Can you save them from your gift?

The Amazing Spider-Man for PlayStation Vita kicks off where the movie of the same name ends, thrusting you into a continuance of Peter Parker’s interaction with Dr. Connors (the Lizard), Gwen Stacey and Oscorp.

As Peter Parker/Spider-Man, you’re sent out into New York City to protect the innocent, web up the guilty and avert the enemy-laden crime wave that’s about to kick off (as usual). This time around though, an infection has broken out and is threatening to turn the city’s population into half-human, half-animal mutant hybrids (think Spider-Man… with eight legs). Being that you’re Spider-Man, you’re immune to this infection; the factual reason? The resulting mutation is the same one that you’ve already undergone, though you seem to be the exception to the rule – in that you’re only a freak on the inside. As such, it’s your duty (along with the help of Gwen and Dr. Connors) to stop this infection, reverse the effects, and save as many citizens as possible.

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Drop kick, my mutant Scorpion friend!

In light of this outbreak, certain people have quickly changed into these hybrids and you’ll encounter them along the way. Some of the bigger enemies you’re graced with include; Scorpion, Rhino, Vermin (a rat hybrid?), Nattie (a piranha hybrid), the Lizard (Dr. Connors’ alter ego), a woman with ninja reflexes named Felicia (is she another perfect hybrid like you?) and an inside player which I won’t spoil  (story related). That isn’t to say that there aren’t a ton of minions, crazy people, drones, snipers and even three massive “spider-killer” robots after you – but that’s just part of your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man’s daily routine, I suppose.

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The game itself is laid out quite well; an open world (sort of), some level progression (done through XP), a set of upgradable moves, and amazing physics make this one a joy to play (or should, but we’ll get to that later). The swinging, diving, web-zipping and targeting are pretty spot on – giving an almost seamless experience as you transition from one move to another. The spider-sense infused web-zip is actually one of my favourite additions to the game, as it can be used either as a quick travel maneuver or a way to launch yourself at an enemy for an attack. The fighting itself is a bit thin (using only square for attacks, circle for webbing and triangle for dodge aside from web-rush), though combining certain attacks can make for some unique moves and devastating specials.

Upon completion of certain tasks (and the game), you’re awarded a few extra perks as well – more for vanity’s sake than anything though. Completing select tasks will net you different Spider-Man suits, from traditional to bizarre – some of which I quite like (the Future Foundation one in black and white for example). They offer no advantages over the regular suit, but they’re pretty snazzy to say the least.

Completing the game takes a different reward route though, giving you control over the weather and time of day. If you’ve completed the main story-line, you can actually choose the weather or time of day by picking from a list of pre-programmed options when exiting your apartment. These include day, ashen, dawn, night, dusk, overcast and sunset; each of which gives a different feel to navigating the city. I must admit, some of these options are pretty cool despite their lack of usefulness.

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Look at the difference between Spidey and his metal opponent; it’s night and day.

Graphically, this game is a mixed bag. The character models seem on par with a decent PlayStation 3 title, though the scenery is PlayStation 2 level. There are jaggies all over the place, the draw distance sucks, and it drops frames like a bowler – but there are a few beautiful scenes dropped in here and there. It’s definitely not a great looking game over all, but I’d say it’s decent enough that you can forgive the ugliness if it’d just stop dropping frames…

The background music fits the game perfectly, and sound effects are clear and timely – though the variations are a bit on the low side (read; the sound effects may get repetitive). I expect that it was a concession they had to make for game size reasons, though I can’t be sure. The lip-sync also leaves a lot to be desired, as mouths don’t match the words (or even move, sometimes) and it takes away from the “magic” of getting lost in what’s going on.

The game itself is quite good underneath, but the graphical issues paired with the longer than 30-second loading times (in a lot of areas) mean that it’s just not good enough to be great. I’m not sure how long it is if you stick to the main story, but doing all the side missions as well took me about 10 hours total so it’s not short if you’re interested in the full package – though there’s none of the DLC for the PS3 version available from what I can tell.

The things that hold The Amazing Spider-Man back are things that can be fixed. If the developer puts a little elbow grease into a patch and releases the DLC, I have high hopes for the future of this title on the Vita. For now though, I’d only jump in if you’re a fan of Spider-Man and just have to have it, or are looking for a bit of open world action/adventure and don’t care about some hiccups here and there.

It’s also worth noting that while I haven’t played The Amazing Spider-Man on any other console, I’m told it’s very true to the original in content and isn’t stripped down like most handheld release versions of major console titles.

Here’s some of my more majestic screenshots;

  • André Rocha

    I never felt the need to try this game, not even on ps3, seen a lot of gameplay videos and always thought I wouldn’t get much fun playing it. Great read Kyle.

  • Devin Hudson

    As it is now it looks like it could be a decent purchase once it hits the bargain bin, but I can’t see myself picking it up now at full price and with so many other great games releasing at the moment.

    • Brian Sharon

      I’m with you Devin. My barometer for super hero games is “do you feel like the character?” and it looks like The Amazing Spiderman does make you feel that way; despite it’s lackluster visuals and campaign.

    • WhyWai

      agreed. there are too many greater games to play at the moment.

  • Jeff Masser

    Yeah, I ended up picking this up. Shame that the graphics are so bad, the rest of the game is serviceable, but it just doesn’t feel up to the same quality as the last Beenox Spider man game. The people that ported it to the Vita were probably rushed to put this out, thus the sub-par graphics. The game was probably rushed for the holiday season to give parents something to buy their kids if they get them Vitas, just a shame that this might be the first game some people play on the Vita.

    I agree with the score, I personally gave it a 7 on my metacritic user review. I’m happy with it, overall.. it’ll be a fun ride towards the platinum, although you’ve got to collect like 700 comic book pages!

    • Kyle Wakeling

      I know! I’m at like 200 pages and 73% of the way to platinum having been all over the city a ton of times. It’s going to take me a while to get there unless I grind it.

      • Jeff Masser

        Damn.. that’s pretty intimidating, I knew it would be tough to do, especially since when you’re swinging through the city and it prompts you to push L to get the page, you don’t fly right to it, you end up having to search for it, LOL.

        . I started my first playthrough on super hero difficulty and I’m having a tough time with one of the levels… so I’m going to hold off on the pages for a short while.

        I’m actually working on the Tearaway Plat at the moment too! Trying to get probably the toughest trophy in that game right now which is making it through “the tear” without losing a stamp… after that, I’ve only got to find the rest of the presents and I’m there…

        • Kyle Wakeling

          Finished up the pages today. It took me a while, but the nice thing is when you hit 500 pages it gives you a sort of radar; you can see nearby pages on the map as yellow blips. 😉

          • Jeff Masser

            Wow, that’s great to hear, wonder why it doesn’t kick in until 500, though? Congrats on the pages, did you get the platinum yet?

          • Kyle Wakeling

            No, I’m at 76% right now. Still have to go back and get some collectibles and do Superhero mode. 🙁

          • Jeff Masser

            Yeah, superhero mode isn’t really all that terrible, you die after like 2 or three hits, but you’ve just got to evade at the right moment. I’m stuck at a point right now. I rather enjoy the outdoor areas compared to the indoor… wish more of the game was out in the city, those battles are pretty fun.

    • Trent Berlinger

      The graphics don’t look that bad. I think the game looks pretty good. Some jaggeds but I liked it a lot. One of my favorite PS Vita games in recent time, other than Ys, which I’ve barely struck into.

      Spider-Man was a lot of fun, and I liked almost everything about it, when I played and wrote my own personal review on it at Gfaqs and PSIndependent.

      • Jeff Masser

        The graphics aren’t terrible, but compared to games like Killzone Mercenary, they’re pretty bad. Especially since it’s a console port that could have looked like the original with some extra work… it just feels like a rushed port, although it is pretty fun.

        Not only that, but I got to see remote play yesterday and to see ps4 games running smoothly on a vita, there’s no excuse for games to look like they’re ps2/psp era quality on the vita.

        • Kyle Wakeling

          Just to clarify, with remote play you’re not actually running the PS4 game on the Vita, it’s more like the Vita is a dualshock controller and has a mini TV attached; the Vita only sends out controller input and receives the game as a video stream (like watching a 100% live broadcast).

          That said, the Vita is more than capable of running this game at a solid 30fps with better graphics than this. It should be fixed with a patch, IMO.

          • Trent Berlinger

            I highly doubt they would completely re-do the visuals in a patch or update. It looks fine and plays well the way it is. Is the Vita capable of more than this? Yes. The same could be said about nearly all Vita games on the market. Not very many games will ever do the highest quality and most extensive software the system is capable of handling.

          • Kyle Wakeling

            I meant that the frame rate should be fixed with a patch, since if the Vita’s capable of better than this, 30fps shouldn’t be too hard comparatively.

          • Jeff Masser

            I understand that, what I’m trying to say more or less is that the Vita screen is capable of handling much more intense visuals.

            Amazing Spider man probably won’t get a patch, but it would be nice… it really does need it, the game is almost painful to look at..LOL.

            But it is fun, which is all that really matters, and the graphics are “adequate”.

  • Lester Paredes

    I rather enjoy the game, Kyle, but your criticisms are spot on. With a bit more time and effort this could have been… wait for it… Amazing (couldn’t resist)! Still, as it stands, it’s a good game, a very good game in my opinion. It’s been in my Vita since I got it and I’m enjoying the game thoroughly, though the warts that I notice do make me sigh and wish it was better put together. Mercenary (the team that ported it) did a pretty good job. If they had been given more time, I’d be that much more than just Spider-Man himself would look awesome. Hopefully, they’ll be allowed to do a patch to improve framerate and maybe release that DLC. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to my corner and wish Warner Brothers decided to give their Batman game this treatment instead of the , 3DS port with better graphics.

  • aros

    I do quite want this game but am worried about the frame rate problems, I can make do with the graphics as Spider-Man 2 on PS2 was excellent but if the frame rate problem is biggest when swinging around the city it’s a shame as that’s the best bit.

    • Kyle Wakeling

      I agree, I very much hope that Mercenary Technologies takes another look and fixes some of these issues that have arisen in their port.

    • Trent Berlinger

      The frame rate problem is not anywhere near game-breaking. Just a little annoyance every so often.

  • Niktig183

    How do u get negative zone suit???
    Please help!