Thursday, July 27, 2017

Review #439: The Amazing Spider-man 2(PS3)

 The Mediocre Spider-man returns.
 The Amazing Spider-man was a pretty average game, it had flaws, but it also had a bunch o' good stuff going for it. Surely, Beenox would improve upon it, in order to deliver an even better product, right? Right?
...Not.

 Well, at least this is the last time I get to say this when it comes to Spider-man, so here it goes: The Amazing Spider-man 2 follows the plot from the movie of the same name. Kinda. A lot of changes were made, more than any other previous Spider-man movie tie-in games, to the point that Gwen Stacy was removed altogether. In her place we get new takes on popular villains: Cletus Cassidy, Kraven and Fisk join the movie versions of Green Goblin and Electro. As for the resulting quality of the script... it's pretty bad. Some things happen out of thin air, like Max Dillon turning into Electro, and the story as a whole is pretty underwhelming, with plenty of loose threads never to be resolved.
 This core gameplay remains the same, which is to say, a Batman Arkham City clone. The game features a sand-box style Manhattan for Spidey to explore before tackling his next objective. Petty crime missions will pop up at every single second, these come in various forms: Rescuing hostages, rescuing people from burning buildings, stopping criminals or stopping gun fights. But they have been made extra annoying this time around. There's a new Hero/Menace gauge, and if you ignore crime for too long the Hero gauge will fall into 'Menace', which means that police will eventually start hunting you down because you're doing nothing. How does that make any sense? This makes collecting stuff in the overworld a pain in the rear, since the gauge will be decreasing at an almost constant rate, unless you engage in side-activities. And not only are they repetitive, every time you decide to tackle on of these, you will have to go through time-wasting cut-scenes before and after you clear it. Why they did it this way is beyond me, since previous Spider-man games integrated these missions seamlessly into the game. And just for kicks, after certain missions the game will automatically put you in Menace level, because why not screw with the player and have him work some more through repetitive missions and have him sit through inane cut-scenes?

 It's not all bad though. Swinging has been tweaked, and while it's still not as good as Treyarch's offerings, they brought a new interesting idea to the table: L2 shoots web with the left arm, and R2 with the right one, which makes swinging fun in a new way. It's still a bit slow for my taste, but I like the ingenuity. On the other hand, stealth has been gimped a bit, you can no longer simply stealth-takedown an enemy from the roof, you have to press L3 in order to perch down through a web-line and get close enough. Double stealth-takedowns are gone as well. But while Stealth is not as useful as before, Spider-man has gotten more durable and can heal at any time by holding down on the D-Pad. It takes a while, but if you can get an opening you're good to go.
 Combat offers more possibilities now as well. Just like before, it takes after Batman Arkham series, so you just mash square to land blows, and triangle to dodge when signs light up over Spider-man's head. New abilities include the Seismic shot, after Spider-man steals Shocker's technology, which is used to tumble heavy foes and allow them to be hit, or to knock down common enemies for a quick take-down. Sometimes two enemies will attack at once, requiring a double tap on the dodge button two, there're new nimble enemies that must be brought down by pulling them towards you, and enemies on gliders that require a similar strategy. All these new enemies and tools make for much more exciting combat, there're new combat challenges if you enjoy it, and clearing all 12 unlocks Superior Spider-man's suit!

 Suits are more prominent in these game, and plentiful. Each suit can be leveled up independently from the others, and each one has different perks. For instance, Spider-man 2099 is better suited for combat thanks to the bonuses on combat damage and resistance, while Scarlet Spider is better suited for side activities, thanks to resistance to blades and fire, as well as increased Hero point rewards.
 Look, The Amazing Spider-man's loading times could get pretty long, but if you're playing the sequel on the Playstation 3, oh boy, get ready to wait. A lot. Loading times can get pretty terrible. So add up to the total waiting time, the game sure loves making the player wait, eh!

 I wish I could say that The Amazing Spider-man 2 is better than the previous game, but I can't. While the combat and the swinging are way better than before, the rest of the design choices are so... poor. The Hero/Menace system is a way to annoy the player and waste his time, as well as having the player endure the 'presentation' and 'result' cut-scenes before and after each side activity, breaking the overall flow of the game. As much as I love having a Superior Spider-man costume, as well as finally having tear and wear reflect on Scarlet Spider's costume.... I'd go with the previous game if I needed an Amazing Spider-man fix.
 5.0 out of 10


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