribly simple boss battle. As far as side missions you can either take photos around the city that unlock more back-story to the villains which normally contain horribly voice acted audio-logs, race around the city by yourself through random checkpoints or save people around the city.
You’ll have a menace/hero meter which you’re supposed to keep on the hero side so the 3-6 civilians on every street in Manhattan like you. I found myself not caring about the system. When you’re a menace, Kingpin’s task force will come after you, but that just entails a couple of harmless people slowly chasing me. More of a nuisance than anything. When you save people in the city, you’re either getting folks out of a burning building, helping trapped people under rubble, beating up random thugs or saving kidnapped women from the back of speeding vehicles. Most of the things you’ll do in these side missions make no sense whatsoever. First off, Spider-Man doesn’t receive fall damage in the game. From what I’ve seen in comics, Spider-Man can get hurt but just heals faster. But in this game, no matter how far you fall, you won’t get hurt. And if you have a civilian on your back, taking them to safety, they won’t get hurt either, which leaves me confused since I know a couple of folks should be dead from falls.
If you want extra suits for Spider-Man, this game has got them. To unlock them you’ll go into Russian hideouts around town through sewer holes (even though you’ll have to pause because every time you go somewhere you’ll get an abrupt menu asking you if you want to go where you just tried to go, then of course followed by a loading screen). In the hideouts it's obvious they tried to make this game like the Batman: Arkham series with the stealth mechanic you’ll need to use to silently takedown enemies. The only problem is the enemies are all insanely stupid and stick to an obvious walking pattern, the hardest part of doing this stealth missions is dealing with the camera. Once you reach the suit you can either go put it on or go catch the train back to Aunt May’s house and see all the different perks each suit gives you.
All in all The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is just a terrible game for no reason whatsoever. It doesn’t follow the story for the movie at all, just the comics. Which means they could’ve kept this game in development for years and just released it when the movie came out, this didn’t NEED to feel rushed. It’s like if Batman Arkham City was named The Dark Knight Rises instead, that's how much The Amazing Spider-Man 2 the game has in common with the movie. I would love to play a great Spider-Man game on the new consoles, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not it. It looks worse than the Xbox 360 launch title King Kong. My wife walked in on my playing this game and asked "So...they're not working on this anymore?”, "Everyone was working half days on this one.” I really had no response, I have no reason why this game is bad, there’s no reason it had to be. It’s just lazy