Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (Game)
As Uncle Ben famously once said, with a great Spider-Man movie comes a not-so-great Spider-Man game. Well he would have said that eventually, had he not been brutally gunned down in the middle of Manhattan, but would he have been right? In this case no. The Amazing Spider-Man, the official movie tie-in from developer Gameloft, is as great as it is amazing.
In the newest addition to the Spidey gaming franchise, we get to free-roam around a fully realised, open-world New York City. Swinging from building to building feels as good as it ever did on its console brethren, and we’re treated to some dazzling visuals and lighting effects that really help to draw you in to the Marvel universe. All from the comfort of your iOS or Android device.
If you’ve played a Spider-Man game before, the concepts are the same. Plot-points are displayed on your map and as you traverse the city, you engage in random missions, forage for collectibles or just stop to admire the view from some of the worlds tallest buildings. Throw in combat upgrades, skill trees and level-ups and we begin to see why bad movie tie-ins can be a thing of the past.
Combat is a mixture of short attacks, ranged attacks and counters. Parallels will be drawn with the Batman: Arkham games combat style, and while it doesn’t quite match up, it’s a definite step in the right direction. Hoodlums will surround you leaving you no option but to slug, parry and web-bind you’re way through until you see the satisfying slo-mo take-down of the last thug standing. The combat does feel slightly lightweight next to the bone-crunching, Krav Maga-like fighting style of Batman, but Spider-Man’s agility and sheer speed mean fights are fast, frantic and satisfying affairs.
It’s not all good though. There are a few niggles that even the most ardent of web-heads can’t fail to notice. Texture pop-in becomes quite noticeable on larger devices and while draw distances are good, the level of detail doesn’t always hold up. Clipping also raises it ugly eight-eyed head here, with Spider-Man all but disappearing into the sides of buildings or ledges at times, and yet at other times the wall-crawler looks to be crawling at least a foot or two away from the wall. The slightly fiddly controls also mean that precision landings are a thing of rarity and when they do happen, they generally happen more by chance than skill.
These slight detractions are easy to forgive though given the scope of the game on offer here. If anything, they give us the excuse to jump away from the buildings so we can see Spider-Man where he’s most at home, web-slinging around the city indulging in sublime acrobatic aerial manoeuvres and free-fall diving from skyscrapers.
The level of detail is also astounding, from the roof-top swimming pools and tennis courts, to the gasps and exclamations from pedestrians when their friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man lands a few feet away from them. The £4.99 price point may seem steep, but considering the console versions are almost ten times that, we’re still getting a pretty good deal. Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man is one of those rare breeds, a great movie tie-in.
Reviewed on iPad. Also compatible with iPhone 4 and above, iPod Touch 4th generation and Android (2.2 and above)