Previews

The Amazing Spider-Man: Taking cues from the Batman

Beenox returns to the open-world in Spidey's most promising outing...

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But Heder triggered a story mission by entering a building, at which point one aspect of the game became strikingly obvious: the team at Beenox has been playing a lot of Batman: Arkham City and Arkham Asylum. Once you're inside, Spidey's Web Rush works more or less exactly like Batman's detective mode. Triggering it lets you see which enemies have guns, for example, and lets Spider-Man escape to out-of-sight areas up high, just like Batman. He also has stealth takedowns, in which he wraps enemies up in a tight web and hangs them from the ceiling. Sound familiar? Although, unlike Batman, Spider-Man can at least crawl up walls and along ceilings.

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Heder outlined one of the game's main story themes: "In this mission, we're inside Ozcorp, where Dr Connors, aka The Lizard, works. After the events in the film, Ozcorp continued its research into crossing human and animal DNA, so the game features a whole menagerie of experiments gone wrong." This story device allowed Beenox to have fun with some existing Marvel characters. For example, Heder showed a boss-battle with Rhino, who should be familiar to comic-book aficionados, except in this case, he had a new back-story as an example of Ozcorp's DNA-splicing experiments.

STYLE AND SUBSTANCE?

Finally, Heder brought our attention to another way in which the film's franchise-rebooting has affected the game: "In the movie, Peter Parker is a young teenager, learning about his powers for the first time. You see him watching Mexican wrestling on YouTube," so, naturally, he adopts that as his fighting style. We're not quite sure of what Spider-Man purists will make of that, but it did look pretty good fun in the context of the game - Spidey certainly had some flamboyant finishing moves involving ensnaring enemies between his thighs and tumbling around, and given his outfit, it makes a surprising amount of sense.

The Amazing Spider-Man is certainly the most promising iteration of the franchise since Beenox grabbed the reins. It wisely returns to the open-world swinging that has Spider-Man-loving gamers coming over all nostalgic about Treyarch's 2004 Spider-Man 2, and if you're going to heavy cues from another game, then what better than Arkham City/Asylum (although Rocksteady may have something to say about when tribute becomes plagiarism, and we hope an ugly Marvel versus DC spat won't break out as a result).

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What gamers - and Spidey fans - will make of it remains to be seen, and there are areas of its execution which remain mysterious after a fairly brief demo. It doesn't, for example, look anything like as stunning or distinctive as Arkham City, and there's no way of telling whether the open-world missions will actually be that much fun to play. However, it has at least been constructed in a sensible and thoughtful manner, which instantly gives it the edge over recent Spider-Man games, and should certainly offer more satisfaction for Peter Parker-loving gamers than they have enjoyed for years.

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