When your job is to do whatever a spider can, life can be a challenge. It is hard to believe, but The Amazing Spider-Man came out nearly a year ago on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and was supposed to hit the Wii U late in 2012. Activision gave the game an extra few months to cook, and now Wii U owners can finally swing around Manhattan as everyone’s favorite wall-crawler.
We reviewed the game back when it was released, and you can read all about it right here. This review will cover the big changes delivered in the Wii U version.
Spider-Man doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to Nintendo consoles. He always seems to be late to the party on release, and never as fashionable. The Amazing Spider-Man is certainly no exception. The spotty combat and decent web-swinging haven’t improved in the year since the initial release. This iteration was more interesting that the previous effort from developer Beenox. The return of a an open-world lends itself to Spider-Man’s skill set, even if a lot of the objectives felt shallow. The core game is also a bit lacking, with missions that drone on far too long, and never really feel fleshed out or all that interesting.
The Wii U version does bring a few new items to the mix, with the most notable being the ability for off-screen play on the Gamepad. Being able to play the entire game from just the controller is still the best feature the Wii U brings to the console race. Every game that supports it gets extra credit from me, because it adds a new layer of accessibility.
The second screen is thankfully used for more than just playing the game away from the TV. It also serves as a map of the city in free-roam mode and a physical representation of the OsPhone, which is essentially a menu system that displays emails, hints and statistics. The downside is that indoor areas that don’t have a map, instead just display a giant Spider-Man logo on the screen, making the real estate feel wasted .
Another big addition for this version is that it comes packed with the four DLC offerings the other consoles received. This includes the Stan Lee skin, so we can swing around the city as the revered comic creator, as well as a pack that allows playtime as the movie’s villain, The Lizard. The DLC is little more than glorified time trials and costumes, but it is nice that it is included on the disc.
Surprisingly, the game looks a little worse for wear than its other console counterparts. The graphics are not quite as sharp, and the frame rate takes hits more often than I would have liked. The loading times are also significantly longer. There are also instances of screen tearing and jaggies here and there. Basically, it feels like a sloppy port of a game that wasn’t all that impressive to begin with.
The Amazing Spider-Man for Wii U is a true disappointment, coming out almost a year later with very few added features and diminished visuals. I really wanted Wii U ports to deliver on the promise of making current-generation games a little more exciting. I still loved playing the game off-screen, and if I had yet to play The Amazing Spider-Man, this would have been an easy selling point for me. As it stands, this version arrives far too late for most to care. The lack of software on the Wii U is noticeable, and The Amazing Spider-Man only feels like a small band-aid on a very large wound.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.