As we all know, there is a new Spider-Man movie launching this summer. That also means a bevy of licensed games across all platforms. This time around, I am actually leaving the big dog to one of my colleagues while I tackle the lesser-advertised incarnations. The Amazing Spider-Man is has been released on DS, 3DS and Nintendo Wii, and while the DS version is a beast in its own right, the 3DS and Wii versions share similarities with the PS3 and 360. Complete lack of open-world hijinks in favor of streamlined missions are the focus for these trimmed-down versions of this licensed port.
If you don’t want the movie spoiled, I suggest not even bothering with any version of this game until you see it. The Amazing Spider-Man takes place after the events of the film, regardless of which version you are playing. So if you don’t want to know outcomes or what happens in the big screen version, you are going to have to wait to play this game. If you don’t mind spoilers, come with me for details.
You have been warned, spoilers ahead for the first twenty minutes of the game.
As you might imagine you play as Spider-Man; big shocker I know. The opening sequence is a long, first-person affair of you touring the new Oscorp facility with Gwen. I cannot stress how overly long this sequence is. Having to sit through it on three separate occasions only drove that point home even more. During the tour you see cross-species such as Rhino, Scorpion and Vermin held in the lab. At one point they start to smell your spider blood (is that a thing?) and break out. Chaos ensues, Gwen is infected and it is up to Spider-Man to save the day.
On the 3DS all the cut scenes are still images with full voice work. These voices are the same from the console games including regulars such as Nolan North (of course) and Steve Blum (again, of course). Surprisingly, they sound rather decent and progress the narrative well. I just wish they had at least used more in-game footage than they do. Still screens really take me out of the story at times.
Playing on the 3DS is actually quite manageable. For most of the game, the touch screen serves as a contextual extra set of buttons. By default, they serve as retreat and dodge, but they will change depending on the situation, which is nice. My only gripe is that they seemed a little non-responsive at times, and holding a stylus during this frantic action is not advised. You control the camera with the d-pad or you can also move it left and right with the triggers. Web swinging is performed by holding down the jump button and you can move upwards by also holding the Y button down. A little awkward, but it is rarely a necessity.
Combat pretty much mocks the console brethren outside of having to use the touch pad for some attacks. This actually becomes cumbersome if you are surrounded by multiple enemies. It is almost more productive to play on an easier difficulty, as you will take hits while trying to look down to tap the dodge part of the touch screen. Combine this with a camera that has a mind of its own sometimes, and you will likely get frustrated time and time again, but when it works, it is fun.
The inevitable 3D it looks good, especially when swinging around, but it comes with problems of its own. Considering how the 3DS handles it, you are constantly switching angles to keep up with the action of the game. In fact I see most gamers turning it off in less than 30 minutes; I know I did. The visuals are OK, but when you mirror the console ports, it is hard not to notice the lack of textures and visual touches. The entire opening sequence looked like a prototype of the what is found on the home consoles. I would almost prefer an entirely different game, but when you consider the system, it doesn’t look bad.
The Amazing Spider-Man is a solid 3DS game that will provide fun so long as you don’t also have the console versions. The scaled-down structure helps keep it bite-sized, but the awkward controls and camera system can cause headaches at times. If this is your only avenue, there is plenty of fun to be had, but if you have the means I highly recommend picking up one of its bigger brothers, perhaps outside of the Wii version. There is just no excuse for that.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.