"The Amazing Spider-Man" hits theaters this week, and while some fans are still skeptical about seeing a "reboot" this soon in the franchise, excitement abounds to see what director Marc Webb can do with it.
Likewise, a shift has come to Activision’s "Spider-Man" franchise — a return to the open-ended world exploration that worked so well in "Spider-Man 2" and "Ultimate Spider-Man" from years before.
You can play it on the the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 ($60), Wii ($50) and the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3Ds for ($30).
In this adventure, which follows on the events of the film (thus kind of spoiling it – you’ve been warned), Spider-Man battles Alestar Smythe, the new head of Oscorp Corporation. Smythe continues the research of scientist Curt Connors, who was working on crossbreeding before becoming the Lizard. It isn’t long before chaos reigns in New York City, with people getting infected by the thousands – including Spidey’s girl, Gwen.
"Amazing Spider-Man" features an open-ended New York City just ripe for exploring, whether it’s tracking down hidden comic books (which you can actually read within the game – perfect for collectors) or stopping petty criminals who threaten innocent civilians. There are plenty of story missions too, including ones surrounding the mysterious Connors, as well as troublesome reporter Whitney Chang, who’s digging up a few conspiracies of her own.
Being able to complete the game however you see fit is part of the fun, but the game has managed to nail down the feeling of being Spider-Man. You’ll feel every zip-lining and web swing as the hero in the film. Using the new Web Rush ability, you can look through his eyes and decide where you want to go next. The developers did a superb job with this, though there are times the controls can be tricky – like when you’re trying to battle a fast-moving aerial foe.
Amazing certainly describes the in-game graphics, with a fantastic virtually rebuilt New York City. Spidey’s animations are great, too, as he flips through the air and swings like a champ. Sometimes the camera can be problematic, like when you’re trying to see enemies behind you, but it’s a minor issue. The voice acting is great too, though no actors from the film were used. Keep an ear open for Nolan North, from the "Uncharted" series, as Smythe.
While the adventure does come to an end sooner rather than we'd like, "The Amazing Spider-Man" provides the kind of open-ended action we haven’t seen since Batman cleaned up "Arkham City" months ago. Though not as polished as that game, this is a wonderful follow-up to the film – and a title certainly worth swinging with.
RATING: 3 / 4
Follow Robert Workman on Twitter @TheDCD
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