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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Embrace the spider within

    Few people in the world would pass up a chance to see New York City from hundreds of feet off the ground, while swinging between skyscrapers at break-neck speeds. Well, there is a way to do it without spending an obscene amount of money at an IMAX movie and you can control the ride yourself — there are also a lot of other fun things to do. While there will be no amazing-puns made about it, “The Amazing Spider-Man” game is a pretty damn good one.

    As implied, the biggest draw is the same as it is with most Spider-Man games: the web-slinging. Granted, it’s the same idea as always — using strands of spider web to hurl the wall-crawler throughout the city. But every new game brings a more immersive and beautiful experience. New York City has never looked better from the perspective of Spider-Man, and developer Beenox has done plenty to make it better than ever.

    Yes, it’s true that most of the time Spidey’s webs don’t actually stick to anything, unless you consider some outrageous possibilities. Ask yourself, deep down, does it really matter? Will such a slight detail shatter the illusion? Will latching onto the sky itself with Spider-Man’s webs bring down the very heavens?

    Come on, you’re already buying into a high school student whose DNA was transformed by a genetically-altered spider. I think some concessions can be made, especially with the fun of the game’s new “web rush” ability.

    With the press of a button, players can tap into the hero’s superhuman reflexes, slow the game down and pick the exact spot they want to swing to or strike at. The switch from third, to first and back to third is exciting visually and gives players a way to mix up the methods of both getting around the city and combat.

    Speaking of combat, it can be pretty exciting at first. The one-button combat system, reminiscent of a similar superhero hit concerning a certain caped crusader — “Arkham Asylum/City” — makes things nice and easy, and the combos feel very true to the comics and are visually pleasing. Upgrades to superhero-based abilities and Peter Parker’s technological inventions help to further diversify fighting, but there is a downside to the way the game works.

    For one, combat can feel very repetitive. Most encounters can be overcome by mashing the combat button and dodging when necessary, and even many of the bosses don’t require more than well-timed button presses. It’s definitely up to players to explore their options for maximum fun.

    Another issue is, sadly, “web rush” can almost break combat. In addition to being able to momentarily stop time and pick which enemy to punch from half-a-mile away, the ability comes paired with being able to retreat from combat with the press of a button.

    So, when in trouble, players can just mash the retreat button to hop from safe place to safe place. That makes dying rare. In fact, it usually takes an egregious underestimation of the situation to end up dead. Fitting for Spider-Man’s wise-cracking personality, but it can get old when dying is neigh impossible.

    There’s also the interesting matter of stealth in the game, which some critics have hated and others loved. I belong to the latter camp, if only because the perspective the camera shifts to when crawling on the walls and ceilings is disorienting in the best way. Swooping down and cocooning villains in web is fun too, but I could spend hours just moving around upside down.

    The game’s story is also a split issue. While the way the game is linked to the movie is wonderful, and the inclusion of classic Spider-Man elements — such as a smart-mouthed hero — are great, but the story itself might be lacking to some.

    It’s not bad — far from it. The major issue will probably only be bothersome to story fanatics like myself. For, in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” most of the villains are inhuman. As with the movie, at one point many of them were human, but they’ve been turned into mindless monsters without a shred of anything the player can relate to.

    There’s no sympathy, and villains’ motivations become “I’m an animal and I want to break stuff.” That’s not the strongest basis on which to build a story. To make matters worse, the non-mutated enemies are all robots, which also lack humanity. The inclusion of Alistair Smythe was a slick move, but even he falls prey to the animal craziness, reducing his choices to mere impulse.

    Granted, most people will be content to beat up anyone thrown at them while experiencing NYC in such a breathtaking way — playing on a huge screen is almost overwhelming at first. Despite the slight suffering the story endures, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is a good game. Fans of Spider-Man in general definitely won’t want to pass it up, and anyone who enjoys an exciting jaunt through an open-world action game should get it too.

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