By Steve Wright
Yesterday, I headed into Activision Blizzard's preview space and had the chance to sit down with Dee Brown of Beenox to see a hands-off preview of The Amazing Spider-Man.
According to Dee, this new movie-tie in was as much as reboot for the Beenox Spider-Man games as it was for Universal's movie franchise. "We went to the guys and I said, 'Let's rethink Spider-Man. Give us something that's completely fresh'," said Brown. According to him, this new game is the Beenox answer to his challenge.
Whilst quite a bit of the game's underlying engine has been rebuilt, it's most obviously changes are immediate when you view how the game's camera reacts and how web-swinging now functions. The in-game camera is very tight on Spider-Man, and with that, you can immediately see a very high level of detail in Spider-Man's new movie suit. It's got one change from the new movie's, and that's the addition of a belt so Spider-Man can reload his mechanical web shooters on the fly (so yay for realism!). Additionally, for the first time in a Beenox game, Spidey's suit degrades as he takes damage.
The tight camera gives you an incredible sense of vertigo as Spider-Man acrobatically swings through the city; the camera pulls in close and then back out as he flips about. You get the sense that you could lose hours just traversing the digitised Manhattan. The desire to do this increases with the addition of the "Web Rush" system, a cool little mechanic that helps you fly through the city with ease. On-screen prompts (in the form of a yellow silhouette of our hero) will be displayed in real-time or in a paused fashion to show you a location that Spider-Man could zip too. Activating the function is at the press of a button, and the system can be chained to travel quickly, easily, and most importantly, accurately.
This game is set after the events of the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man movie and will involve both Lizard and Gwen Stacy in some capacity. The setting for the game though has given Beenox free reign to devise new movie-character backgrounds for the likes of foes such as Scorpion and the Rhino.
Apart from those changes, it still is a Spider-Man game, though thankfully a reversion back into an open-world environment. Spidey will get to roam around the city, completing main quests and side quests as you choose. Collectibles return in the form of comic book pages, but the difficulty factor in obtaining them increases with the more you collect; I saw three particular pages extremely high up in the city and flying around at quite a brisk pace. The reward for collecting said pages is quite high: for every ten pages, you'll be able to unlock a full Marvel digital comic. Each comic is generally the first appearance of a game character, with Spidey's own first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 being used as an example.
A new combat system has also been implemented that provides Spidey with a new set of fluid animations. Your main goal in combat is to build combos and gain energy for Spidey's signature moves, which are usually one hit take-downs. Think the combat system in Arkham Asylum and you're on the right track. I saw Spidey take on thugs and a newly envisaged Rhino...and he did so with ease.
Look for the game on 29 June on 3Ds, Wii, PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.