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Jun 28, 12 at 2:38pm ^Stinger Review: ASM. Spoilers
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I decided to wait until I had finished the story and gotten all upgrades to post my review of the game. I still have quite a bit to do, but for the most part it is all things that Ive done at least one time already. Ill try to be as impartial as possible, but I think everyone here knows what a huge fan of the character I am, so as with any review, take it with a grain of salt.
Spider-Man has never looked better, and all of his various alternate costumes look just as good and detailed as the default ones do. The city looks great, and with multiple lighting options after the story ends, it really is rendered in fantastic fashion. That said, the enemies dont all get the same treatment. Most of your enemy character models in the game all look the same depending on what enemy type they are. Several games do this, so its not really a huge deal. I really wish though that they had done a better job of really differentiating the look of their heavy thugs and cross species enemies from the regulars, as several times Ive attacked them thinking that they were normal enemies and broke my combo streak.
Many of the indoor evironments look the same. They are servicable, given that for instance one room in Oscorp would look similar to another, and the same applies to various rooms in the sewer areas, but there were a few instances where I was stumped as to where I was supposed to go next for a few minutes.
The Webslinging looks great. Its not as fast as I had hoped, but if you freefall into a dive and then fire, you get moving pretty damned fast. In any case, It looks cool and I like it. There are a few times where suspension of disbelief is needed, as the game makes sure that you can always clear the rooftops youre swinging over, and at street level, I saw myself swing THROUGH a couple of buses and cars instead of getting stopped on them.
Control feels pretty good. If Im in a wallrun I very rarely find myself going in a direction I hadnt intended. I can swing in any direction I want and almost every time land exactly where I wanted even without the aid of the Web Rush. Indoor webslinging is an entirely new mechanic altogether, allowing you to swing at the perfect height to traverse rooms usually automaticly, but leaving you the option to hold LT to gain height on your swings if youd like to swing closer to the ceiling. Its very fluid and extremely well done, especially when swinging through hazardous areas such as acid covered walls.
Web Rush is insane. Whether youre using it as the revamped "Web Zip" to quickly reach a destination, or as the "Spider-Reflex" slow motion mode where you can plan your moves with plenty of time, the Web Rush is a fantastic mechanic for both transportation, and combat.
Minor hiccups have bugged me, like intending to go to the edge of a rooftop and look down, but end up walking right off the edge. Or jumping from one level of a room to another and landing on a rail, and fighting with the character to get off of the rail without having to jump a mile high to do it. Not having a "force crawl" from the rooftop to the side of the building was a strange omission as well.
The Stealth mechanic is so good that people looking for challenge will call it overpowered, or broken. Even before upgrading, Spider-Man can quickly incapacitate a room of enemies with little to no danger to himself. The web escape basicly makes you unhittable, and in all but a few instances places you in a position where the enemies have no idea where you are. The enemies are in the most literal sense, sitting ducks.
Combat is inspired by Rocksteady's Freeflow Combat system. Its execution with the controller is the same as with the Arkham games. Attacks, counters, and combo streak supers. It is done at about one and a half times the speed of the Arkham games though, so its much more frenetic. Spider-Man is a force in combat and while it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of gamers who are control freaks with the scheme of basicly "Press X for Awesome", it still looks pretty badass when youre laying a beatdown on a large group of bad guys.
The camera honestly is just a little too close. Enemies can get offscreen and are easy to lose track of, sometimes causing you to try to hit a heavy enemy and lose your combo streak. In the early going, it is quite simple to mop the floor with every enemy in sight, but in the later going, it seems like Beenox got a bit too crazy with the "Uncounterable Attacks".
When you find yourself in the mix with about ten regular guys, with about four or five projectile enemies (whether that be guns, lazers, acid spit, etc...) you can often feel overwhelmed. The main problem is that you need that combo streak boost to do your most effective attacks, and later on be able to hit heavy enemies without having to jump over their back. However, many projectile attacks need you to actually web escape to get out of the way. Doing this resets the combo streak unless you can very quickly web strike back into the fray before the combo meter counts back down.
In most cases (at least on Superhero) about 3 solid hits and Spidey is done for. You have to really be vigilant in what youre doing, but it can really get frustrating at times to be throwing a beatdown but have to interrupt it to dodge 3-4 projectiles and lose your combo streak. Sometimes, you find yourself so frazzled that you either resort to the stealth mechanic to eliminate the enemies, or just use the "Interact with heavy object and win" tactic.
Perhaps on a lower difficulty, like normal this might not be an issue but Superhero was just painful at times late in the story when you have heavies, projectiles, shielded robots, and a slew of normal enemies to get through. Perhaps its a lack of tactical planning on my part, I dont know. I still have to replay some of these missions for collectibles and I can try another approach.
I think in trying to differentiate their combat system from Rocksteady with these uncounterable attacks, Beenox shot itself in the foot a little bit. I mean, if Spidey's able to use spider-sense to dodge a point blank shotgun blast on the hood of a speeding car, why cant I just hit the dodge button to dodge a bullet or acid spit from across the room? Moreover its tough to know if a simple roll or jump is going to be enough to keep you from being damaged without having to resort to the web escape and abandon your combo.
The aerial combat however was some of the most fun that Ive had in a game. Whether its boss battles or just hunter chases through the city, it was always a damn cool sequence, if a bit on the crazy side on superhero difficulty with explosive blasts that cover an entire city block.
There are several types of side activities to do in this game, but one thing I found strange was that the random crimes were finite, and they tried to make them something bigger than they really were with a little movie sequence before each one started. What happens though is that you see that same damn car speeding away from the cops that youve chased down three times already. Random crimes shouldve been more fluid, swing in, lay the smackdown, and swing off into the sunset without missing a beat.
The muggings and back alley violence is usually just a couple of guys to beat up and then its over. I can understand a few of those, but in playing a game like SM 2 where you would have an entire street gang try to take you down, that was a lot more fun.
Rescuing infected civilians, and capturing mental patients is essentially the same thing, swing to point A, move to point B. The number of times you have to do this is a bit much, but they do say some funny things while its going on, so whatever.
Photography is actually pretty cool. Instead of just "go here and snap this" its more of an investigation where youre given a location and you have to find certain things pertaining to a story, which is usually a nod to the presence of other classic Spidey villains. This is also present during missions, which gives the player something to be on the lookout for.
Races, well what can I say. Filler at best. You can be sure that there will be no outcry of "too hard" or "unfair" regarding these races. Bruce has some okay lines, but overall the Xtreme Reporter challenges fell way short of my expectations.
The writing is pretty good, and the voice acting is solid. Theres some pretty funny events and pop culture references in there that I enjoyed, and with the big three, Spider-Man, Alistaire Smythe, and Dr.Connors, the story is pretty good.
Aside from that, my initial fear of lumping the origin story of all of these classic Spidey villains all into the same theme was a HUGE mistake. There was absolutely no chemistry at all during the battles with these characters, simply because Iguana, Scorpion, Vermin, and Rhino never speak. There was a few one liners chucked at each of these guys, but it just isnt the same when the effect is the same as talking to a brick wall. They dont get frustrated or angrier with his taunting, its just a big brawl and its over. Huge mistake in the story in my opinion. These guys might be low on the food chain of classic Spidey villains, but taking away their ability to speak or reason, taking away their originality and their individual motives for wanting to destroy the webslinger just does irreparable damage to these characters.
The story was decent, but couldve been a lot better with more contribution from the other antagonists in the game. Making them all mindless creatures was not cool.
In closing, I find this to be a great Spider-Man game. It has its issues here and there, but as a big fan of the character Im having a complete blast with it. I think that many of the issues I have with the combat can be fixed by dropping the difficulty to normal, and by re-evaluating my strategy. Should I have to drop the difficulty? Probably not. But once that achievement for SH difficulty gets unlocked, theres no real reason to keep it there if it detracts from my good time.
Objectively, and speaking to a fanbase that isnt a fan of Spider-Man in general and would pick this game up and play it based on limited knowledge of the character, Id rate it a 7.5/10. The main detractors being that you run out of things to do, lumping all the enemy origins together, and late game combat can get so crazy its more stressful than fun.
To me personally, its the best Spider-Man game I have played. How you put a rating on that, I dont really know. I like the visuals and the "Press X for Awesome" setup. I love watching Spidey do his thing at my direction. I dont care if I effortlessly destroyed twenty guys in hand to hand combat without breaking a sweat. In my opinion, thats what should be happening. Its far better than every time I throw a punch it gets dodged or blocked, or just doesnt do any damage causing a fight that should be over in fifteen seconds to go on for a ridiculous amount of time just for the sake of "challenge", while I shake my head and look at my screen wondering what the devs were thinking about when they designed these thugs.
Well there you have it Neoseekers, this game gets The Stinger's seal of approval and recommendation for purchase. Best Spider-Man game I have played, really fun to play but I would definately recommend sticking to the normal difficulty to avoid some late game frustration.
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