Game Review: Amazing Spider-Man 2

spider 2

This summer, audiences will be able to watch The Amazing Spider-Man 2, starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and more. If you can’t wait for the film,  Activision has your back with a video game tie in to hold you over- sort of.


Amazing Spider-Man 2 the game starts with you as Peter Parker on the night his uncle, Ben Parker is shot and killed. The game then flashes forward somewhere in time between the first and second films, with Peter still looking for the thief who killed his uncle. With out spoiling too much, the game then proceeds to meander through encounters with main-stay villains in the Spider-Man universe such as The Kingpin, Kraven The Hunter, Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin, and even a somewhat disappointing bout with Carnage.

The story is pretty standard fare, but everything flows along at a decent pace and nothing seems too far out of place. There are certainly moments that feel like they are just there to connect to and expand on portions of what will be seen in the film, however they are decently done enough that even without having seen the movie the game stands on its on.

While the story itself isn’t terrible, the same can not be said for the games dialogue. During my play-through, I encountered multiple issues with lip-syncing and Spidey developed a penchant for repeating the same three or four bad insults over and over during combat.  This problem is exacerbated during the games boss battles, particularly the encounter with Kingpin. After hearing the same fat joke the fourth time in a row, I gave up and muted my T.V. I know Spider-Man is supposed to be snarky and make all sharp witted quips at every opportunity, but the ones included are so dull and there are so few of them it goes against what might have been the writer and developers intentions.

Graphics & Sound:

While the movie version of Amazing Spider-Man 2 will feature a host of well known and capable actors on the silver screen, the game doesn’t quite have the same luxury. The voice actors do a passable job, with the only standout being Fred Tatasciore as Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson,  however none of the scenes in the game really come across as well acted. This could in part be due to the fact that none of the character models in game seem capable of showing any real emotion. Most just stare straight ahead and move their lips mostly in time with whats being said.

Visually speaking, the game doesn’t look half bad. It’s certainly not going to win any awards, but I didn’t have any issues with textures and buildings popping in and out of the screen, and all of the games collectible spider-suits look great. I did notice some issues where characters would get caught inside of solid objects, especially during fights in tight spaces, however these issues were never anything that broke the game or ruined the experience for me.


Gameplay in Spider-Man 2 is broken up into three main elements: combat, exploration and stealth. Anyone who has played Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham series should be instantly familiar with most of these aspects of the game. While it is true that if you are going to emulate someone else, you may as well look to what works, Amazing Spider-Man 2 falls just short of the titles it takes inspiration from in almost every way.

Combat is handled through timed button presses and flows very smoothly, with the web slinger zipping all over the screen to deliver punches, kicks and counter-attacks to the faces of bad guys. The game adds a slight bit of depth with heavy and light enemy types, both requiring you to change your tactics as you do battle with large groups. The real distinction between this game and the Arkham titles is that the combat doesn’t feel solid enough. Anyone who has played the Batman titles can attest that each punch thrown looks and sounds very real and very painful, and that impact is not exactly present in this game.

Much like the rest of the game, exploration is this game is very much a mixed bag. On the one hand, simply swinging through New York is a breeze once you get used to the new control scheme, where the left and right triggers determine which hand Spider-Man shoots his web from, and therefore which direction you can swing in. While in the free-roam modes of the game, you can’t swing unless there is something for your web to latch on to however during the games missions, where that open city luxury is closed off, the game is a bit more lenient, letting you swing about no matter what might or might not be above you.

The downfall of the exploration system in this game is the web zip maneuver, which in theory lets you quickly move to a specific location on the screen. In practice this method of transportation is significantly faster than your standard web swing, but it’s also considerably less reliable. More than once I died because the zip either over shot where I was aiming for or failed to move me at all, leaving me stuck in an awkward position being shot at by multiple enemies at once. Eventually I gave up on the quick zip function and began holding the button to more precisely line up where I wanted to go, however having to constantly slow down the game took a lot of the tension out of some moments that could have been truly epic to play and in general made travelling more of a chore than it needed to be, more so because even when using the slowed down version of the move, you could still miss your target altogether.

The most unfortunate aspect of Amazing Spider-Man 2  for me was the introduction of stealth elements. A number of times throughout the game you are placed in large rooms with lots of space for vertical movement and tasked to eliminate a room full of bad guys. The problem with these sections is that Spider-Mans arsenal of tricks for these situations is very limited. These rooms basically devolve into you hiding on the ceiling and hoping not to get spotted by the inconsistent enemy AI while you pick of enemies one at a time, either by hanging behind them or dropping directly behind them for an instant stealth take down. These sections once again reminded me very much of the Arkham series they seek to emulate, but since your plan of attack for these situations is so limited and Spider-Man doesn’t have all of the gadgets and tricks to confuse and take down enemies, nor do you have the plethora of hiding spots to plan ambushes from, these sections were more of a chore than anything. Outside of a few side missions that unlock new costumes, where total stealth is required, I eventually just game up on being sneaky and started openly attacking enemies to clear rooms faster and move on to the next thing.

One final aspect of gameplay that deserves a mention is the Hero and Menace meter. Early in the game a special task force is deployed to fight crime and deal with vigilantes in New York. With them comes the new Hero/Menace feature. The gist of this mechanic is that by taking time to do side missions like beating up petty thugs or saving people inside of burning buildings and so on. The heroic acts you do fill up the heroic side of the meter and when that side is at least partially filled, the task force won’t bother you. Ignoring side events causes the menace side of the meter to fill and it doesn’t take too long before everywhere you turn robots with machine guns are chasing you, giant electrical grids block your path as you try to swing, and citizens start to heckle you. It’s an interesting concept, but it feels forced. By the later portions of the game you start chapters with your Menace level fairly high, even if by the end of the chapter before you had a full Heroic bar. This feature also exists after you’ve beaten the game as well, meaning if you want to wait until after you’ve beaten the game  to start hunting for all the collectible comic books and audio logs, you’ll have to take breaks from your hunting to do these side missions so  you can work in peace.


Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t a bad game, in fact for all of its faults, I actually enjoyed most of it. Simply moving through New York is actually quite fun, and once the electric nets pop up to stop you, the city actually becomes a pretty fun obstacle course. There is a on of stuff to collect, from comics to figures, even suits from across the expanded Spider-Man universe which are sure to give long time fans a treat. If you wanted to pick up a Spider-Man game, you could certainly do much worse than this one, however you could also do a whole lot better.