Catchin’ Thieves Just Like Flies

Since developer Beenox took over the Spider-Man franchise for Activision, they’ve put out a couple of great Spidey titles that gave fans of the wall-crawler hope for his future in video games. But now that they’re going to do a game based off of a movie instead of an original story, many are wondering if the developer will have enough wiggle room to produce the top-tier title fans have started to expect from them with the web-head.

After seeing a brief demo of The Amazing Spider-Man, I have hope renewed. Although the game will be released about a week before the movie actually hits theaters, the game takes place after the events of the movie and will feature Dr. Curt Connors (no word on if he’ll turn into the Lizard in the game), Gwen Stacy (basically confirming she won’t get killed off in the first movie), and our dear Peter Parker. Aside from them, exclusive to the game we also saw a very bestial looking Rhino (although we’re not allowed to go into much more detail than that).

Beyond the characters though, the thing that really jumped out at me was the look. Crisp, clean, and very cinematic, Beenox has taken their time to craft what is shaping up to be their most life-life Spidey yet in a fully realized Manhattan. And part of this was the camera angle, especially when web-slinging.

“The camera is more of an over-the-shoulder shot than a traditional third-person view and is much closer than in any previous Spider-Man game ever when web-swinging. It gives you this incredible connection to the character. This is extremely different from anything anyone has tried before in a Spider-Man game and, for me, this provides the most outstanding web-swinging experience ever because of that familiarity you quickly develop with Spidey from it,” said Dee Brown, Studio Head at Beenox when talking about the new cameras while swinging around Manhattan.

And speaking of getting around Manhattan, the movement was definitely one of the key aspects of the demo shown to us. One of my favorite sequences involved Spidey trying to get to the front of a high-speed car chase, using both his normal webs, and a new move called “Web Rush” where Spidey can stop in a moment and pick a specific point he wants to throw his web. The game engine then performs real-time computation to get Spidey to that point in the fastest, most acrobatic way possible. When Spidey got to the front of the chase, we were rewarded with him spinning a massive web that caught the entire getaway vehicle and left the robbers high and dry for the cops to clean up with a very distinct Spider-Man calling card.

The web rush ability was very cool to see, and it showed off how powerful Beenox’s new engine is, but my only concern is that there were a lot of yellow Spidey silhouettes showing where he could go and I hope that they will only be active during the mode or that those silhouettes were still early build markers as I could see that getting distracting very quickly in game.

Aside from the movement, we also saw some of Spidey’s new combat. Incorporating some of the stealth maneuvers Beenox had played around with in Shattered Dimensions with Spider-Man Noir, Beenox has it now so that in the indoor areas Spidey will traverse, he can either go in with web-shooters blazing or take the sneaky route and really strike some fear into the foes he will face.

Although the game is still a few months from release, again, what I saw gave me a lot of hope. Beenox knows they’ve set a pretty high bar to hit and know that being tied to a movie can both help and hurt them. But from what I saw, I think everyone is just going to really enjoy being Spider-Man again and I, for one, can’t wait to see the finished product.