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The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition Review (Wii U)

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The Amazing Spider-Man film released in theaters last summer and alongside that, Activision released a video game with the same name. Since then, the action-packed Spider-Man reboot has seen a DVD and Blu-ray release. To say the Wii U port of the game that originally coincided with the July launch of the movie is a tad late would be an understatement. However, Wii U owners have their own version in the form of The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition, one which uses of the system’s unique controller and included downloadable content that other console users had to pay for. Should you swing with Spider-Man or hang out with some other superhero?

What You Need to Know

The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition is an open-world action game that takes place on the island of Manhattan. The game is an epilogue to the events of the 2012 film, so if you haven’t watched the movie yet, you WILL be spoiled on what occurred. The actual story is one with plenty of twists and turns, well executed voice acting, and a competent script that makes for a tale you will want to see to the end.

When Spider-Man isn’t freely moving around Manhattan, initiating side missions and collecting optional comic book pages (of which there are 700), he’s advancing the story through much more linear, corridor driven areas that will put his combat skills to the test. Whether he’s busting Curt Connors out of a mental asylum, stopping a bank heist, or infiltrating Oscorp to help his firends, each mission has its own reason for being there.

Speaking of each mission, each level houses a number of collectibles for Spider-Man to find. I’m referring to magazines, audio recordings that shed some light on the back story of the game, and Oscorp manuals. These add some replay value to the various levels, and for someone who grew up on Mario, Banjo-Kazooie and other “collect-a-thon” games, this part of The Amazing Spider-Man was a blast to do, as some of the objects are really well hidden.

Amazing Spider Man Iguana

Does Whatever a Spider Can

 

One of  the webhead’s most well-known powers is his ability to shoot webbing out of his wrists and swing from them. This ability is incredibly fun to use, allowing the webhead to jet across Manhattan in style, yelling how much of a good time he’s having. Unlike Spider-Man 2 that released on PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox, web-slinging is much more accessible, allowing pretty much anyone to get into the swing of things.

 

The Amazing Spider-Man introduces a new power that is insanely useful, the Web Rush. With the Web Rush, time can be slowed  allowing for strategic movements. By focusing in on certain objects and enemies, he can swiftly swing to them. This move is terrific for getting out of the line of fire, accurately speeding towards walls, ceilings, and floors with perfect precision, and getting the jump on unaware enemies. Web Rush is an invaluable asset to Spider-Man, and one that I would love to see in future games.

 

As you battle enemies, collect hidden objects, and perform various other tasks, Spidey earns experience points that go to earning new abilities and upgrades. These are things like increased time for Web Rush, upgrades to Spider-Man’s defense and offense, and new web-related abilities.

 

Manhattan’s Got the Goods

 

While Manhattan isn’t the largest open world setting we’ve seen before, it is relatively dense with plenty of things to do. The amount of side missions can be overwhelming at first, as there are plenty of activities to be found. There are tasks like carrying infected citizens from their current location to a makeshift hospital; participating in Xtreme challenges like waypoint races, riding on the top of a police car during a high speed chase, a game where you need to keep the camera centered on Spidey and comic books that rest on building rooftops, in alleyways, and nestled on billboards. There is no exaggeration in saying that The Amazing Spider-Man is packed with things to do. As rewards for completing tasks you earn new costumes that cast Spidey in a new light.

Amazing Spider ManInspired Combat

When I say “inspired combat” I mean it. The Amazing Spider-Man has taken a page from Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City’s combat where you can effortlessly flow punches, kicks, and dodges into massive combos. When Spider-Man’s spider-sense starts tingling (an icon flashes over his head), pressing the evade button will have him block his assailant’s attack. The combat feels great, and mixing in Spider-Man’s web moves makes you feel like you’re right inside his costume, taking on bad guys and protecting New York City from the villainous scum that plagues its streets.

Wii U Exclusive Features

Many would probably be wondering why Activision even bothered with a port of an almost year’s old game. The Ultimate Edition comes with all of the content that Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners had to purchase separately if they wanted to play them. I’m referring to things like Rhino’s challenges and the ability to play as Spider-Man creator and comic book genius, Stan Lee. Wii U owners get this content already included on the disc.

Furthermore, the Wii U GamePad is used as a map, so instead of cluttering up the HUD on the TV screen, all players need to do is look down at the GamePad’s screen to get a glimpse of Manhattan’s map. By far the coolest feature of The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition is the off-TV play, a feature that not enough Wii U games can have. You can play the entire game on the GamePad’s screen while watching the game or having your significant other hog the TV. In fact, if you want to get crazy, you can watch The Amazing Spider-Man movie while playing The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition game! That’s certainly meta!

Amazing Spider Man Stan LeeProblems with Performance

Given that this Wii U port of the original The Amazing Spider-Man game is severely late in timing, one would think the developers would optimize the port to make it run on Wii U well. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the Ultimate Edition. While it is a nice looker, there’s a great amount of highly noticeable screen tearing . Yes, you get used to it eventually through repeated play, but it is quite jarring at first. There are also frame-rate issues, especially when a lot of action is happening on the screen at the same time.

In addition to the screen tearing and frame-rate quirks are times where the game locks up the Wii U. While this only happens on an occasional basis when one tries to post a screenshot via Miiverse, it is still obnoxious enough to note. Here’s hoping a patch alleviates some of the burden that the Ultimate Edition gives certain players.

Conclusion

The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition is one of the better Spider-Man games released in recent memory. It offers a fresh take on the formula with excellent new powers (such as the incredible Web Rush), a story that will captivate players until the very end, and a seemingly endless supply of side missions to partake in. Swinging with the spider has seldom been so much fun, and despite the technical issues that hurt this version, the Wii U iteration of The Amazing Spider-Man is one that is worth looking into, especially if you’ve never played the 2012 original on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

Overall: Four Stars

Game was purchased at Toys ‘R’ Us.
Completed the game 100%.
Total playtime: Just under 22 hours.

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