Initially released in the summer of 2012 as a tie-in to the film’s latest reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man is back just as the hype machine is starting to spin up for next year’s sequel. This time Activision is going portable with Spidey by porting his adventure to the PlayStation Vita. I largely enjoyed the game when it came out on consoles. Now it’s time to find out how well it holds up on the small screen.
To read our full review of the console version, click here. The following will focus on differences between the two.
As with seemingly every port to the Vita, a handful of touch-screen elements have been added, though none of them are essential. In fact, the only one of substance is the ability to tap a target during Web Rush that Spider-Man with then attack or travel to. If you prefer sticking to standard controls, and you probably will, that’s completely up to you. The other elements — manipulating the map and taking pictures as Spidey’s alter ego — ultimately end up feeling pretty unnecessary.
In terms of the core experience, it carries over fairly well. Pounding away on enemies and countering their strikes is still satisfying, but the miniscule targeting reticule can make striking from a distance a frustrating endeavor. The camera, which was occasionally dizzying on the big screen, is a larger issue on the Vita. It’s easy to become disoriented during fights with multiple enemies; that leads to a number of cheap deaths you never saw coming.
Despite being a straight port, the Vita doesn’t handle the action as well as the consoles. This is most apparent when moving through the game’s open-world sections. For instance, collecting comic pages, a carrot to encourage exploration and provide experience boosts, is rendered nearly impossible by its tiny size; instead I’d see the prompt to collect a page every few seconds while rarely seeing my target.
There’s a stark contrast between indoor and outdoor levels. When inside, the game looks pretty good with decent detailing on Spidey’s suit and a respectable variety of moves and counters. Once you take things to the street, however, it gets pretty ugly. Not only do the buildings look bad, but the frame rate will often take a nosedive, leading to some choppy, annoying fights.
Although the voice acting is identical, The Amazing Spider-Man did feature some technical issues as the audio would drop out at times. I also encountered moments where the game would freeze up, necessitating a full reboot of the Vita. Inexplicably long load times plague the game as well.
I liked The Amazing Spider-Man when I played it in 2012, and I still like it now. That being said, this is inferior to the console version in some meaningful ways. If you’ve never played it and are exclusively a portable gamer it should keep you entertained for roughly 10 hours. If you already experienced it on a console, however, it’s not worth $40 to play it again.