Published Jul 23, 2012Comic book superheroes have taken over pop culture for seemingly the past forever, but until Batman: Arkham Asylum, there were only few successful videogame adaptations, and even fewer that were movie tie-ins. Spider-Man 2: The Game, tied to the second Sam Raimi Spidey flick, was a rare success.
Made by Treyarch, the studio behind the second-string, but still massive-selling Call of Duty games (i.e., Black Ops, not Modern Warfare), it entrapped its prey by offering a free roaming ― or should I say free-slinging ― Spidey sandbox.
Both Spider-Man 2 and the Arkham efforts provide the DNA for the movie-inspired Amazing Spider-Man by Beenox, the Quebec City studio that finally makes use of an open-world design after their linear Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (pretty great) and Spider-Man: Edge of Time (less so).
While those last two were written by comic scribes (Dan Slott and Peter David, respectively) the Amazing Spider-Man bears the pen of minor Battlestar Galactica writer Seamus Kevin Fahey.
I haven't actually seen the reboot yet, but the game begins with comic-based baddie Alistair Smythe (a favoured villain of the '90s Spidey cartoon) in charge of Oscorp and continuing the cross-species experiments of Dr. Curt "the Lizard" Connors. These genetic freaks naturally escape, so he sicks giant robots on them. The robots, of course, go out of control ― game on.
While using the videogame as a film epilogue rather than rehashing the movie plot is incredibly welcome, the story itself doesn't provide more than glue to hold the game together. As a lifelong comic book fan, I want stronger narratives in my comic book games (and comic book movies, too).
The gameplay draws heavily from Arkham City, which only emphasizes that it's no Arkham-esque classic. Still, it's super-fun for Spidey fans because of the virtuosic web swinging across New York City. As well, the simplistic combat nonetheless boasts acrobatic fighting animations and, even if it gets repetitious, there's something special about webbing a bad guy to a wall.
But as Spider-Man himself has taught us, with great power comes great responsibility, and the same is true for great licenses. This is a decent reboot, but here's hoping their next Spider-Man game is as amazing as the epithet promises. (Activision/ Beenox)