The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has to be one of the most underrated video games of this year. It's not a perfect game, by any means, but as a Spider-Man game, it succeeds in nearly every respect.
It far surpasses its predecessor by building on its mechanics, adding more varied side missions, having a more coherent, almost "classic" Spider-Man narrative. The game ditches the concept of nearly every enemy being a robot, and clearly, this is for the best. The added Peter Parker sections, while nothing groundbreaking, do help break up the pace, and give fans what they've wanted in a Spider-Man game for a long time now; more focus on Parker himself.
The combat and stealth mechanics are nearly the same as they were in the previous game, which is serviceable and works well. However, this time around there's no button to press to simply escape everything trying to kill you, and this is a replaced with a well implemented system of Spider-Man using his (or the player's) own wits to escape and "web up" his wounds. While added animations to this mechanic would have helped immensely, it's still greatly appreciated that it's there, and that the regenerating health system has been axed.
The pace of the game and the natural progression of missions works well, all considered. Given your time in Manhattan, you're given side missions to partake in to add to your "hero" meter. If you neglect these side missions, then the meter will start to fall into the "menace" segment, and you'll be chased by officials hired by Oscorp to take out vigilantes, I.E., Spider-Man. It's not an amazing or groundbreaking mechanic by itself, yet considering it rises and falls as quickly as it does, it does make for a game that moves at a breakneck pace, regardless of doing the same 5 side missions over and over. Most side missions have just enough variation to them that it doesn't become a problem.
The idea of using different Spidey suits for different effects to the character works very well. Each suit has its own, independent level meter, which you can choose to level up by beating up thugs and the like at any time. The suits have different effects, ranging from damage increases to stickier webbing, and it's a nice addition that is bound to suit anyone's play style.
One more thing worth noting is the web swinging mechanics. They're greatly improved in this game compared to its predecessor. Gone are the days of Spidey's webs sticking to thin air. This time around, you have to attach your webs to buildings throughout the city. While it's more of a visual effect than a fully realized mechanic, as seen in Ultimate Spider-Man, the game still tries to retain the same feel, and it's successful in doing so. Web slinging and zipping around the city feels freeing and exhilarating, and I can't stress how much of an improvement it is in comparison to the last game.
The visuals, at least on PS3, fare very well. Draw distance is long, the lighting effects look great, character models (though sometimes overused) are detailed, and Spidey himself, along with the main villains and main characters, look wonderful. Overall, there's not too much to complain about on the visual side of things. However, the game is not without its bugs (pun intended, of course).
There are some clipping issues here and there, and sometimes Spidey will float in thin air in the middle of a fist fight. This doesn't break the game, by any means, but the random freezes do. They don't happen that often, but when things seem to get too hectic, the game will just lock up. So far, it's only happened to me once within hours upon hours of play, but it's something worth noting.
All in all, this is an awesome Spidey game. I truly think it's the best Spidey game to release since Ultimate Spider-Man, which, for the record, I think is a far superior game to Spider-Man 2, speaking objectively. Granted, none of these games reach the awesome factor of Maximum Carnage or Spider-Man vs. Kingpin, but I have to say, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes close.
I sincerely don't understand all the negativity toward this game. Absolutely everything from its predecessor was improved, and the game is fast paced and is extremely fun to play. What more could you ask for in a Spidey game?