I’m currently playing through Amazing Spider-Man 2 for the PC and working on my review, but I thought I’d give just a couple of thoughts here. First of all the web swinging is a lot of fun. It’s much improved since the Amazing Spider-Man 1, and now you actually need something for the webs to latch onto, and you can control which web shooter to fire a web from and which direction, left or right, to fire that web. This leads to a lot more control when swinging around New York City. Not as much as Spider-Man 2 on the PS2, but in some ways I find it more fun, especially with the use of Web Rush. That said, there are some serious problems with the game.
First of all I think we can all agree that the most enjoyable part of most Spider-Man games is web swinging around New York City. Hell, I know I’m not the only one that’s loaded up Spider-Man 2 for the PS2 and just swung around for a while helping random citizens. Sadly it seems like developers are actively out to prevent that fun. What do I mean? In nearly every Spider-Man game with an open world to swing around in there are “Stages” of some plot or outbreak or whatever that slowly make it more and more tedious to swing around. In Amazing Spider-Man 2 there is a task force that is out to get criminals, and that includes Spider-Man. At first it’s fine, you keep up on your side missions to keep your hero/menace meter up and you can swing around to your hearts content, for the most part. Then you hit the second, and finally the third stage. Each stage adds more gun toting idiots and flying robots to New York, and the final stage adds barriers to block off streets when you are swinging down them. Spider-Slayer like machines are called in, there are flying machine guns, turrets, snipers, it just becomes a chore to swing around. This means that one of the most unique and fun aspects of the game is actively being hamstrung by the developers. Who chooses to do that?
The second major problem, and this feeds into the first problem, is the way they have handled the side missions and the hero/menace system. In theory it sounds great, just like in the comics J. Jonah Jameson is always trying to frame Spider-Man as a criminal, so Spidey swing between being a hero when he’s just done something good for the city, to being a menace when it’s been a while or something looks fishy. I like it. Sadly the way they have handled it is by timing all of the side missions. From the time a mission pops up you have so long to complete that mission, or it will auto fail and you will go more toward the menace side. Unless you do NOTHING but side mission after side mission you cannot help but let some fail. After a while they start showing up more, which means more are failing. And since there are only really four side missions, and each one has one to three different versions, you’re going to get bored very quickly and start skipping them whenever you can. What I ended up doing by the end is waiting until my meter was at neutral, then doing two missions to get it back up before ignoring it until it got to neutral again.
So the missions get repetitive, so what? Just swing down, beat up a few bad guys and swing out right? No. Because they decided to make every single side mission begin with a cutscene and end with a cutscene. This means you swing down, stop doing anything and wait, beat up two bad guys breaking into a building, wait, then you are free to continue what you were doing. It completely breaks the flow of the game and after you’ve seen the same opening and closing scene dozens of times you may loathe the idea of even doing another one.
I will be giving my full thoughts and a review of the game in a video in the coming week, but I thought I’d share these thoughts with anyone thinking about picking up the game. There is a lot to like here, and there are a lot of improvements over the first game. Sadly, there are a lot of steps back as well and not everyone is going to have the patience to put up with them.