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Slick’s Nit-Picks: The Amazing Spider Man (PS3)

It is commonly known that movie tie-in games are made with merchandising dollars as the primary concern; actual quality programming has historically been an afterthought by comparison. Thankfully, the most heinous offender is still the E.T. game for the Atari which is long behind us. Unfortunately there are still contenders for that title coming out these days like the Transformers movie games. Now this is not to say that all movie games are terrible; once in a while we get a game that either represents the film well or is just a good game featuring the characters and there is a recent crop that does both. With the recent release of the Amazing Spider-Man movie, I originally thought that the game was not worth my time. The original trailer made it seem like the only enemies you would fight were robots and that got a big yawn from me. Well I finally broke down and picked up my favorite superhero’s latest digital romp. Read on to find out what came of the experience.

I know you're an arachnid, but you need to run like roaches with the light on.

AFTERMATH You don’t have to have seen the latest Spidey flick to play this game, but the story will make a lot more sense if you have. Also, the game will spoil a lot for you if you have not. All I will say with regard to the movie is that at the start of the game, six months have passed since the end of it and Peter Parker is trying to make sure that there won’t be any more giant Iguanas running around the city. Sneaking into Oscorp this time unfortunately has the awful side effect of agitating the already unhappy cross-species residents. Several of them are able to sense that Peter is one of them and they all manage to break out. What was for Connors and Parker a genetic alteration has now become a virus that mutates anyone that becomes infected. That is a big bad problem because many of the cross-species and all of their victims like to bite. A pandemic quickly spreads across Manhattan and Spidey must stop it before it spreads further because it threatens the world. Choices will be made that will make him look like the bad guy. People will lose faith in the web-head, but that is nothing new. Regardless, Spider-Man must focus on the task at hand, surmount the many obstacles in his way and save the day somehow. The story here could easily be the sequel to the first movie and people would be blown away if it were done properly.

I'm gon' run this town tonight.

WHATEVER A SPIDER-CAN For a movie-tie in, and even for a regular Spider-Man game, I was very satisfied at the level of work put into the control of the wall crawler. I think I put this game down to shower, sleep and eat. Detractors complained that the stealth in this game was stolen from the Batman: Arkham series, and I respectfully refer to those people as idiots. Both Asylum and Arkham City owe the predator aspect of their gameplay to the first Spider-Man movie game from the Tobey Maguire series. Just like in all three of those games, you have to be careful to avoid detection in those areas. One huge difference is that even when you are outdoors you can perform stealth takedowns if you are careful enough; this was an awesome addition. There is so much to do in this game that fans will be truly astounded and even regular gamers will have plenty to enjoy. There is only one part in the game that I would call an “escort mission” where you have to protect a reporter and it is probably the single most annoying part of the game…yet it is still fun. Here is a rundown of what you can expect in the game:

  • BOSS BATTLES, BIG AND SMALL – And when I say big, I do not mean the Rhino. Imagine fighting a Steelix the size of the Empire State Building. Yeah, it’s in here.
  • SPIDER-SENSE hand to hand combat inspired by recent Batman games where your Spider-Sense keeps you from getting the snot kicked out of you.
  • FETCH QUESTS THAT DON’T SUCK Yeah, there is a side quest to find seven hundred comic book pages, but you level up from finding them and they are ridiculously easy to locate. After 500, your mini map even helps you!
Spidey has mad gear, son.
  • REWARDS GALORE The above quest nets you ten full length comic books, you can unlock seven different costumes and an eighth for full completion of the game and there is even a party hat for Spidey’s fiftieth birthday!
  • NOSTALGIA FACTOR No idea if this storyline will ever have Peter working for the Bugle, but there are tons of pictures for you to take.
Yeah, you're a dirty girl, ain't you?
  • BLACK CAT The one bad guy in the game Spidey really doesn’t mind getting his hands on.
Damn, someone fed you way too many crickets.

There is even more than what I have listed here; while there is also a fair deal of repetition, the game never felt tiresome to me. The end of the game will even require that you do things a bit more normally than Spider-Man usually would. This is the game that at least partially redeems Beenox for Spider-Man: Edge of Time. My biggest beef with the game and this is why Beenox only gets half a pardon, is that Manhattan is so small in this game. There is no point in placing the Statue of Liberty off in the distance if we can never go there. Spider-Man 2, a previous generation console and PC game, gave you a near perfect Manhattan where you could also travel to Liberty Island, Ellis Island and Roosevelt Island.There is no reason why a game on current consoles should not have that much or more playable game space.

More teabaggin', already?

A MIXED BAG OF WEBBING You watch the intro to the game and you see Manhattan open up with beautiful visuals. You start the game and you are given a video that mixes live action with really nice rendered visuals. And then you start the actual game inside Oscorp and you just kinda wonder what happened. I have said this before, but we are in 2012 and there really is no excuse for subpar graphics anymore. Let me pause to say that ASM does not have terrible graphics, not by a long shot. However, when you compare them to other games of recent note and even to some of the graphics on this disc, confusion sets in as to why the quality level fluctuates in this game.

Time to take out the trash

JUST LIKE FLIES? I am a sucker for the classics, and while the music for this game is nothing like the classic theme from the old cartoon, it is awesome nonetheless. From start to finish, the music composed by Gerard K. Marino was perfect for the setting of the game. Subtle tunes play in-between missions while you do your standard web swinging and wall crawling. When you are on stealth missions, you have slow, dramatic tunes that amp up when you have to come out of the shadows and fight. Combine that with some great VO work. You have Sam Riegel as Spidey, the always awesome Bruce Campbell and even “Mr. Excelsior!” Stan Lee himself.  Along with the rest of the cast, you have ample reason to turn up your home theater while playing this game.

Where's Ripley when you need her?

I truly slept on this game. I had given up on Beenox after their last few games because Shattered Dimensions was good but just weird for a Spidey game. Edge of Time took me to the edge alright, but not quite in a good way. Beenox really needs to stick to open world Spider-Man games. This is the first time that they have been able to make indoor levels really enjoyable and they finally got the fighting right. Stealth Takedowns were so satisfying in the game, even more so when facing rooftop sniper teams. Being able to lose human enemies by hiding in the shadows got a bit ridiculous, but it was still cool. Beenox gets points for the ending as well which, much like the Marvel movies, makes you stay after the credits. Very little tweaking would need to be done if Sony Pictures wanted to just use this story for the next sequel and if Beenox can continue with a good formula like this game then I look forward to their next movie tie-in. Do not miss this one, true believers.

Not having a great day here, folks.