Originally, the game reviews on this blog were retro-only. That changed when I got the equipment to snap pics on modern systems. And the PS4’s built-in ability to take pictures doesn’t hurt. I have since reviewed many current generation games. There is still one void to fill, though: I have yet to review a bad next gen game. I assumed the first would be Duck Dynasty once I’d worked up the courage to play it (yes, a Duck Dynasty game actually exists). But on a trip to Gamestop, one of the games I bought was The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Although my take on the movie it is based on is mixed, I have been a fan of Spider-Man games since Spider-Man in 2000. The first two games based on Sam Raimi’s movies were also pretty good, as was Ultimate Spider-Man. Spider-Man 3 wasn’t good, but Web of Shadows was a definite step back in the right direction.
So I was pretty sure I’d have a good time with this one, I picked it up. How wrong I was.
Plot: 9 out of 10
We’re getting the good out of the way early, folks. Like Activision’s past Spider-Man games based on the movies, there are quests in which you face villains who aren’t likely to appear in the films before you face the bad guy of the movie. But in this case, they are more than just filler. Dialogue between characters is actually quite powerful. In particular, Spidey’s wisecracks are well-written (“I was actually scared… that someone would see me fighting you losers”).
Additionally, there’s a nice touch in the form of your Heroic/Menace Rating. As Spider-Man is constantly being slandered by the Daily Bugle, you have to solve everyday crimes or rescue people from burning buildings in between missions to keep your keep your Rating in the Heroic zone. Otherwise, the cops start looking for you. This is a pretty good part of the game, especially for a superhero title.
In fact, I’d say that this game’s plot is probably better than that of the movie.
Graphics: 3 out of 10
Everything looks flat and uninspired. There are even occasions where outlines become visible. Doubt that’s the only graphical glitch. Still, most of the time, the bad graphics are limited to a weak presentation.
Sound: 4 out of 10
This category brings us to an edition of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
The Good: Activision was too cheap to get Andrew Garfield and Jamie Foxx to voice their characters, but Sam Riegel does a great job as Spider-Man. I’d recommend him if the rumors of the film series getting rebooted again are true, but he’ll be at least forty by then. Too old for a character who’s twenty-six at most.
The Bad: But almost everybody does a bad job at voicing their characters. In particular, Michael A. Shepperd is way over the top as Electro. Music’s not so good either.
The Ugly: And with only one good voice actor, even if Riegel does play the main character, we’re in negative territory on balance.
Gameplay: 2 out of 10
There is a lot of borrowing from the recent Batman games, especially in the combat system. This really makes no sense because those games use a system designed for long fights with street punks because Batman is a non-powered hero. Spidey? He can easily lift cars up and moves about a hundred miles an hour. Why can’t he quickly dispatch these guys? The system should be about fighting supervillains and dodging bullets.
But it’s not how unoriginal or ill-fitting the gameplay is. No, it’s the controls. They’re extremely loose. Even swinging through the city outside takes a little effort because it’s difficult to do a totally straight swing. Precise movements in the levels is very hard. A wild camera doesn’t help matters one bit.
The level design and side quests are acceptable, but what does it matter when the controls are practically broken?
Challenge: 3 out of 10
And unfortunately, there are a number of stealth missions. Y’know, stealth missions in which if enemies become too aware of you, you automatically lose. You know how I said that the controls and camera made precise movement difficult? Well, that costs you in these missions. So plan to repeat these missions a lot as you are screwed over by the controls again and again.
Difficulty is average or below average for the most part. But the way you get f*cked by the controls in stealth levels really stands out.
Overall: 3 out of 10
Other than the plot, almost nothing in this game is good. Everything else seems to have been rushed. Was Activision wise to half-ass this game to meet a deadline and keep the budget down? VGChartz.com indicates otherwise. Its sales figures show The Amazing Spider-Man 2 having a major sales drop compared to The Amazing Spider-Man. Lesson and frankly moral of the story: Don’t assume that we’ll pay $60 for hog slop just because a big license is attached.