The Amazing Spider-Man Hands-on Preview -- Swinging Back to BasicsBy Kevin Kelly - Posted Mar 14, 2012
Video game developer Beenox has been associated with Spider-Man for over a decade, although much of that time was spent porting releases to Microsoft Windows and the Mac. But that changed beginning in 2010 when they released the well-received Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, and then the not-so-well-received Spider-Man: Edge of Time in 2011.
The studio be returning to the web-slinging reel later this year with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man, which it is developing in conjunction with the film. The good news is that this game is much more along the lines of Treyarch’s two Spider-Man film titles. That’s chiefly due to the fact that it brings back Manhattan, and makes it a central part of the game. It hasn’t been seen in a Spider-Man title since Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, and it’s a welcome return.
The two Treyarch titles let you free form web-swing through Manhattan, and put you directly into Spidey’s suit for some ego-fulfillment. Beenox is following the same formula, letting you take this new version of Spider-Man through Manhattan at your own pace, and allowing you to web yourself around the city. But this Spider-Man literally throws, tumbles, and launches himself through the city.
It also looks much better, as Beenox has brought the camera a lot closer to the Webslinger, and when he launches himself into a dive, the camera falls with him, which makes his dramatic near-misses a lot more exciting to watch. To get around the city, he uses the GPS on his cellphone (who’s his provider, I wonder?) to pinpoint locations in the city, but because throwing lines of synthetic spiderwebs and acrobatically jumping around New York City doesn’t come naturally, Beenox has given Spider-Man an entirely new ability.
To aid in navigating the Big Apple, Beenox has added a “Web Rush” mode to the game. By holding down the right bumper, time will slow down and you’ll find yourself looking through the lenses of Spider-Man’s suit, complete with curved reflections of the environment. Silhouettes of places that Spidey can get to quickly will appear in this mode, and you can choose which location you want to get to, and then release the button to activate it.
This mode makes movement a lot easier, and can give you pinpoint accuracy in getting to where you want to end up, like perching on a flagpole. The game uses the mode to calculate where you are, and where you want to be, offering up a movement solution similar to tracing paths for Nathan Drake in Uncharted: Golden Abyss on the Vita’s touchscreen. You can also tap RB to quickly zoom to a silhouetted spot, which is handy for quick bursts.
Web Rush is useful not only in swinging through the city, but also in infiltrating enemy nests and using it for stealth. Spidey can use Web Rush to web himself instantly into a corner, and drop down and take out enemies as necessary. There’s a free-flow combat system as well, but the stealth takedowns combined with hiding in the shadows above definitely recalls the mechanics of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.
Spidey can follow the main missions throughout the game, or he can simply travel through the city at his leisure, choosing to help out citizens in distress or not, and he can also help break up police “deadlocks” that trigger things like car chases where Spidey has to leap from car to car using Web Rush to take down a baddie by webbing up his windshield.
The game takes place after the events of the film, which opened up a whole new slew of options for the team. Rather than having to follow the events of the movie and retell them, they instead took things in new directions, and are introducing rebooted versions of some of Spidey’s classic villains, like Rhino and Iguana.
You’ll see other familiar faces from the Spider-Man universe like Gwen Stacy and Dr. Curt Connors (aka The Lizard), and Michael Morbius, but Beenox wasn’t revealing any story details just yet. You still get to sport Spidey’s new suit from the upcoming film, and since the web-shooters are mechanical once again, you can upgrade those as you progress.
The game is set to be released on June 26 for PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii, and a few days later on handhelds. That’s just a few days before the movie opens on July 3, and we hope they keep it spoiler-free. Except, you know, the fact that we know Spider-Man won’t die in the first movie.