Monday 17 February 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man

Hey, remember that game based on the film The Amazing Spider-Man that was released in 2012? Did you like it? Well guess what? It's out now on Playstation Vita. Yes, the game you probably played two years ago is on PS Vita now. But seriously, what is Sony thinking?

I mean, since hitting the shelves the PS Vita's sales have been pretty damn woeful, and only a handful of games are worth playing. Despite this, I do think it's a great handheld system that has a lot of potential, but now, when Sony should be pulling exclusives out of their asses for the PS Vita, we get this; a port of a game that came out two years ago. In fact, as far as ports go it's not a very good one either, but instead a bizarrely poor looking version of the game that literally looks like it's from the PSP era.

Developed by Beenox, The Amazing Spider-Man on PS Vita takes place shortly after the events of the film of the same name. Though Dr. Connors, aka the Lizard, was locked up after his rampage during the film, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy suspect that Oscorp may be continuing his cross-species experiment. As this was the experiment that turned Dr. Connors into the Lizard, Peter and Gwen decide to sneak into Oscorp and find out if there still remains a threat. They're confronted by Alistair Smythe a scientist working for Oscorp who admits to continuing Dr. Connors' work. Just then, in reaction to the presence of Peter who he is himself a cross-species, the cross-species break out, infect the scientists and Gwen and escape into the city. With no one to turn to and a city full of creatures that are part man/part animal, Peter seeks the help of Dr. Connors, his recent foe. After breaking him out of Beloit Psychiatric Hospital, both Peter and Dr. Connors work together to develop a vaccine for the virus that threatens the very city itself.

The Amazing Spider-Man is a third person open world game, and as expected lets the player swing, climb and shoot web just like Spidey himself! This generally works pretty well, but there's one thing that prevents it from feeling completely authentic. Back in 2004 Treyarch released the videogame tie-in to the film Spider-Man 2, directed by Sam Raimi. The game was open world but it was the first Spider-Man game to do web swinging properly. As in, the player’s webs connected to buildings and objects, and Spidey swung around that connecting point. This led to a web-swinging mechanic that felt astoundingly real and authentic. No longer were his webs shooting up into the air. However, The Amazing Spider-Man changes that, and now Spideys webs connect to nothingness. This might seem like a crappy reason to hate on the game, but if you've played Spider-Man 2, you'll know exactly what I’m talking about, and why this is a huge step backwards. Without this level of detail added to the game, you know, the detail that’s key to the very foundations of what makes Spider-Man so awesome, it just doesn't feel right.

Visually it's awful. Seeing as it's a handheld system I didn't expect the visuals to be exactly like its console counterpart, but shit, the games textures in particular are horrid. They're murky, bland, and blurry and make the game look like a PSP title. Seriously. It looks exactly like a PSP game from 2006.

The combat is pretty much pulled directly from Batman: Arkham Asylum, and while many games use that fighting mechanic as the model of perfection nowadays, it just doesn't work here. This is mostly down to the fact that despite the PS Vita being powerful enough, the frame-rate often drops to embarrassing levels. This is most apparent when fighting a large number of foes or simply swinging through the city. When this happens it just kills the atmosphere and any sense of enjoyment in the game. The problems persist even further to the camera. While the controls are perfectly fine, sometimes when crawling walls indoors the camera flips out, and when this happens during intense combat it can be incredibly frustrating. Again, this isn't helped by what an absolute shoddy port this ends up being on the PS Vita.

While there's a fun main campaign in place and a whole bunch of collectibles to find, the PS Vita version of The Amazing Spider-Man is a failure. Coming across like a knee-jerk reaction from Sony due to bad PS Vita sales, it just doesn't do the Spider-Man franchise or the handheld itself any favours. The console versions are much better and would easily get a 4/5 here. Buy one of those instead.

The Amazing Spider-Man gets exterminated with a 1/5, []

Denis Murphy

The Amazing Spider-Man at CeX

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