Doing Fan Service Right: The Amazing Spider-Man

Loving both your children equally: how Activision is giving licensed games the original IP treatment.

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Let's face it, video game adaptations from films don't have the best reputation with players--and it's usually for good reasons. Many are vapid, shallow experiences created on the cheap to profit from unsuspecting suckers with an interest in the original source material. So you can imagine our surprise when, during a demo for the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man, we saw a film-tied game that wasn't about turning a quick buck, but rather about celebrating the history of one of Marvel's most recognisable faces. Here are five things we think this upcoming superhero game is doing to stand out from the crowd of mediocre cash-ins.

Strong ties to the source
Framed as an epilogue to the events of the upcoming cinematic reboot, the game takes place after the credits of the movie have rolled, but will continue the game's biological augmentation story. Where the character Rhino first appeared as a guy in a suit, here he's the real thing as a genetic hybrid of man and animal. This adherence to the Sony universe canon rather than Marvel's comic rules gives developer Beenox a chance to work closely with Sony Pictures to dovetail the two products together and in some cases even feed new ideas back into the film's world.

Fan service
The Amazing Spider-Man game builds on and nods to the game's rich comic legacy. Due to licensing issues, or other extenuating factors, some superhero games have been forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel with unlockable in-game collectibles. The results in the past have been 3D character models, concept art, or soundtracks. Marvel's newfound interest in digital comics has sparked the generosity torch, and because of this, The Amazing Spider-Man will offer fans 10 full, free digital comic books to collect page by page over the course of the adventure. Some can be found discarded on the streets of the city, while others float through the sky, requiring you to use all the abilities in your arsenal to locate and acquire them. The result is nearly a dozen full issues that can be read cover to cover through the game, and possibly online.

Lets players be Spider-Man
Developer Beenox felt that the distance between the world and the character model made for a disconnected, puppet-like experience. Its solution to make this a more intimate experience is to considerably increase the amount of the real estate Spidey takes up. Player information onscreen has been kept to an absolute minimum, with only a simple reticule used to mark your targets. Players who are after maximum immersion can remove this completely for a totally HUD-less look. There are no Web resources to manage, and that means Spidey can keep doing his thing wrapping up bad guys and swinging without ever having to consider reloading ammo or stopping for a rest.

Does whatever a spider can
The game's new Web Rush ability works two ways: it mimics Spider-Sense to draw attention to points of interest around the city that are perfect for those classic comic and film poses. Once engaged, players go into first-person mode and have the environment overlayed with orange locations marked. Selecting one performs a flashy set of leaps and swings to automatically take you to where you want to be. Web Rush can also be used to slow down time and give you a chance to react in the heat of combat.

Spider-Man is a swinger
Lastly, is swinging. While it might seem an obvious point, it's such an intrinsic piece of Spider-Man's look and feel that it's surprising it has taken this long to get such a solid implementation. There are no anchor points to search out and latch on to, and watching Spidey swing like a pendulum from the top of skyscrapers all the way to street level was slick and smooth, helping to convey a genuine sense of locomotion. Add this to Manhattan's open-world gameplay, and quests to discover, and the city felt more like a playground than a setting waiting to be conquered.

We're impressed with what we've seen of The Amazing Spider-Man so far. More importantly, it gives us hope for major publishers to put the same resourcing and care into its licensed properties as it does its own IP. The game will be webbing shelves in late June or early July to coincide with the film's release.

Discussion

43 comments
TxtBin
TxtBin

I'm sick of the idiots who continuously compare all superhero games to the Batman Arkham series and are quick to leave comments like "shoulda let Rocksteady do it, this is gonna flop, it's gonna suck" etc. Go play the game first, then come back and share your nonsense. You think you guys are suddenly correct just because the game is PUBLISHED by Activision? So just cause of this one factor, the game doesn't deserve to be appreciated? I have lost faith in the gaming community; made up predominantly of generic-FPS fans and the other half made of so-called 'gamers' who are quick to follow the sheep and follow anything such as hating any well-known publisher.

4us
4us

why ohhh why he swing on the sky.......... :/

Master_Vexov
Master_Vexov

Since Activision is doing it, its no wonder the game will be just eye-candy and the game based around the best of the idiots who pick up a controller(only when it comes to games i mean if anyone is insulted), I mean to say (in a nice way) that they will go the distance of making the game playable for someone who has never touched a video game before. The game is going to flop, they should have let the makers of Batman Arkham do it, Activision stopped carrying about how games turn out and only focus on resonibly playable games for $50-60.

Sekhemket
Sekhemket

Looks good to me, Only thing I don't like is it looks like the webs connect to the sky. That's disappointing but if the game is awesome everywhere else I can overlook that. Love the Arkham City combat!

Imperiusmax
Imperiusmax

Cool cant wait for it to come out. Havent had a good spidey game since the old ps1

craigmcclain
craigmcclain

amazing spiderman is cold but his web belt a web so he could swing in city

do amazing spiderman to relode

3kratos3
3kratos3

All I see is a web attaching to the sky. If they are worried about make this playable for kids they should remember that they mostly all play CoD and can handle those fast controls and buttons, so they could probably figure out how to swing around a city with some physics. Shame they are doing this to a game with potential. 

Paivaseiya
Paivaseiya

Really? you guys not see? The web rush slows time if you hold the buttom. If you pay attention there's like a aim with spiderman that if you only press R1 or Rb (the web rush buttom) spiderman will make web rush without the "freeze time". So relax people will be a great game XD

VonSohsten
VonSohsten

Webs attaching to the skybox (and the guy playing it tried his hardest not to let it show... anybody else smelled a scam attempt?)

 

Yeah... One question about that... WHY do they keep doing this??? I know 10-year-old little brats would have a hard frustrating time trying to get through it with a more realistically tricky swing system, but, then again, they will buy ANYTHING you throw a spidey face onto (specially after the movie lands).... thing is:  the same doesn't apply to the over 20's hardcore gamer.

 

This game will have died for me unless people say the storyline is ridiculously fun.

 

Still I think "Spider-Man 2" keeps it's title for another year...

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

Hmm... looks good but this guy is WAY over-selling it. From what I've seen in this demo, there's not really anything they haven't done before, it's just been refined and improved. Also saw quite a bit of screen tear going on, but this is only a demo so hopefully that will be sorted out before release.

 

All in all, I'm optimistic about the game.

Nickplays
Nickplays

If Activision really wants to do me a fan service and gain my trust in their company again i'm willing to sell out on the conditions that they re release X-Men legends 1 and 2 on the console arcade formats with full online co op support. 

TKandPBC
TKandPBC

Not a fan of the camera. The movement is headed in the right direction, but it looks a little awkward. Either way, now that Arkham City has set precedent, a good SpiderMan game should be in the cards. Just modify the grappling hook->glide mechanic and you really can't go wrong.

Kyrylo
Kyrylo

And....which of those weren'T in previous games aside from comics?

sknight175216
sknight175216

I love Spider-man!!! I can't wait for this game. I've literally played like every Spider-man game ha ha.

Nocturnal15
Nocturnal15

I don't like how automated Web Rush looks.

ultralesus
ultralesus

Spider-Man 2 was a great game for many people purely because of it's web-slinging mechanics. Since then it's been simplified and it's removed a lot from the later Spidey games, removing it almost completly from the last couple of titles.

 

As a life-long Spidey fan who has been waiting for a worthy sequel to Spider-Man 2 on Xbox, I sinceirly hope Amazing is going to put things right.

 

My own worry is that Web Rush will be too easy. Spider-Man 2 was satisfying when you connected everything together and swing seamlessly, managing to land on lamposts, walls and cars with skill.... Let's hope the skill factor is still there.

rmb199
rmb199

it doesnt look that great.. a lot of pop in and the fighting looks terrible

 

abnergoinbig
abnergoinbig

I cannot wait for this game. I already have it paid off!!!

TheDudeman420
TheDudeman420

Oh man, if anyone watched the video, the vest part about it is the level of excitement the game developer shows...LOOK AT HIS MOVES SO COOL!

 

yes, they are cool!

DarthLod
DarthLod

Get it done right, finally.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

A Spiderman game done right. Let's hope it pays off :)

sirkibble2
sirkibble2

It's about time they do Spider-Man right--hopefully.

jaispeed2007
jaispeed2007

 @Sekhemket Well, actually in the Animated Series, he did swing from the sky .. that was how the webs connected...

TxtBin
TxtBin

 @3kratos3 Go play the game before making assumptions. What you see is not what you feel in this game - the physics are very much there, and much improved upon Spider-man 2 which is considered to be the all-time best Spidey game.

Nikolajj
Nikolajj

 @3kratos3I agree. He is not swinging, just flying in a weird way...

Manji14
Manji14

 @VonSohsten Pretty much, and now Spidey seems to have the ability to freeze time and automatically swing to the place you pointed, perfect for idiots who want their games to play themselves.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

 @Nocturnal15 thats the point of web rush, its a quick travel and its optional, you can swing where you want to go manually if you want to. Its sorta like how you can open you map and quick travel to anywhere in skyrim, or if you want you can walk there.

Np_Pro
Np_Pro

 @ultralesus unfortunately you, like myself, will be disappointed, i fear. from the demo i watched, the web-swinging appears to be the major old-school "webs-magically-attach-to-the-sky-mechanic," which means web-swinging will most likely be a skill-free, all-but-automated affair with which you cannot so much as build momentum.

 

This preview says "Spider-man is a swinger," but it doesn't really count if swinging is this over-simplified. And when I learned that, this game from one of my most anticipated to one of my most-likely-to-avoid-with-a-ten-foot-pole titles.

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

 @ultralesus

 You took the words right out of my mouth. People who like the Spidey games and even developers both tend to forget how GROUNDBREAKING Spider-Man 2 was as a Spidey game. Even though it was based on a movie, the Spider-Man 2 game was simply...Amazing (no pun intended). It was the first Spidey game to really give you all of Manhattan as a play ground. Also, as you mention above, Spider-Man 2 was the BEST implementation of Spidey's swing mechanics.

 

For a movie-game, this new Spider-Man game looks to be the best one since SM2 and since Ultimate SM. Here's hoping this game rocks as hard as it looks.

 

:)

TxtBin
TxtBin

 @rmb199 The fighting resembles Arkham City a damn LOT (which is praised for it's combat system so I'm not quite sure what you're on about) and are you saying that little pop in that occurs on the streets below while web rushing is going to be a game breaker?? Especially when I'm sure Beenox weren't given the same budget as other AAA titles and with limited hardware, it's expected - this isn't a scripted Call of Duty or something to get perfect graphical representation...

immortality20
immortality20

 @sirkibble2 Yeah because Maximum Carnage, Spiderman 2&3 and a couple others weren't great Spider-man games.

 

And since this is the internet, yes, that is sarcasm.

angry_girlgamer
angry_girlgamer

 @Np_Pro Yup, demo killed it for me too. 

 

Is it so hard to take what Spiderman 2 did and work from that?

keichimorisato9
keichimorisato9

 @TxtBin the combat in Batman arkham asylum felt a lot like Yakuza's combat system just you didn't go into a battle screen every time you hit an enemy. though it does have a lot of originality in bat mans version of its combat really, just the similarities helped me play batman better better. i hope we finally get a GOOD superman game as well

TxtBin
TxtBin

 @immortality20 Did you really say Spiderman 3 was good?

OMG... that just invalidated your opinions, whatsoever, regarding Spiderman

keichimorisato9
keichimorisato9

 @TxtBin the combat in Batman arkham asylum felt a lot like Yakuza's combat system just you didn't go into a battle screen every time you **encountered** an enemy.

TxtBin
TxtBin

 @immortality20  @Weasley28 lol yes you're entitled to your opinion, but in my opinion (which i'm entitled too as well), i believe that liking spider-man 3 the game invalidates whatever else you had to say. don't take it as an attack ;)

immortality20
immortality20

 @Weasley28 Oh no, Someone disagreed with me on the internet! What ever shall I do?

The great (or terrible) thing about games is some can enjoy one and other's can't. Yet there's no reason to attack one's opinion, it makes the rest of look bad.

immortality20
immortality20

@TxtBin @immortality20 no, the movie was terrible heresy. The game was open fun. Get over yourself, people enjoy stuff you don't.