A long time has passed since my last “real” article on this blog. With Tony trying to clear his neverending backlog and myself now constantly involved in a different project, I know some of you have started to feel lost in gameland, with no easy way out.
For this I apologize and, while I have to admit that my “project” will keep me significantly away from this blog at least until next September, I promise I’ll try to put out some new articles more often than in the recent past.
So here I am today, almost tieing-in with one of my latest entries: The Amazing Spider-Man, now showing Chapter2!
As usually happens when a new blockbuster movie comes out, a (hopefully) blockbuster game sees the light. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 succeeds in being a better title than the previous installment of the saga, yet …. we are still waiting for a REAL superheroes game able to REALLY compete with Batman from Rocksteady.
Unlike the first chapter, which started from the end of the first movie, the present one is more of a spin-off, with Peter Parker still searching for Uncle Ben’s murderer. In his quest for justice (revenge?), Peter crosses his path with a new psychopath, the “Carnage Killer”, and finds an unexpected help in “Kraven”, a Russian hunter moved from a peculiar sense of law and order, of challenge and reward, of life and death.
I won’t tell you at this moment how the main plot unfolds (I haven’t finished the game yet), but what I’ve seen so far is not that bad. It is always fun spinning webs downtown Manhattan, the mechanics now bound to two different buttons: X+L2 if you are trying to spin to the left, X+R2 if that ledge you are looking for is on your right. The movement is fairly difficult at the start since is not that easy to swing in mid-air as before, but I guess it can be very rewarding once you get the hang of it.
Textures are generally much more detailed (although not jawbreaking like other titles) and it is not so easy to land a stealth “kill” (immobilization) like in the first chapter.
Combat sections are fairly good, with a fighting system which closely remembers the still unmatched “free flow combat system” from Rocksteady’s Batman. Too bad the enemy AI is sometimes embarrassing: I was just sitting on top of a ledge watching three thugs trying to walk while directly facing a wall!
As far as the free-roaming part is concerned, there are a lot of similarities with most of the preceding titles: you have to save civilians from burning buildings (no Oscoprp infected people to cure anymore), prevent bombs to explode, fight various type of crimes (robberies, kidnapping …) and seek for those nice pictures J.J. Jonah Jameson will be more than happy to pay (NOT!). Success in your quests will help raise your hero attitude, while failure will put you in danger, with Oscorp/Kingpin private police ready to hunt you down for a felony. You can also enter Stan Lee’s comics store and have a chat with him or take a look at collectibles (comics, action figures etc).
Swinging around New York will give you a chance to visit familiar places. The environment is a little bigger and more detailed than before (looking up to the sky will reveal high altitude flying airplanes condensation trails) but for some reason, I still feel constrained inside invisible boundaries. Spinning webs in Spider-Man 2 (PS2) still feels more satisfying to me.
A final word must be spent on the story mechanics. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 introduces “interactive dialogs” where, like in other titles (“Beyond”, just to name one) you can choose what to say and in which order. None of this will really change anything, and the story really progresses in a pretty linear fashion.
In the end, although I did not really like the first installment and despite a few flaws, I can safely say that this title is not a bad product at all: there is more to do and it is better done. Spinning webs are always fun, and I do hope there will soon come the day in which a Spider-Man title will be able to look at Rocksteady’s Batman and say: “This time I am the winner”.
Thank you for reading.