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The Amazing Spider-Man (PlayStation 3) artwork

The Amazing Spider-Man (PlayStation 3) review

"Mr. Stark, I don't feel so good."

The Amazing Spider-Man (PlayStation 3) image

Does anyone remember 2012? Oh, it was a mystical time when a film's hype from three years prior scared everyone into believing the world was going to end, Facebook went public, people weren't sick of "The Walking Dead," plus Spider-Man received a film reboot that ultimately went nowhere. Gamers might remember that last item especially, because Activision released an open world tie-in that spoiled major events from the film. Think about that, now: this is a video game used to hype a movie that ruined the outcome of that movie. That's not how tie-ins work, folks.

As if that wasn't enough, The Amazing Spider-Man feeds you all of the spoilers during a tedious, ten minute opening cutscene. So not only did this title annoy players with its indiscretion, but also took its sweet, agonizing time doing so.

Thankfully, we're (as of this review) about seven years removed from the above fiasco. You're not likely to find a player who would be irate with this game's revelation of the movie's denouements. On top of that, the film led to a reviled sequel that many fans would rather forget, and could easily do so with this video game's plot. This product took the movie's story in a divergent direction, away from Jamie Foxx and more towards a battle against a bunch of mutants similar to Spidey's adversary, Lizard. Throughout the campaign, you run afoul of a few classic villains with monstrous revamps, including Rhino, Vermin, Scorpion and Iguana.

The Amazing Spider-Man (PlayStation 3) image

Your fights with these dudes, as well as any other nameless criminal in New York, play out in a thankfully intuitive fashion. Granted, control response proves a tad loose, but more to Spider-Man's advantage than chagrin. Thanks to that, Parker moves as spryly as he should. Combined with the game's simple combat mechanics, you actually feel like you're playing as Spider-Man. Immersion is half of the battle in open world games, and the developers at least got that much right.

Sadly, that connection doesn't remain for entire campaign, as your war against various punks, robbers and supervillains amounts to boatloads of button mashing and automation. Each scuffle plays out in such familiar fashion that the experience grows tedious by the time you reach the final boss. You put forth a minimum of effort, knocking opponents around with ease as you smash attack buttons. You end each string of combos with a special move, where the game wrests control of Spidey, guiding him through an assortment of smooth, jaw-dropping techniques. Half the enjoyment derived from over-the-top action games comes from being able to pull off tricky maneuvers like these yourself, rather than pressing a single button and letting the protagonist do it all automatically. I know that some people would rather have the flashiness without the hassle, and that's fine, but at least provide an option to increase the level of interaction for those of us who want it.

You win almost every altercation without breaking a sweat, and the game's difficulty rating only climbs when foes carry guns. Even then, you shouldn't have much trouble dealing with them, mostly thanks to a handful of unfair advantages stacked in your favor. Not only does each environment sport tons of throwable objects (e.g. dumpsters, oxygen tanks, vending machines, etc.), but Spidey comes with an ability called "web rush." This basically allows you to nab the aforementioned items and lob them behind you. Since enemies mingle closely together, the object tends to nail most of them, instantly knocking them unconscious, thereby allowing you to stick as many as you can to the ground with your web. Since there are multiple throwable objects available in every section, there's little actual combat skill required. Before long, the game becomes a repetitive affair in which you run from one dull fight to the next, repeatedly hurling things at crooks.

The Amazing Spider-Man (PlayStation 3) image

You can instantly retreat from combat by hitting one of the shoulder buttons, causing non-boss enemies to de-aggro. Never mind that you're in plain sight, enemies will forget that you're around and continue patrolling the area, a la Metal Gear. This is the perfect time to sit on your rump and watch your hit points refill, then initiate a stealth takedown. Once that's done, you can slip out of combat again and begin the process anew. Look, I'm not against easy video games, but at least put up some kind of resistance. You're so overpowered in Amazing Spider-Man that almost no one poses a threat. Combat segments shouldn't feel like mere interruptions.

Even bosses don't present much of a challenge. Most of them require the same actions mentioned before: either mash the attack button or the web button until the enemy is vulnerable, then do a web rush at them. Repeat process until a climactic action sequence plays--one that you'd rather interact with than watch--and the game moves on. The only exception is one battle near the end of the game where you take on three Hunters simultaneous. This is the only scene where the game really comes to life. Even though it's yet another mash-web-dash battle, it's actually quite tricky and entertaining.

Outside of the dry combat lies the open world, Amazing Spider-Man's last hope. As with any sandbox title, you'll find diversions all over the map that add variety to the experience. Sadly, all of them are just as repetitive as the rest of the adventure. Some challenges involve rescuing ill people, rushing them from one point to another with nothing to stop you from completing this task. Another side missions involves moving the camera around while Spidey swings around New York. All you need to do is keep him in view of the lens, which is easily accomplished.

The Amazing Spider-Man (PlayStation 3) image

Just about every petty crime and car chase mission plays out in the same manner. The former has you beating up thugs trying to mug a citizen. The only element that differs from one petty crime to the next is the number of thugs. Beyond that, they're all garden variety fight sequences. Stopping cars similarly never becomes more difficult. You websling onto a fugitive's car, mash the web button, dodge a shotgun blast, then finish the criminals off. The timing and difficulty rating remains the same for every car, even when you have to capture multiple vehicles to hit. If you've thwarted one getaway, you've thwarted them all.

I came away from The Amazing Spider-Man wishing I had played other games in the franchise instead. It's not that the game was incapable of entertaining, but it lacked engaging truly engaging content. What you have is a passable, yet easy and repetitive 3D brawler trapped inside of a dull open world that stars Spider-Man. It is as any license fan would fear: a ho-hum action game cranked out to hype a movie. Nothing more, nothing less.

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (January 15, 2019)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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