In The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on the Wii U, players will play as Spider-Man’s citizen alter-ego persona as you investigate the motivations of multifaceted villains. The game contains a wide cast of Spider-Man universe and movie villains, each with their own unique boss battle encounters. New web-swing mechanic includes expanded web-shooter capabilities and chemical properties that allow you to freeze and blow up items on impact. Explore and take on villains in a more expansive Manhattan cityscape than the previous Amazing Spider-Man. “Hero or Menace” system rewards you for acting as Spider-Man by stopping crime and saving citizens, but face the consequences if you don’t keep down crime rates.
Super Gamer Dude
When a hardcore gamer sees that a 'licensed' product, their likely reaction is to be something between revulsion and/or passive aggressive detest. These products are normally rushed, usually buggy, and with few exceptions cash-ins pushed out the door to strike while the 'iron is hot'. Thankfully, games like The Chronicles of Riddick, the recent Batman series, and even the venerable Goldeneye have proven that licensed quality can be had if games are made with the right goals in mind. Unfortunately, Beenox's fourth foray into the Spider-Man universe (among many other tie-in games), fairs about as well as one would expect amidst little change, rushed development, and a release across seven platforms that run four different generations deep.
Dating back to the well-liked Spider-Man 2, the series has been an open world staple and this iteration is no exception. Players can emulate their spidey hero and swing to their heart's content while finding missions and unearthing various collectibles along the way. This freedom delivers tangible thrills to the player but the newness doesn't have quite the same appeal, and because it hasn't really changed since the early 2000s (we're talking 2002), it can feel like an exercise in redundancy. Sure, the fidelity of the city and the animation have improved, but the sensation of flight has aged into mundanity despite its superhuman trappings.
Aside from this selling point, and it definitely is to fans, the game offers a host of collectibles and a ton of missions to pursue. In order to hit all of these side missions and goals, players are offered up a more robust combat system that attempts to borrow the look and feel of the newer Batman titles. Sadly, there's little added nuance within the increased complexity of the mechanics, and while there's a move set to expand and some experimentation to be had, players can easily dial back to a couple of simple, and early-available combos. Why press seven buttons and swivel the analog stick twice when you can mash X and accomplish the same result more efficiently?
However, a bright spot in regards to the open world traversal are the hidden collectables strewn throughout. While their placement bounces between arbitrary corners and un-ironically lazy, these items actually give players a reason to look around. Not only are devotees given expansions to their move sets, they're also afforded neat pieces of Spider-Man lore and nuggets of outright fan service. This is a certifiable bright spot amongst the familiarity of the title, and if anything, should represent a selling point to die-hard Spider-Man fans.
Aesthetically, the game is fluid and presentable but caught between generations. If you're looking for a next generation showpiece look elsewhere. Really, on any level, it doesn't do any of the systems it's on a great service (considering the stretch of development platforms should we be surprised?). Aurally, the game carries itself okay; fitting in one-liners and an acceptable score that helps to not let the buildings blend together. The best way to describe the presentation here, outside of the mediocre story replication, is serviceable. It gets the job done between moments, but it does not, in any way, add to or enrich the experience.
On the whole, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a forgettable experience. It's charms are few, its trappings are many, and as a fourth go-round for a developer it puts forth many of the qualities that gamers have grown to dislike about licensed products. There isn't much growth here, and it would be a difficult proposition to suggest that there is a light at the end of the tunnel if this continues. Still, collectibles are the highlight here and while some may argue that's a valid point to fans; this game is made for those looking for a Spider-Man experience, not for those looking to relive it for the umpteenth time in new fidelity. As it is, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not worth its full asking price (on any platform), and it will only serve those absolutely desperate for their spider-fix.