Amazing Spider-man. Amazing, perhaps, in the fact that it’s taken this long to get the PS Vita version out there. Amazing, also, that pretty much everything in the PS3 version is right here, including open world web swinging and big boss battles with huge enemies.
Like the console version, Spider-man on Vita has the full story, set just after the movie takes place (and therefore containing some pretty major spoilers). It plays out through a series of corridor roaming, puzzle and stealth sections and open world GTA style mini-missions, interspersed with huge open air boss battles, as well as some enclosed claustrophobic ones.
Web Swinging is satisfyingly easy here but no less effective than the best Spider-man games, with plenty of room for some nice stunt work and, of course, those jumps off incredibly high buildings.
Combat also feels solid, borrowing a trick or two from the recent Batman games with only a few buttons needed to pull off some neat combo moves.
What is not so amazing, however, is the way the game plays on Sony’s handheld. With great powerful game engines comes great responsibility, particularly if you’re the one porting it over to a smaller and less technically proficient machine. This seems to have been forgotten in the drive to get every last bit of gameplay in to the Vita version.
While the graphical shine of the city and detail in the enemies remains impressive, getting everything moving is where the game sticks to its own webbing and gets caught like a fly. At times it slows to a crawl, and not a web-crawl either, and this simply breaks any action setpieces currently being played out.
The effects of the obviously un-optimised engine also bear heavy on the fights, leading to missed punches and ducks and making the whole thing a bit of a mess. Which is a big shame because the beginning of the game shows little sign of this and certainly makes everything feel as impressive as Spider-man should have been on Sony’s handheld. it’s when you finally get out into the open world and when the game starts to bombard you with too many enemies or movable objects that it all breaks down.
Yet when it works, it works well and I found myself forgiving the game for its faulty sections, just because the rest of it is so impressive. In fact, you could argue that it makes the game a little harder, no bad thing given the original’s fairly quick progression through the story.
Upgradable web powers and moves, boss battles that impress and a good story go some way to save Amazing Spider-man from the pit it could have crawled into thanks to the coding. It’s still worth a play and still looks and feels impressive for a handheld game, it’s just that the consoles did it better.