Thursday, June 28, 2012

ASM the Game

I just got Dawnguard for Skyrim, but I also just bought the Amazing Spider-Man game. It's pretty cool. The style reminds me a lot of the Arkham games, and I thought those were probably the best comic book games ever made. I consider comic book movie games a different category since they have to be tend to be less loyal to the comic books and often don't have that much to do with the movie. For that reason, it's harder to compare ASM to Arkham than to, say, Spider-Man 2. That was the best Spider-Man game until now, but I think at the very least it now has a challenger. I like pretty much everything about it, and I like that there is stealth combat, but I find it a little bit underdeveloped and slightly repettitive. It's pretty much just crawling on the ceiling and pulling people up one by one, or if you're skilled and have an upgrade, two at a time. But webbing people to the ceiling also needs an upgrade. So I suppose it evolves a little with each upgrade, but it's a little monotonous until you get the next one. But other than that, I think it's a great game and has brought Spider-Man games back from a path that I didn't like. I mean, an all indoors, not open world Spider-Man game? Come on. Spider-Man games have to have that flexibility of swinging around NY, stopping minor crimes until you feel like going to do your main objective. That's the other thing that made me not buy Edge of Time or Shattered Dimensions. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you can't just go around stopping robberies and assaults. The way this game works is that you swing around as much as you want, beating up criminals, taking photos and doing other challenges, until you go to wherever you need to go to start a level. And the levels are usually indoors, so once you start one, you have to finish it before you can go back to freely roaming the city. What I like is that it does a good job combining open world and level-based gameplay. Like I said, you go wherever, then go in some building or something to start a level (outdoor levels are rare). But once you finish a level, you can go to Peter's apartment and replay it any time. That solves my biggest problem with open world games, which is that often, once you're done with the missions / quests, you're done. There may be some minor enemies remaining, but to do the really fun stuff, you have to start all over. The same goes for a quest that was particularly fun. You can only do it once before having to start over again. This way, you can replay whatever you want, and you still can roam around beating up any thugs you see, which is fun in itself. The combat system reminds me of the Arkham games, but with the  Webslinger living up to his name. You can do a lot of standard Spider-Man moves like immobilizing an enemy with web, or using it to pull yourself towards an enemy, grab and throw enemies, and stuff like that. You can also press a button to retreat away from your enemies. That's useful because Spider-Man can't actually take that much punishment. He's all about dodging and avoiding it completely. One thing about the combat that may take some getting used to is the fact that you have no actual health meter. The closer you are to death, the redder the edge of the screen gets, so if it's very red, you need to retreat and give yourself a bit of time (not a lot) to heal. When I first started playing, I thought that was a weakness in the game, but now I don't think it takes anything away. It might even be a strength. Personally, I think the game has a lot of strengths, so if you like good Spider-Man games, you should get it.

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