GDC 2012: The Amazing Spider-Man (Impressions)

by: Chuck -

The folks at Beenox know quite a bit about Spider-Man, having already released two games with everyone's favorite wall crawler. The interpretation of Spider-Man has fluctuated from game to game and that trend will continue with The Amazing Spiderman. Beenox has been tasked with doing the dreaded movie tie-in game that will be released on June 26, a week before the movie hits movie theatres.

The game will not follow the plot of the movie; rather it will take place after the events in the movie which opens a lot of creative possibilities. We've been told that the game will not spoil any major plot lines of the movie so you should be safe to pickup the game before seeing the movie.

The first thing you notice while watching Spider-Man move around Manhattan is that it feels like he's barely in control of the web swinging. Each swing is a grand movement up followed by lots of vertigo inducing falling. If you have a fear of heights or falling this is probably not the game for you. This effect is enhanced as Beenox has moved the camera closer to Spider-Man to create a more intimate feeling to the game. While stomach churning at times it also creates a lot of cinematic moments, especially during times when Spider-Man is perched on the side of a building surveying the city.

Another thing that you'll notice when Spidey makes his rounds is how the denizens of Manhattan react to seeing Spider-Man. You hear lots of chatter from the populace as he moves around the city. Dee Brown, the producer of the game, says that the crowd’s reaction to you will change over the course of the game (as will the city itself). While in and of itself is not a unique feature it's still kind of cool to hear children yell out for Spider-Man as he passes by.

The new swinging mechanic is made possible by the new "Web Rush" mechanic which is one of the cornerstones of the new game. The gist is that you simply point in the direction you want to go and then use the right bumper button and the game will work out how to get you there. Holding the bumper down enters a slowed down vision mode where you can see visual indicators (little Spider-Man outlines) of the places you can go or you can just tap the bumper in the direction you want to go and the system will figure out a way to get there.

You can interrupt a web rush at any moment if you want to and we saw a few examples where we were swinging towards a building and were able to abruptly switch direction. The build is still early but the mechanic looks like it could be as good as the swinging mechanic in Spider-Man 2.

Web Rush isn't just limited to movement as it's an integral part of combat. The mode will allow you to free form through combat or do hit and run attacks. You can leap into a group of baddies and use it to knock a few of them out and then return to safety if you get dinged up a bit (just press the left bumper to do a reverse web rush and retreat to the shadows).

It looks like Beenox is borrowing a few pages from the Arkham Asylum book for how some of the combat is handled. Sure you can go the direct route and take out enemies directly but there is the option of using the Web Rush to work the room and take out enemies silently. Certain items in the environment can also be used as weapons.

There are a few things that are still being worked out right now, such as if Spider-Man will take falling damage or not but I was impressed with what I saw. It's too early to tell if The Amazing Spider-Man is going to be the definitive Spider-Man game but it looks like it's on the right track.
 

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