The Amazing Spider-Man movie was arguably the best in the film franchise's history, so publisher logic tells us we need games; and lots of them. They came out on all the major platforms. Nine months after all of those, however, we get it on the Wii U. It should be great. We have this amazing touch screen. We have all the downloadable content on the disk and a slew of great features. Does it live up to the hype? Will it really matter almost a year after we first release it?
The game itself is still extremely solid. Just as it was when we reviewed it back
in July of last year. It was praised for its open-world New York. You wanted to go to that bridge? Yup! Just swing there! You want to stop and break up this mugging? Sure! Why not? Its gameplay, borrowing heavily from Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, is stellar. When in battle you feel like you have these amazing powers. Even though thugs surround you, you never worry. I’ll just beat on him a little here, jump over there, shoot some web on that guy, and--oh yeah--I’ll sling him around like I’m throwing the hammer at the Olympics. It’s truly amazing.
The game rewards you heavily for stealth as well. You can silently drop in from the ceiling and cocoon the thug, dangling him high in the sky, all the while really freaking out his comrades in crime. Sound familiar? It was to me, too. While to me it screamed rip off, it never really bothered me, because it just worked well. Had it not worked flawlessly, the game's score most likely would have suffered. Also, the side missions are much needed and fun to do. They are predictable, but in some cases very challenging. They help keep the city feeling alive, as well as giving the player some choices throughout the game. It doesn’t feel nearly as linear as previous games had. The game itself, at its core, has a very cinematic feel to the gameplay and story. This is achieved by fancy camera angles and witty banter that goes on during the game. This was one of the few games that I actually played with my sound up. I just felt like I was in the movie or in that universe.
The big question is this then: why now? Why do you release the same game on a new platform nine months after the original release? Well, for one, you can call it the “Ultimate Edition,” but its developer, Beenox, has really packed this Wii U Spidey full of goodies. Starting with the obvious, we have the enhanced Wii U gamepad functionality. The ability to play on the second screen instead of the main TV is a great addition, and in my opinion they should have made it mandatory for every game made for the Wii U. In my house, this is huge. I found my kids playing it there instead of the TV, like it was their 3DS or iPod. It just seemed to work better for them. The other great use is, in my opinion, the shining star. When in the pause menu, looking to upgrade your skills or get into your inventory, it automatically puts it there. It just was laid out nicely and made things easier to get to. I really felt like they took their time here, making sure that if they were going to do it, they did it right
Also while playing, you have a map of the city laid out before you. You can set waypoints and follow your way around to different missions. This, however, I found to be a little clunky. The map itself worked flawlessly, but I had a problem web swinging and checking my map as I went. It's like I was texting and driving at the same time. It just felt dangerous, and on more than one occasion I ran into a car or, worse yet, a building.
Another great addition to make it “Ultimate” was the inclusion of all five challenge packs, previously downloadable only for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. You even get to play as Rhino as you run a timed course, causing as much destruction and mayhem as possible in the allotted time. These are a fun addition and nice to see included for the price.
Is this game perfect? No. It still has the same flaws that were present in the original releases. Mainly it's in the variation in the enemies you fight throughout the game. The quicktime events feel loose and forced as well. The fact is, there was not much variation at all, and that, along with the repetitive gameplay, caused some players to shy away from this Super Hero Challenge. Graphically it looks nice, however it's nothing to write home about, especially if you have other features like trophies and achievements that many players covet. It looks nice, but it's still just on par with the other current gen systems. While I could not tell a core gamer to pick this version over its counterparts, as it is just the same, I can highly recommend it to a younger audience. Maybe your house only has a Wii U. This is a great game for youngsters. Yes, there is some violence, but hey, you never kill anyone; just knock them out or wrap them up for the police. As a family, we have really enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition.
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