previews\ Jun 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm

The Amazing Spider-Man hands-on

Activision’s previous Spider-Man games have been very good to us, with both Shattered Dimensions and Edge of Time providing hours of enjoyment.  Still, we couldn’t help but long for that “go anywhere, do anything” feeling from Spider-Man 2… and we were wondering when it would return.  The development team at Beenox has answered that question by introducing The Amazing Spider-Man, a game that will tie in with the forthcoming Sony film due for release on July 3.  Except, obviously, you’re in control.

The company recently invited us up to try the game out, and we’re happy to report that the free-roaming feel of the series has made a fine return.  You can swing through the streets of a well-rendered New York however you please, completing side missions while unlocking story tasks that help you learn more about Curt Connors, aka The Lizard, and the research that he was doing at Oscorp Corporation that is turning people into freaks.

Amazing Spider-Man uses a helpful map system, so you can find and pinpoint objectives with ease, then cruise through the city to get there.  These range from quick battles — like webbing the windshield of a thug’s getaway car while dodging incoming fire from his accomplice — to full blown street fights.  No matter what you do, Spidey’s got style to spare.

His combat has definitely been modified for the better.  Along with performing combination attacks and using his webbing to temporarily disable baddies, Spidey can also latch onto objects in the environment to use to his advantage.  You haven’t lived until you’ve hammered down a thug using a dumpster.  Wham!  (For that matter, the zip line kick is also quite effective, especially against armed robbers.)

As for web swinging, Spidey has literally never felt better.  His web swings connect with a great deal of momentum, even if you’re doing something as simple as running up the side of a building.  In addition, Beenox has also introduced a new Web Rush technique, which works extremely well.  Here, you go into a first-person view inside the mask and see all the objects you can zip to highlighted in gold.  Then, with the press of a button, you’re off and running.

The demo for Amazing Spider-Man also introduced a pair of boss battles that are quite engaging.  The first is with Rhino, who goes charging around a parking lot like the big horned bully he is.  You can set him up for a counter-attack by forcing him to charge, then dodging at the last second so he runs into a van.  That leaves him wide open to attack him and slam him back down to the ground using webbing.  Do this three times and he’s done for — for the moment, anyhow.

The second battle introduces alien gliders, who fire off huge plasma balls that can do damage to Spidey.  Fortunately, he’s got his zip line, which lets him connect to a glider and blast it to pieces.  The final one, a much bigger glider, requires a bit more work (button mashing) but comes crashing down to Manhattan in a most satisfying manner.

Amazing Spider-Man features a terrific looking city, a well-animated Spidey (the enemy characters look pretty good too), and plenty of gameplay improvements that will easily win over fans of Spider-Man 2.  We’ll let you know how the final game sticks (get it, webbing, sticks?) with our review when it hits stores later this month.

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