May 20, 2014
Published by Activision and developed by Beenox, developer of three previous games in the series, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was released alongside the film of the same name. One of Marvel Comics’ most famous superheroes once again finds himself swinging through the city of Manhattan to fight crime and more.
Although the game was released alongside the movie, Beenox decided to create its own narrative. Spider-Man, who is still feeling responsible for his Uncle Ben’s death a few years earlier, is looking for Ben’s killer when he finally swings upon a lead. Peter Parker goes on to find more than just Uncle Ben’s killer when he stumbles upon a series of murders committed by someone who leaves the initials “CK” at the crime scenes. Spider-Man proceeds to investigate the deaths, all while handling the cameo appearances of various characters and villains.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is an open-world action-adventure game in which players can transverse as Spider-Man in a free-roam area of Manhattan. The game features a morality indicator labeled “Hero or Menace” that issues the player an appropriate title depending on his or her crime-stopping abilities. Unlike the past linear version of the game, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” allows players to choose how they handle a mission: They can be sneaky and stealthy, or they can go all-out attack mode.
The game is quite an improvement over the previous title when it comes to Spider-Man’s swinging and traversing. Unlike the old version of the game, Spidey now actually has to be near an object or building to web swing. Also, there is now a button for each hand to shoot out a web swing, either left or right, giving players more control while navigating through Manhattan. The combat is pretty good, as the system is very similar to developer Rocksteady’s “Arkham” franchise. Fighting becomes a combo multiplier of precise timing of button presses; even a novice should feel capable.
Although Beenox corrected some issues found in the last game, it feels like a slew of new problems were created because of those fixes. For example, at times, Spider-Man will not swing to an object, even though some are visible, because the player isn’t targeting at the correct angle. The targeting system is by far the worst problem with the game. Also, the fighting becomes very repetitive because of the simplistic nature of the timed button presses. Not only is combat repetitive, but the game and its side missions are, too. Even though Spider-Man is in a huge, free-roam city, it feels somewhat empty at times, as the nonplayable characters aren’t fully engaged as in, say, “Grand Theft Auto” or “Saints Row.”
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” did little to exceed the original game, even adding some afflicted game mechanics. For me, it wasn’t as fun as it should have been and lacked a lot of depth given the size of the city Spider-Man can transverse. Unlike the title, it was anything but amazing.