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May 20, 2014
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - PS4 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
Media HDD Install Resolution Touchpad PS4 Exclusive OFLC Rating

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Spider-Man soars above Manhattan.
While the comic book industry plodded along for almost a century, in the last decade they have become mainstream entertainment with the feature films now surefire hits at the box office. One area that has lagged behind is superhero based video games. Sure, there is the occasional franchise that is a hit (WB Games' Batman franchise being one), however the history of games has not been good so it was with some trepidation that we checked out The Amazing Spider- Man 2 on PS4.

When Spider-Man's Uncle Ben is murdered he devotes his time to tracking down his killer however he soon learns that someone else is hunting down, and killing, criminals. The city is gripped with fear and Spider-Man learns about a far greater evil in the city.

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Fisk is a pretty interesting character.
First thing to note, and it's somewhat interesting, is that while the game is titled The Amazing Spider-Man 2 the storyline and missions in this game are completely separate from those in the film. That's good in terms of not providing spoilers and allowing Beenox some creative license when crafting the story - but it's one which is told so poorly and simply that it's hardly a selling point at all - although, actually, compared to the quality of the other components it's actually one of the highlights. Still, the bulk of the back story is told through hidden collectable items such as cassette tapes around the city so getting the most of the story will take some time.

When I said in the opening paragraph that we had some trepidation with this title there was a glimmer of hope as the developers, Beenox, also gave us the rather entertaining Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions a couple of years ago. Unfortunately The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game misses the mark on several levels and ultimately is one of, if not the, most disappointing PS4 release to date.

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Visuals in Amazing Spider-Man 2 are, well, meh.
As expected this is an open-world third person action adventure game which sees Spider-Man taking on a range of foes across 14 missions. The main game can be completed in around 8 hours however there are numerous side-missions to complete to keep your reputation on the good side (more on that later).

The biggest issue with this game isn't the generic fighting sequence, or the pretty bland and basic boss battles, but the web slinging through Manhattan. Spider-Man uses both his left or right hands (through L2 or R2) to attach to buildings and swing however the need to target these buildings, and some horrible camera work makes it near impossible not to slam into skyscrapers around the city.

Combat too is pretty generic and basically consists of either attacking enemies or hitting the triangle to dodge their attacks. Sure, there are some special movies, and you can use a Spidey-sense to locate enemies or important objects in the room. As you progress through the game it's possible to upgrade Spider-Man's abilities with new moves or increased powers however this is done by collecting ermm, well, we think their sprockets or nuts in tool boxes. All-in-all the combat is pretty generic and unspectacular.

Then there's the new Hero and Menace system which works similar to inFamous good and bad karma only that this meter just changes according to if you help civilians or ignore pleas for help. The problem being that so many of the side-missions are so dull and repetitive that you'll just want to bypass them and, well just become a Menace. It means nothing in the grand scheme of things and is just a waste of time in the game.

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Spider-Man has a chat with a friend.
One final annoyance - the loading. ARGH! Why is it that a game, which installs 10GB to your Hard Drive (we can't even see how this game takes up 10GB of space!), still requires loading when moving from outside to inside environments. The PS4 has 5GB of DDR5 RAM available to developers, so we're pretty sure if you only streamed the cut-scenes when required the entire game should fit into RAM and thereby eliminate the 5-20 second loads every few minutes.

In all honesty I never expected this game would look great - certainly not up to the stunning visuals we have seen in Sucker Punch's inFamous: Second Son on PS4 - but this game would look average on last generation hardware. Of course the PS4 game runs at 1080p but it's a dog to look at. Texturing is poor, the camera often struggles when Spider-Man moves around and slams into buildings, character models are bland and there's just a complete lack of "oh wow" to it. Even if this PS4 game was running on a PS3 the same disappointments would apply - it's not even up there with the 2008 release of GTAIV - of course Rockstar's title had a mammoth budget but you get what I'm saying. What adds even more insult to injury is that despite the very generic and bland visuals, the game still only runs at 30fps but at least, unlike the XBox One version, Sony's version is free of screen tearing!

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See, it's actually pretty bland visually...
Perhaps it is somewhat fitting too that none of the participants from the big-budget film have lent their likenesses or voices to this game. At least that would have provided some kind of tie-in but alas we are provided with very generic looking characters, and voice work that not only lacks any punch, but also any decent scriptwriting.

Sonically I think you can guess what we're going to say here - it's another disappointment. As we just mentioned the dialogue is poorly written and delivered while some of the lines being shouted out by enemies, or Spider-Man truly are horrible. I mean at one point Spider-Man basically tells you, the gamer, off for not knowing that there is a hyphen between Spider and Man. Sigh... Music and effects are a little better, but only just while the surround sound channels do get a bit of a workout. Still, it's yet another aspect of this title that disappoints.

Besides a cameo appearance by Stan Lee himself there is little to really love about this release - the visuals are sub-par, the audio is mixed at best, and the gameplay is something we would have been disappointed about a decade ago. How Beenox can go from the entertaining Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions in 2010 to this in a couple of years is disappointing and we do hope Activision let Beenox work on the franchise with freedom, and not tie into movie release dates. PS3 owners, hunt out Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions instead, PS4 owners, go buy the infinitely better inFamous: Second Son instead.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSResolution aside, even on PS3 this would be a disappointing looking game. Terrble cameras. Ugh.
SOUNDNot as bad as the visuals but repetitive and pretty bland.
GAMEPLAYHow can Beenox be moving backwards? This isn't a fun game with poor controls and combat although the story saves it somewhat.
VALUEA pretty short game with 14 main missions, but some side events, still, even at $AU69 pretty much every other PS4 game is better value.
OVERALLThe Amazing Spider-Man 2 is tied to the feature film in name only and the original story here is average at best. Poor audio visual presentation is equalled by the dull gameplay and web slinging. I wanted this to be good, but ultimately walked away disappointed. Indeed were the game not so short (about 8 hours) I probably would have given up before the end.

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