In this week’s Red Bull Gaming Blog, Glen Ferris swings when he’s winning with The Amazing Spider-Man, plus news about Tomb Raider and The Last Of Us…
The Amazing Spider-Man – Review
While Marvel superheroes having been dominating the big screen for the past few years, the same can’t be said for their gaming adventures. You’d have to go all the way back to Spider-Man 2 to find a truly great console-based outing and, since that glorious slice of geek wish-fulfilment, the games that followed have been subject to increasingly diminished returns.
So it makes sense that with a film aiming to revitalise an ailing franchise, the official tie-in game itself has aspirations of breathing new life into a tired formula. Just like The Amazing Spider-Man the movie, the game manages to not only recapture former glories but also squeezes in some new innovations to make the effort worthwhile.
Regular developers Beenox have happily gone back to the glorious open-world environment that made Spider-Man 2 such a hit. So, instead of feeling frustrated at not being able to let their inner geek fly, players can once again swing from rooftop to rooftop in a nicely realised recreation of New York City.
The game is set directly after the events of the latest film with Peter Parker unleashing the same winning blend of home-made webbing and witty retorts on a bunch of familiar rogues – chief among them Rhino, Alistair Smythe, Scorpion and Black Cat – and he's very much getting into the swing of this superhero thing. Those familiar with Spider-Man 2 will know the score as you go from one mission to the next, occasionally deciding to stop the odd street crime or searching for hidden easter eggs along the way, all the while using the Manhattan high-rises to get from A to B.
It’s all very welcoming, familiar and fun, if perhaps a little too dumbed down. Where the peerless Spider-Man 2 offered a rather brilliant and surprisingly tricky web-swinging mechanic to realistically simulate our hero’s movements, The Amazing Spider-Man simplifies things greatly (all you have to do hold down a button and control your direction) and subsequently takes away some of the gameplaying joy.
However, Beenox have tried to make up for this exclusion by introducing a new ability called Web Rush, an innovation which allows you to travel at super speed across the city. This, coupled with a camera that sticks very closely to Spidey, makes for a uniquely cinematic and exhilarating ride.
In terms of playability, it’s all pretty simplistic but there’s more than enough here to keep your attention. Stringing together numerous Web Rushes takes some mastering, while the hidden secrets (including costumes and comic books) dotted around should ensure there’s plenty to keep you busy long after the main game has ended.
Unfortunarely, it all goes a little bit downhill when you’re required to head indoors and employ stealth rather than bombast in some missions. Because of a dodgy camera system and the repetitive nature of the tasks, it gets rather dull rather quickly. That said, the bosses are fun to face off against and you’re never too far away from an outdoor excursion to blow off the cobwebs.
All in all, as tie-ins go, The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the best in recent years. In exploiting its greatest power (namely the sheer joy of swinging through the city), it capably deals with the great responsibility of not letting down its devoted fanbase.
- When developers Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix went looking for the perfect person to portray the crown princess of gaming, they were clearly after someone with experience of playing real-life royalty.
As such, British actress Camilla Luddington, best known for playing Kate Middleton in the frankly awful TV movie William & Kate, has been named as both the voice and motion-capture of Lara Croft in the new Tomb Raider game.
Also seen on screen in the likes of US TV shows Californication and the new season of True Blood, Luddington was discovered after what Square Enix describes as an “international talent search using scouts in Europe and the US”. Having checked out her performance in the most recent E3 demo, we have to agree that she has the acting chops - plus the plummy accent - to make a decent fist of this much-coveted role.
- Developer Naughty Dog has confirmed there will be no co-operative option in the main campaign for The Last Of Us, but there will be competitive multiplayer modes outside the story.
The much-anticipated game, which sees protagonist Joel and 14-year-old orphan Ellie traversing their way through a beautifully realised post-apocalyptic world, will be following in the footsteps of Naughty Dog’s prior success, the Uncharted series, by featuring prominent on-screen interaction between player and A.I. companion in the campaign mode, while leaving the human-on-human play to the online and split-screen co-operative and multiplayer missions.
“We are supporting multiplayer with The Last of Us,” said creative director Neil Druckmann. “We’re not ready to talk about the details of how multiplayer will be implemented, however we can say that it is not co-op within the main campaign.”
There’s still no release date for The Last Of Us, but expect it to be released sometime next year.
- Check out the official Amazing Spider-Man site
- E3 2012: Best In Show
- Check out the Red Bull X-Fighters Mobile Game
- Previous Red Bull gaming blogs
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