Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Edition

 The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Edition Game Review

Ever since I was a little kid, Spider-Man has been my favorite superhero. Now that I have gotten older (even though I haven’t actually grown up yet), Spider-Man still ranks up there in the top three. I have played almost every single Spider-Man game ever made, and I have loved almost all of them. Yes, I even liked Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge. The first really good Spider-Man game, at least in my opinion, was Spider-Man on the PS1, N64, and Dreamcast. That is one of my all-time favorite Spidey games. Then when the movies game out, the games took a turn to sand-box territory. By the time Web of Shadows was released, the formula was starting to feel a little stale. This staleness led directly into my second favorite Spidey game: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Shattered Dimensions (as well as Spider-Man: Edge of Time) was a foray back to the level based gameplay, and helped breathe new life into the franchise.

The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Edition Game Review

With the release of The Amazing Spider-Man movie, the series has gone back to the sandbox. The game was released on the Nintendo Wii, but it was butchered. Gone was the open world enjoyed by those playing on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game suffered immensely for it. The Amazing Spider-Man on the Wii was the most disappointing Spidey game I have ever played. Now the game has been released on the Nintendo Wii U, and thankfully, it is the full thing. It even has all of the DLC that was available for the other two platforms. Was the game worth the wait? Could it possibly make up for the horrible Wii version?

I can happily report that this version of the game has helped to erase all of the bad from the Wii version out of my head.  It’s nice to have the full open world Spider-Man experience on a Nintendo system.

This game does an excellent job of making you feel like Spider-Man. The web-swinging in this game is fun as hell. Long have I wanted a game where I can swing from one building to the next, run along the side of it, jump off to a billboard, jump from there to a street light, then swing over to another building, run up the side (with the added touch of Spidey using webs to continue up after he starts losing momentum), and then perch on top of the pole on the top of the building in what looks and feels like one fluid motion. It’s like Mirror’s Edge, Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia, and Spider-Man all had a baby. I spent over an hour straight just doing things like this around the city. I've seen complaints about the web-swinging, saying that holding down the button wasn't as good as having to press it each time you wanted to shoot out a web, like in Spider-Man 2. While I absolutely love Spider-Man 2 (it is my favorite Spidey game), the auto-swinging just works better in this game. I’m not saying I like it better overall, but it would have ruined the style of flow they created here.  The only thing I was disappointed with while swinging around was the fact that it is impossible to fall to your death.  In the other open world Spider-Man games, if you fell to the ground, you could get injured or even die.  Not in this game.  Even if you jump off of the highest building in the game and plummet at incredibly fast speeds, you simply land in a Spidey-pose and take no damage.  It reminds me of the ground pound ability in Crackdown.

One of my other favorite things to do in the game while I am just tooling around Manhattan is walking around on the sidewalk. Yes, I know that sounds very unusual for a game where you can do all of the fun stuff I just mentioned, but the way you are able to interact with people walking around was a nice little surprise. When you get close to someone who isn't an enemy and press the attack button, you do not actually attack them. This isn't Grand Theft Auto: Spider-Man. Instead, you wave to them and say hello. They will usually act surprised and then pull out their phone and snap a photo. The first time it happened, I was caught completely off guard, and I had to repeat it to make sure I was seeing things right.

Outside of the web-swinging, the combat is also very fun, fluid, and frantic.  I actually like fighting four or more enemies at once, because the combos you can pull off bouncing around from one guy to the next are so much fun to look at.

The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Edition Game Review

Graphically, the game is very solid. The suits all look great, and they even get damaged as you fight thugs, cross-species creatures, killer robots, and other various enemies in the game. It was another one of those wonderful little surprises I encountered in the game. In fact, this game is rife with great easter eggs. We get hints of Morbius, Man-Wolf (a.k.a. John Jameson), Sandman, Hydro-man, and more. While the graphics might look pretty, however, they still suffer from the same screen tearing and clipping issues that the game had on the other consoles.  And while it isn't game breaking, it is very noticeable at times (like when you scroll through the character bio text) and it does get a bit annoying.

As far as the story goes, the game takes place a few months after the movie.  Oscorp has continued on with Dr. Connors' research, only now they were trying out human DNA on animals.  That is where this game's versions of Scorpion, Rhino, Vermin, and the others come from.  I won't talk about the story any more for fear of spoiling it for people.  I will say that while the story isn't going to blow your mind, it is still a fun ride.

When you are not playing the story, you can save infected citizens, stop muggings, foil heists, and a whole slew of other distractions.  And since this game is open world, there is the mandatory collectable hunt.  This time around, you need to find seven hundred comic book pages.  I've spent a lot of time dedicated just to finding pages, and I'm only barely above two hundred and fifty.  If you don't want to do that, you can load up the game's DLC, which, as I previously mentioned, is all included.  I actually wish I could use Stan Lee in the main game and not just the DLC, because I love swinging around the town as an old man in a suit.

The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Edition Game Review

The GamePad features in the game are nicely integrated, if not a little confusing at first.  I'm honestly shocked that there wasn't any sort of tutorial for using the stuff on the controller's screen. Once you figure everything out, it isn't a problem though.

All in all, this game is a lot of fun.  And even with the shortcomings, it will not disappoint you.  If you didn't play the game on the 360 or PS3, or if you felt badly burned by the Wii version, this game is a good investment.

Overall Score: 8/10