Solid post-film storyline, intuitive use of Wii remote, top-tier voice and music work
Missing the sandbox mode present in other versions of the game; gameplay can get a bit repetitive after a while
The Amazing Spider-Man marks the web-crawler’s fifth (and presumably final) appearance on Nintendo’s aging Wii. The first four have been of mixed quality: Spider-Man 3 had great controls but was otherwise ugly and boring; Spider-Man: Friend or Foe was a clever, if simple, co-op beat-em-up; Spider-Man: Web of Shadows was basically Spider-Man 3 all over again; and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions was a great multiverse adventure undermined by game-crashing bugs and some shoddy controls. This latest installment in Peter Parker’s acrobatic adventures is a decent game on its own merits, although it contains one massively disappointing omission compared to other multiplatform versions.
The Amazing Spider-Man for Wii is connected to– and was released alongside– the franchise reboot of the same name. However, the game is not a retelling of the movie but is, rather unusually, a sequel. That’s right; the game actually takes place after the events of the film, drawing from a brief scene during the ending credits. This means that the intro to the game creates some spoilers for those who have not seen the film, making seeing the movie a useful prerequisite to picking up the controller. The game narrative is pretty good, as it not only furthers the film but introduces elements that will become staples to the Spider-Man franchise, not to mention throwing in a few not-so-subtle pop culture references to the likes of Star Wars and even Marvel’s nemesis, DC Comics. The dialogue between Spider-Man and others can be quite funny, something recent Spider-Man games have done more effectively.
After an obligatory intro level that serves as a tutorial, the game turns into a mission-based action brawler that uses Peter’s apartment as a launch pad to various locations. Players will mostly embark on the main storyline, but there are also a few optional “sidequests” that Spidey can take on as well. Either way, players will find themselves headed to various locations where elements of combat, stealth, and light puzzle solving will be in order. None of it is terribly innovative, and as the game wears on the gameplay can get a bit repetitive, but the narrative and the combat help keep things afloat.
Spiderman will have to deal with a whole host of nasties before the game is over.
Combat is, of course, front and center and it works pretty well. The wall-crawler has at his disposal a variety of attacks, including a few easy-to-execute acrobatic maneuvers, access to a mode akin to venerable bullet time (“Web Rush”), and some cool (if a bit un-Spidey) finishers. It’s nothing overly complicated but it is a decent bit of visceral fun, especially when putting Web Rush to use running hit and run attacks on squads of unsuspecting enemies. There is no health bar, instead using the Call of Duty-esque injury system where the screen turns red with successive attacks and fades again after the combat has settled down.
The controls make sensible use of the Wii remote and Nunchuck. IR is used to target in Web Rush mode and waggle is used to trigger evasive action in response to incoming attacks. Most everything else is mapped to the buttons, with the end result being a control scheme that enhances rather than takes away from the experience. The game does offer the option of using the Classic Controller, but given how horribly slow the IR marker moves mapped to the analog stick, a traditional Wii remote / Nunchuck configuration is strongly recommended.
The game’s frills are so standard to the genre they barely need mentioning. Between in-game collectables and XP earned from combat, an array of combat upgrades (increased damage, new moves, better defense, etc.) and extras (concept art, trailers, videos, etc.) are accessible. There is no multiplayer of any sort.
To its credit, the game looks and sounds about as good as a Wii game can. The characters look decent, combat runs smoothly, and framerate is pretty steady, even during the chaos of large-scale combat. (Some of the environmental pieces look stale and blocky, but given the focus on keeping a steady framerate, this perhaps could not have been helped.) The voicework and music is outstanding, with Hollywood quality on par with the movie.
There’ll be no swinging through Manhatten for Spidey on Wii…
Anyone who has seen the trailers for the game may wonder what the sandbox mode is like on Wii. That’s a great question. The answer is: there is no sandbox mode. That’s right– while the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game let players fly across the city and take on missions, the Wii version cuts this out entirely. Granted, there is no way Wii could ever hope to match the clarity of detail found in the other systems’ renderings, but sandbox gameplay is certainly possible on Wii, as both Spider-Man 3 and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows both show, at least to passable effect. There are a dozen developmental and business reasons why Activision and Beenox could have easily justified omitting this element of gameplay from the Wii version, but those ruthlessly pragmatic reasons do little justice for those who still hold out some loyalty for the Nintendo console.
There are a few other irritants, although they seem to pale in comparison to the aforementioned missing gameplay element. The combat controls can occasionally be a bit fickle (owing to the chaotic nature of battle), the puzzles a bit tough, and the combat a bit punishing for a kid’s game. Death checkpoints are not quite as liberally spread as other games with this target audience, and some of the fights can be brutal, especially some of the bosses. The game seems to run relatively free of bugs, although we did have one game freeze that forced a hard shutdown and restart.
Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man is not a half-bad game– at least, taken apart from its multiplatform cousins. The plot is a good one, the combat generally works well, and the use of the Wii remote is well-executed. It’s hard not to be more than a little bitter, though, at the way in which this version was severely shortchanged compared to other versions. This is not the first time an Activision-published title has taken shortcuts on a Wii version of a multiplatform title, and in each case it has left Wii fans not simply with a lower-res product (which ought to be expected), but a completely different and inferior game (which ought not to be). Even waggle is not unique, as the PS3 version has PlayStation Move support. In the end, devotees of the film who want to see the next chapter might want to consider buying The Amazing Spider-Man …but the Wii version should only be for those with no other recourse.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.