The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - PlayStation 4 User Review
'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' on the PlayStation 4 is a video game adaptation of this rebooted Spider-Man universe. It is the sequel to the first 'Amazing Spider-Man' which was released in 2012. Developed by Beenox and published by Activision, this game had a lot to live up to when it released. Despite the film getting lukewarm reviews we came into the experience with our hearts hopeful. Though technically the two releases had nothing to do with Garfield's portrayal, the fact that their releases coincided the films did not leave me shocked.
Spider-Man has always been one of the most bankable superheroes in the world of comic books. Thanks to his entertaining back story and long history in comic book format, there was no reason not to think that the character would survive for a new generation of fans. Tobey McGuire brought Spider-Man to life on the big screen and then the series was once again adapted with Andrew Garfield in the lead.
Diehard fans need only apply.
One of the defining traits of the Spider-Man franchise is the fact that it is so entertaining for the casual fan. You don't have to be a comic book collecting mega-fan to understand the character and enjoy his exploits. The nerdy highschooler turned super hero is easy to understand and, in general, fun to root for. Still, that ease of entertainment can only carry one so far and we found that the more we played 'TAS2' the less likely we were to suggest it to casual fans of the IP. We'll dig into why that is the case here soon, but first let's find out what exactly this game is about.
Not quite the film.
if you go into 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' for the PS4 expecting a rehash of the Summer blockbuster then you are in for a disappointment. There is very little same between the two properties outside of how their releases coincide. While the film wanders around aimlessly, the video game is focused on a central plot point.
We start the game in full blown dark mode. Dennis Carradine, the man who killed Uncle Ben, has been murdered by a serial killer known only as the 'Carnage Killer'. At face value this should be an act that brings some sort of peace to Peter Parker but his Spider-Man persona can't sit idly by and he knows that he needs to capture the Carnage Killer and bring him into Ravencroft, the Marvel version of Arkham.
While Spidey is dedicated to finding the Carnage Killer we get to learn a little bit about Oscorp's latest machinations. Oscorp Tower gets attacked and this forces Harry Osborn to react in full measure. He begins to develop an 'Enhanced Crime Task Force' in cooperation with ultra rich baddie Wilson Fisk. Fisk pushes Osborn to sell his company but Harry rebuffs him. Fisk decides to use his knowledge of Harry's degenerative disease as part of his waiting game. This is where the video game ties briefly into the movie. Harry begs Peter to help get some of Spider-Man's blood, thinking it will save him from his life killing disease. Peter rejects and things go from bad to worse.
The story highlights everything that we love about the Spider-Man franchise. We get to meet intriguing characters, larger than life villains, and we get o learn more about the mind behind the mask of Spider-Man. The game, for the most part, captures these elements and puts them on screen for us in a way that is appealing. This is largely why we would avoid suggesting the game to casual fans. There is just way too much going on for them to keep up with the story or, at the very least, to appreciate it all. But forget about all of that, let's get into the web slinging.
Spider-Man has never been so fun.
One of the highlights of the Beenox Spider-Man series has been its loyalty to the joy that Peter Parker gets out of web slinging across the city. In 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' the developers decided to push players ever further by making the webslinging aspect of the game more realistic. Instead of mindlessly shooting webs out you need to be more strategic. You need to shoot for buildings that are taller than you and you have to be at least reasonably close to take advantage of them. This gameplay mechanic helps for a more immersive experience but it is terribly frustrating when you are first trying to learn the game.
'TASM2' once again pushes Spidey into a sandbox style environment. You are put into the giant city of New York and for the most part the experience lives up to the epic town. Swinging through the city you will get epic views of the skyline and the streets below. If you can see it then you can get there and that was half of the fun that we had while playing the game. There was something liberating about swinging through the city while looking for crime to stop. Sometimes we forgot to even look for the crime.
When you do find crime you will switch into traditional Spidey fighting mode. Using a mixture of web slinging abilities and beat 'em up techniques, you will be forced to do combat with groups of thugs. The combat itself was simple to the point of monotony and it was here that we felt like we were left most wanting. Sure this makes the game more accessible but it also hurts the commitment of more advanced players. The more crimes you stop the higher your reputation as Spider-Man will climb. Do these side quests to fill up your reputation bar or focus on the storyline itself and push through to the end. Just for reference, were you to play the story line straight through then the game would only take you about 7 or 8 hours to complete.
On the whole we found 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' for the PS4 to be a fulfilling experience for fans of the franchise. The game doesn't blow us away and the series probably never will, but there was still some fun to be had.