The Amazing Spider-Man 2 review: shortened swing

By Robert Workman, May 15, 2014 8:30am PDT

For years, Beenox has established a pretty loyal following with its Spider-Man games, although it seems to fare better with more original efforts like Shattered Dimensions and Edge of Time than it does with movie-licensed fare. It continues to prove this theory with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It tries hard to soar high into the sky, only to come crashing down to Earth under the weight of poor decisions.

As with previous games, Amazing Spider-Man 2 lets you free roam across the city, taking on petty crimes as you so choose to increase a good reputation in-between main story missions. Along the way, you can make other stops as well, including a comic book shop that gathers all your collectibles for you to ogle at any time, including comic books and figurines.

It's a solid open-world hub, but it comes with some drawbacks. Controlling Peter Parker is no fun at all, as you basically have to explore locations on foot, ask forced questions in conversations with people (yes, Aunt May, you're sad, we get it) and take pictures of objects--which is more painstaking than you might think, thanks to Parker's finicky nature.

Some of Spidey's missions can also be a drag, like the car rescues. That's because these rely on push-button antics to take out thugs and rescue hostages, rather than real-time reliance on controls. It can get old after a while, to the point that you'd prefer the car to just leave your sight. That's not the Spider-Man way.

The new dual-swing system allows Spidey to use both hands to thwip webs and get around, and for the most part, it's smooth. That is, until the game's glitches come into play, resulting in odd drags across rooftops and colliding with buildings and losing perspective with your intended location altogether.

That also addresses a bigger problem with the game– glitches. Too often, I saw thugs disappearing into walls and swings go bad with Spidey, as a result of rushed programming so that the game would make it out on time. For good measure, the camera also seems to be Spidey's biggest enemy--yes, even more so than Kingpin. At some points, you're crawling along a wall and then, for some reason, it decides to warp behind you, making you lose perspective almost entirely.

If you can overcome these hitches, the other components continue to work well. While not as smooth as Batman: Arkham City, the combat is still decent, especially when Spidey unleashes signature moves and takes on boss characters like Venom and Kingpin. Collecting comic books and other items around the city can be fun as well, especially for completionists who want to go after everything.

The presentation doesn't really go leaps and bounds over prior efforts, but, glitches aside, New York City still looks nice both from a distance and up close, and the little Spidey animations are spot-on with the comics. However, his quips get old really quick. Hearing him spout out the same insults over and over again doesn't make him cocky, but instead arrogant. Sometimes, Spidey just needs to learn to shut up.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 continues to swing with energy, but you can see some of the strain peeking out of his suit. Between the glitches from rushed development and some unnecessary gameplay segments (go…away…Peter!), it's not nearly as good as Beenox's other efforts. Here's to hoping that for the next game, Activision lets this team run wild on something inventive and new. Certainly couldn't hurt this web-slinger's chances.

Final Score: 6 out of 10.

This review is based on downloadable Xbox One code provided by the publisher. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is available now on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and Wii U. The game is rated T.

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