Release Date: June 29 (Europe) June 26 (North America)
Platforms available on: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Nintendo Wii, 3DS, DS, iOS, Android
The Amazing Spider-Man swung its way into cinemas last week, impressing punters with its stellar cast and attention to comic book lore, breaking box office records in the process. The video game tie-in, while unlikely to enjoy quite the same level of success, comes from a studio with plenty of Spider-Man experience. Indeed, Beenox has used its Spider sense to craft a movie tie-in with legs - enough for eight, you could say.
The game takes place after the events of the movie, delivering one major spoiler in the process. Without wishing to reveal too much for those yet to see the film, the game begins with an Oscorp Industries tour, which in turn leads to a city full of deadly man-beasts and a contagious virus. Naturally, it's up to Spider-Man to save the day, doing so with a little help from friends both old and new.
Speaking of swinging, it's this simple gameplay mechanic that elevates Spider-Man above many of its fellow movie tie-ins. Beenox gives players free reign to traverse the City, unlike some of the more linear recent instalments, which allows for all kinds of distractions. Though requiring little skill - you can swing from thin air - gliding through Manhattan is enormous fun, aided by some excellent camera angles, which heighten the cinematic experience.
Players also have the ability to Web Rush, a new mechanic which slows time and allows Spider-Man to fast travel to various spots represented by silhouettes. It's another smart inclusion from the development team, allowing players to quickly change direction and shift focus while swinging, or escape tight spots when fighting enemies or tackling huge mechanical bosses. It also makes indoor travel a little smoother, combating the occasionally awkward camera angles.
With such a wonderful outdoor environment, it's a little surprising that Beenox should place such a big emphasis on indoor sections, which are a little clumsy, despite the obvious Arkham Asylum influences. Spider-Man and Batman's stealth sections, for example, are almost identical, with Spidey's web slinging replacing Batman's grapple hook. Despite the similarities, slyly stringing up goons is no less enjoyable than quietly cracking heads as the Caped Crusader.
Considering the size of the environment and the freedom afforded to players, the game is also a little short. Clocking in at roughly ten hours, it doesn't quite have the staying power that you would expect from a sandbox adventure. The lack of engaging side-quests doesn't help. Whether beating up thugs or snapping pictures, most offer little in the way of reward or challenge, which is a crying shame when you have that much comic book mythology to draw from.
The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the more successful movie tie-ins in recent memory, with a solid if short single-player campaign and an enormously enjoyable web-swinging mechanic. The sense of freedom and fun gleaned from swinging through Manhattan makes the latest Beenox release one worth checking out, despite its shortcomings. Much like Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker, the development team is starting to get to grips with its powers, pointing towards a greater adventure still to come.