Spider-Man swings his way onto iOS devices. Is it Amazing or just another bad movie game?
One of the single greatest video games on the PlayStation 2 was Spider-Man 2. It came out when Grand Theft Auto was in its heyday. Instead of stealing cars and driving around an open world, Spider-Man allowed gamers to sling webs and fly around the city like total badasses. In a word, it was amazing.
When Gameloft told us they were trying to recreate that experience on iOS, we were incredibly excited. We got a nice little sample of the game at E3, and we were impressed. Now, we have had time to sit down and really dig into what the game has to offer.
As advertised, this is an open world game where you can swing around the city between the various missions. Swinging around the city feels quite satisfying, and the mechanics work well. You simply press and hold the on-screen jump button and Spider-Man will swing. Release the button and repress to keep Spider-Man moving forward. You use the onscreen joystick the steer Spider-Man around in the air.
The controls in the air work quite well. It feels very natural and it seems Gameloft took care to make the mechanic work well. However, it seems they may have spent a little too much time on the in-air controls and not enough time working on the ground controls. While moving around on the ground, everything feels really clunky and unpolished.
During combat, it is not as much of an issue because Spider-Man will move to the closest enemy automatically, but while actually running and jumping on the ground everything feels incredibly off.
You move Spider-Man around with a virtual joystick and move the camera by sliding around anywhere on the screen. You have four contextual buttons on the right side of the screen that allow you to pull of combos and moves while fighting. These work well enough, but there were some instances when they felt a little clunky, especially when using the timing-based countering mechanics.
When an enemy swings at you the Spidey Sense symbol appears above Spider-Man’s head to let you know to press the “!” button. This makes Spider-Man dodge and occasionally counter the enemies attack. Usually, it worked well, but some times it seemed like I had it timed perfectly and it just did not counter the way it should.
All in all the combat in the game is good as long as you do not need to run around anywhere. If you do, then expect to battle with some clunky controls that will be at least a little annoying.
The game progresses very similarly to the PlayStation 2 version. You open up the mini map and select an available mission. You can either travel there manually or click a button on the screen that automatically teleports Spider-Man to the mission place.
There is plenty of voice acting during the missions. Most of the characters are acted well enough, but the voice that plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man is annoying. That being said, the writing for him is sharp. He makes tons of typical Spider-Man one-liners, and many of them actually made me laugh aloud. Gameloft is dealing with a beloved character, and they most certainly did him justice, at least in terms of the way they wrote his lines.
The world in the game is very expansive. It takes place in a faithfully recreated New York City. There is plenty to explore and plenty of random missions scattered throughout the world. If you do not feel like doing the assigned mission, you can simply swing your way around the city and you will encounter some crime that Spider-Man needs to break up. This helps extend the game life a great deal and gives you a break from some of the longer missions that make the story move forward.
The Amazing Spider-Man has plenty of RPG elements sprinkled throughout the game. As you complete missions and beat up bad guys you gain experience, and when you level up you earn skill points that you can use to make Spider-Man learn some new moves or become stronger in a certain area.
This game looks really good. . . Most of the time. Sometimes when the game is in motion, it loses some of its visual splendor. However, when Spider-Man is chilling on a roof looking over the city, it is truly breathtaking.
As I mentioned before, the voice acting in the game is good, and even though the sound of Spider-Man’s voice bothers me, the actor still plays the role well. The rest of the audio in the game is stupendous. I have come to expect awful voice actors from Gameloft games, but they really stepped it up for Spider-Man.
Overall, this game is decent enough. It seems like Gameloft fell in love with their swinging mechanic a little too much and forgot about making the movement on the ground fluid. Since combat does not take place in the air, this decreases the quality of the game significantly. It is not a bad game, but it certainly is not as good as I had initially hoped.
The Amazing Spider-Man is available as a universal app for $6.99. Get it on the App Store.