With high profile movie must also come video game tie-in.
Okay, so it's not as catchy as "with great power, must also come great responsibility," but it's nearly as true. With the wall-crawling superhero getting a major feature film reboot this summer in The Amazing Spider-Man, Activision and Spidey-studio Beenox are doing a reboot of sorts to the video game franchise with a title of the same name.
Hitting PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (which this demo was shown to us on), 3DS, and Wii on June 26, 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man the game will use a lot of core elements that Beenox has refined in their years as the Spidey-studio, while also re-inventing the franchise for a new era. They brought the game on a media tour to NYC where we got to see about an hour of gameplay and find out more of what fans should expect.
The first big change is a return to the open world environment of games like Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. With a large Manhattan, many missions (yes, including "defeat X number of thugs" or "chase the car thieves" - more on that one later) will be done right there, out in the open. Other missions will take place indoors at locals like Oscorp's research center. This Spider-Man will even have his own Manhattan apartment, a base of operations where you can repair/swap out your costume, view unlockables and collectables, and possibly more features Activision hasn't yet announced.
While the environment features may sound familiar to fans, the gameplay itself has been much more drastically revamped. First thing you may have noticed in the initial trailer is the much closer camera angle. Gone is the pulled back camera leaving Spider-Man hanging out smack in the middle of the screen about 20 feet away. Instead, the camera looks nearly borrowed from games like Resident Evil 4, Gears of War, or Mass Effect 3. With a closer angle, they also give the most detailed costume model ever used in a Spider-Man game, and it shows instantly.
The real change with the camera comes in the web-swinging sequences. You're nearly-first-person view makes it much more intense, and the speed is felt, up there with the best racing games. On top of that comes the new Web Rush movement system. With Web Rush, players can dynamically choose their next destination, and Spidey will automatically move to it through a series of jumps, swings, and parkour style runs. You can either simply point the camera and tap the button, or for more precision hold it, waiting to see the various gold spider-men scattered around the environment. Hilight one, release, and watch Spidey go. Mid-rush and decide you want to change course? The engine is actually doing all of the movement live; so while it appears cinematic in nature it's actually completely fluid, and you can jump in and out of Web Rush at any time. It looks to make moving through Manhattan a very different experience, with both a faster pace and more direct control, ironically by taking some of the control seemingly away. Web Rush is also usable in battle, making escapes or setting up traps for your enemies much easier.
Battle is considerably different from any prior Spider-Man game as well, borrowing heavily from the success of super-hero games like Batman: Arkham City. Spider-Man can be stealthy, crawling through a room and taking out enemies one by one ala Batman or Spider-Man Noir from Shattered Dimensions, or can jump into the fray, using environment objects like crates and exploding gas containers to even the odds. Once down amongst numerous thugs, it's an amazing hybrid of previous Spidey combat where he's using webs and his super-agility plus the free flow combat system from the Arkham titles. What emerges is a fast-paced Spider-Man slug fest that has not been seen in a game before, and looks like incredible fun. Hit combos build up special takedowns too, and the sheer number of animations for battle are astounding; in a battle with about 20 enemies, I didn't see one repeated animation.
While we didn't see newly announced boss Iguana, we did see Spider-Man taking on the powerful Rhino. We also saw the names of a few other villains (and one that might be an ally?) come up on screen in the debug menu of the demo, but we are sworn to secrecy on those. Let's just say Spider-fans have nothing to worry about in the classic villain and ally department. As for Rhino, Spider-Man was fighting him at a power junction station. After goading Rhino into destroying the surrounding fences, Spidey webs up a connection between the junction towers, guide's Rhino into them, electrocutes him, then attacks with a powerful slam. The notable part of all this, though, is that there is no Heads Up Display on the screen at all. It's just Spider-Man fighting Rhino, like you're watching an intense scene out of a movie. It makes the action hit that much harder, and definitely helps lend the cinematic feel from the films to the game.
As for the story, the team is remaining pretty mum on that for now. The game takes place after the events of the film, but that doesn't mean we won't see the supporting cast from the big screen. Seamus Kevin Fahey, a writer from Spartacus and Battlestar Galactica (as well as a producer of the new Spidey film) has penned the story, setting it in the movie's universe but upping the ante considerably with the help of more Marvel guest stars.
We didn't get our hands on the game this time around, but after watching the developer walkthrough, I certainly was anxious to take control myself. Spider-Man is just as deserving as the Dark Knight of a video game that finally truly captures what it is to be the web head; The Amazing Spider-Man may just be that game.