E3 2012: Taking a Swing With the Amazing Spider-Man (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

Activision gives us some hands-on time with the web slinger.

While Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Spider-Man are great games in their own right (and proof that Beenox has a heck of a track record), there’s this inescapable thought that the games feel “closed in”, without giving Spidey too much room to roam around.  It’s a change of pace from what we were able to do with him in Treyarch’s movie-licensed Spider-Man games.  Again, they’re not bad at all, but some of you have been clamoring for a return to the “go anywhere, do anything” style.  Well, later this month you’ll be getting just that with The Amazing Spider-Man.  And Activision recently invited us down to go hands-on with him.

The events in the game take place after the movie, with Spidey continuing to investigate the research of The Lizard, aka Curt Connors, as it’s ongoing.  Turns out that new freaks are being made, with both Iguana and Rhino wreaking havoc.  And being the crime fighter that he is, Spidey sets out to stop it before terror overtakes New York.

 

Amazing Spider-Man is Beenox’s first crack at making an open-ended adventure game along the lines of previous efforts, but you wouldn’t be able to tell while playing it.  The liberating feeling of doing whatever you want is definitely present here, as you swing through city streets and make your way to secondary objectives, so you can complete them and get on with the story missions.  The developers did a marvelous job rendering the city digitally, so you can literally go end to end, across the bridges, and see all the sights.  (The demo didn’t let us do that, but this is going off previous footage.)

 

Spidey also feels good when it comes to controls.  His web-slinging is quite natural, connecting with ease between swings and even enabling him to do other stuff, like run up walls.  In addition, the Web Rush feels like a great new add-on, as you switch to a first person perspective and see what items you can latch onto, and then jump right over.  Boom.

 

Combat has also been greatly improved over previous games.  Spidey can still take out the trash with combo attacks and temporary webbing restraints, but the real joy comes from grabbing secondary objects in the environment and hurling them at enemies.  Their reaction to getting slammed by a dumpster is simply priceless.  The zip line kick also makes a return – and feels spectacular, especially when it comes to taking down armed thugs.