Spin that web.
Spider-Man 2 is still fantastic. Ultimate Spider-Man stood the test of time. Heck even Shattered Dimensions sticks out in my memory of great Spider-Man games. Amazing Spider-Man 2 is no reflection of its name, and instead feels almost like a copy/paste production from the original game that came out in 2012. Outside of web swinging there isn’t a single new feature to be found, not to mention the game looks and feels like it was built with little regard for advancement.
Still, somehow this isn’t a terrible game. It is a Spider-Man game, and I got exactly what I was expecting as I played through it.
MSRP: $59.99 (XB1,PS4) $49.99 (360,PS3)
I would pay: $29.99
Platforms: PS4, PS3, 360, XB1
Demo Availability: N/A
Length: 8-10 hours (main story) 17-20 (for everything)
Let’s start with what works. The web swinging in Amazing Spider-Man 2 has been finely tuned to be the best the series has seen to date. Using the left and right triggers as independent hands is awkward at first, but after getting used to it, it is my preferred method. I also really felt like I was swinging around the city. I had to be aware of my surroundings at all times, and when I was in trouble, a quick tap of the right trigger would activate web rush, to keep me off the ground.
The game also has some nice character models, when they are not in motion. Spider-Man in particular looks fantastic. His suit is crafted with amazing detail, and finally the frame rate (at least on PS4) is particularly smooth.
There is also a nice amount of fan service squeezed into the action. Comics are once again the collectible, but there are also statues to obtain that feature quotes and characters from the game. All of these are housed in a comic book shop run by none other than Stan Lee. It is a unique fourth-wall breaking mechanic that really captures the essence of the universe.
However, these segments are part of a larger problem with ASM2. The Peter Parker sections slow down the pace to a crawl. Every time I saw a loading screen, I was praying it wasn’t another one of these drab tasks.
Combat is also a disappointment. Taking obvious cues from Rocksteady’s amazing Arkham series, Spidey has an attack and counter button, as well as plenty of web-specific moves to take down foes. The problem is that it all feels loose and unresponsive. The combat is supposed to be timing-based, but I could never figure out the proper timing. I always ended up mashing buttons to take down foes, plus the camera is so bad at times that enemies will be behind parts of the environment, and I would lose a combo because of it.
Speaking of the camera, this thing is a mess. Anytime Spider-Man would start crawling up a wall, I would completely lose track of what direction I was going. As I already mentioned it makes combat ten times more frustrating than it has to be. It also seems to want to focus to close in on my character during certain scenes, making it a convoluted mess.
There is also an upgrade system in place, but when the loading screen menu has to remind me to take a look at it, it clearly isn’t implemented well. Speaking of loading, this game takes forever to get going, then moving into new sections starts the loading again. For a game that would look and feel at home on older consoles, the new machines certainly aren’t streamlining the loading process any better.
The final nail in the coffin for me is the story. Instead of trying to follow any sort of comprehensive narrative, ASM2 instead opts to see how many villains it can squeeze in between the countless armies of generic thugs. I never cared what Peter Parker had to say, and even with an all-star cast of villains, they felt forced, thus losing the appeal of their quantity.
Still, I had fun playing this game. While I can wholeheartedly say that paying $60 for what Beenox crafted here is definitely over the top, I wouldn’t recommend against picking it up in the $20-$30 range. It is still fun to swing around the city, and some portions really shine, but a full-fledged, full-price experience Amazing Spider-Man 2 is certainly not.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PlayStation 4.