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REVIEW

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

That this is a movie tie-in is one of the better in recent history is thanks to two studios: Beenox and Rocksteady.

With the tight deadline that comes with video games scheduled for same week cinema releases, a lot can go wrong. And it'd be very easy to use Batman's Arkham adventures as template for a solid superhero adventure.

And there's no denying there's a little bit of the Dark Knight DNA injected into our Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man; anyone recently returned from Arkham City will get to grips immediately with the multi-enemy combat system, stealth takedowns and wealth of upgrades to better your fighting and web-slinging abilities.

Yet this is inarguably Beenox's game. Tinkering with the Spidey mythos for game adaptations these past few years means they're better equipped, and more experienced, in creating a Spider-Man title with a shorter-than-usual schedule.

The Amazing Spider-Man
The Big Apple looking shiny: the gloss comes off once you hit street level though.

What results is a central hub in the form of a sandbox New York, beautiful to look at and swing round, but still light on residents when you hit street level, and containing a few side-quests involving thugs, car chases and collectable comic book pages (Spidey and studio not concerned with breaking the fourth wall here).

You'll zip about it mainly between the main story-driven missions, interior locales hinged round the stealth and combat - Beenox is still tinkering with the perfect system to represent the wall-crawler's web-swinging inside (trying is a real no-no, as the camera has a migrane as soon as you near a wall).

Instead, the studio's partially-succeeded in amalgamating mechanics that offer cinematic (but automated) movements and full player control. Right shoulder button is for Web Rush, a slow-mo mechanic that lets you target ceilings, walls or enemies. Let go and let fly. Left shoulder button is for Web Retreat, a quick tap to zip line you to the shadows and out of harm.

The Amazing Spider-Man
Upgrades will allow you to double your stealth takedowns - and the approach proves increasingly favourable over straight-forward attacks.

It's the best way so far to control Spider-Man's speed and leaping ability - just try and land on a truck without it - while the fighting mechanics prove solid, with only camera tracking issues not giving you as perfect an eye on your foes and surroundings as you'd want.

The team's got the Spider banter down pat by now, helping to gel over the lack of recognisable voices or faces from the movie, and the dialogue and cut-scenes are above par for this type of project.

Designed as a direct continuation of the movie there's some ideas (and familiar faces) debuting in the cinematic Spidey-verse that makes this worthwhile for fans of the red and blue hero. And while that Arkham-lite comparisons still linger, for the usual constraints we expect with movie tie-ins, this is still an amazing, even spectacular, achievement for Beenox.

06 Gamereactor UK
6 / 10
+
+ swinging round NYC diverting in its own right. + new story means no movie retread. + good fusion of Spidey's abilities.
-
- NYC is still rather empty. - camera can be dodgy, especially in confined spaces. - Not all upgrades seem beneficial. - visually in need of a tune up.
BETA +