Swing across buildings and fight crime in New York as Spider-Man in this action-packed game
Based off of the hit Sony movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 puts you behind the mask of one of the world's most popular superheroes in an open world version of New York City. There's probably no superhero who's seen so much success in the world of gaming as Spider-Man. While the official release for the Spider-Man 2 movie is well-regarded as one of the best around, he's seen a wide variety of games that get experimental with the core principles and offers new wrinkles like time travel and cross-dimensional team-ups. While Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't get everything right, it signifies a return to form, and captures a lot of lightning in the bottle that players crave from the character.
A good Spider-Man game lives and dies on how good it feels to swing through the city, and Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets that sensation pitch perfect. As the sequel to the original Amazing Spider-Man, the developer has taken fan criticism to heart without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The web swinging is the real winner here. Instead of handling your swinging with a single button press, each trigger on your controller is tied to each of Spidey's arms, and improvements to the physics system means that your webs always need to attach to a structure to be able to continue momentum forward. It's a system that could have been needlessly complicated, but in practice, it creates some of the best sense of movement and navigation in a modern world open game.
The open world itself is unfortunately not so tight. While the city of New York is lovingly and expansively built out, it's somewhat lacking in personality, and the developers dropped the ball when it came to providing you with things to do. As is often becoming the case with these sort of open world games, they've opted for more instead of better. From races to random crimes, there are plenty of activities to engage in outside of the main story, but most of them aren't particularly fun. While there's joy to be had in the narrative, and web swinging itself is a zen delight, much of the game's structure can feel like unnecessary busy work. Then there's the inexplicable inclusion of sequences where you play as Peter Parker, dragging you out of the game's main thrills and putting you squarely down to earth.
That's not to say there aren't things to love here. Combat is simple, but it has its own sense of joy, and the button mashing is partnered with a primitive but effective stealth system that gives you more control of how you decide to engage in melees. And the addition of seven boss fights ripped straight from Spidey's rogues gallery mean that there are some delightful breaks from the monotony.