It’s been a long, often hard relationship between video games and Spiderman, particularly the movie tie in games. Some have been very good like Spiderman 2, some not so good like Spiderman 3 and Spiderman Friend or Foe. So where does Activision and Beenox Studios new game ,The Amazing Spiderman, fit in with movie tie in games? We’ll I’m pleased to say that it fits in with Spiderman 2!

All Spiderman fans know (including myself, and I am a huge Spiderman fan! I am currently staring at a large collection of Spidey comics on my shelf and in fact I’ll probably be reading them again just as soon as I’m done writing this!) what made the Spiderman games so good was the open world/sandbox element which has been sadly overused in video games in recent years, but it should be a fundamental part of any Spiderman game as, after all, swinging around a city saving citizens is what Spiderman does best. More recently of course, Spiderman games have been the responsibility of Beenox Studios who had huge success with the rather brilliant Spiderman Shattered Dimensions, however their follow up Spiderman Edge of Time was not so good and Beenox, Activision and Spiderman games seemed to be going off the boil slightly, not least because the open world element, which made previous games so good, was missing. Now however, Beenox have gone back to the open world-ness of the best Spiderman games and gives you the freedom and ability to swing around the streets of Manhattan, take on the bad guys and still get the girl!

Web Swinging - Getting Spidey to the crimes since 1962

There is great fun to be had swinging though and around the streets of the big city, and thanks to Beenox’s new Webrush ability, it’s even easier and quicker to get where you want to go, just a quick press of a button slows down time allowing you to pick your location and Spidey will swing, jump and bounce his way to whatever location you select, and with his trademark acrobatics and excellent use of motion blur combined with the sound of wind rushing past your ears, you get a real sense of what it must be like to be Spiderman, and lets face it, who hasn’t wanted to be Spiderman? I know I have, in fact I still do! I’m just waiting to find a radioactive spider so I can get bitten!

As your swinging through the city you’ll come across petty crimes, car chases and bank robberies all taking place, which as well as adding a living dimension to the city and giving you a chance to see Spiderman’s impressive hand to hand combat skills, also serve as side missions and a chance to do what Super Heroes do. These also give you a chance to hear Spiderman’s wisecracks which as I’m sure any fan will tell you, Spiderman is famous for! However these side missions do become rather tiresome after a while as they just don’t change, it’s always the same thing and you always go about knocking out the enemies the same way and there’s only so many times of pressing the same sequence of buttons anyone can take before you get bored of doing it.

Speaking of the combat, it’s clear that Spiderman has been playing another super hero game – *cough* Arkham Asylum – as you punch with the X button and thanks to the visual clue above Spidermans head, you press the Y button to dodge and counter, however, it works, and works well so you’ll have no problem in dispatching bad guys in hand to hand combat. Alongside the standard button bashing of the combat, you can use the webrush ability to slow down time, pick your target and rush towards your opponent for a beatdown! And if it all gets too much for Spiderman and he’s losing health you can use the web-retreat skill which allows you to get yourself out of trouble and recover some health.

So what about the plot of The Amazing Spiderman? Well the plot plays out as an epilogue of the movie and does contain some quite major movie spoilers right from the very beginning. The plot will be instantly recognisable to anybody who has read the Spider-Island series of comics though, as it sees Manhattan island closed off for quarantine to try and contain the threat of diseased cross-breeds – humans that have been contaminated with mutant DNA – which comes from nanobots created by Alistair Smyth and Oscorp. And so it falls on Spiderman to find a cure and save the city and it’s inhabitants from turning into mutants and killing everything and everyone that stands in their way.

The story missions that you’ll be doing throughout the course of the game all take place in indoor locations which means you’re taken away from the great outdoors, which although you can still web swing around, crawl up walls and stealthily pick off the enemies it’s just not fun being stuck in a sewer or in the confines of the Oscorp building. As well as being stuck indoors for the vast majority of the story missions, some of the bosses and enemies you’ll fight are not only unheard of – have you heard of Iguana and Vermin?…Err no, me either – but the ones you have heard of – Rhino and Scorpion – are so far removed from the villains we know and love from the comics that they just don’t feel like proper villains in fact Rhino and Scorpion feel more like animals now and have completely lost their human feel and consequently feels like your fighting a generic villain rather than the famous comic book villains we’ve come to know and love.

Graphically this is one of the best looking Spiderman games to date and you’ll see Spiderman’s suit getting more and more tattered as you go through each chapter and beat up more bad guys and like I mentioned earlier, the motion blur as your swinging through the city looks amazing and really gives you a sense of the speed your doing.

The voice acting is handled very well and as you swing through the city you’ll be treated to the sounds of Spiderman whooping and hollering as he’s obviously enjoying doing what he does. But although this is the game of the movie, if your expecting the actors from the movie to be in the game then you going to be left disappointed as Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are strangely missing from here although the person who does Spiderman’s voice does sound like Andrew Garfield, so it does seem a little odd that Activision never secured the services of the actors.

If you do find yourself wanting a break from the story missions or petty crimes, there’s plenty of other things to be getting on with including collecting comic pages, as you collect more and more of them you’ll unlock comics which you can read in the game. Which if your a complete comic book nerd and have much nerd love for Spiderman, like me, is fantastic and makes the game worth buying just for that! Especially as it has Amazing fantasy #15 which was Spiderman’s first ever comic book appearance and seeing as I’m never going to be able to afford to buy that comic (a mint condition copy can go for upwards of $1,000,000) was great to finally be able to read it.

Ultimately though, the story is fairly forgettable and with controls and game mechanics hardly being ground-breaking, The Amazing Spiderman probably misses more than it hits but having said that, it is still a brilliantly fun game and it is great being back in the red and blue spider suit swinging around the streets of New York!

Review Score : [starreview tpl=16]
Title : The Amazing Spiderman
Format : XBox 360
Developer : Beenox
Publisher : Activision
Release Date : Out now

[starreviewmulti id=1 tpl=20]

Activision provided with a review copy of The Amazing Spiderman