The Amazing Spider-man game on iOS and Android was a bit of a surprise with its fluid web swinging, impressive graphics and quicktime based action. Can the second game improve on the formula?
While reviews are mixed about the movie, Gameloft’s game of the film wastes no time in getting into the thick of the action and you’ll soon find out just how busy a spider can be, stopping car thefts, rescuing young ladies from theives and helping injured people to the hospital and those are just the side quests.
The neat thing about all of these are that they often move the story along. As before the side quests are coloured in red and the main quests are coloured blue, but you’ll need to undertake a certain amount of these red sequences to unlock a new story part, as well as keeping the city happy.
The importance of a happy city is certainly something you’ll want to keep in mind, wiith a bar swinging each way, but there’s so much else going on that you’ll probably pass it by. The story-line is enough of a driver to keep you playing.
Even the controls feel pretty good at first, swinging through a nice looking city at speed or watching as the screen blurs when you fall to the ground (landing on your feet every time) is still exciting, as are the quicktime events which are actually pretty well thought out.
But then you start to notice the frame rate drops during battles, even on the latest hardware. This is particularly noticable when there’s a lot going on and especially during Mysterio’s arenas, unlocked after the first chapter and available as a score-beating challenge complete with an online leaderboard. They can play havok with the usually fluid fighting system and often cause you to lose a fight or take a lot of damage.
It’s not as if the whole game is that pretty. The Spider-man model and the buildings are great, but NPCs are a little awkwardly animated and look like they come from a game 5 years back. It’s just trying to do too many things at once, though.
Then there’s how the game works against your progress. Now this is a paid game so you’d expect the story to be unlocked from the start, but Gameloft have made some side missions locked until you gain a certain power. A multi-level skill tree requires you to gain coins to unlock each skill and some levels can only be played with a certain skill, forcing you to grind your way through endless car-jack situations to move on. It really breaks the fluidity of the game after the first hour’s play.
Yes, there are costumes which need to be paid for with cash, but that’s par for the course and while they boost your stats they’re not essential. It’s the skill tree that really spins Spidey up in his own web here.
Finally, you’ll need the internet on all the time to play this game. Yes, even the single player part that has nothing to do with online gaming. It’s a move that means game drop-outs are frequent and playing on the move is restrictive. We’re talking about a portable single player game here.
The underlying game in Amazing Spider-man 2 is certainly entertaining enough, but the restrictions hamper the overall experience and sour something that should have been amazing, turning it into the Annoying Spider-man instead.