(Wii U)

Game Review

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

This reboot of a reboot could use another reboot

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is exactly the video game that the film deserves. Sony and Activision couldn’t have planned it better if they tried. Nowadays, Spider-Man’s existence outside of comic books isn’t for creative purposes, and the accepted level of quality is appalling on all fronts. Spider-Man is just another heartless entertainment commodity; your friendly neighbourhood superhero brand.

Have mercy on poor Beenox, for it is in an unenviable position caught in the middle of it all. In its first tie-in game for Sony’s cinematic reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man, the studio attempted to continue the film’s story and explore what happened afterwards. It was a sound plan at the time, but one with little long-term success: the events of the first movie game completely clash with those of the second film. There is no reconciliation — characters and events are interpreted in totally different ways between the two.

Trying to merge the narratives would be pointless. It’s appropriate, then, for the studio to throw their papers up in the air this second go around and make a game that doesn’t worry too much about being faithful to the source material. Beenox is simply following Sony’s lead here, hitting its deadlines and stocking store shelves; for a franchise which its current handlers are obsessed with turning into a huge cinematic universe, playing it this loose doesn’t inspire much hope for future quality.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a “parallel” telling of the events of the film instead of a straight re-telling of them. This cavalier approach has allowed Beenox the freedom to be selective and flexible about its cinematic influences, and flexible it is — major events from the film are wedged in to a narrative that really would be better off without them, but at least have the sense to unfold in a different way.

An unknown serial killer threatens New York City, with every strike causing all sorts of criminal unrest and mayhem that is spilling into the streets. The only clue left behind at each crime scene is a tag left on the wall in blood — “CK”. The crime wave has gotten so bad that the city has allowed Wilson Fisk to unleash a PMC (private military company) called the Task Force to maintain order. It’ll take web-heads all of two seconds to see where this is going, but it takes the game eight excruciating hours of shallow combat and swinging around the husk of New York to reach its predictable conclusion.

Spidey’s web-swinging has been tweaked in control, but the end result remains virtually the same. Instead of one trigger button to handle both wrist-shooters when swinging around, each trigger button now handles the corresponding wrist. As well, web-swinging requires a web to attach to a surface — a more significant change that affects how you navigate the city. Web Rush returns, allowing Spidey some precision in choosing where he zips to by holding down the right shoulder button. Spider-Man controls reasonably well in the air when making sweeping movements, but precision movement when outside of Web Rush or on foot is jittery and erratic. The slightest move sends him dashing, and it’s all too easy to run into an awkward and unintended spot.

Littered about the city are side missions that play into the new Hero or Menace system. The gist is that, by saving citizens and stopping crime, Spider-Man earns the public’s trust and the media says nice things about him. If too much crime is allowed to happen — because obviously Spider-Man is the only entity in the city that can do anything about crime — then the Task Force sics a bunch of drones on him. So, to not get shot at when minding his own business, Spidey has to complete the same rote tasks until the citizenry decides to get off his back. The meter is always sinking into Menace territory, so Spidey is essentially forced to partake in these activities. Were it as simple as jumping in, beating up some thugs, and taking off then that would be one thing — instead, players are forced to sit through brief little unstoppable cutscenes every single time. With load times bad enough as it is, these little breaks act more as a deterrent to helping out than anything else.

For a change, the story spends a good amount of time with Peter Parker as a Daily Bugle reporter, visiting locations and “interviewing” subjects with a clumsy conversation wheel. This is not L.A. Noire — conversations aren’t interrogations with multiple possible outcomes, so being able to choose what question to ask accomplishes nothing that a simple cutscene couldn’t do. Multi-choice dialogue like this only creates discord, especially when asking all of the questions is inevitable anyway.

The newfound focus on Parker makes the complete exclusion of Gwen Stacy from the game totally bizarre; she gets a passing mention once or twice but is otherwise completely absent. What makes this even more odd is that Gwen played a prominent role in the previous Amazing Spider-Man game and has a massive part in the new film, further separating this piece of software from any realm of cohesion with its greater universe and whittling away at its reason for existence.

A major problem with the Amazing Spider-Man game was its uninspiring rogue’s gallery, limiting Spidey’s encounters to weird cross-species versions of B- and C-list enemies so as not to overshadow big bads Alistair Smythe or the Lizard. With bigger foes in the movie and Beenox choosing to go its own way with Amazing 2, Spidey’s opponents have become significantly more interesting. Kingpin and Kraven the Hunter are given a solid, comic-faithful treatment, whereas foils like Green Goblin, Electro and Black Cat are shoe-horned in, relegated to disposable caricatures good for exactly one fight each.

None of the characters resemble their live-action counterparts from the film; Spidey’s voice work is solid but recycles the same one-liners all too much. Spider-man creator Stan Lee puts in a good cameo as the owner of a comic book shop that Parker can visit to read unlockable issues, view concept art, figurines, and engage in combat challenges.

Combat itself is a shallow and simplistic version of the Batman Arkham games, relying on timed button presses and dodging. Spidey can dis-arm enemies and either pull them around or zip towards them with his web shooters, and can sling up an enemy from the shadows with a stealth strike. Combat never changes, which makes beating up on the same gangster enemies over and over again an exercise in repetition. To mix combat up, a dozen or so unlockable costumes from Spidey’s history are littered throughout the city, each with it’s own abilities. For example, the 2099 suit is resistant to electricity, and by wearing it and earning XP this resistance will increase. The suits are a fun bit of fan service, and it’s nice to not have to buy DLC to get Scarlet Spider or Miles Morales’ black-and-red suit in the mix.

Much as the previous title, Amazing Spider-Man 2 makes basic use of the GamePad. Off-screen play is supported, and when playing on the big screen the GamePad is used as a non-interactive map.

A litany of technical issues and oddities riddle this release, including epidemic screen tearing, brutal load times, awkward stops and starts to the soundtrack, and practically nonexistent enemy AI. Even the fonts look oversized and out of place. These issues, along with half-baked implementation of mechanics like the dialogue wheel and erratic ground-movement control, point to a game that could have used some more time in the oven.

Conclusion

Beenox sure is trying to do well by the character, but it's becoming evident that the studio needs a rest from being the only one churning out Spider-Man titles on a sort-of-annual basis. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't take any real steps forward from its predecessor, and is made a further mess from its jarring world-building and frequent technical difficulty. This is a dull, drab, uninspired commercial of a game for a wreck of a film; as one of the most iconic pop-culture figures of the past 50+ years, Spidey deserves better. Considering his current direction and handlers, though, don't count on that happening any time soon.

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User Comments (64)

somari

#1

somari said:

it is a movie based game after all, most of the games like that are all bad.

unrandomsam

#3

unrandomsam said:

Never used to be such a problem when they were just made into platformers or beat 'em ups.

ajcismo

#6

ajcismo said:

Spiderman 2 for the 'Cube was (and still is) awesome, and that game is 10 years old. Of course, so was the corresponding movie. Reboots, not so much.

XFsWorld

#8

XFsWorld said:

No matter how bad the reviews are for Spidey games, I still seem to enjoy them. I do agree that they should give Beenox a brake, because man I can feel they're getting tired of it. I wish companies like SuckerPunch or Eidos Interactive could make the Spidey games.

If the WiiU version got a 4/10 then the 3DS version should have a 1/10.

Action51

#12

Action51 said:

Shame.

One of the few third party titles we get this year for Wii U and it's more or less typical movie-license dreck.

This speaks to the larger problem with the major gaming industry though. This game obviously had millions pumped into it, and it will probably sell enough to make back profit based on tie-ins, hype, and name recognition alone.

This is nothing new, but it's exacerbated by the amount of money and time needed to create quality titles in this era.

Kaine_Morrison

#18

Kaine_Morrison said:

I pre-ordered the WiiU version, but changed t to the 360 version because of the GameStop Pre-Order Bonus 4 extra Suits.
What Suits are in this version?

Nothing beats the Old N64/PS1 NeverSoft/Vicarious Visions Spider-Man Games!

__Link__

#19

Link__ said:

They just need to make a game based off the comics. Movie based games are hardly ever good.

B3ND3R

#20

B3ND3R said:

Spider-Man 2 on the GameCube/PS2/OG Xbox was a fantastic game.. Why can't they just make an HD version of that? That'd make everyone happy!

sketchturner

#21

sketchturner said:

Spider Man deserves to get a game as solid as The Incredible Hulk:Ultimate Destruction. Still one of the best action games to this day, IMO, and certainly the best comic book game.
Spider Man 2 had great web slinging, but the fighting and camera were pretty wonky. I think people forget that due to nostalgia.

Wonder_Ideal

#22

Wonder_Ideal said:

I have the game, and I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a lot. Sure it's no game of the year, but I still had a blast slinging web and exploring the story. Different strokes I suppose.

ricklongo

#23

ricklongo said:

A shame. I'm so starved for open-world games on the Wii U that I was considering giving this a chance. Every review I've read thus far has helped further dissuade me of that idea.

Chris720

#24

Chris720 said:

Why didn't they rope Treyarch back in to do the Amazing Spiderman games? They did the original three perfectly. Sure, the first one was just mediocre missions, but they really stepped up their game with 2 with an open world to swing around and missions you could jump straight into. 3 was also a really good game, especially the swinging on the Wii version, that was proper fun.

noctowl

#27

noctowl said:

I bought the first one on a whim because of my love of Spider-man games. Sounds like this one is just as disappointing though.

MussakkuLaden

#28

MussakkuLaden said:

@TheLilK98 Yup, surely the best Spiderman game out there and a great open world game on its own right. I had high hopes for the Wii sequel, due to the motion controls at that time, but unfortunately that was already rather bad (okay, reading Chris720's comment, it seems that opinions differ here).

WhiteTrashGuy

#29

WhiteTrashGuy said:

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, SPIDER-MAN (Neversoft), SPIDER-MAN (Sega). My top 3. Honorable mention goes to WEB OF SHADOWS on both the 360 and DS.

MussakkuLaden

#30

MussakkuLaden said:

@Chris720 Treyarch? Making a new Call of Duty every second year and porting another one to Wii every other year certainly keeps them busy enough. In fact, I don't think they could still do anything else...

Chris720

#31

Chris720 said:

@MussakkuLaden Surely they can't have any entire company developing one game, that's just idiotic. If that is the case, good grief, how far, Treyarch have fallen.

I personally found the swinging on Wii kind of fun having to flick your wrist to launch a web... Thinking about it now after all these years... Maybe it was kind of awful, but it felt fun at the time.

FluttershyGuy

#32

FluttershyGuy said:

I miss the days when a movie-based game could be superb. The SNES version of Batman Returns was one of the best games on the console PERIOD! Now, it's assumed that a game adaptation will be a lazy cash-in. And 9 times out of 10, that assumption is correct.

Also, there should be AT LEAST 2 points deducted from this game's score for denying us the luscious Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy in HD! ;)

JustinH

#36

JustinH said:

I hundred-percented this game earlier today and while this game has some issues and there is no excusing them, I think this review is much too harsh about what does work. Moving around New York City is a lot of fun and while there's no denying that the hero/menace system deters you from exploring the city, it's fun to control Spider-Man both while moving through the city and while fighting bad guys. The plot on the whole is rather good, but it needs to be said that some parts (Electro in particular) are laughably shoehorned in and the ending (no spoiler) is a total non-event, to the point that I was shocked when the credits started rolling. The game looks good for the most part, but its use of the Wii U hardware only flirts with competence. That said I found screen-tearing to be rare and minor over the dozen or so hours I played with it. Also, while I'm nitpicking the review, one of the screenshots shows a Spidey suit that isn't even in the Wii U build of the game. It wasn't mentioned in the review but the game uses the default Wii U boot-up music and ugh, that just screams laziness.

All in all I'd probably give the game a 6. A thorough Sonic Lost World-style patch could bring it up to a 7. This is definitely just an imitation Arkham City, but it does enough to make it feel like a Spider-Man game, and not just trying to be Batman. I'm a little frustrated that some of the reviews on the web (not just this one) seem to express (understandable) frustration with Beenox and Activision for the series, faulting The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for what it isn't instead of holding it to account for what it is.

triforcepower73

#37

triforcepower73 said:

I seem to be the only one that enjoyed the movie. Oh well. Sucks for the people that didn't like it. Guess they can't enjoy a good, fun, summer superhero movie. It happened to be my favorite Marvel movie and the best Spider-Man movie imo. And I guess I'm the only one who thinks the reboots(movies only) are MUUUUUCH better than the original trilogy. The original trilogy was pretty good and even great at the time of their release. But they haven't aged well at all. The funny gags aren't really that funny now and they're all painfully cheesy.

santaglause

#38

santaglause said:

was expecting this its getting really depressing, spiderman sam raimi 1 and 2 will never be beat! but on games get ultimate spiderman on gamecube or even ds

Dreadjaws

#39

Dreadjaws said:

@triforcepower73

That's an unfair way to view things. I can enjoy good, fun superhero movies, but this movie is no such thing. It has fun parts, yeah, but I mostly prefer it when movies DON'T insult my intelligence every 5 minutes or so. Unfortunately, this movie does just that.

On to the game, I played the PS3 version and I can assure you, guys, the score is well deserved. There are a couple of points the review doesn't touch, though. First, the graphics are below subpar. They're practically one generation behind for each console they're on (maybe it looks better on the Wii U, but I doubt it).

Second, the game is buggy as hell. Prepare to reload saves often because the game bugs out in a way that prevents progression, either because enemies become stuck to the scenery and can't be beaten, because Spider-man gets stuck and can't move or because missions decide not to show up on the map.

Third, the side-missions are even worse than they mention. Since your meter goes down whenever you don't tackle them, it will come a time in which you complete a mission and your meter goes down instead of up because a larger number of missions dissapeared while you were busy doing one. That's right: even progression hinders progression.

This is definitely the worst of the Spider-Man games. It's still playable, but the irritating parts more often than not outweight the good ones.

Austroid

#40

Austroid said:

@triforcepower73 I love all the cheese in the Raimi trilogy! Its that what separated "that" Spidey from the dark, gritty superhero films at the time; and arguably today as well.

Spakiness

#42

Spakiness said:

It's a shame companys don't take advantage of their propertys. So much potential and they just squander all of it.

JustinH

#43

JustinH said:

@Dreadjaws While the game is buggy on Wii U and presumably all systems, I never had to restart the game on Wii U. That issue may be specific to the PS3.

brandonbwii

#44

brandonbwii said:

SPOILER ALERT:
Does the opening to this game mean we won't hear any more of Uncle Ben's killer in Amazing Spider-Man 3 movie?

Popyman

#46

Popyman said:

Wow, what what was your problem with the movie? I loved it. Andrew Garfield IS Spider-Man, he did a fantastic job.

Marshi

#47

Marshi said:

Wait wait WAIT. You guys think the MOVIE is bad?

Switched off instantly the moment you said that

technotaylor98

#49

technotaylor98 said:

A game, which is the sequel of a game, which is based off a movie, which is based off a comic, which is about a spider dude...

Popyman

#51

Popyman said:

@Marshi: I know, right? It's the best Spider-Man movie ever, this is the first I've heard of someone hating it.

Jetset

#52

Jetset said:

@Neko_Chan Have you even seen the movies? They're great, I even prefer them over some of the other new Marvel movies. The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 have great, well-developed stories, action scenes are exciting, and the cast is excellent. Not only do they have the perfect amount of action, romance, and comedy, but also a great story to go with it. If you watch The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with an open mind then you will enjoy them.

SaintGiggles

#53

SaintGiggles said:

Love Spider-man 2 on the PS2 'cos Bruce Campbell narrated the tutorial. My father & I loved Maximum Carnage (with snazzy red cartridge). We call the fem-bosses at the end of lvl. 1 'the Whippy-Dippy girls' due to their hair-whip attack. Good times.

JonWahlgrenAdmin

#54

JonWahlgren said:

@Popyman Really? I'm surprised because I've heard the complete opposite from people. Anecdotally, not one of my Spidey-loving friends have enjoyed the movie.

It's got a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes too. BAD's review sums up my feelings about the film pretty perfectly.

I'm glad you enjoyed the movie, and wish I could share your enthusiasm for it!

Tysamu

#59

Tysamu said:

@B3ND3R They'd have to mix n64/ps1 spiderman story, costumes, and what if mode with the web of shadows combat.

Guest

#60

Guest said:

How do I get the suit that is the sixth picture (or the one that is not the Amazing Spider-Man 2 Suit)? It looks like the noir suit but with spidey 2 eyes and the suit is blue and red. I have never seen this suit ever.

chucknorrmis

#61

chucknorrmis said:

what is this pairing the game with the movie? The movie was, undoubtedly, the best spiderman movie to date! This game, however, was rushed because stupid activision forced a deadline that beenox had no choice but to agree to.

SuperAdamGalaxy

#62

SuperAdamGalaxy said:

I have this game and I see peoples problems with it... But it really is quite fun! Web swinging feels nice, so does the combat. Yes the graphics are a bit meh, and glitches are annoying but it is a enjoyable experience. Even the story is more interesting than the movie. I also like the suits + upgrades. I would give it a 7/10. Pick it up when it gets down to maybe 30$ dollars. :) PS. I have not had to reload saves, had missions stop, bosses break or anything on Wii U.

jgibson75

#63

jgibson75 said:

I often agree with the reviewers on this site. And I've not played this game yet, so I can't speak to it's quality. But I must say, I really enjoyed the two Amazing Spider-Man films. If for no other reason, I feel that they have nailed the characters of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy in ways that the original Spider-Man trilogy failed to do. I enjoyed those films (well, the first two anyway), but I was never sold on Toby McGuire as Peter Parker. He just never felt relatable or even likable to me. And by the time they introduced Gwen Stacy, well, things had become a wreck in the storytelling department. Her arc in Spider-Man 3 felt like a rushed waste of an important character. In Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone (under direction from Marc Webb), I found characters I believed in, I connected with and I wanted to see more of! And where the director needed to improve some in the action department from the first film, he really stepped it up for ASM2. We had an action packed film with exciting effects and fights... yet he still found the time to build upon the characters he introduced in the first film. So yeah, I love ASM films thus far. I think they deserve better games they they are getting. But I'd prefer the Spider-Man game series and film series to be separate (it has worked out better for Batman of late!).

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